Elmira Akhundova at the launch of her biography of Heydar Aliyev at the Houses of Parliament on 31 October When I was first tasked with editing the series, I remember thinking to myself what a strong woman she must be to take on a project of such magnitude. Her impressive resume includes over 20 books and hundreds of articles and features published in both local and foreign press. Even prior to this, in the Soviet period, he achieved more success than any other Azerbaijani politician, having risen through the KGB ranks all the way to the Soviet Politburo. Along with being an objective biography of a prominent historical figure, it is also a narrative about the whole of the 20th century Sewing a blanket The format of her biography itself is unprecedented, as Elmira khanim admits during our interview: to a Western reader, a three-volume biography as compared to a regular one-volume might seem like a very strange format. But along with being an objective biography of a prominent historical figure, it is also a narrative about the whole of the 20th century, and that required a more substantial size.
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Elmira Akhundova at the launch of her biography of Heydar Aliyev at the Houses of Parliament on 31 October When I was first tasked with editing the series, I remember thinking to myself what a strong woman she must be to take on a project of such magnitude. Her impressive resume includes over 20 books and hundreds of articles and features published in both local and foreign press. Even prior to this, in the Soviet period, he achieved more success than any other Azerbaijani politician, having risen through the KGB ranks all the way to the Soviet Politburo.
Along with being an objective biography of a prominent historical figure, it is also a narrative about the whole of the 20th century Sewing a blanket The format of her biography itself is unprecedented, as Elmira khanim admits during our interview: to a Western reader, a three-volume biography as compared to a regular one-volume might seem like a very strange format. But along with being an objective biography of a prominent historical figure, it is also a narrative about the whole of the 20th century, and that required a more substantial size.
During an official visit to Iran with President Heydar Aliyev, Prominent Azerbaijani literary figures such as Elchin, Anar and Chingiz Abdullayev, admired my ability to unite all those personalities by topics and to reincarnate all those interviews into one work that reads very organically. Looking back, she admits that this was the hardest part of creating this biography. In moments of desperation and incredible tiredness, she recalls wondering how on earth to weave a narrative from all the material.
The books came to life gradually. The original Russian edition turned into six volumes, of which two volumes were launched every two years from , culminating in with the presentation of all six volumes. When in the Azerbaijani translation came out, Elmira khanim had already decided it was time to create, as she says, a version for export. She recalls: In my acceptance speech while receiving a state award, I made our president a promise to dedicate several years to creating a special, shorter English edition, so it could become a fact of cultural life in other countries as well.
Photo: courtesy of Elmira Akhundova The books are also currently being translated into Hungarian and there are talks about a Ukrainian version as well.
Five Years in the Kremlin — The second volume is devoted to his time at the very top of Soviet government, examining his relations with Soviet leaders Andropov, Chernenko and Gorbachev, and the internal dynamics of the politburo. Return — The third and final part addresses his rise to power in the newly independent Azerbaijan and the policies and actions, such as concluding a lasting truce with Armenia and implementing a successful oil strategy, that established stability and development in the country.
With Mstislav Rostropovich, one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. She deliberately spent longer with some interviewees as she felt it might be the last chance to record their stories, given that most of them were well over Sadly, in the 11 years it took to produce the series, more than half passed away.
Ramiz Mehdiyev then passed on to me the words of the president, who said that I had started my mission successfully and need to keep moving forward. Thinking about it now, I worked at full capacity, like never before.
It was like he was leading me from above. I was so inspired, writing like I was possessed, she says. Even as her husband suffered ill health, she would find the time, despite physical and emotional exhaustion, to produce chapter after chapter, each time amazing her editor, the late Vladimir Morozkov, whose simple human support helped her to persist by making her work feel, as she says, needed, important and interesting.
With the renowned Kazakh poet and public figure, Olzhas Suleimenov. Photo: courtesy of Elmira Akhundova From journalism to politics Her decision to become an MP herself was also to some extent inspired by the former president.
Regarding his influence, she says: I learned a lot from him, but some things you could only dream to learn — his incredible patience for example, or his memory Those qualities are simply unreachable for us.
Apart from his legendary phenomenal memory, Heydar Aliyev also delivered very powerful speeches. Elmira khanim includes some of his most effective speeches in the books, which is invaluable in itself, because almost all of them were written and edited by Heydar Aliyev himself, who in drafting them sometimes omitted sleep altogether.
His speeches are an incredible source of wisdom, unique methods of public administration and tolerance. There were two things he did with his speeches and presentations: With his very simple, clear and articulate Azerbaijani, he taught the Russian-speaking Azerbaijanis to speak in proper Azerbaijani.
And second, he taught the world very competently and laconically the essence of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. I remember, when he was abroad he would take a ruler, go to the map and show where Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven regions were, like a teacher to students.
He was explaining the truth about Karabakh over and over again, with every new audience he had to address — to leave at least something in their heads about this subject. And indeed, those truths were heard and remembered by the international community. Having entered politics herself, she believes that her journalistic past, historical knowledge and research skills are more useful now than ever before.
Often criticized for acting too forthrightly a journalistic trait of hers , like Aliyev, Elmira khanim is nevertheless very outspoken when it comes to imperfections in the country: Heydar Aliyevich always told his team that we need to talk about the imperfections more than we do about the successes. Apart from basic concepts such as objectivity, truth and constant self-improvement, she believes that Azerbaijani journalists first and foremost need to be patriotic and love their country: Even if you criticize, you need to do it with love for your country, taking care of its future.
As our conversation drifts further into contemporary social issues, I cannot miss the opportunity to ask this successful Azerbaijani woman for her take on the status of women in the country.
Persistence and faith in yourself, despite the unfortunate fact that in order for a woman to get to the same position as a man, she needs to work ten times as hard. We have to be more talented, more knowledgeable, more professional, so that we are noticed and promoted. Help your wives, your female friends to move forward, to succeed in careers. Because next to every successful woman, there should be a successful man supporting her.
My husband has been by my side in all my aspirations. It is so important. Once asked by the famous Azerbaijani writer Anar how many more years she would write about Heydar Aliyev, Elmira khanim replied: Probably for the rest of my life.
The former president was indeed an incredible individual, as Roy Medvedev put it: a person in four dimensions. His personality was so deep, his legacy so vast that finishing his portrait would be an almost unattainable task as there will always be new details to add.
Kəramət Böyükçöl: "Heydər Əliyev ayağını hara basıbsa, torpaq orada çiçək açıb".
Early life[ edit ] Gafarova was born on March 1, in Baku , Azerbaijan. In , she completed her secondary education and was admitted to Azerbaijan State University in In , she graduated from the university with a degree in Philology and continued with her post graduate studies until when she obtained her PhD in Philology. While at university, Gafarova was the deputy of the Komsomol committee of the university. In , she was admitted to Azerbaijan Communist Party. In , she was appointed the chairwoman of the Organization Committee Center of Azerbaijani Komsomol and in through , she served as the first secretary of the organization. While in foreign service, she participated in UN General Assembly sessions in October on issues of racism and discrimination.
Heydar Aliyev Through the Eyes of Elmira Akhundova
Early life[ edit ] According to his website, he was born in Nakhchivan City. On 12 October , their daughter Sevil was born. On 24 December , their son Ilham was born. Zarifa Aliyeva died of cancer in Aliyev rose quickly through the KGB ranks, becoming a deputy chairman of the Azerbaijani KGB in , its chairman in , and eventually reaching the rank of major general. In , he visited Iran: Mashhad twice and Kerbala once. Aliyev thus attained the highest position ever reached by an Azerbaijani in the Soviet Union.