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Declaration of 2022 as "Year of Shusha" lauded as historic step

5 January 2022 14:15 (UTC+04:00)
Declaration of 2022 as "Year of Shusha" lauded as historic step

By Vafa Ismayilova

The declaration of 2022 as the "Year of Shusha" in the country has been welcomed as a very significant step in the global promotion of the liberated ancient city, the historical capital of Azerbaijan.

President Ilham Aliyev's this decision is reviewed as historic both in Azerbaijan and far beyond the country’s borders.

In an interview with Azertag, Azerbaijani MP Malahat Ibrahimgizi stressed that "such a decision has great political, historical and legal significance".

She recalled that despite the fact that the liberated lands have not been completely cleared of mines and the construction work has not been completed, Azerbaijan held various important events in Shusha last year and they aimed to expose the Armenian lies in the world.

Ibrahimgizi added that Azerbaijan, which is a young state with a 30-year independence history, was not open to the world during the Soviet era.

“For this reason, against the background of insidious plans against our people over the past two hundred years, it was impossible to introduce Karabakh and Shusha to the world as the historical land of Azerbaijan. However, at that time, the Armenian diaspora continuously spread abroad falsified and fabricated anti-Azerbaijani propaganda based on Armenian lies. The Armenian diaspora shamelessly and tirelessly propagated to the world community the fascist ideology based on the enmity against Azerbaijan and Turkey,” she said.

The MP recalled that Karabakh was occupied by Armenians on the eve of the Soviet Union’s collapse and that the Armenian propaganda machine tried to mislead the world describing Karabakh, as well as Shusha, as the “Armenian land”.

“That is why the decision to declare 2022 the ‘Year of Shusha’ can be considered as a necessary need and social order. Everyone will see that Shusha has historically been an integral part of Azerbaijan, not only through military and political means but also through cultural diplomacy. With the events to be held, the Shusha fortress and the city, built 270 years ago, will be known in the world for their culture, history, geography, contribution to human culture, and the Armenian lies and revanchists will be exposed once again,” Ibrahimgizi said.

She stressed that every guest to visit the country as part of events within the framework of the “Year of Shusha” in 2022 will become a supporter and goodwill ambassador of Shusha, Karabakh and Azerbaijan as a whole.

A Ukrainian expert described President Ilham Aliyev’s decision as quite logical and legitimate.

“The 270th anniversary of the city is a truly important event and should be celebrated with dignity. We are talking about Shusha, the cultural capital of Azerbaijan, which has been under occupation for almost 30 years,” expert of Ukraine’s National Institute for Strategic Studies, political scientist Mykola Zamikula, told Azertag.

The Ukrainian political scientist stressed Shusha’s special role in Azerbaijanis’ hearts.

"To be honest, it's hard to find a union or analog of a city of similar importance in other countries - given the specifications: we are not talking about the modern capital, the economic or industrial center of the state, but the city that plays a decisive role in the formation of Azerbaijan's identity. The announcement of 2022 as the 'Year of Shusha' is in line with the historical and cultural significance of this city. At the same time, such a decision is in line with the modern geopolitical processes that are shaping the order of the day in the South Caucasus, creating new opportunities and challenges for Azerbaijan,” he said.

The expert noted that the new regional status quo opens large opportunities for the progress of Shusha city.

In his address to nation on December 31, 2021, President Aliyev declared 2022 as the "Year of Susha". On January 5, he signed a relevant decree.

“In 2022, we will celebrate the 270th anniversary of Shusha. Panahali Khan laid the foundation of Shusha in 1752, and we will celebrate this anniversary with great solemnity in the coming year. Taking into account this glorious history and in order to accelerate the restoration of Shusha, I declare the new year a 'Year of Shusha',” President Aliyev said.

Shusha, which was occupied by Armenian forces on May 8, 1992, was liberated from Armenia's occupation on November 8, 2020. The city, which played a critical role in liberating Karabakh, is located on the road to Khankandi, the region's largest city.

A Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal that Baku and Yerevan signed on November 10, 2020, brought an end to six weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.

The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions and withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centers, and historic Shusha city.

On May 7, 2021 President Aliyev declared the historic Shusha city the country’s cultural capital. An immediate inventory of the damage to the city, its historical and cultural heritage and nature was carried out, and restoration work was started. In order to ensure the efficiency of restoration works, great attention was paid to public administration in Shusha. A special envoy of the Azerbaijani president was appointed in the city.

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