Independence epos of Azerbaijan - in footsteps of historical victories
The Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan which was founded in 1918 was a beacon of hope for the Muslim world, as it was the first to introduce democratic principles and practices.
Failures in the front in WWI resulted in tumults and civil war in Czar Russia led to the collapse of the Empire. In succession of this event, the Azerbaijani delegation led by Mahammad Amin Rasulzade declared the independence of Azerbaijan in Tbilisi on May 28, 1918, and they named the country as the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (ADR).
However, the civil war in the Empire affected the newly created republic. ADR was filled with armed gangs formed by the soldiers returning from the front, and the country was divided by political factions. Baku, the only industrial city of then-Azerbaijan, was under the occupation of the Bolsheviks, and the south of Azerbaijan was under the occupation of the White Movement.
However, non of these difficulties deterred the government and they commenced to work. First, they liberated Baku with the help of Turkish Army and made it the capital city in September 1918. Then they de-occupied the South of Azerbaijan from whites in August 1919. Later, collaborating with both Communists and Whites, Armenians in Karabakh revolted in March-April 1920, and ADR was forced to send most of the newly created army made up of 30,000 servicemen to Garabagh. It would weaken Azerbaijan’s resistance against the danger coming from the North. Besides, following the pace of Armenians, local Azerbaijani Bolsheviks collaborated with Bolsheviks and circulated anti-ADR propaganda. Since most of the officers in the ADR's army were Turkish, the creation of the Turkiye Republic headed by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk which also would stand with the Bolsheviks was the last straw in the struggle of life for ADR. So when Soviet Russia attacked ADR in April 1920, Azerbaijan could not fight because the Army was in Garabagh fighting with Armenian rebels and the half of remaining servicemen together with Turkish officers supported Bolsheviks. Against the backdrop of these events, the Russian Bolsheviks invaded Baku in seven hours.
Despite ADR lived for two years, it was managed to do reforms that paved the way for a bright future not only for Azerbaijanis but also for other Muslim nations suffering the burden of backwardness. First up, ADR was one of the first countries in the world that granted universal suffrage to its citizens. It should be recalled that ADR also went ahead of even European countries in turn of granting universal suffrage. From its inception, ADR started fighting the illiteracy that was widespread at that time, especially in the East. It established public schools, promoted literacy, and encouraged parents to send their children to schools. In education policy, ADR paid special attention to the education of females. In addition, it opened the first Western-like University in the East which is called the Azerbaijan State University.
However, the most important heritage of ADR was the will of independence that Soviet Russia could not suffocate over 70 years. As a result, in 1991, Azerbaijan re-gained its independence for the second time. We should note that the political and economic circumstances in the first days of the second republic looked like the previous one - Armenia attacked Azerbaijan to invade Garabagh, factions were fighting with each other in the country, and the country was at the edge of the abyss.
During that tumultuous days, Haydar Aliyev heard the cries of the nation and came to the rescue. In a short time, he signed a ceasefire with Armenia to stop the war. Following the ceasefire, he strangulated the fights between factions, and at last, stability came to the country. He signed contracts with big oil companies, and as a result, the GDP of Azerbaijan increased dramatically in a short period of time. Unfortunately, Heydar Aliyev died in the 12th year of Azerbaijan’s independence. However, his political heritage was continued by his son, Ilham Aliyev. During Ilham Aliyev’s government, the strength and power of Azerbaijan increased further. Today Azerbaijan is considered as an economic hub in the South Caucasus region.
The lands of Azerbaijan, which were under Armenian occupation for 30 years, overshadowed the independence of the country. The economy was developing only unilaterally. Thanks to the efforts and indomitable will of the victorious Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev and our glorious army, independent Azerbaijan finally said its word in the 44-day war. The freedom of the occupied lands of the motherland removed the dark shadow over the country's independence. Today, Azerbaijan is laying the foundation stone of a new life in the liberated lands of Karabakh. President Ilham Aliyev's recent visits to Karabakh and construction works there are a proof of all this. Today, Azerbaijan really breathes freely and comfortably as a completely independent state. Azerbaijan is exhibiting a clear example of independence to the whole world.
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