Leonid Kuchma

Former President of Ukraine

Today, I am especially pleased to present my friend, esteemed Heydar Aliyev, with the highest state award of Ukraine – the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise. The order has the following inscription: “Wisdom, honor, glory.” Dear Heydar Aliyev, these words can be attributed to you in their full meaning.

As head of state, you show wisdom in dealing with the political and economic issues of your country’s development and international problems. Thanks to your activities, you have extended the fame of Azerbaijan, which occupies a worthy place in the South Caucasus region, on the European continent, and in the world. I would like to emphasize your great contribution to the strengthening of Ukrainian-Azerbaijani relations.

The fact that the image of Yaroslav the Wise is embodied in the highest award of Ukraine has a great symbolic meaning. This prominent figure of the Kievan Rus state, which is considered the ancestor of Ukraine, promoted the universal principles – to be able to solve the most difficult issues without the use of force, to achieve goals through diplomacy, and to completely obey the interests of society and live with these interests.

The implementation of Yaroslav the Wise’s life purpose is still relevant today. The Order Prince Yaroslav the Wise was awarded to a number of leaders of foreign countries, including the leaders of Spain, Finland, Argentina, Brazil, and China. I am glad that the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan will be among them. This is another proof of our country’s respect and sincere affinity for the President of Azerbaijan and its friendly people.

Communication with Heydar Aliyev also enriches me in many ways. Because his life journey and extensive experience in political and state activities teach me a lot. Sometimes you want to solve this or that problem with a force, but Heydar Aliyev, a wise man, advises not to rush. Although a precise, firm stance is always characteristic of him.

Heydar Aliyev is a person who demonstrated consistency in all matters during this difficult transitional period. Therefore, the leaders of the CIS respect him and take an example from him.

He is respected not only by the leaders of the CIS. Heydar Aliyev is known all over the world.

I want to highlight Heydar Aliyev’s role and place in history.

In my deep conviction, as an outstanding statesman, politician, and a person connected with the people of Azerbaijan with all his being, the revival of your state, the formation of a democratic society, and the process of fundamental economic transformations would be impossible without your dedicated activity.

The results of the elections in your country clearly confirmed that the Azerbaijani people believe in your wisdom and see you as a leader who will confidently lead Azerbaijan to prosperity and peace. Thanks to your efforts, the world community deeply respects your country and rightly considers it a pillar of peace and stability in the region.

I am very glad that Ukraine has found a close and reliable friend in you.

It is admirable that even in the most difficult trials you were able to maintain the unity of the people. Without it, the existence of any state is unthinkable. Mr. Heydar Aliyev, I envy you very much. I mean this very seriously. Because when I was here on a short state visit, I realized that Heydar Aliyev is the leader of the Azerbaijani people, accepted by everyone.

For many years the development of Azerbaijan was associated with your name. Under your immediate leadership, the country is successfully strengthening its state independence and is recognized by the world community.

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Heydar Aliyev, the indispensable leader of Azerbaijan, was a close friend of mine and the people of Ukraine. Our friendship developed and grew stronger thanks to him. Heydar Aliyev was a genius, a wise man. I am sure that the Azerbaijani people will understand the greatness of Heydar Aliyev even more deeply after this.