Azerbaijan International

Winter 2001 (9.4)
Page 27

Personal Experiences - These Past Ten Years

Hasan HasanovHasan Hasanov
The collapse of the Soviet Union brought on a serious economic crisis for the majority of the Soviet Union's population. Nevertheless, all of these economic problems were nothing compared to the horrors of ethnic conflicts that began within the collapsed multinational Soviet state. Unfortunately, the call for national independence turned into extreme nationalism in nearly all of the Republics of the former Soviet Union. Bloody conflicts, millions of refugees, hatred and animosity - this is the tragic legacy of the collapse of Soviet power. In my opinion, these difficulties will be hard to overcome.

In the past, it used to be very common to travel by car to various Republics of the Soviet Union. During the summer holidays, my family used to drive thousands of kilometers to meet friends, enjoy Georgian cuisine and experience the hospitality of the people of the North Caucasus, the beauty of Russian landscapes and the extraordinary cities of the Baltic Republics. At present, one would probably be considered crazy to travel this way. On the other hand, I should mention that one of the greatest shortcomings of those times was the difficulty of traveling abroad. Only a few people managed to cross the border into Western countries.

What to tell my grandchildren? First of all, I'm glad for this question, as it gave me the chance to think about the previous seven years with all of its ups and downs in working with foreign oil companies. I really have a lot of fascinating stories to tell my grandchildren. I hope that I will be able to tell them, with pride, that the first ten years of our independence were the most important years for building a civil state in Azerbaijan.

The ecology of the Caspian Sea and the contamination of ground and underground waters is one of the most serious problems we will face in the next decade. The lack of financing to maintain onshore and offshore oil installations during the collapse of the former Soviet Union and a misunderstanding of the importance of finding solutions to ecological issues have resulted in the uncontrolled discharge of oil products for quite a number of years. Nevertheless, I'm an optimist, and I hope that the state organizations of Azerbaijan, working together with foreign companies, will manage to prevent an ecological catastrophe.

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

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