President Ilham Aliyev: "The loss of Shusha led to the collapse of the then government."
- 15 January 2021
"The mausoleum of Molla Panah Vagif, built on the initiative of great leader Heydar Aliyev, was inaugurated exactly 39 years ago – on 14 January 1982. I remember that historic day. Because at that time, along with my father, I was standing right here. There is video footage of that historic event. It was very cold and snowy. It was snowing heavily. However, the people gathered at this event, Azerbaijani intellectuals did not feel that cold at all because the magnificent mausoleum of Molla Panah Vagif, the vizier of the Karabakh khan, was being inaugurated. This initiative was put forward by great leader Heydar Aliyev. The construction work was carried out under his leadership and a beautiful, majestic mausoleum was built," said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev during the visit with first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva, to the city of Shusha, capital of Azerbaijani culture which was liberated from occupation on January 14, APA reports.
"It was quite unusual to erect a mausoleum in honor of the khan's vizier at that time, during the Soviet era. Everyone can see it as a natural phenomenon now, but at that time, in the era of socialism, the construction of a mausoleum in honor of the khan's vizier was a truly extraordinary event. It was as a result of Heydar Aliyev's persistence and courage that Azerbaijan was able to achieve this at that time, and this place was not chosen by chance. The grave of Molla Panah Vagif is here. The establishment and opening of this mausoleum was, on the one hand, a sign of respect for the history of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the genius of the Azerbaijani people. On the other hand, the opening of this mausoleum in Shusha once again confirmed that Shusha is an Azerbaijani city.
When the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region was established, the goal of including Shusha in it was quite clear – to steadily and gradually erase the traces of Azerbaijan here, to Armenianize this territory and to make Azerbaijanis a minority in this territory of their own republic. That was the goal. During the time of national leader Heydar Aliyev, in 1969-1982, as a result of his efforts and policy, including the construction of the railway from Yevlakh and Aghdam to Khankandi, the establishment of enterprises in Nagorno-Karabakh and the arrival of specialists from different parts of Azerbaijan, the ethnic composition changed significantly in favor of the Azerbaijani people. In 1982, Azerbaijanis already made up 25 percent of the population of the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region. If Heydar Aliyev had stayed in power in Azerbaijan at that time, Azerbaijanis would have constituted a majority in the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region in the next 10 years and no conflict or separatism would have ever occurred here.
The great leader's foresight, devotion to his native people, love of our literature and culture were manifested in the construction of this mausoleum. I want to say again that khanates were described as anti-national entities in the official Soviet ideology, while khans were presented to the public as enemies. The official ideology of the Soviet Union was that khanates existing in the territory of Azerbaijan allegedly only exploited people. The people of Azerbaijan allegedly waited for these khanates to be abolished and Soviet power to be established instead. Of course, this was nonsense. The Azerbaijani people have lived with the love of freedom and independence for centuries. Unfortunately, the vast majority of our history passed in the colonial format, as we were part of other states. We were forced to do that, it was not our choice.
The great leader did a great deal to keep the national spirit at a high level in Soviet times. The opening of this mausoleum was a historic event. I remember that day very well. I was standing there, slightly apart, while my father and prominent cultural figures were standing here. I remember Azerbaijani and Armenian poets reciting poems. Even Armenian poets recited poems in Azerbaijani. It was a celebration of friendship, a friendly event, and no-one could ever imagine that separatism would break out here in a few years, that Armenia would invade Azerbaijan, that our historical city would be taken away from us, that our historical sites, mosques and this mausoleum would be destroyed, and that they would try to erase the centuries-old heritage of the Azerbaijani people from the Karabakh land. This could not have occurred to anyone. I have said this many times and I want to repeat – if Heydar Aliyev had not left Baku for Moscow in 1982, if he had not been appointed to Moscow, he would never have allowed any separatism to take place here. But when Heydar Aliyev came to power, Shusha was already under occupation, Kalbajar was under occupation, Lachin was under occupation, Dashalti was under occupation, all surrounding areas were under occupation, and a geographical link was established between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
The government of the Popular Front and Musavat is to blame for this. They committed this betrayal and then cowardly went into hiding, fled and sold Shusha. They handed over the impregnable fortress of Shusha to the enemy in order to overthrow the then government of Azerbaijan and come to power. And this is what happened. The loss of Shusha led to the collapse of the then government. The Popular Front took advantage of this and came to power after the loss of Shusha and the surrender of Lachin to the enemy. Everyone remembers this history. It is recent history. The Popular Front-Musavat duo committed treason, betrayal and crime only to come to power. What did they do next? They turned looting into a state policy in Azerbaijan, declared bribery their ideological principle, and left the mark of betrayal and desertion on the history of the Azerbaijani people. The Popular Front-Musavat traitors humiliated and put our people to disgrace in the eyes of the whole world. After all, who was Armenia to defeat us? Who were they? The anti-national Popular Front-Musavat elements gave Shusha to the enemy, then fled and went into hiding," the head of the state noted.