OSCE Representative: Azerbaijan Unique for its Tolerance
Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Trend E.Huseynli / Robin Seaword, deputy head of the OSCE Baku Office, Azerbaijan is becoming popular worldwide for its unique tolerance, the Jewish village of Red Sloboda being an example of this. He was commenting on the foreign diplomatic mission's visit to the Azerbaijani village of Red Sloboda in the district of Guba, approximately 173km north of Baku.
The diplomatic mission organized by the Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan, includes France, Belarus, Ukraine, India, Switzerland, Moldova, Poland, Germany, Italy, UN, OSCE and others. They visited Secondary School 1, Eshiva College, the synagogue and talked to local citizens.
Seaword stressed that Red Sloboda is a unique place not only for Azerbaijan, but also for the world. "Several languages are taught in one village. It is very splendid and attractive," the OSCE representative stressed after the being familiarised with the local education system of at secondary schools of Red Sloboda, where Azerbaijani, Russia, Hebrew, Tat and Lezgi are taught.
Stepan Volkovetskiy, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, said in talks with journalists that he had repeatedly heard about the residence of different nationalities and different religions over many centuries. "Now we are assured that indeed the traditions of not only the original Azerbaijanis, but also other nations are respected in this country. I came to the conclusion that it is not accidental that the mountainous Jews selected this land. This land enabled them to develop and live in the way that they imagined," the diplomat stressed.
History of Jewish settlements in Azerbaijan date from over 2,500 years. Jews settled in Red Sloboda some 280 years ago. The maximum number of mountainous Jews in this region comprised of 15,000 in 1938-1939. At present nearly 4,000 mountainous Jews reside in this Azerbaijani village.