Azerbaijan International

Winter 2001 (9.4)
Page 26

Personal Experiences - These Past Ten Years

Vugar VeysalovVugar Veysalov
First of all, let's be clear that - given the timing and circumstances of the period - the Soviet Union had no option other than to collapse, as the breakup of dictatorships was an ongoing phenomenon taking place throughout the world at that time. Since I had graduated from the Institute of Foreign Languages [now University], I imagine that I would still have been regarded as an average provincial Soviet citizen with limited rights and no national identity, just like any other Azerbaijani.

On that note, my career development would have been related strictly to my behavior within the Communist Party. Thank God, that didn't turn out to be the case.

As I carefully watched and studied the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Azerbaijan's move toward independence, I find it difficult to identify any single issue that seems hard to accept, except for one tiny detail. Even though both Russia and Azerbaijan have already been recognized as sovereign states with their own national attributes, and both have become members of numerous international organizations, Azerbaijan still faces enormous pressure from Russia, as if nothing has changed, as if Moscow still enjoys the privilege of being a power center for its former satellites. That very feeling of being independent but still having to face such outside pressure has been the hardest pill to swallow.

But in general, I can say that I have seen the rays of freedom shine all over this country. Azerbaijanis may now choose their own way to coexist among the community of other nations that have long enjoyed what no money could possibly buy - freedom!

"Rome was not built in a day," as they say. I'm hoping that I will be in a position to tell my grandchildren how difficult and troublesome it was to achieve what we have today, and how strong and committed they must be to preserve this freedom. They must make every effort to strengthen our independence and enjoy every single aspect of it, just as my generation does today, despite all of the hardships we cope with.

Azerbaijan's geopolitical location speaks for itself. In my view, Azerbaijan is very well situated to deal with and overcome any given problem if the nation is, indeed, united. As for long-term challenges over the next ten years, we will need very strong, dedicated leaders to develop state institutions such as the Parliament, pass legislation, strengthen the economy and tightly consolidate the remote regions. Even though Azerbaijan is considered part of Asia, in my view, we belong to Europe. Therefore, Azerbaijan ought to continue its fierce struggle to be more closely integrated into the Western world. It goes without saying that integration into the world community should be backed by strong internal and external forces. For me, the security and prosperity of this nation are the primary areas in which we should concentrate our efforts, if we really want to succeed. God willing, we will.

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

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