Celebrated as 28 May – Republic Day, the national holiday of Azerbaijan has opened a new, modern republican statehood stage in the country’s history. The fact that the Declaration of Independence of Azerbaijan was adopted on this day in 1918 in that time city of Tiflis, in the Palace of the former Caucasus Viceroy, is a symbol of the strong ties between Azerbaijan and Georgia, two friendly neighbors for millennia. The adoption of this Declaration means establishment of the first democratic republic in the Muslim world. The outstanding representatives of Azerbaijani intelligentsia have done a great deal for the country’s development. Although the Democratic Republic did not last long, it managed to do a lot in 23 months. The national flag and citizenship of Azerbaijan were approved, the national army and Baku State University were established. More than 200 laws were adopted, including a law granting women the right to vote.
But after 23 months, unable to withstand the conjuncture of world politics that Republic fell, which shows again that it is even more difficult to maintain independence than to obtain it. The flag raised in 1918 was dropped in 1920. After that, in 1990, great leader Heydar Aliyev officially restored this flag at a session of the Supreme Majlis of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
In 1991, as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan gained independence along with other Union republics. Unfortunately, the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, occupation of its internationally recognized territories, including Nagorno-Karabakh region and crisis developments unfolding in the country did not allow the newly-independent Azerbaijan the opportunity to stand firmly on its feet. Looking for a way out, the Azerbaijani people saw the path of salvation in Heydar Aliyev and invited him to take up power, thus confirming their wisdom yet again. Year 1993 was a turning point in our modern history. It was in 1993 that Azerbaijan embarked on the path of genuine independent development, ensured stability and the country began to confidently move forward. Serious reforms were initiated in political, economic and other spheres. A regular army was created, an influx of major foreign investment into the country began, and the foundations of efficient statehood were laid. In a nutshell, it was in those years that strategic directions for the development of Azerbaijan were determined.
Today, Azerbaijan is governed by these strategic development directions and pursues a confident policy in accordance with the changing situation in the region and the world. By pursuing an independent course at the present time, the country has gained tremendous success to secure national interests. Azerbaijan has achieved economic development and resolved many economic issues. The large-scale funds invested both in the oil and non-oil sectors have significantly strengthened the economic potential of the country.
All these achievements under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev have turned Azerbaijan into a locomotive of development in the region. In its foreign policy, the Azerbaijani state attaches great importance to mutually beneficial international cooperation, especially priority partnership promotion with neighboring countries. In this regard, the focus is on the further development of the strategic relations with Georgia, which has deep historical roots, for the sake of peace, prosperity and progress of both peoples and the region as a whole.
Even in the current pandemic, Azerbaijan is making a significant contribution to the struggle at the international level. Thus, the online top conference of the Turkic Council, convened on the initiative of Baku, went down in history as the first international summit to prevent COVID-19. As Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, Azerbaijan's contribution to this struggle is commendable worldwide.
Celebrating 28 May - Republic Day again this year, Azerbaijan is successfully pursuing its independent policy based on national interests and serving the well-being of the region, day by day strengthening the republican-type democratic statehood established in the early twentieth century. Today we can state with full confidence that this development along the path of independence will be sustainable and successful, and the state independence of Azerbaijan will be eternal!