'For Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev is the leader who saved the people from the tragedies that could have happened. He was the leader of Azerbaijan in the Soviet period. Then he took the post of First Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. When in January 1990, the Soviet army attacked Baku, he was already retired.' As informs the official website of the Azerbaijani head of state, President Ilham Aliyev said this during his speech at a reception organised in honour of the participants of the V Global Baku Forum.
President Ilham Aliyev noted that 'Black January' is a tragic event in the history of modern Azerbaijan. Heydar Aliyev was one of the first who condemned the Soviet leadership and the army for this cruelty.
'The next day after the tragedy, we went to the permanent representation of Azerbaijan in Moscow. Then there was still no embassy. There we saw a large crowd of people, the Azerbaijanis gathered to express their sorrow in connection with the brutal murder of more than a hundred people in Baku, including women and children. At that time, Heydar Aliyev had been retired for two years.
When we approached the building, the crowd dispersed and organised a passage for Heydar Aliyev and his entourage. It was a very emotional moment. This was a sign of respect from people whom he had never seen,' said President Ilham Aliyev.
The president noted that in the early 1990s the Soviet Union was still strong and the Communist Party had a strong influence. People who occupied high positions, such as Heydar Aliyev, were not only dismissed from public activities, but they were being isolated.
'We entered the building, and Heydar Aliyev organised a press conference. There is a video of this press conference, it was repeatedly shown. Heydar Aliyev condemned the Soviet leadership and all those who committed this terrorist act. After that, he announced that he was leaving the Communist Party, in whose ranks he had been since his youth.
It was a courageous step, Heydar Aliyev showed that, regardless of whether he was in office or not, he was the leader of the Azerbaijani people.
After that, we were in a difficult situation. Our whole family, including me, lost their jobs. For Heydar Aliyev, it was dangerous to stay in Moscow, as there were plans to arrest him. And he returned to Baku,' said the president.
Ilham Aliyev noted that the then Communist leadership of Azerbaijan began to obstruct Heydar Aliyev, so he decided to return to his native Nakhchivan.
'In Nakhchivan, he felt safe, because people immediately accepted him and elected leader of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. I consider this a precedent for the Soviet era, the population of Nakhchivan demonstrated that it was free. They showed that the Centrr could no longer control the will of the people,' said Ilham Aliyev.
According to the president, the events described were the beginning of the road that led to the independence of Azerbaijan.