Azerbaijan attaches a great importance to regional cooperation. Official Baku is expanding political, military, trade and economic cooperation with Russia, Georgia, Turkey, Iran and Kazakhstan, in other words maintaining good-neighbor relations with everyone, except for the occupant-country Armenia. A bright example of successful interaction is the trilateral formats of cooperation Azerbaijan-Russia-Iran, Azerbaijan-Turkey-Russia, Azerbaijan-Turkey-Georgia.
The strengthening and development of cooperation were in the spotlight during the official visit of first Vice President of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva to Russia. At the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and chairman of the Federation Council of Federal Assembly of Russia Valentina Matviyenko, and speaking at the 10th Azerbaijan-Russia interregional forum, the first Vice President of Azerbaijan stressed the importance of developing bilateral cooperation in political, trade and economic, tourism, social, humanitarian, cultural and many other spheres.
"Our humanitarian cooperation has intensified dramatically over the past years. I would like to especially stress cooperation in the sphere of education. The branches of the Moscow State University named after M.V.Lomonosov, the first Moscow State University after I.M.Sechenov are functioning successfully in Baku. The implementation of the joint program of dual Master's Diploma of the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy and MGIMO has been launched this year. Studies in 338 schools of our country are carried in the Russian language. The pilot project of the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan 'Intensive teaching of the Russian language' is under implementation in 50 schools. 15 state universities have Russian-language divisions. More than 11,000 students from Azerbaijan study in Russia," Mehriban Aliyeva said.
The First Vice President's visit to the grave of an Unknown soldier near the Kremlin walls in Alexandrovski garden is among the main aspects of the visit. Mehriban Aliyeva laid a wreath to the Eternal flame and then the state anthem of Azerbaijan was sounded. It is all very symbolic and is a tribute of respect to common history. By doing so, Azerbaijan makes it clear that it did not forget the history and fight against fascists shoulder to shoulder with Russia within the Soviet Union.
Our country always showed sensitivity and admiration for the participants of the Great Patriotic War and their family members. May 9 - Victory Day is a nonworking day in Azerbaijan. Every year on this day the families of those who died at war and the heroes are provided with aid and presents. On May 9, 2019, Azerbaijan marked the 74th anniversary of victory over fascism. In connection with the Day of Victory, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed an order to issue one-time material assistance to the participants of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 in the amount of AZN 1,000, while their family members, as well as those awarded for self-sacrificied labor in rear received AZN 500. The order covered 9,300 people, including 400 war participants. AZN 5,000,000 was allocated from the state budget to this end.
It is possible to say that the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 affected almost every Azerbaijani family, and the Baku oil played an important role in ensuring victory over fascism. Every fifth citizen of Azerbaijan was on the front. In 1941, of 3,400,000 citizens of Azerbaijan, 681,000 people went to the front (including more than 10,000 women), 250,000 people died. Over 400,000 soldiers and officers were awarded with war orders and medals, 14 became the cavaliers of the order of 'Fame', 123 the Heroes of the Soviet Union. In the years of war, Azerbaijan was the main exporter of oil and oil products. Azerbaijan accounted for more than 70% of oil and oil products, produced in the USSR at that time. Baku manufactured 130 types of armament and ammunition.
In this connection, I would like to list some facts, confirming the self-sacrifice of Azerbaijani oilmen and people, participating in the war against fascism to some extent. Advancement of enemy's military units in late August of 1942 towards the North Caucasus and the occupation by fascists of the oil regions of Grozny increased the significance of the Baku oil during war. Azerbaijan ensured 90% of lubricant materials and 80% of entire gasoline in the Second World War and that gasoline was supplied all along the front line - from the Baltic to the Black Sea. By the instruction of Hitler, who was well aware of the decisive role of Baku oil, the German army was to invade Baku on September 25, 1942. When unleashing the offensive to the Caucasus, Hitler told field marshall Manstein: "We must invade Baku by all means, otherwise, we will lose the war."
Hitler ordered the launch of a large-scale offensive in the direction of Grozny-Makhachkala-Baku with the use of heavy artillery and landing operation. In late August 1942, the Nazis landed on the banks of the Terek River in the North Caucasus, but their advancement was thwarted. Nevertheless, by a special resolution of the USSR State Committee for Defense of September 16, 1942, martial law was declared in Azerbaijan on September 24, 1942. On September 26, 1942, an article was published in the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper that described the fierce battles for oil Baku. "Fierce battles have been going in the south of our country for three months. Our country, and the whole world are closely following the events in the North Caucasus and in Stalingrad. The fate of the Fatherland, the freedom and life of millions of Soviet people are decided in these battles! This is comparable to the defense of Moscow in the fall of 1942."
The soldiers of Azerbaijan stood on the defense of Russia. On December 8, 1941, in the battles for the village of Pustinka in the Novgorod Region, a detachment of 20 soldiers under the command of Israfil Mammadov opposed the enemy troops of 400 for 9-10 hours, strengthening our positions. In this battle, Israfil Mammadov destroyed more than 70 fascists and on December 11 he was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for his heroism. Sent in November 1941 to defend Moscow, the Baku anti-aircraft artillery regiment destroyed more than half of the 40 enemy aircraft, and the rest returned home. More than 1,000 Azerbaijanis took part in the battles for Moscow, having received the medal "For the Defense of Moscow" for courage and bravery. Among them are tank regiment commander Hazi Aslanov, Colonel Yagub Guliyev, Major Mukhtar Suleymanov, Captain Israfil Ismayilov, Major Ahad Shamsizade, Lieutenant Museib Allahverdiyev, Lieutenant Mammadrasul Pashayev, Junior Lieutenant Parviz Tagizade, sergeant Jamal Sadraddinov, gunner Idris Valiyev, soldier Rahim Karimov, sniper Ziba Ganiyeva, nurse Aliya Rustambekova and many others.
As the year 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War, Azerbaijan is planning large-scale events on this occasion. And it is no by accident. Azerbaijan sacrificed his sons and daughters and gave its oil and oil products for the sake of victory and today it is cherishing the memory of the great victory. Our country has been suffering from occupation for many years. The ancient Azerbaijani land - Nagorno Karabakh is held under Armenian occupation. In the years of the Great Patriotic War, Soviet people shared their bread, grief and joy. By helping with human resorces and natural wealth, Azerbaijan made the victory closer. But Armenians seem to have a bad memory, since they erected a monument to Nazi associate Garegin Nzhde right in the center of Yerevan. The Armenian Prime Minister does not hesitate to call Nzhde a hero of the Great Patriotic War. And in Krasnodar, there is a memorial board to Nzhde. We would like very much to believe that at least in anticipation of the Great Patriotic War, Russia will be able to differentiate between an enemy and a friend. And getting ties closer between Azerbaijan and Russia will undoubtedly cause envy and outrage among Armenians.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the official visit of the first Vice President of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva to Russia proved again that the Azerbaijani side, which gives preference to regional cooperation, is interested in a comprehensive development of mutual relations with Russia.