Gennady Shmal

President of the Union of Oil and Gas Producers

Heydar Aliyev played a huge role in the history of the USSR. He was the First Deputy Premier of the Soviet Union, a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee, in other words, a person who had huge power. I spoke to him several times. At that time, there was the Operational Affairs Commission in our government, which was responsible for our entire economy. If top leadership, like Tikhonov and then Ryzhkov, worked on global economic problems, then this Commission dealt with current urgent affairs. And it was headed by Heydar Aliyev himself.

First of all, he left Russia too early, so to speak. I think Heydar Aliyev could still do a lot for our state, for the country, which he later proved when he worked in Azerbaijan. He was a real professional in all matters, although for most of his life he worked on the KGB issues and other things, not economy.

In everyday life, he was very accessible. You could always come to him if you had any difficult questions. And there were a lot of such questions at that time. Yes, there are people like that right now, but it’s just harder to get through. At that time the country’s leadership was always available. If you came with some question, they will listen to you, help or at least tell you what are the ways to resolve this issue. Unfortunately, today there are few people like that.