Once, Vasilij Klyuchevskij, a prominent Russian historiographer of the 19th and 20th centuries, addressed the student body of Moscow State University with a statement that has since become something of an aphorism:
“People are, by their nature, idolators of ideals. And when there are no ideals to worship, they idealize idols.”
The complicated and diverse ethnic and religious makeup of Azerbaijan was provided for by a plethora of different religions living in the area. Over the course of the history of Azerbaijan, idol – worshippers, pagans, Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians and Muslims and a number of other belief – systems have made a home for themselves in Azerbaijan.
But I would rather not bore readers with a long discourse on the ancient history of our country.
Instead, the point of today’s discussion is to search for an answer to a simple question: “Why, so long after the primitive historical age of idol – worship, is idolatry still so strong in Azerbaijan?”
How could such a thing happen in a country where in 1918 the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic — the first of its kind in the Muslim world, with all the trappings and attributes of a secular, democratic society — declared its independence from Russia.
In 1920, when the Red Army moved in and deposed the government of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic, there was no lack of Azerbaijanis who were willing to drag the people back into the throws of idolatry. One of these men was Nariman Narimanov, who would later become the first chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of Azerbaijan.
Another thing I haven’t been able to understand is why, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, were statues to Kirov and Shaumyan taken down but a monument to Narimanov remains untouched and standing in the very center of Baku. Why did they take down the Russian and the Armenian, but left the Azerbaijani in his place?
Was it, perhaps, simply because he was an Azerbaijani?
Were the hands of Narimanov not dirty with the blood of many ‘sons of Azerbaijan?’ Or was the chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of Azerbaijan unaware of the blood – letting that took place under his chairmanship?
Why do we continue to remain silent about his legacy?
And for that matter, the legacy of his like – minded predecessors?
Another question that needs answering: why did idol worship, brought to us from Russia by the Bolsheviks, find stronger roots in Azerbaijan than in Moscow itself after the fall of the Soviet Union?
One of the most blatant examples of this was our loss of the Latin alphabet to the Cyrillic one, whereas in Armenia and Georgia, both nations were able to retain their national alphabets. This speaks volumes about modern Azerbaijan as a country that has completely lost sight of its origins.
If one compares the processes of re-building after the collapse of the Soviet Union in Russia and the three South Caucasian states, one can’t help but wonder why in Russia, Georgia and Armenia, Lenin was replaced seemingly by no one, whereas in Azerbaijan, we immediately received the “Great Leader” – the “Onder”, as if reacting to the principle: “a throne is never vacant.”
Wasn’t it, after all, Heydar Aliyev who put up the statue to Shaumyan in Baku. And as if that wasn’t enough, he made a rather “touching” speech in honor of the man. Here is a quote from that same address:
“In March of 1918, the musavatists rose up and raged a storm against the Soviets in Baku, with the intention of suffocating and smothering Soviet power. The storm was liquidated thanks to quick – acting Bolsheviks. And today, with pride and love, we say that the great son of the Armenian nation, Stepan Shaumyan, is also a son of the Azerbaijani nation, the nations of the Caucasus and the multinational Soviet nation itself.”
Yes, these words were uttered by our newfound “onder” — our newfound “great leader” — who, during his time as the chairman of the KGB and then as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, did all that was in his power to ensure that the Azerbaijani nation would completely lose its national identity and dissolve in the ideology of idolatry of the Soviet powers.
One wise man once said said that: “The past of our memories is a part of the present.” With just one glance at the current roster of the Baku regime, all of whom were brought up, educated and fostered by the Soviet system, you can easily understand why Azerbaijan, even in 2016, is still in the firm grip of idolatry.
Things couldn’t be otherwise. The government is composed entirely of a roster of men who, with their memories of the past, prevent Azerbaijan from leaving its long heritage of idolatry behind it. Klyuchevskij’s words, “People are, by their nature, idolators of ideals. And when there are no ideals to worship, they idealize idols” remain entirely relevant to modern Azerbaijan, where one can easily observe the steady “Heydarization” of the country.
This article reflects the view of the author and as such may not coincide with that of Meydan TV.