President Aliyev receives participants of CIS Council of Defense Ministers meeting (PHOTO) (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted at 11:58 on Oct.30)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Oct. 30


President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received participants of the meeting of the CIS Council of Defense Ministers.

Welcoming the guests, President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Greetings, dear guests. I am very glad that the regular meeting of the Council of Defense Ministers of the Commonwealth countries is being held in Baku. The event is very important, as it brings our countries even closer together and also gives a good opportunity to talk about the bilateral agenda. As you know, a summit of heads of state was recently held in Ashgabat, which was very successful, and Azerbaijan, like other CIS member-states, attaches great importance to participation in this organization. And our constructive position on many issues also contributes to the further strengthening of cooperation within the CIS.

Military cooperation, especially at the present stage, is becoming much more important given the existing threats in our region, as well as the possible threats. Therefore, I think that the stability and the progressive development of the CIS countries depend on the interaction of bodies ensuring the security of our countries. One of the topics discussed at the summit of the heads of state in Ashgabat was the preparations for the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. We in Azerbaijan are also very actively preparing for this. This is our common victory, which is celebrated at the state level in Azerbaijan. May 9 is a national holiday in our country, which was restored after Heydar Aliyev returned to Azerbaijan.

Unfortunately, in the first years of independence, the former anti-national government of the Popular Front erased this date of the calendar and tried to erase it from the memory of our people by showing disrespect for the veterans. In essence, there were attempts to distort the history of the Great Patriotic War, which, unfortunately, are now becoming quite widespread in some countries. Thus, May 9 has been celebrated for many years as a public holiday, and care for veterans is an integral part of our daily work. They are surrounded with attention and care. Their material well-being is provided. This is an example of heroism for us.

Azerbaijan has made a great contribution to our common victory.Vast quantities of fuel for the overall victory was extracted in Baku: 70 percent of oil, 80 percent of gasoline and 90 percent of lubricants. Without this potential, it would have been very difficult to defeat fascist Germany. And it is no coincidence that fascist Germany aimed at Baku – there were plans to capture this city. In that case, the Soviet army would have been cut off from the much-needed fuel. As we know from history quite well, one of the reasons why the Nazis failed to build on their offensive was precisely the fact they were short of fuel. The oil workers of Baku showed true heroism. They worked day and night, and it was in those years that there was a record level of oil production – two times higher than the average level of production.

Also quite tangible was the contribution of the Azerbaijani people to the common victory on the fields of the Great Patriotic War. More than 600,000 of our compatriots participated in the war, half of them were killed for our common victory. A total of 170 Heroes of the Soviet Union are representatives of Azerbaijan. This is the pride of our people and an example for the younger generation. It is no coincidence that we in Azerbaijan are very sensitive to attempts to falsify history, glorify fascism and rewrite history. This poses a great threat not only from the point of view of distorting history, it poses a threat to future generations who can believe in these myths and essentially be cut off from historical truth.

Therefore, by joint efforts we must conduct very active work to communicate the truth about the causes of the war, who was the aggressor and the heroism of the Soviet people who saved not only their country but also half the world from this plague of the 20th century.

During the summit in Ashgabat, I also raised the issue that within the framework of the CIS, unfortunately, there are facts of the glorification of fascism, namely in Armenia, where fascist executioner Ter-Harutyunyan has been elevated to the rank of hero. Squares and streets are named after him in Armenia, and several years ago, an almost 6-meter-high monument was erected in the center of the Armenian capital. This is a man who stated that whoever dies for Germany dies for Armenia.

This man was arrested by SMERSH, was sentenced to a long prison sentence and ended his inglorious days in the prison. So a monument was erected to such an “activist”; and it has not yet been dismantled. I drew the attention of both the heads of state and the new leadership of Armenia to the fact that this is unacceptable in the CIS and the new leadership of Armenia should not associate itself with the glorification of fascism. Unfortunately, this monument has yet to be dismantled, and this raises very big questions regarding the sincerity of the Armenian side when it says that it also honors the memory of the heroes. This is nonsense because they honor the memory of fascist henchmen. In fact, we are observing an insult to the memory of those who gave their lives in the fight against it.

Therefore, for our part, we will continue to attract the attention of the Commonwealth public and other countries to this issue through the prism of preparations for the 75th anniversary of the Victory. So I think that through joint efforts we will continue to work towards the fact that the truth about the Great Patriotic War is brought to the attention of the entire world community, especially the younger generation.

Returning to today's meeting, of course, you have a very busy agenda. I am confident that the discussions will further strengthen the cooperation between our countries. Welcome again!


Addressing the event, Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu said:

- Dear Mr. president! We are grateful and appreciate the time you have found to meet with us. We specifically share your views on the future anniversary of the Victory, the views on the fact that together we need to preserve the memory of the exploits of our fathers and grandfathers. Of course, everything must be done in order to resist any attempts to rewrite that history, and even more so to make losers out of winners and winners out of losers. The same applies to the crimes committed during that great war, a difficult war for our country.

Today there are more and more people who want, on one hand, to rewrite history and, on the other - to do everything for the winners to stop being such. Based on this, we have invited all our colleagues to a festive event in Moscow, so that the military contingent from Commonwealth countries could take part in the Victory Parade on Red Square. I do hope that Azerbaijani military take an active part in this event, as was the case before.

As for our agenda, it is quite extensive. Cooperation is carried out according to the plans we are considering and approving them together. I would especially like to note here that Russia today has gained vast experience in the fight against international terrorism, an experience that we are ready to share with our colleagues. This also applies to the issues of combating international terrorism and humanitarian assistance, which includes mine clearance, medical care and many other activities.

The recent negotiations and events that took place in Sochi, the agreements and the Memorandum signed between our president and the president of Turkey are not easily implementable, but we can see that this is probably the only way to establish peace and preserve the sovereignty of Syria.

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