Birthday: May 10, 1923
Died At Age: 80
Sun Sign: Taurus
Also Known As: Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev, Gaydar Aliev
Born in: Nakhchivan City.
Famous as: Former President of Azerbaijan
Spouse/Ex-: Zarifa Aliyeva
Died on: December 12, 2003
place of death: Cleveland, United States
awards: Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (1997)
Order of St. Andrew (2003)
Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev, also known as Gaydar Aliev, was the third President of Azerbaijan who served from October 1993 to October 2003. As the president of his country he was indeed a very powerful politician, but his influence on Azerbaijani politics had begun years ago. As a young man he had joined the Azerbaijan SSR People's Commissariat for State Security (NKGB) and quickly rose to the rank of Major-General. Within a few years of his entry into the political world he proved himself to be a very intelligent, hardworking and shrewd politician, eventually becoming the chairman of the agency. His political career went from strength to strength and his selection as the first secretary of the Communist party of Soviet Azerbaijan proved to be the catalyst that ultimately culminated in his becoming the undisputed leader of Azerbaijan. Even though initially he implemented reforms to curb corruption and gained the trust of his citizens, over a period of time he became notorious for his repressive and autocratic rule. He came to power at a time when Azerbaijan was in the throes of political and economic crises, and initially he was able to bring about some economic development. However, the rising rate of corruption and violence made him lose favor with the Azerbaijanis.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born on 10 May 1923 in Nakhchyvan City of Azerbaijan. His father was a railway worker.
He received his primary education from Nakhchivan Pedagogical School. He then attended the Azerbaijan Industrial Institute (now the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy) from 1939 to 1941, studying architecture.
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From 1941 he headed the department at the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs of the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Nakhchyvan. He joined the Azerbaijan SSR People's Commissariat for State Security (NKGB) in 1944.
The NKGB came to be known as Committee for State Security or the KGB in 1954 due to certain changes in government policies. Working there for many years he steadily rose through the positions to become a deputy chairman of Azerbaijani KGB in 1964, and its chairman in 1967.
In July 1969, at the Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, amidst a Soviet anti-corruption campaign, he was elected as the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan by Leonid Brezhnev.
He tried his best to bring down the level of corruption by sentencing a number of people accused of corruption to prison terms. In 1975 five people were sentenced to death for gross corruption. His policies were moderately successful in controlling corruption.
Under his leadership Soviet Azerbaijan also registered a considerable economic growth. But at the same time he also faced the public’s ire for his extravagant spending on gift-giving to other politicians in order to remain in their good books.
In December 1982, he became a member of Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Soviet Union, and was appointed to the post of the First Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the USSR, responsible for transportation and social services. Thus he became one of the leaders of the USSR.
He resigned from this post in October 1987 protesting against the allegations of corruption made against him by Mikhail Gorbachev. He returned to Azerbaijan in 1990 and was elected as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan the same year.
From 1991 to 1993 he held the post of Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchyvan, and Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Azerbaijan. He was elected Chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party in Nakhchyvan in 1992.
In June 1993, the incumbent president Abulfaz Elchibey went into internal exile and Aliyev stepped in as acting president. In October the same year, a special presidential election was held in which he was elected the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Five years later, in October 1998, he was re-elected President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
He initially gave his consent to be nominated as a candidate for October 2003 presidential elections, though he later stepped down from the election due to his ill health.
Awards & Achievements
In 1997, he was honored with Ukraine's highest award, the Yaroslav Mudry Order "for outstanding contribution to the development of cooperation between Ukraine and the Republic of Azerbaijan and strengthening friendship between the Ukrainian and Azeri people"
The Order of St. Andrew, the highest order of chivalry of the Russian Empire, was bestowed upon him "for his great personal contribution to strengthening friendship and cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan" in 2003.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Zarifa Aliyeva in 1948. His wife was a renowned ophthalmologist, academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan and professor. The couple had two children—one son and one daughter. Zarifa died of cancer in 1985.
He began to suffer from ill health during his later years. He had a major heart bypass operation in the US in 1999, followed by prostrate surgery and hernia operation later on. Due to his failing health he stepped down from presidency in October 2003. He died two months later on 12 December 2003 .