On January 31, Azerbaijanis marked the 132
birth anniversary of
Mammad Amin Rasulzade
, one of the founding figures of the People’s Republic of Azerbaijan (1918-1920).
Supporters of several opposition parties, including Musavat, Classic Popular Front, Bozgurd (Gray Wolf) and ordinary citizens, staged a remembrance rally at Rasulzade’s monument in Novkhani village,
“Today is a holiday for those who created our state and restored it,” Mirmahmud Miralioglu, the head of the party Classic Popular Front, said at the opening of the rally. Miralioglu criticized Azerbaijani authorities for downplaying Rasulzade’s role in the history of Azerbaijan.
“Shame on those who swear to Azerbaijan’s flag, create a Flag Square, but not put Rasulzade’s historical statement about the flag (Once Hoisted Flag Will Never Fall) on this complex,” he was quoted as saying by
Meanwhile, Musavat leader Arif Hajili expressed his conviction that Rasulzade’s ideals of Azerbaijan as an independent and really democratic state would come true.
The head of the National Center for Strategic Thought, Isa Gambar, told
that Rasulzade’s contribution to Azerbaijan’s statehood is unparalleled. “There have always been those who wanted to create obstacles on this path (to independence and democracy in Azerbaijan). But there were also great personalities that continued this way. And we will continue this way. This historical process cannot be stopped,” Gambar said.
Born in Novkhani village in 1884, Rasulzade was one of the towering figures of Azerbaijan’s statehood. In 1909, he fled to Iran due to pressure from tsarist Russia, where he started publishing his newspaper
New Iran (Iran-e Nou)
and co-founded the Iranian Democratic Party. He subsequently migrated to Turkey after falling out of favor with Iran for calling for autonomous Azerbaijan. In 1911, Rasulzade founded the Musavat party.
On May 27, 1918, Muslim members of the Transcaucasia
Commissariat gathered in Georgia and formed the National Council, headed by Rasulzade. The following day, the council proclaimed the independence of Azerbaijan and formed the first government of the People’s Republic of Azerbaijan. In April 1920 following the Bolshevik occupation of Azerbaijan, Rasulzade was subjected to harassment and arrest. He died in Ankara, Turkey on March 6, 1955.