Lyudmila Shvetsova

Former Deputy Mayor of Moscow

We are very pleased that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to award the brilliant son of the Azerbaijani people with the highest order of Russia. We know Heydar Aliyev very well, who held high positions in the Soviet Union. We know him as an invincible person who does not get discouraged even in the most difficult moments of his life. I am happy that I personally met Heydar Aliyev. He is a man of very high intelligence, amazingly wise and has never been petty. Serving the Motherland and the people is a noble act for him, and he always subordinated all his desires and intentions, activity and will to this act. We love Heydar Aliyev very much in Moscow. We have done a lot together to support the Russian-speaking population of Azerbaijan. We know how carefully Heydar Aliyev treats the Russian cultural figures touring in Baku.

Heydar Aliyev, as an outstanding statesman, bright and capable in all respects, has a well-deserved reputation far beyond the borders of his native land. As a real national leader, mentally and spiritually strong, restrained and wise like a real man, you have always been united with your people, overcoming hardships together with them in difficult and stressful times. Most importantly, you have learned to sensitively hear the soul of the Azerbaijani people, their innermost thoughts and wishes.

People in Azerbaijan have immense confidence in their President, they understand what you are going through by taking on the heavy responsibility for the destiny of the republic in the most difficult years. Millions of your compatriots listen with deep respect to your words coming from the depths of your heart. They hope that stability, peace and progress will be established on Azerbaijani soil thanks to your activities.

I am confident that your incomparable experience and high reputation will continue to serve the strengthening and security of the Republic of Azerbaijan, ensuring its rightful place in the world community.

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I have known this outstanding son of the Azerbaijani people for a long time. He rightfully belongs not only to Azerbaijan, but to all mankind. I knew Heydar Aliyev since the days of the Soviet Union. We met many times in Baku, we had personal, friendly and unforgettable conversations.

I remember the time when I came to Baku for the congress of the Azerbaijan Komsomol. At that time, Heydar Aliyev was the first secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU of Azerbaijan. We talked a lot with him on almost all topics: the problems of youth, the problems of the state as a whole, the international reputation of the USSR and other issues. He was an extremely interesting conversationalist. Although I often met with him, I still do not remember he did anything in a formal manner. When the interview aroused interest in him and he saw that the conversation was meaningful and useful, to clarify everything to the smallest detail he extended the conversation as far as he wanted.

He is etched in my memory as an outstanding and wise politician, sensitive, deep-witted, and true to his actions, principles, and his family. I remember how caring and polite he was with his late wife Zarifa.

I discovered Heydar Aliyev as a sincere, deeply sensitive, great statesman on one particular occasion. I, as a representative of the Komsomol, and Heydar Aliyev, as the first person, were instructed to establish order in one of the orphanages. I remember how Heydar Aliyev treated the problems of orphans with heartache, sensitivity, and care and wanted to help them.

I want to emphasize that Heydar Aliyev was a man of destiny. If your country was led by someone else with a different intellectual potential, who had a different opinion about changes and at the same time about preserving what has been established and created over the years, it is not known how the fate of Azerbaijan would have been. As a political leader, his wisdom and perfection created miracles. I wish prosperity for Azerbaijan. The successes of Azerbaijan, the prosperous life of its people will be the best monument to this great personality.