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National Salvation Day – June 15, 2023

National Salvation Day takes place on June 15 to commemorate the return of the national leader, Heydar Aliyev, to Baku, Azerbaijan, in 1993. The post-independence period in Azerbaijan was marred by chaos with multiple parties angling for power and the nation on the brink of a civil war. During these tough times, the people of Azerbaijan clamored for Aliyev to come from Nakhchivan to Baku. With Aliyev overseeing the new country, the civil war was prevented in a short time and he was soon made the President of Azerbaijan.

History of National Salvation Day

Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev was born on May 10, 1923, in the city of Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan He graduated from the U.S.S.R. State Security Committee`s (K.G.B.) Senior Staff Training School in Leningrad, present-day St. Petersburg, in 1950, after which he was appointed Department Head at the State Security Committee of Azerbaijan S.S.R. He rose quickly through the K.G.B. ranks, becoming a Deputy Chairman of the Azerbaijani K.G.B. in 1964, Chairman in 1967, and eventually reached the rank of Major General.

Aliyev ran an anti-corruption campaign as the Azerbaijani K.G.B. Head, following which he became the country’s undisputed leader. He was elected First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party at its Plenary Session in 1969. Under his leadership, Soviet Azerbaijan experienced increased economic, social and cultural growth. Aliyev became among the most successful republican leaders, raising the profile of the underprivileged republic and constantly promoting Azerbaijanis to senior posts.

In 1987, he was dismissed from his position as First Deputy Premier by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on the grounds of health issues. Later, Aliyev reinvented himself as a moderate nationalist and was elected the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan S.S.R. in October 1990. Under the pressure and criticism from groups connected to his rival, the leader of Soviet Azerbaijan, Ayaz Mutallibov, Aliyev returned to Nakhchivan. However, a crisis in the government and a potential civil war in 1993 led to the people of Azerbaijan demanding Aliyev’s return to power. On June 15, 1993, Heydar Aliyev was elected to be the chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Azerbaijan, with the day eventually becoming known as the Day of National Salvation. Later in the year, he was elected as President.

National Salvation Day timeline

1923
Heydar Aliyev is Born

Aliyev is born in Nakhchivan on May 10.

1993
Aliyev Returns to Baku

Aliyev goes to Baku after chaos in Azerbaijan leads to people demanding his return.

1998
The First National Salvation Day

National Salvation Day is celebrated for the first time, as per the June 27, 1997 dated decree of the National Assembly of Azerbaijan.

2003
Aliyev Passes Away

Aliyev steps down from the presidency in October and dies at the Cleveland Clinic in the U.S., receiving a large state funeral.

National Salvation Day FAQs

What is the Heydar Aliyev Center made of?

Zaha Hadid won a competition to design the building in 2007. The shell is made of a steel space frame and glass-fiber-reinforced concrete panels which conceals the vertical supports within the walls.

Is Azerbaijan a democracy?

No, Azerbaijan’s political system can be called authoritarian as elections there are not free and fair, political opponents are repressed, civil rights are limited, and human rights abuses and corruption run rampant. The power is also concentrated in the hands of President Ilham Aliyev and members of his extended family.

What is the dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia?

The conflict between the two countries is an ethnic and territorial one over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area is mostly inhabited by ethnic Armenians, with the seven surrounding districts being inhabited mostly by Azerbaijanis until their evacuation in the First Nagorno-Karabakh War.

How to Observe National Salvation Day

  1. Visit Azerbaijan

    Visit Azerbaijan to see the wonders it has to offer and marvel at the beautiful sights. Travel to its capital Baku, famed for its medieval walled Inner City, the palace of Shaki Khans, the fortress Galarsan-Gorarsan, and much more!

  2. Explore Azerbaijani heritage and culture

    If you can’t visit, then bring Azerbaijan to you! Celebrate the day by immersing yourself in the rich culture Azerbaijan has to offer: cooking traditional foods and learning more about the country all from the comforts of your home.

  3. Learn more about Aliyev

    Use this as an opportunity to learn more about the man himself. Aliyev was an important Soviet leader whose actions continue to affect the world we live in today.

5 Facts About Azerbaijan That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. “The Land of Fire”

    Azerbaijan is often called “The Land of Fire” as many of the oldest hearths on Earth are found in the region.

  2. It’s progressive

    In 1918, Azerbaijan became the first Muslim nation to grant women universal suffrage and is still considered one of the most gender-equal Muslim nations in the world.

  3. It has a lot of volcanoes

    Azerbaijan has around 350 mud volcanoes which is the highest amount any one country has in the world.

  4. It has a lot of oil

    Azerbaijan has plenty of oil reserves and it supplied more than half of the world’s oil in 1901.

  5. Heydar Aliyev Center is an architectural wonder

    This London Design Museum’s Design of the Year 2014 recipient is famous for its unique curves and number of exhibitions and museums.

Why National Salvation Day is Important

  1. Anti-corruption

    Aliyev helped bring order to the nation during its post-independence period and ran a successful anti-corruption campaign. Under his leadership, Soviet Azerbaijan experienced increased economic, social, and cultural growth.

  2. Moving away from repressed regime

    Aliyev developed a cult-like following in the nation with his supporters crediting him with restoring stability to Azerbaijan and turning it into a major international energy producer. Today, we celebrate the achievements of his regime.

  3. Fraudulent elections should not be a powerful precedent

    Aliyev was also said to have run the country like a police state where elections were rigged and dissent was repressed. Shortly before his death, his son, Ilhan Aliyev, was elected to the presidency in a controversial election that has been called fraudulent by many. It is important to remember why and how he continues to lead Azerbaijan even today, among other things, to ensure fraud does not continue to occur in future elections.

National Salvation Day dates

YearDateDay
2023June 15Thursday
2024June 15Saturday
2025June 15Sunday
2026June 15Monday
2027June 15Tuesday

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