Azerbaijan International

Winter 1999 (7.4)

Anticipating the Collapse of the Soviet Union
Heydar Aliyev's Speech
February 10, 1991

The following speech was made by Heydar Aliyev in Baku in Parliament on February 10, 1991. Ten months later on December 5, 1991, the Soviet Union was declared officially nonexistent when the presidents of the Soviet Republics of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus met at the Belarus President's dacha (Belovejskaya Pusha) and declared the breakup of the Soviet Union.

When this speech was made, Heydar Aliyev was no longer an official member of the Communist party, as he had already resigned on July 19, 1990 in response to the brutalities of Black January (January 19-20, 1990) when Soviet troops attacked Baku and hundreds of civilians.

Honorable Deputies of the People. Dear Citizens.

It's a great honor for me to have been elected as a People's Deputy of Azerbaijan. I want to express my gratitude to all those who have supported me.

Rumors have been spreading about my return to Azerbaijan and about my being elected as a National Deputy. In response to those rumors, I want to say that I did not return to the Motherland to come to power again nor to take revenge on anyone. I came here to share the difficult moments with my nation, to accomplish my duty as a citizen and to join in the struggle for freedom. No one can deprive me of these rights as an Azeri.

I want to express my personal opinion about the situation in the Soviet Union and in Azerbaijan, and to set forth my proposals to the Supreme Assembly of Azerbaijan.

For several years, the Soviet nations have been in a state of political and economic crisis. International relationships have disintegrated. The Soviet Union is on the verge of collapse.

The reasons for all this are numerous. Of course, in such a situation, one cannot deny the effect of mistakes made during various stages in the past. But the main reasons are that serious, unforgivable, blundering errors have been made during this period which we call "Perestroika" [Reconstruction / reorganization]. Unfortunately, they have been covered up, and the official circles and mass media concentrate on criticizing the distant past.

There has been no systematic strategy based on political, scientific or economic principles to carry out the reforms of 1985 that were put into effect in a hurry without any long-term strategy in mind. Of course, it is only natural that policies that are at opposites with each other cannot lead to positive results.

Mistakes in the sphere of national policy have led to tragic situations in so many Republics of our country. Tragedies that have occurred in Alma - Ata [Almaty, Kazakhstan], Tbilisi [Georgia], Fargana [Uzbekistan], Baku, Novouzensk [Volga region of Russia], Osh [Kyrgyzstan] and the Baltic Republics [Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania] are the result of trampling on the rights of the Union Republics and following a policy of centralized government.

Democracy and political pluralism, which had begun to open a path for themselves during those early years, are now being limited, and a policy of dictatorship is being pursued. All this has brought the nation [USSR] to the brink of catastrophe. The foreign policy of the Soviet government is also full of shortcomings.

The culprit to be blamed is Gorbachev, who seized the power of the Central Committee of the Soviet Party along with all the power of the government. During the past five years, Gorbachev has made so many promises to the nation but has kept none of them. There is a void between word and action, and a gap between political leadership and the nation. This has resulted in skepticism and disbelief in the government and the people's disappointment in the future has increased to the extent that the influence of the Communist Party doesn't exist any more.

[Speech continues about issues related to Nagorno-Karabakh].

Translated from the book, "Gatiyyatin Tantanasi" (Triumph of Determination) Baku, 1995, pp.101-102.

Azerbaijan International (7.4) Winter 1999.
© Azerbaijan International 1999. All rights reserved.

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