Founders of the Azerbaijan Republic of 1918-1920 | Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan 2020

Founders of the Azerbaijan Republic of 1918-1920 | Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan 2020


- Yadigar bey, 102 years have passed since the establishment of the Republic. In your opinion, can the current Republic of Azerbaijan be considered a successor of the People's Republic not only in legal terms, but in all respects - in terms of ideological, traditional, and political goals set at that time?

- When the Republic was declared, it was intended that its form of government would be determined by the Founders’ Assembly elected through general elections. Until then, the National Council and the government formed by it would run the country temporarily. Therefore, the establishment of a parliament was not envisaged because the establishment of the parliament was also under the authority of the Founders’ Assembly. Unfortunately, due to difficult internal and external conditions, it was not possible to convene the Founders’ Assembly. Therefore, in fact, the form of government of the Republic was not fully formed. But this approach itself is the main difference between the People's Republic and the current Republic. At that time, it was envisaged that the form of government of the Republic would be formed by the will of the people, but in modern times, the will of the people was not taken into account. Although referendums and elections are held, it cannot be said that any of them reflects the will of the people.

In other words, there is no similarity except that they were founded mainly in the same area and both were called republics. But history teaches that not every republic is a democracy, and not every non-republic is a despotism. The issue of democracy is the main difference between our two republics, which emerged at the beginning and end of the twentieth century.

- What are the main ideological differences between the then People's Republic and the current Republic?

- The People's Republic envisaged that the will of the people was taken as a basis and the owner of the country and the state was the Azerbaijani people. Every citizen, regardless of religion, language, or gender, had a right over the Republic. You know, then a force majeure situation arose and the parliament had to be formed in a hurry. There was no time for elections, and the elections were intended to be held directly for the Founders’ Assembly. Parliament was organized by co-optation, sending representatives. The right to send a representative to the parliament was given in strict proportion to the number of peoples living in Azerbaijan. Musavat, which had two-thirds of the seats in the National Council, i.e. 30 seats, was content with those seats, did not take additional seats when the parliament was formed, and seats for Azerbaijanis were distributed among other political parties. During the year and a half from the establishment to the collapse of the Republic, parliament became the main source of power.

In the current Republic, in fact, the line has been taken to keep the people as far away from the political process as possible. Formed governing bodies never reflect the will of the people, only the will of the head of the state. From this point of view, the current Republic is closer to communist Azerbaijan than to the People's Republic. Until recently, this resemblance was even more pronounced. The Presidential Administration functioned as the Central Committee, while the government acted as a secondary body. In recent months, after the change of the permanent head of the PA, the authority's reputation has been declining, but this may be temporary. As for the parliament, its role in governing the state is purely decorative.

In my opinion, the main ideological difference is this: Public figures of the People's Republic tried to express the will of the Azerbaijani people as much as possible, even when they did not have the opportunity to hold elections. In the present case, the government has been usurped from the Azerbaijani people.

- One of the goals set at that time was to liberate Azerbaijan as well as Azerbaijani society. It was to build a democratic state based on the rule of law, in which all rights were recognized. Even at the beginning of the last century, when freedoms and rights were not so important. But we were able to restore the Republic at a time when rights and freedoms were the main focus. have we been able to build a free society during this period and 28 years after the restoration of independence? Have we been able to get freedom? Do we have a state that respects rights and freedoms?

- Sometimes there are misconceptions and assessments about the People’s Republic. This is sometimes due to the prejudices arising from the political position of those who express that opinion, and sometimes due to the ignorance of the conditions of the time. People who are not biased and objectively assess the current conditions of the time should be proud of the many achievements of the People’s Republic. After all, the issue is not only that the empire collapsed and we gained independence. The main issue is how to use that independence, how to build a state. We could also establish a despotic regime. It was a phenomenal achievement to build a state that valued rights and freedoms in the geography to which we belong, as well as at that time.

The modern republic, founded after the collapse of the Soviet empire, has little to be proud of. The issue of rights and freedoms is the most embarrassing aspect of this state. Although we live in the 21st century, it is a great shame for both our state and our people that people are punished for their political views, many rights (such as property) of people who do not have political affiliation are violated, torture is used, people cannot choose their own governing bodies, that the independent press is destroyed, etc.

- Looking at the history of that time, we see that the founders of our People’s Republic were trying to pursue an independent policy, insisting on negotiations with foreign countries in the interests of the state. Do you think that the current Republic can pursue an independent policy?

- The founders of the People’s Republic had one goal: to ensure the interests of the state and the people. None of them wanted to strengthen their personal power or to act in the interests of that government. I said above that when independence was declared, 30 of the 44 seats in the National Council belonged to the Musavat Party. Based on this majority, it would be possible to create a dictatorship of one person or one party. However, by the decision adopted by that National Council, a 120-member parliament was established, where Musavat's mandate was still 30, i.e. 25%. The party voluntarily renounced its overwhelming majority because the interests of the people demanded it.

The same cannot be said about the current Republic. Because for the rulers of this Republic, the only supreme issue - the issue that is far ahead of other issues is the interests of the government. In this case, it is impossible to talk about an independent foreign policy. Because sometimes the interests of the state are in conflict with the interests of the government, and sometimes you ensure the interests of the government by sacrificing the interests of the state to forces that may threaten the government.

- If the People’s Republic existed then, what would Azerbaijan be like in the modern world, taking into account their goals and ideas? In other words, if we build some empathy, which country can we see today as the state that the founders of the People’s Republic wanted to see?

- As I said, the form of government in Azerbaijan would be determined by the Founders’ Assembly. But based on the worldview of the founders of the Republic, especially Rasulzadeh, we can say that they would like to see Azerbaijan as a parliamentary republic like Germany, Italy, Finland.

- What is missing to have Azerbaijan that the founders of the People’s Republic wanted to see? What should be done so that we can consider today's Azerbaijan in all respects as the successor of the People’s Republic?

- First of all, power must be returned to the people. The only source of power in Azerbaijan should be the people. The multiparty system must develop. Those in power must be elected to the maximum extent possible. Furthermore, rights and freedoms must be guaranteed that will never be restricted by the will of any majority. Azerbaijan must be a part of the civilized world and follow the path of European integration.

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