The author notes that despite a history of imperial domination, the people of Azerbaijan persevered, sacrificed and ultimately won the freedom and independent future they sought. In fact, Azerbaijan was the first nation of the Soviet Empire or Eastern Europe to become free of any foreign military presence on its soil, added the ambassador.
“The Soviet effort to crush the growing Azerbaijani pro-independence movement culminated in the largest massacre in a generation, it but failed miserably, hastened the end of the USSR, and led directly to our formal declaration of independence two years later. The Soviet troops who shot and killed so many citizens of Azerbaijan indiscriminately that day gunned down a diverse group of freedom lovers, including Azerbaijanis, Russians, Tatars, Jews and others. People of all ethnicities and faiths were killed by the troops of a collapsing Soviet empire that night, and people of all faiths and ethnicities of Azerbaijan came to mourn the victims,” said Suleymanov.
He noted that on that day a quarter-century ago, an independent nation was reborn.
“In today’s world, where differences seem to matter more than common humanity, Azerbaijan’s vision of inclusive intercultural dialogue enriched by the experience of creating in 1918 the first-ever democratic republic with a predominantly Muslim population sets a valuable global example.
This tradition continues today under the current Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The nation’s commitment to inclusiveness and openness is widely recognized in the world, be it among the Muslim nations, by the Vatican or by Israel, an important partner of Azerbaijan,” said the ambassador.
It is a truly independent, successful and diverse Azerbaijan that is the best tribute to the sacrifice of those who died on the streets of Baku at the hands of a collapsing Soviet regime, said the diplomat.
He pointed out that independence has given Azerbaijan the ability to act in the best interest of its own people without outside interference.
Azerbaijan’s strengths today include energy security, a growing economy, modern infrastructure and a remarkable degree of stability. Independence has allowed us to pursue and achieve our peoples’ centuries-long dream of a prosperous and successful nation, added Suleymanov.
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