Mariya Orlyk

Chairperson of Women's Union of Ukraine

I have long known Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev as a candidate member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Soviet Union, a wise leader of his republic and a talented orator. One could listen to him for hours. I was always amazed by Heydar Aliyev’s ability to present problems scientifically and at the same time in a simple, understandable language.

I first met this extraordinary man in 1979. In response to the days of Azerbaijani literature and art held in the Ukrainian SSR, two planes landed at the Baku airport, carrying about 400 guests. Friends greeted me very kindly, and a rally was held there in connection with the arrival of the Ukrainian delegation.

On the same day, there was a meeting between the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan and the delegation of Ukraine. The meeting was chaired by Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev. He warmly greeted the guests and expressed gratitude for the days of Azerbaijani culture held in Ukraine a year ago. Heydar Aliyev spoke about the achievements of Azerbaijan in the economic, cultural and social spheres.

On the last day of the event, a big friendly concert and a banquet was held to mark the end of such a wonderful festivity.

Until now, I looked with admiration at Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev. He used new words, phrases, examples, and cases, without repeating what he said at the meeting in the Central Committee, and sometimes he joked so that this meeting left an unforgettable impression on everyone.

After 1979, I met Heydar Aliyev several times in Moscow when he worked as Deputy Premier of the Soviet Union. At that time, it was not easy to solve issues in Moscow. Because the centralization of power has reached its limit. The situation in the field of culture was especially difficult. As Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Ukraine, I oversaw this field. My acquaintance with Heydar Alirza oglu helped me a lot in this.

In September 2001, fate gifted me with the happiness of meeting Heydar Alirza oglu again. To discuss actual issues within the framework of GUAM, the first meeting of women’s delegations of this union was held.

The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan received us at his residence. This new meeting with him again made a big impression on me. I was struck by the phenomenal memory of Heydar Aliyev, his inexhaustible oratorical talent, and his awareness of all the changes taking place in the CIS countries.

Heydar Aliyev noted that the GUAM union demonstrates to the whole world how countries and people belonging to different nationalities and religions successfully carry out joint work.

The leader of the Azerbaijani people spoke about the changes taking place in his independent country, its achievements, and shortcomings.

With particular sincerity, he spoke about the conflict with the neighboring state, the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh, the problems of refugees who have been living in tents for almost ten years now.

Yes, he is indeed a courageous leader and a consistent fighter for the just cause of his people.