Azerbaijan International

Winter 2001 (9.4)
Page 27

Personal Experiences - These Past Ten Years

Surayya AbdurrahmanovaSurayya Abdurrahmanova
My career is basically the same - then and now. I was a leading engineer programmer during the Soviet Union and I still am. But of course now it's wonderful to be a citizen of an independent Azerbaijan. We've always dreamed of being independent. Our dream has come true. During the Soviet period we didn't have a problem with unemployment.

Everybody had a job. Young people finished college and found jobs quite easily. It's different now. We have a high rate of unemployment. And because of this, everybody tries to hold on to their jobs despite the conditions. They know that they won't be able to find another job easily if they lose this one. During Soviet times, you could quit your job if you didn't like it and find another one quite easily.

What do I miss the least of the Soviet Union? For sure, I don't miss waiting in queues to buy things. I'm glad we don't have to put up with all those shortages that were so common. You couldn't find what you wanted. Now our stores are stocked so well. You can find anything you want: appliances, clothes, anything. The problem is money. People don't have money to buy whatever they want. There were three levels of society during the Soviet period: the rich, the middle class and the poor. Now there are only two. We have no middle class. People are either rich or poor.

When I have grandchildren, I'll let them know who their enemies are and who their friends are so that they don't make the mistakes that we and the generations before us have made. I'll tell them about the war [with Armenia over Karabakh] and about Black January [when several hundred civilians were massacred by Soviet tanks and troops on January 20, 1990].

We suffered a lot before we gained our independence. It wasn't easy. So they always have to strive to preserve this independence. I'll explain to them how different things were during the Soviet period in terms of using our own language and even knowing our own history so that they understand how great it is to be independent. I'll teach them to love independent Azerbaijan. We are so proud when we see Azerbaijan's flag among other flags. I myself am not able to hold back the tears every time I hear Azerbaijan's National Hymn at the Olympics or places like that. It makes me feel so proud that I am Azerbaijani.

Azerbaijan International (9.4) Winter 2001.
© Azerbaijan International 2002. All rights reserved.

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