BAKU: Agenda Remains Unchanged. A Modernization Course

Ramiz Mehdiyev

Day.Az, Azerbaijan
June 18 2008

The idea to write this article took time to take shape. I have been
planning to express my views on the issues that I have been thinking
about for a long time now. I will not conceal that I was prompted to
sit down at my desk by the article entitled "Defining the development
strategy: modernization course" which I published in the Bakinskiy
Rabochiy newspaper several months ago, which generated genuine and
considerable interest among the public in the republic and which was
later published as a separate volume. I have heard enthusiastic views
as well as opinions that differed from my ideas from national and
foreign readers many times. Naturally, one article could not cover
the whole set of topical issues one would want to touch on. This is
the reason why I deemed it necessary to return to a number of theses
discussed in the previous article and outline new ones in the context
of the country’s modernization course.

New ideas vital

The relations within any society first and foremost represent dialogue
between generations when one segment is trying to show and prove [its
point] while the other is not especially enthusiastic and has some
doubts about [what it is being offered]. This life axiom always has
and will be identified with historical processes of the humanity moving
towards a more rational future. It symbolizes a complex of ties within
society which has been associated with peoples and states without
changing its essence since the time immemorial. Correspondingly,
while in the historical context of the past, an individual resisted
the influence of new socio-cultural patterns and, sometimes, religion,
explaining everything with science like it happened, for example,
in Europe during the Reformation and the Enlightenment, in the era
of the new global process, [an individual] becomes an integrator
of rapid changes, novelties and innovations, completely rejecting
everything that conditions anything archaic. Today, a human being is
a key element of tomorrow’s agenda in the process of its formation,
a progressive, rational and, most frequently transient since the
speed of the historical process has increased significantly.

All-permeating and all-consuming integration processes which have
covered the planet, are latently planting into the consciousness of
the people the new forms of communication and behaviour, stereotypes
which change social reality and societies, transform mass culture of
consumption. What seemed natural and habitual in the past appears
obsolete and outmoded in the conditions of the "Global Village",
"Electronic Cottage", "lawlessness of the market economy" and the
"threat of planetary chaos".

Just recently, a little over 20 years ago, when the collapse of the
Soviet Union was drawing to its completion, it was difficult for us to
imagine that in just 10 years’ time, the world would be fully managed
by information technologies. The progress of the human race in the era
of transparent financial borders, absence of barriers to the movement
of capital, changes of geopolitical and geoeconomic environment have
opened new prospects of development which are considerably different
from those that were present just recently. They have also started
shaping the worldview of the new generation.

Precisely the generation of the "third wave" will have to make the most
important and responsible decisions in the future, the ones on which
the future of our state and society will depend. This is why, when
shaping the strategy of the state policy in the early 21st century,
President Ilham Aliyev is thinking about the generation which will
become the main integrator of the socio-political and socio-economic
development of Azerbaijan tomorrow. Because the success of upcoming
deeds and projects depends on the stable, secure and trouble-free
development of this generation.

When planning state tasks, the political elite always links this to
those who represent one of the most active groups of the society at
a given moment. According to the statistics, the share of youth in
the country with the population of 8.6 million is 31 per cent. These
are school pupils, students, representatives of medium business, top
managers, successful executives. It is completely natural that there
are people among them who have not yet made a decision about their
future. Overall, however, these are the people who constantly shape the
micro and macro environment of social reality of the Azerbaijani state.

The youth has always been an important element in the historical
processes that the Azerbaijani people went through. During the popular
movement of 1988-1990, the Azerbaijani youth was on the front-line with
those who resisted [former Soviet leader] M. S. [Mikhail Sergeyevich]
Gorbachev’s treacherous policy. In January 1990, tens of thousands
of young people took to the streets and squares of Baku, protesting
against the attempts to separate Nagornyy Karabakh from Azerbaijan at
the state level and pass it to Armenia, against unfair and biased
policy implemented by the leadership of the USSR vis-a-vis the
Azerbaijani people. As a result of punitive measures carried out
on Gorbachev’s order by the Soviet troops which were mostly staffed
by Armenians, 137 people were killed with exceptional brutality and
hundreds of innocent people were wounded. Those were mainly school
children, students and young representatives of various professions.

Dozens of young men became the first national heroes when defending
the territory of the land whose 20 per cent are now occupied by
neighbouring Armenia. Thousands of young Azerbaijani men fought
heroically for every inch of the Azerbaijani land, defending it from
Armenian aggressors. They remembered heroism of their grandfathers,
who fought against Nazism during the World War II. In October 1994
and on a March night in 1995, representatives of the Azerbaijani
youth were the first to defend state sovereignty and order, speak
against those, who – following the advice from some foreign forces –
were pinning hopes on turning the state into a puppet, an obedient
tool in someone else’s hands.

Even if similar historical events are not always identical, they often
offer an ideal, an example to follow. And this ideal has never failed
to demonstrate the eternal truth: the Azerbaijani youth has been and
remains the pillar of statehood.

In this article, I will try to touch on a number of issues which
concern every Azerbaijani citizen and, of course, the Azerbaijani
youth today. I clearly understand the responsibility that I
undertake by engaging in this discussion as I will be talking to
an intellectually prepared audience. Moreover, I am sure that it is
high time to talk openly, informally, even if the conversation takes
place in the media. It is important to understand that we live in
the era of significant decisions and momentous changes. How and in
what status every young person is involved in the process of building
effective statehood will determine whether the public will succeed in
settling the difficult tasks it is facing. Because we cannot build a
"great wall of China" to separate ourselves from "political storms"
raging in the world.

New state of affairs in Azerbaijan

"Our goal is to strengthen, increase the might of the country, to
give better life to the Azerbaijani people, to have all tasks facing
the country resolved, to strengthen our positions in the region,"
said Ilham Aliyev.

Azerbaijan’s independence is a historical fact. Our people with its
rich, unique traditions of statehood walked the path towards its
state sovereignty, facing difficult tests throughout many centuries
of its history. Independence acquired as a result of the collapse of
the largest superpower in 1991 provided for great opportunities for
the development of the Azerbaijani state as a fully-fledged regional
actor. It took a lot of time and effort, however, to overcome the
repercussions of profound and unequivocal change of the country, learn
to independently define the pace and intensity of changes within the
framework of the choice that we made in favour of the fundamental
values of democracy and market without which no modern society and
state, laying claims on effective development and a worthy place in
the world, could exist.

We had to start and carry out fundamental and sometimes controversial
reform transformations which, at the same time, provided for economic
and political development of the country. Every step forward in the
direction of the new political and economic structure was secured
by tremendous efforts and a strong belief in the success of the
initiatives that were being implemented. At the same time, the
political and economic chaos – a legacy of the previous political
system – had to be addressed. The difficulty of the transformation
lied with the fact that extremely important factors of the global
social reality were not taken into account between late 1991 and
mid-1993, when Azerbaijan was formally an independent state. What we
are talking about is that the key role in transformation processes
on the eve of the 21st century was played by the "human factor" –
social actors, their motivational, volitional and mental qualities and
capabilities. Precisely those who found themselves in power during
these years could not care less about the problem of formation of
social actors of democratic transformation. They failed to understand
the complicated nature and the depth of the processes of building a new
state. They did not explain to the public the meaning and mechanism of
upcoming political and economic reforms, did not bother with democratic
awareness raising among the country’s citizens, did not think about
strengthening ties between mass social groups by means of creating
organizations in which these groups would be able to comprehend and
defend their interests on the basis of democratic values.

It would be more accurate, however, to say that, during the first years
of independence, it was not so much about the political mistakes made
by democratic leaders of the country as about the absence of such
leadership in general. At the time of the momentous turning point
in the history, which was caused by the collapse of the communist
government and the socialist regime, it turned out that the country had
no real or even potential organized political forces capable of leading
a democratic transformation. This first and foremost had to do with the
historically lengthy existence of the totalitarian system in the Soviet
Union where the entire state life was strictly controlled by the Centre
[capitalization as published]. At the time, the stimuli for social
order and management of economic and socio-political processes in the
Soviet republic would originate solely in Moscow. This is why, during
the 70 years of the communist rule, people were completely deprived
of the possibility of independent socio-political activity. These
simple maxims of state rule were not taken into account in the first
years of independence. But, as famous French economist Jacques Leon
Rueff once said, "the main task of the government at every stage is to
correctly assess the share of the past which can be kept in the present
and the share of the present which can be bequeathed to the future".

The Azerbaijani society, disappointed in the Soviet system and
those who were in power in 1992-1993, realized that new forces had
to come to power in the country, the forces which would be able to
tackle difficult tasks of constructing an independent Azerbaijani
state. Since "society recognizes and respects only the merits that
have been proved by deeds. The one who wants to know what he is worth,
will only be able to learn this from the people and, correspondingly,
has to let them make a judgment of him" (Helvetius).

In mid-1993, a part of political elite led by [former Azerbaijani
President] Heydar Aliyev acquired prominence in the political
life. Its main goal was to lead the country out of political and
economic recession, from the situation in which the national social
structure was devalued, political lawlessness, lack of foreign policy
balance and "empty shelves" prevailed. Over the next several years,
working in an extremely difficult situation, President Heydar Aliyev
had to act decisively to carry out a whole set of radical measures to
create a stably working socio-economic and socio-political structure,
prevent the country from sliding to anarchy. The policy carried out
by President Heydar Aliyev, political and economic reforms which he
implemented allowed mitigating difficult social consequences of several
years (1988-1993) of virtual anarchy in the country. These years of
tireless work gave the country a chance of achieving considerable
success both in terms of stabilization of the country’s political
life and its economy.

By 1998, the reforms that were being carried out started producing
tangible positive results. In this period, it became possible to
state that the formation of an independent Azerbaijani state had been
completed. This was recognized by international organizations as
well as high-ranking representatives of foreign countries visiting
Azerbaijan. President Heydar Aliyev created a modern state and, at
the same time, determined the strategy of its development for years
ahead. He was ahead of his time and had clearly set the strategic tasks
facing Azerbaijan. He viewed Azerbaijan as an important strategic
springboard and an economically advantageous partner for the global
community of states.

Since 2003, the results of internal development started to
naturally transform into increased financial, economic and political
opportunities for the promotion of national interests in the regional
and international arenas. Azerbaijan started acquiring a steady basis
for regional leadership, the country became a confident and reliable
entity of international relations.

The results of Heydar Aliyev’s "oil strategy" provided for the
country’s intensive development and its transformation into the main
integrator of regional processes. Not only has Azerbaijan become a
significant transport junction, connecting the East and the West, but
it has also developed into an important geoeconomic and geopolitical
springboard for the implementation of large transnational projects. It
proved to the international community that it is a consistent
partner with which one can do business and with which it is worth
doing business.

Naturally, Azerbaijan started paying attention first and foremost to
the issues of economic nature, both in terms of internal and external
aspects. Because to earn a worthy place in the competitive global space
one should be able to simply stand on one’s feet for a start. This
is why it was important to note that precisely economic prosperity
predetermines the essence and success of the national democratic
transition. Precisely based on this postulate, the economy became a
priority direction of reforms carried out by President Ilham Aliyev
during the initial period of his rule. Such approach was substantiated
as it was necessary to strengthen the economic basis of the state
independence, create conditions for sustainable development of
society. At the same time, political tasks of the new society were
being addressed and these were of evolutionary nature. Obligations
which were undertaken before international organizations and were to
democratize the political space and improve the economic structure
of the state were being implemented.

Political and economic reforms that are being carried out today are
acquiring slightly different overtones. This is going to be a new
stage of the country development. Correspondingly, the direction
of economic reforms which aim to fully master the characteristic
traits of the post-industrial society is acquiring a new meaning as
well. In this case, political and economic reforms will be carried
out simultaneously as the main task for the upcoming years is the
democratic consolidation of the Azerbaijani society. Effectively,
the work in this regard is already under way. As President Ilham
Aliyev said. "The reforms are being carried out simultaneously, great
attention is being paid to the issues of building a rule-of-law state
and democratization of society. The creation of a strong political
system is a guarantee of all of our future successes as no society
can develop without robust democratic institutions.

"At the same time, very serious and radical economic reforms are
being implemented. All of this is reflected in the increase of
the population’s prosperity as well as in the strengthening of our
economic potential and the consolidation of our country’s positions
in the global arena in general" (see Bakinskiy Rabochiy, 27 May 2008).

Regardless of how many times one has to cite F. D. Roosevelt,
his quote about incompatibility of poverty and freedom is second
to none in representing the idea of interdependent economic and
political development, whose real embodiment lies in the strategy of
President Ilham Aliyev’s activities. At the same time, when talking
about a similar convergence, [Michael] Mandelbaum said very aptly
in the Foreign Affairs journal: "The key to establishing a working
democracy, and in particular, the institutions of liberty, has been
the free-market economy. The institutions, skills, and values needed
to operate a free-market economy are those that, in the political
sphere, constitute democracy".

The period of 2008-2013 is the time of creation of a powerful industry
and its diversification. An intensive economic development of the
country will help make the growth of the industrial potential an
important and priority direction of the country’s development for us
and help make the industrialization process unfold at high speed. There
are sufficient monetary resources available to this end. Over the
next few years, new jobs will be created and new preconditions for
the transition to the post-industrial society will be formed.

At the same time, the agrarian sector of the economy will receive a
new, powerful incentive. The course chosen by the country today aims
to provide the population with all kinds of agricultural goods, and
the issue of food security is becoming a priority direction as well.

The effectively working interconnection between politics and economics
allowed Azerbaijan to become a significant and the most intensively
developing country of the post-Soviet area in the past several
years. According to international organizations’ reports, Azerbaijan,
in terms of its competitive capacity, is not just the regional
leader but is among the key competitive states in the post-Soviet
area. According to the IMF, the growth of income per capita in the
next six years in Azerbaijan will be the fastest in the world (252.6
per cent). Thus, GDP per capita in Azerbaijan will increase from
3.663 dollars in 2007 to 12.915 dollars in 2013. Therefore, while in
2003 the national income per capita in Azerbaijan (880 dollars) was
approximately equal to similar indicators of Armenia (873 dollars),
in 2013, Azerbaijan will be over three times ahead of its neighbour
in terms of similar indicators. In 2013, Azerbaijan will be 56th in
terms of GDP per capita among 181 countries represented in the IMF
report. Thus, Azerbaijan will be following the countries of the EU,
developed countries of North America and Asia and oil-producing
countries of the Near East. Today (according to the 2007 report),
Azerbaijan is in the 91st place according to current indicators.

Our task is to keep the national economy growing and maintain its
leading position among the former Soviet republics. Without going
into the details of economic determinants, we would underscore
that Azerbaijan, over the past five years, managed to considerably
reduce the negative ramifications of the post-Soviet transformation,
smoothly moving on to the sphere of purposefully forming the basics
of a liberal economy.

Aside from economic development, we have also defined an open
and democratic society to be a priority of our development. This
is our strategic choice, the most important vector of the state
policy. Azerbaijan started the process of fundamental transformation,
considering the need to provide for all rights and freedoms of
citizens, the rule of law and respect for our ancient traditions. It
is, however, important to remember that Azerbaijan is only at the
start of its path. Nevertheless, it has already secured one of the
most fundamental conditions for the success of the reform process:
internal political and economic stability which guarantees our gradual
movement towards our goal.

The national democratic transition allowed reforming the Azerbaijani
society based on the requirements and conditions of global
transformations which define the modern agenda. The experience of
developed countries demonstrates that the basis for a representative
political democracy is formed by an economic democracy, the free
market. This is why we too base our arguments on the premise that
"encouraging the spreading of free markets is the best way of
consolidating democracy". Only free market could provide for the
formation of a working democratic regime, open civil society and
traditions which condition competitiveness and pluralism in the
development of society.

Incidentally, this embodies our century-long experience of building
a liberal economy as well. Should we take a look at the past, we will
see many examples of the influence that economic aspects have had on
the transformation of the socio-political consciousness of the people
in the national history. As we know, Azerbaijan became part of the
Russian Empire in 1828. However, the Tsarist government did not have
enough levers to manage the region’s economy. As a result, a so-called
private purchase system was created whereby the Tsarist government
sold the right to manage all oil wells to private individuals. As a
result of this policy, a social layer of rich oil producers, that is
to say, national bourgeoisie, was formed in Azerbaijan. It was thanks
to their support that national newspapers started being published in
Azerbaijan in late 19th century, industrial infrastructure appeared and
a number of students were sponsored to receive education in the best
foreign universities. Precisely their milieu subsequently produced
prominent social and political figures. Introduction of capitalism
started to gradually affect the development of social and political
thought, facilitate the formation of the national identity, provided
for democratization of the public consciousness.

The modern Azerbaijani public perceives democracy as the most
important social factor of the national development. This approach
holds the key to the understanding and comprehension of the gradual,
evolutionary, stage-by-stage transition of the new axiological and
behavioural norms of democratic transformation into the public,
mass consciousness. However, as any other process, the process of
democratization of the Azerbaijani society unfolds, taking historical
and cultural reality of the national history into account. We can
by no means ignore this aspect. It is important to realize that any
change in the social environment of the public after many years of
constant political imperatives can and should be carried out with
the necessary consideration for the factor of public perception of
the new orientation points and the change of generations.

Democratization in Azerbaijan is a lengthy process which encompasses
several historical contexts. It has to be considered that, first, it is
a transition from the Soviet system to the independent co-existence
in the conditions of the expansion of "democracy’s third wave";
second, it is the establishment of the fundamentals for the beginning
of democratization; third, the creation of necessary conditions for
democratization; and, finally, fourth, it is a gradual transformation
of the public consciousness interconnected with the state’s economic
development. This set [of stages] has been implemented over the past
15 years, with the stages gradually replacing each other. Only this
kind of sequence of national development offers prospects of successful
democratization of the Azerbaijani society.

Modernization of economic and social structures affected by
[globalization] is most frequently considered to be the key factor
of democratization in the conditions of globalization. Since economic
development through the use of modern technology leads to the increase
in wealth which, in turn, gives green light to democracy. As early
as in 1984, Samuel Huntington wrote that "the correlation between
the wealth of a nation and its democratization is quite strong"
(Huntington S. P. "Will More Countries Become Democratic?" Political
Science Quarterly, 1984, No 99, p 199). S. M. Lipset, who especially
studied the link between the level of economic development of states
and their political arrangement, believed that democratization depends
on many factors but the level of socio-economic development is its
"main and necessary condition". According to his estimates, 74 per cent
of the countries with the lowest level of economic development were
governed by authoritarian regimes, 24 per cent – by "semi-democratic"
regimes and only one country, India, had a democratic regime. Among
the countries with the level [of economic development] below and
above average, 11 and 30 per cent respectively were democratic while
all countries with developed market economies were in the latter
category. (Lipset, S. M. et al., "Comparative analysis of conditions
required for establishment of democracy", International Journal of
Social Sciences, 1993, No 3, p 9 [as published]).

The interrelation between economic and political development once
again underscores our thesis that democracy is a component of intensive
economic growth. In addition to this, however, the path that we have
chosen represents a set of cultural-historical and moral approaches
of the Azerbaijani society towards the provision for its rights and
freedoms. We do not conceal that democracy in Azerbaijan is sometimes
criticized without really providing a clear explanation of what its
flaws are. It is being criticized without considering its achievements
in the sphere of political and socio-economic development, including
the resolution of the pressing problems concerning citizens’ well-being
as well as liberalization of the economy. It is being forgotten
that our democracy is in the stage of adolescence while the Western
democracy is already living in the conditions of a post-industrial
society and has entered the phase of political strategies. Azerbaijan
is yet to broaden and intensify and then complete the post-industrial
cycle. In the process of democratization of the "new democracies",
the peculiarities of geographic determinism are not being considered
either, even though the processes of "exporting democracy" to Iraq and
Afghanistan serve as the best examples of the difficulty associated
with a strong-arm introduction of the "fifth element" (democracy –
author’s note).

In this context, Francis Fukuyama has very aptly said: "An exceedingly
optimistic idea of Iraq after Saddam made it impossible to think about
the needs of a post-war society and about nation building. The change
of the regime was not achieved through slow and labour-intensive
construction of liberal and democratic institutions but simply by
setting a negative task: getting rid of the old regime." (F. Fukuyama,
"America at the Crossroads", M., 2007, p 90) [translated from Russian,
not an original quote].

Yes, when talking about democracy in Azerbaijan, we are sometimes
being blamed for our democracy being inadequate or imperfect. At times,
subjective arguments are cited to substantiate these conclusions, using
them to explain the deviation from democratic principles [sentence as
published]. In addition, those who assess democracy in the country
do not want to consider the fact that, as we said earlier, it is
still in the phase of formation, establishment, development. Attempts
are being made to impose on us the standards that are unacceptable
to us from the outset, the standards that, due to various reasons,
are not on the agenda or do not exist as a subject of discussion
in other states. We cannot help being surprised by such selective
approach hiding behind the commendation of democracy. If democracy is
a universal concept, it should be treated as such. No-one would call
Britain undemocratic just because it still has a law which says that
it is a high treason if a person attached a post stamp depicting a
monarch upside down or because it is officially banned to eat sweet
pies with raisins on Christmas there. These absurd examples clearly
demonstrate the following: what is acceptable in one country cannot
be an example of backsliding on democracy in another. It is hard for
us to imagine how an election in the country where, as a result of a
dispersal of those protesting against rigging the election results,
28 people were killed, where the state of emergency was declared,
the work of the media outlets was restricted and MPs were put under
arrest, can be considered democratic. A true backslide on basic
democratic norms after the March 2008 presidential election in Armenia
is obvious. Nevertheless, those who determine the norms of democracy,
believes otherwise. It is a paradox but it is the reality. Such actions
are increasingly strengthening the view that democracy is more and
more frequently being used as a means for geopolitical pressure on
"new democracies", as a mechanism for achieving a concrete goal.

President Ilham Aliyev said about this: "…in the past years, the
issue of democracy has been raised artificially in some cases, and
countries have been presented as democratic or undemocratic based
on the interests of certain circles of some states. Sometimes, we
encounter elements of double standards.

"In some cases, the political processes that unfold in the three
countries of the South Caucasus are being analysed in a biased
manner. Sometimes, we witness a jaundiced attitude towards the creative
work carried out in Azerbaijan, the development of elements of the
modern approach there. Sometimes, incorrect criteria are being chosen
for comparing the three countries of the South Caucasus. We have
never compared ourselves to anyone, far from it. We aim to make the
Azerbaijani people more prosperous, to consolidate Azerbaijan. However,
if we are making comparisons, we can say that, unlike our neighbours,
no states of emergency are being introduced in Azerbaijan, political
opponents are not being arrested, there is no censorship and the press,
independent press outlets, are not being closed. Unlike Armenia,
Azerbaijan does not use force against civilians, does not kill dozens
of innocent people.

"I am emphasizing this because some politicians, when comparing
the processes unfolding in the three countries, prefer to employ
subjective approaches and turn a blind eye to the terrible events in
another country, trying to inflate minor issues in Azerbaijan into
huge events" (Bakinskiy Rabochiy, 9 May 2008).

As we can see, as democratic ideas and views become more globalized,
a whole set of issues, concerning their real and ultimate goals,
emerges. It is becoming increasingly apparent that democracy and
its ideals are frequently being used for political rhetoric and open
pressure on the entities of international relations, more specifically,
on sovereign states. In addition, the states which had walked a
long and controversial path towards democracy are the ones that are
trying to impose their viewpoint. Mike Hancock, member of PACE [the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe] from Britain, said
that "being a member of many reputable international organizations,
our country (Britain – author’s note) deems it perfectly normal to
imprison our citizens without providing any reasons for this… It is
inexpedient for a country where people can be put in prison for 90 days
without explanations to come to Azerbaijan and dictate to it what it
has to do and how it has to behave" (Zerkalo newspaper, 12 April 2008).

As an active actor of the developing architecture of the world security
and global democratic structure, Azerbaijan bases its actions on its
own understanding of the degree of priority of this task. We know that
democratization in Azerbaijan has its peculiarities and is closely
linked to the archetypes of the Azerbaijani people, our national
mentality. Democratization in Azerbaijan is yet to pass many tests of
maturity in order to fully transform the public, mass consciousness
so that it would acquire the new axiological attitudes, stereotypes
and norms of behaviour typical for post-industrial societies. We are
yet to walk a certain path to make democracy or, more specifically,
its consolidation, full-fledged and strengthened.

The experience of the national democratic transition confirms the
validity of a civilizational as well as a multi-stage approach to the
historical dynamic of democracy. The level of Azerbaijan’s democratic
development is in many ways similar to the one that was typical
for many European countries at the early stages of their capitalist
modernization and the genesis of the industrial society. Therefore,
when talking about a democratic transition in Azerbaijan, historical
repetitiveness of these processes should be remembered. This is
a historical logic which demonstrates the essence of democratic

Many academic articles on global democratization say: "Promotion of
democracy for the George Bush administration is the main task with
regard to combating terrorism and within the framework of the general
strategy". In the context of this strategy, the "axis of evil" – an
axis of states, representing a potential threat to the interests of
the United States and security in the world – has emerged. Strangely
enough, much earlier, in August 1945, Japanese Emperor Hirohito
said in his abdication speech [as published; should be: speech on
Japan’s surrender]: "Indeed, we declared war on America and Britain
out of our sincere desire to insure Japan’s self-preservation and
the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from our thought either
to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon
territorial aggrandizement". Even more interesting are the statements
made by Martin Heidegger, one of the prominent Nazi figures, in 1935:
he said that Germany must immediately stop "the threat of global
darkness" coming from beyond Germany’s borders, that Germany is
defending "the highest possible forms of human existence introduced
by the Greeks" from "a violent attack which annihilates everything
indiscriminately, killing all impulses of the spirit that created our
world". John Stuart Mill wrote a classical essay about humanitarian
intervention when Britain was committing most serious crimes in
India and China. He said that Britain had to take that path despite
"being hampered by malignant gossip" of backward Europeans, incapable
of understanding that Britain is a "world’s novelty", an angel-state,
acting exclusively "for the benefit of others" and wishing "no profit
for itself" in anything it does (Noam Chomsky, "Failed States", M.,
2007) [translated from Russian, not original quotes].

Given the historical example, regardless of the true goals of those
who wanted to change the world based on their views, the rhetoric
around the creation of a safe and democratic world order has always
remained unchanged. It was a convenient cover for Realpolitik. Things
turned completely different when the results were concerned.

More and more often, when thinking about democratic transition, I
cannot shake off the thought that the process of "democracy’s third
wave" which began in 1974 has, in the first decade of the 21st century,
started being identified with geopolitical and geoeconomic impulses
and a total withdrawal from the essence of the concept of "state
sovereignty". As early as in the late last century, an indefinite
number of international nongovernmental organizations appeared, their
role being the analysis of human rights and freedoms exclusively in
the post-Soviet area. Their reports on the situation concerning human
rights often shape the policy of states on whose territories they are
located or express positions for further political bargaining. In such
cases I often recall one of Mikhail Bulgakov’s characters who says:
"I dream of Spain, the city of Madrid. I have never been there. But
I am certain that it is a dump!"

The practice in which international nongovernmental organizations
started influencing governments’ decision-making has, in a way,
proved quite successful. Hence the nongovernmental organizations’
task to create a new lever of influencing transformation in yet to be
consolidated societies by means of "rhetorical" pressure. Today, they
are facilitating the identification of regimes that are "desirable" or
"undesirable" in terms of geopolitical and geoeconomic benefits. With
this approach, democracy becomes a barometer of loyalty to the West,
that is to say, in the conditions of mondialism and monocentric order,
the level of democratic development is being assessed by the degree
of geopolitical and geoeconomic dependence. In these circumstances,
new conditions of coexistence are being formed and the order that is
being established on the planet is increasingly clearly presenting
itself as Pax Oeconomicana – the geoeconomic order. It is becoming
increasingly more evident that global economy is the global revolution
of our age that has already happened and it is becoming a system that
is governing everywhere.

In the context of global changes, democratic theory and practice
based on the Westphalian principles is gradually but purposefully
undergoing historical revision (the Peace of Westphalia signed in
1648 marked an important stage in the evolution of international
relations. The signing of the Peace of Westphalia which had ended
the Thirty Years’ War launched the creation of a new international
political system based on the idea of a nation-state. The exceptional
significance of the transformation that occurred in the middle of
the 17th century lies with the fact that a system of relations was
formed whose main principles still exist and continue working to
this day despite serious changes and some reservations). By shifting
the emphasis from the national sovereignty, the "globalization of
politics" is making all nation states dependent on the functional
parts of the larger model of global changes and flows. At the same
time, the idea of "global politics" is changing the traditional
perception of the difference between national and international,
domestic and foreign, territorial and non-territorial policy which
are rooted in the universally accepted concepts of "political". One
needs to understand, however, that the mankind has been and will
remain the Tower of Babel where there can be no unanimity.

However, the world order that is taking shape is challenging the
universally accepted Westphalian state-based system of international
relations and the perception of the global political order from
the position of realism. The structures of civil society, secular
attitudes, democratic principles and procedures, which are being
increasingly frequently used as a camouflage for policies that are
not democratic at all, are being undermined. All of this forms the
situation in which states are recognized as democratic only when
they offer their territories for the stationing of military bases,
are a springboard for geopolitical influence, are members of a
military-political alliance of the Western states and unquestioningly
follow requests and demands laid down by the "power players". This
is why the statements of those who claim that the world has entered
a new, post-democratic era, sound relevant since the peculiarity of
modernity is that it has not had a predecessor since there was no
democracy but only its illusion.

Thus, at the global level, democracy is increasingly frequently
being perceived as a form of imposing a strategic line on a group of
states that are just entering the area of post-industrial axiological,
political and economic orientation points. For example, many people
remember how an "antidemocratic nature" of Turkey’s ruling elite
suddenly started being discussed after the Turkish government, to
everyone’s surprise, decided to actually fulfil the wish of 95 per
cent of its population and did not allow Washington to open a front
against Iraq in Turkey. In the US press, the Turks were harshly
criticized for the absence of the "key traits of democracy". In
his book entitled Failed States, well-known historian Noam Chomsky
appositely wrote about these insinuation on democracy, citing
the example of Venezuela: "In 2002, the United States supported
a military coup to overthrow a legitimately elected government
of Venezuela led by Hugo Chavez. However, it had to quietly flee
after being unanimously condemned by Latin America where, unlike in
Washington, democracy is not perceived as something ‘fanciful’ and
‘obsolete’. After the government regained power as a result of the
popular upheaval, Washington started undermining it, disguising its
efforts by ‘supporting democracy’ – an all too familiar scenario"
(p 214) [translation from Russian, not an original quote].

As a result, the new world order is already being perceived as a system
of "double standards" in which international actions that are being
implemented clash with the established norms and principles. However,
there is a rule: if someone suggests that you dismantle something, it
is logical to ask what they are offering in exchange? A call to break
something and "think of something afterwards" is not trustworthy. Such
a dysfunction of international law has been demonstrated by a whole
set of failed international initiatives over the past decade. The
international community is increasingly frequently witnessing how a
process of democratization becomes a definition of will of a certain
political concept [as published], which eventually produces new
international disagreements which undermine the idea of building
a sustainable and stable architecture of the regional and global
security. At the same time, when shaping the global order, some
forget about copybook maxims: democracy is first and foremost every
people’s sovereign right to determine the strategy and path of its
own development. It implies the presence and operation of democratic
institutions for the benefit of the people, for its full-fledged
life, and does not aim to use them in order to fulfil external goals
and tasks.

In these difficult conditions of global transformations, Azerbaijan
is behaving as a consistent actor of international relations,
stably forming its domestic and foreign-policy agenda. This agenda
reflects the ideal of building independent statehood which was
introduced by Heydar Aliyev and is being implemented by President
Ilham Aliyev today. In essence, this is a new policy which expresses
the aspiration to build a sovereign state with modernized economy,
civil society and liberal traditions. This is a path that leads to
the post-industrial, information society. The path of democratic
development defined by President Ilham Aliyev today aims to create
a sustainable, consolidated democratic system in the country, the
system in which every citizen feels that he or she is a part of the
process of building an effective statehood.

Forming the new generation

"Bringing up the younger generation is an extremely important
issue for any country as its future and its fate depend on today’s
youth." Ilham Aliyev.

A political system works well if it fully takes into account
the creative role of the younger generation in the life of the
society. President Heydar Aliyev fully understood the need to
involve the most active group of society in the state building. The
establishment of the Ministry of Youth and Sport in 1994 determined
the nature of the state policy in the sphere of youth affairs. It
has to be underscored that there are few states among the post-Soviet
republics that are similar to Azerbaijan, where the issues of the youth
are being regulated at the level of a ministry, where the state is
constantly, actively and enthusiastically paying so much attention
to intellectual, creative, cultural and physical development of
the youth. Thus, the formation of an appropriate environment for
the activities of young people, providing for their development,
structuring, arrangement of leisure activities and creation of the
necessary conditions for creative work have become one of the priority
directions of Azerbaijan’s state policy. "Young people are our future"
as a mission statement voiced by Heydar Aliyev at the First Youth
Forum of Azerbaijan in 1996 became a keynote of the formation of
policy for years ahead.

Today, the Azerbaijani youth are the generation of new managers,
representatives of the cultural sphere, they are dozens of sportsmen,
who have secured leading positions in world competitions. In the
future, this generation will undertake the responsibility for the
state sovereignty, for defining the strategy of development of
society, the formation of an appropriate environment for future
generations. Azerbaijan is a country of great opportunities and the
Azerbaijani youth are facing the task of taking advantage of this
potential of the state in full.

The intensive economic development of the state over the past years has
created prerequisites for resolving the problem of unemployment among
young people. The creation of the Mortgage Foundation has mitigated
the housing problem for young families, the establishment of the
Council of State Support for Nongovernmental Organizations provides
for young people’s participation in implementing social projects
aimed at stepping up the activities of the third sector in the life
of the state. At the same time, President Ilham Aliyev’s decision on
educating 5,000 young people abroad has provided greater opportunities
for receiving higher education in the most modern fields, increasing
the general intellectual level of youth, forming a new world-view
environment, creating a basis for the development of new top managers.

President Ilham Aliyev has set a task to create a necessary basis
for new managers, for supplying the country with cadres, capable of
thinking in terms of categories of the modern world order, capable of
defending the state’s interests. To put it simply, if we are all to fly
in one plane, we have to choose its pilot based on his or her skill
of flying a plane rather than by social status or wealth. Therefore,
we need people who are self-motivated, intellectual and creative,
who are the true patriots. This strategic goal is based on three main
factors: the aspiration to ensure the success of the modernization
course, consolidate political institutions and traditions, preserve
the national identity in the conditions of intensive Westernization
and globalization. We have to remember that people deprived of its
roots are guided by their instincts and passions.

Young people, being the key element of the society, are an important
component of the democratization process, they work as an active
integrator of the public’s transparency. Unfortunately, however,
we have to state that separate political groups are often trying to
manipulate the naivety of the youth or their lack of experience. It
is a completely different issue when the youth become a mouthpiece
of the public will, a herald of positive social changes, act as a
significant element of the democratic transformation. It is, however,
absolutely inadmissible when an attempt is made to take advantage of
young people in order to promote various corporate interests or for
destructive ends.

In 2005, when a number of post-Soviet states had gone through
the stage of "colour transformations", the experience of Otpor,
Pora and Kmara [youth movements which participated in deposing
incumbent governments in Serbia, Ukraine and Georgia respectively]
became a source of inspiration for those who cherished the hope for
a similar "velvet revolution" in Azerbaijan. Various clientelist
youth organizations similar to those, whose task is to express and
fulfil exclusively the will of foreign advisers and sponsors, started
being created in the country. Having made a reference book out of
>From Dictatorship to Democracy by Gene Sharp, which people call a
"bible of non-violent revolutions", these organizations tried to lure
representatives of the Azerbaijani youth into a confrontation in the
name of fulfilment of quite suspicious ideas, presented as a tested
course for establishing democracy. Authors of the "colour scenarios"
simply failed to understand the fact that the Western societies rely
on traditions that took shape over decades and on the experience
they have acquired when overcoming the problem of dysfunction of a
representative democracy or of bringing democratic institutions in
line with the reality of the post-industrial era. While the societies
of the South and the East are yet to undergo an exceptionally
difficult process of creating and "grasping" the democratic
practices that are appropriate for their conditions and traditions,
the evolutionary forms of democratic changes without cataclysms and
catastrophic destruction. All attempts to copy and apply a model
of "democratization" which was nurtured in a different national
environment are baseless and, therefore, mistaken. The "export of
ideas" is similar to the "export of revolutions". Consider the past
experience: we know that the Soviet leadership’s attempts to "export"
socialist revolution to the Arab world and the African continent failed
despite spending millions of US dollars to this end. When implementing
an idea – any idea, including a progressive one – one needs to be
oriented to the real state of the society rather than a desired one.

At the same time, we should remember that the peculiarity of the
national democratic transition is that it is being implemented in a
country that does not at all belong to the category of traditional
societies. During the Soviet period, Azerbaijan became an industrial
country with a relatively high level of urbanization and education
among the population. During those years, completely new factors were
formed which allowed to subsequently provide for cultural prerequisites
of democratization of the Azerbaijani society. Naturally, the country’s
ties with the European civilized area played a significant role in
this regard. The archetypes of the Azerbaijani mentality have long
held the ideals of freedom albeit in the form corresponding to the
complementary milieu of the East and the West. During "Gorbachev’s
changes", which became a basis for the "Brownian motion towards
freedom of thought", these ideals became an embodiment of ideas
of establishing justice in the issue around Nagornyy Karabakh. The
aspiration to prevent the secession (separation – author’s note) of
Nagornyy Karabakh from Azerbaijan to join Armenia was the main idea,
the driving force of the popular movement in 1988-1989. It was after
the events that occurred in January 1990 that the idea of national
independence, which had been brewing within the masses, captured
people’s minds and became the main goal in the struggle for national
and state independence. Precisely these ideals encouraged those who
fought for the preservation of the statehood and independence from
the outset, in the difficult 1993 when the country was threatened not
only by the Armenian separatism but also by the internal rift. The
appearance of a large spectrum of political organizations and public
movements at the time demonstrated the existence of preconditions
for the development of the democratic and civil consciousness.

The representative democracy created in Azerbaijan became the only
possible alternative to the Soviet regime which had discredited
and destroyed itself. Its specific forms were – and this is
perfectly natural – borrowed from the societies where they were
best developed. However, we did not blindly copy the experience
of others. When adopting the "Western" patterns of democracy, we
acted in full accordance with the global historical experience of
democratization. Everywhere in the world, this process was accompanied
by critical comprehension of the foreign experience. Borrowing and
adoption were never as simple as a transfer of a "standard" or, more
precisely, an "imprint". This was not the case in Azerbaijan either.

It will soon be 17 years since we declared independence of our state
and rejected the political system of an autarchic Soviet society. The
generation of people, to whom the ideas and views of the communist
era are strange, is growing up in Azerbaijan today. Over these years,
the whole generation of young people who have not seen the difficulties
of the transformation and great social cataclysms of the first years
of independence, has been shaped. However, it is extremely important
to remember the history, to know and appreciate all the experience,
as understanding history would guarantee one from repeating the
mistakes of the past.

Modern Azerbaijan is a modernizing area of democratic transformation,
open economy and free citizens. Serving as a bridge between the
East and the West, Azerbaijan is not just a civilizational knot
but also an important geopolitical and geoeconomic factor. All of
this predetermines the attitude towards us both in the region and
beyond. We should understand that the laws of geographic determinism
often condition the relations. Neither should we ever forget that
"there are no true friends without true enemies".

Generation of responsibility

"A person can and must be patriotic. However, his or her knowledge
or professional level may not be up to the mark. In this case,
his or her devotion to homeland would not be able to fully satisfy
us. Professionalism, devotion to homeland and distinctive human
qualities should all complement each other," said Ilham Aliyev.

Azerbaijan is going through an absolutely new period of its
historical development. In the conditions of global transformation
and intensification of regional processes, the role and the place
of a state in global participation undergoes modification. The new
world order changes not only borders and forms of relation, it also,
to a great extent, shapes a different culture of relations between
individuals. Information and communications technologies are opening
new possibilities and prospects of relations for communication,
relations and friendship. It is perfectly clear that a person of the
late 21st century will be a lot more productive than a contemporary
person. This will to a large extent be the result of an increase in the
influence of innovative technologies on the life and consciousness of
the people. Even today it is hard to imaging people who do not have
e-mail or are not using information and communications technologies
of one kind or another.

The world of the 21st century is a space for new endeavours that are
inseparably linked to IT, which shapes society of the Post-Modern
[capitalization as published], the "knowledge-based society", in
other words, "information society".

The mankind has already entered the stage of its development which it
calls information society. It gradually comes into our lives as part
of the Post-Modern, post-industrial society which is swiftly altering
the customary norms and values. Unprecedented development of computer
technologies, satellite communications, information novelties, the
shift of emphases in terms of axiological orientation points, new bio
and nanotechnology discoveries and so on can serve as evidence. Thus,
global integration facilitates the crystallization of universal
categories, which are forming the principles, the arrangement of the
new world order. Nevertheless, it often fails to answer the question
as to whose rules determine the selection of these principles. All of
this symbolizes the fact that the humanity is already in a certain new
era which will determine the strategy of our development for the next
several decades. The key meaning of the ongoing transformations is that
global integration as such will be no longer changing its essence. From
now on, only two factors influencing the life of individuals will be
affected by the change: the speed, transience of processes and the
behavioural norms and stereotypes. The world is on the brink of the
"clash of speeds" ([Alvin] Toffler) and, therefore, these two aspects
of the social reality will change while everything else has already
achieved its final goal. In this situation, a person becomes involved
in virtually everything in a multifaceted way. Global processes impose
on us a responsibility to tackle an increasing number of tasks, to do
several things at the same time. Speed and transience are becoming
characteristic traits of our lifestyle to an increasingly greater
extent: three minutes of browsing the internet seem like eternity if
pages do no load in five or six seconds while pictures on cable TV
in the United States change every 3.5 seconds. As Alvin Toffler said,
"We live in the conditions of such super-speeds today that the old rule
‘time is money’ needs to be revised. Today, every period of time is
more expensive than the preceding one" [translated from Russian, not an
original quote] (A. Toffler, H. Toffler, "Revolutionary Wealth", M.,
2007, p 87). This globalization wave which is, in a way, similar to
a Kondratiev wave, will last several more decades. In the conditions
of globalization, postulated perception of reality, in many ways
imposed from outside by the media, is typical for most people. The
internet, having expanded the possibilities of accessing all kinds of
information, has simultaneously created a problem of filtering this
information. The social environment, social matrix is paying great
attention to this issue. The Internet provides for a new opportunity
for overcoming provincialism and separation. At the same time, the
internet stimulates the creation of increasingly more subtle worlds
that are hard to enter. The new system of inclusion and exclusion is
trying to resist noise, filth, violence and, to this end, it is using
"electronic walls" that are, in turn, vulnerable and easy to break.

It is a fact, albeit paradoxical, that the speedy progress, increase
in production of material goods and general "civilization" have quite
a negative effect on the conditions of a person. V. V. Partsvania
said: "A person is losing a foothold. A concrete ‘I’ tends to become
abstract and dissolve in the universal ‘I’. The helplessness of an
individual’s existence increases and its meaninglessness becomes more
profound. Collective social relations do not produce the main value
– a person, and do not make him the main goal" (V. V. Partsvania,
"Russia and Georgia: dialogue and cultural similarities: collection
of symposium materials", Collection of articles, Issue No 1,
V. V. Partsvania ed., St Petersburg: St Petersburg Philosophical
Society, 2003, p 255).

At the same time, if we are talking about a "philosophical
underpinning" of the information society, we have to mention Jean
Baudrillard, Karl Popper and other ideologues of "open society"
as well as the names of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Francis Fukuyama,
Daniel Bell, Alvin Toffler, who, in their works, proposed a thesis
about the upcoming replacement of the industrial society with the
"post-industrial" one, also called "information" and "cognitive"
society (a society capable to controlling its progress – author’s

The discussion of the problems of information society at the national
level – in our press, at the academic and practical conferences
and among managers – is very important and topical. Understanding
them may have a significant influence on the development of our
society, establishment of new behavioural norms and stereotypes and,
therefore, is likely to have a positive effect on the social relations
in general. The propaganda of the ideas of the information society,
the introduction of individual attributes of its components into our
everyday life will become an important precondition of accelerated
adoption of the full cycle of the post-industrial society and a
transition to the information society. The wish to live in the
information society is so enticing that a person is compelled to
undertake new obligations before the family, the society and even
oneself as he or she becomes a part of the global whole where he or
she is not just a participant but an integrator of the process.

Information has brought about the creation of a new sector of
industrial activity, new culture which gradually changes the
characteristics of not just the working but also spiritual life
of people. In turn, this creates the need for preparing educated
specialists. And if they constitute a significant part of the labour
force, a reverse positive correlation, which accelerates all social
processes, is brought into existence. A whole set of consequences,
which fundamentally change the orientation and the structure of the
society, is produced. Social orientation changes. The states which
propose and implement new scientific and technical ideas, create a
qualitatively new, more advanced industrial product, become leaders. To
this end, one needs to have a great number of scientists, engineers
and especially those who are directly involved in the manufacturing
of products and have a higher technical education. The preparation of
an educated maker in the post-industrial society acquires the quality
of an extremely important national task.

It is not an accident that Taiwan has assumed one of the leading
positions in the post-industrial civilization. For many years,
over 30 per cent of high school graduates continued their studies
in higher education institutions. Not the economy but education,
correct understanding of the trends of the global development have
turned Taiwan into a modern flourishing state.

This is applicable to our country as well. The development of high
technologies based on informatization and culture of labour is our only
chance, a real opportunity of becoming one of the leading states. There
is no problem more important than education and upbringing of the
people, preparation of highly qualified specialists, directly involved
in the manufacturing of products, material goods. Reliance on the
key natural resource – intellect and good education of the people –
is the most important condition for transition to the post-industrial
and, therefore, information society.

Creative intellectuals are considered to be the makers of the future
of any state. Overall, all of their activities in the spheres of
production and business, science, education, culture as well politics
are directed at the creation of the new with the aim of ensuring the
development of a state, making it competitive. By devoting itself to
creative work, this part of a nation is a special social group which
provides for a country’s integration with the progressive models
of global development. The youth along with representatives of all
professions represent the basis of the creative part of a nation. The
society in whose direction the mankind is moving is a new society
of creative type. Correspondingly, it requires creative personality,
culture and worldview. Precisely this kind of personality is capable
of keeping up with the pace of the time and is highly professional. It
is a scientifically proven fact that creative persons, when analysing
events, defending national interests and having the ability to see the
big picture, become catalysts of development and progress. Our most
important duty is to identify among the intellectual elite the share
of those who are determined to build the future and have creative
potential. The implementation of this extremely complicated problem
is shouldered by the political elite, those, who represent it.

President Ilham Aliyev’s youth, intelligence, talent and ability to
anticipate the events, his aspiration to make Azerbaijan reach the
level of the developed Western states by modernizing the country have
made him a powerful symbol of a leader-creator of the 21st-century
Azerbaijan. Five years is just an episode in the history. However,
it was precisely during these five years of Ilham Aliyev’s presidency
that the country managed to increase its economic significance, reach
a new stage in the recovery of the political atmosphere and formation
of the moral image of a citizen of an independent state. Throughout
these years, President Ilham Aliyev offered an appealing picture
of the future development to the people, showed them the prospects
of economic and political progress. His modernization strategy
revealed the magnitude of the nation’s potential. As a far-sighted
and shrewd politician, Ilham Aliyev is fully determined to mobilize
highly intellectual and spiritual reserves of the society in order
to fulfil the tasks of transition to the post-industrial information
society. Having stabilized the high pace of the country’s development,
which helps consolidate Azerbaijan’s new status in the opinion of
the international community, he became a leader of the state of the
era of innovation technologies.

We understand full well that natural resources are an important
factor of a state’s well-being. However, this is not the only or
the primary condition. Many developed European countries did not
have natural resources. Even if the majority of the population
has diplomas of higher education, this is not an indicator of its
prosperity. The main issue is to achieve quality transformations,
translate people’s activity into concrete actions when turning
human resources into intellectual capital. It has been established
that material assets today generate profits equal to intellectual
export. In India, computer programming specialists generate as much
income for their country as Russia receives by selling oil. Clearly,
the difference is immense as intellectual consciousness is renewable,
it is virtually inexhaustible while natural resources are not infinite.

The modern Azerbaijani youth grows up, understanding these axioms. The
future of the state lies with highly educated, self-motivated
young people, who have to ensure the country’s breakthrough in
terms of technological development, complete the cycle of national
modernization, transition to the information society which started
in the late 1990’s. "I am absolutely certain that without high levels
of education, without professionalism, without the familiarization of
youth with the most advanced technologies, it is impossible to build
a truly developed state," President Ilham Aliyev said (see Bakinskiy
Rabochiy, 27 May 2008).

In the opinion of prominent US sociologist Daniel Bell, the nature
of the modern society contains a postulate that "the pace of the
social progress depends on the degree to which the power is matched
by the intellect" [translation from Russian, not an original quote]
(see "The Coming of Post-Industrial Society", M., 1999, pp 546-547).

The youth must become an engine, a catalyst of fundamental
changes, modernization of all spheres of our country’s life. The
young generation’s readiness to tackle the most difficult tasks
of socio-economic transformation will determine the future of the
national statehood. Precisely this generation will be the necessary
social element of political, economic and social transformation which
will ensure the definite success of the country’s modernization course.

Over the years of public service, I have often had to communicate
with young people. This occurred both during the Soviet era
and in independent Azerbaijan. I have always felt proud for the
young people who stood out among their peers because they were
intelligent, had an active position in life, were hard-working and
highly cultured. Incidentally, many of the young people who were
responsible for the youth policy of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan
at the time are occupying quite important posts in the system of the
state authorities today. I remember that, at the time, some of them
were still young and self-motivated people ready to carry out the
most ambitious but, at the same time, rational plans.

In independent Azerbaijan, new independent youth bodies started being
formed: they are no less eager to undertake the implementation of the
projects aimed at building a successful future. There are many people
in nongovernmental organizations and among the youth represented in
the country’s political elite and counter-elite, who spare no efforts
or energy to build a democratic society, open economy, create new and
individual axiological orientation points in Azerbaijan. This is the
meaning of life of the people who see their mission in serving their
homeland. All we can wish for is for the country to have as many of
such people as possible.

At the same time, one can often hear a view that the youth are not the
same, that the new generation is completely different. The problem of
"fathers and sons" has not been removed from the agenda. Those who
make such statements forget that they themselves were targets of such
remarks at the time. The times are changing and, in the conditions of
the global transformation, these changes are happening at a higher pace
and more intensively. Not only the morals and customs are changing but
also the speed of the historical process. Should one take a closer
look at the events unfolding in the world, it is not hard to notice
that our era, having become 100 times shorter than the Neolithic era,
has led the historical process to the point of bifurcation (division
into two parts), that is to say, a breaking critical point in the
development of the system when internal fluctuations exceed its
potential for adaptation, and the condition of instability occurs. It
is well known, however, that, at each point of bifurcation, the system
chooses its own way of development, the movement trajectory. In short,
the processes that are unfolding in the society are significantly
affecting the worldview and activities of the youth of Azerbaijan –
a dynamically changing country.

Our country has been an arena for clashing of interests for
centuries. Being a tolerant space for dialogue and unification of
cultures and civilizations, Azerbaijan has always been targeted by
attempts to turn it into a zone of inter-religious antagonism and
confrontation. For centuries, Muslims, Jews and Christians have lived
and worked together on our territory. It is precisely the belonging to
the same land, one homeland that unites them, creating an opportunity
for their joint participation in the state building. This is our
great asset and it is the duty of the future generations to preserve
and develop it.

Azerbaijan is a country notable for its great spirituality. At the
same time, it has a universal quality shared by the whole mankind. This
spirituality determines the relations within the society, embodies the
moral code of every Azerbaijani citizen, plays a priority role in the
national self-consciousness. Spirituality of the peoples populating
Azerbaijan is not expressed solely through their religions although,
no doubt, Islam is an important component of the lives of the majority
of the country’s citizens. However, neither Islam nor any other
religion in Azerbaijan can be considered as an exclusively religious
concept. Faith is a defining factor of cultural and historical
identification of a citizen and this is precisely the way its place
and role in our lives should be understood.

Nevertheless, unfortunately, we have to state that the attitude towards
religion sometimes produces controversial reaction. For example, as
a consequence of the demographic Islamization of the Western world,
we can see that some forces are trying to use religion as a means
of radicalisation, political rivalry and dishonest struggle. After
[Azerbaijan] became independent, some external forces attempted
to introduce political Islam into the life of the Azerbaijani
society. However, the government managed to confront these attempts
with our high spirituality that had been tested through the centuries,
so they were prevented decisively and in a timely manner. People’s
beliefs are incompatible with the use of religion as a political
factor. Each religion is a factor of peace, harmony and tolerance,
and this is why each attempt to use the religion as a means of putting
pressure on the mass consciousness, formation of an environment with
the aim of implementing a certain political goal is in contradiction
with its philosophical essence. Religion should not become a target of
radical intentions and work as a factor of social pressure. The role
and the place of religious beliefs are highly respected in Azerbaijan
and, at the same time, there is a place for unconventional religious
groups there as [Azerbaijan] is a place of tolerance. Nonetheless,
no religion or religious sect can be used as a factor of changing
the political, economic or socio-cultural order.

Faith is an element of national identity, mentality, an archetype of
the Azerbaijani society which has served the idea of building a stable
society and a structure of peaceful coexistence. At the same time,
we understand full well that, without combining faith with knowledge,
we will not be able to take full advantage of the vast spiritual
resource of the nation for its total modernization, will not be able
to fully grasp the importance of another resource of the nation –
its intelligence. One has to admit that the reign of materialism of
the 20th century is over, its remains prevent the society from moving
ahead because they downplay the role of intelligence and spirituality
as the most important resource for development.

In the situation of such global perturbations and transformations,
the new generation of our citizens will have to tackle new, quite
important tasks.

First, one of the priority tasks facing this generation lies with its
active involvement in the process of democratization of the Azerbaijani
society. The socio-cultural image of the gradually democratizing
Azerbaijani society requires active involvement of the youth in
the democratization process. However, the participation in this
process should not be understood and perceived as a call for unlawful
political action. The aim of this participation is the facilitation
of the development of open civil society, the encouragement of the
development of a transparent environment, stepping up of activities of
student organizations whose work must be aimed at improving the quality
of students’ education, their familiarization with the achievements
of information and communications technologies and science, upbringing
of the country’s patriots.

Second, it is important to increase the intellectual level of our
youth since, as [Johan] Norberg said, "one of the most effective ways
to ensure the development of a personality and help a person earn
more is to educate him" [translation from Russian, not an original
quote] (J. Norberg, "In Defence of Global Capitalism", M., 2007,
p 33). Unfortunately, however, we have to say that the interest in
education has somewhat decreased over the past years. Scientific
and research works of young academics are not innovative, cause no
scientific interest and generally fail to meet the accepted academic
standards. Of course, to a certain extent, this has been conditioned
by socio-economic factors. But the country has grown much stronger
financially and economically. This is why, in order to improve the
situation in the country’s academic life, President Ilham Aliyev on
10 April 2008 signed a decree on the creation of the state commission
to carry out reforms in Azerbaijan’s academic activities. We should
think more about Azerbaijan’s future development in intellectual
context, think about what else needs to be done to create additional
and necessary conditions for improving the intellectual level and the
level of general education of the Azerbaijani youth. "A reading youth
– a reading people" – this is the most important social and political
order. At the same time, we should not forget that, regardless of the
tasks that we are tackling in the sphere of politics, economics or
to provide for the future development of the new generation, we must
look for the most effective ways and methods of implementing them,
use – as we already said – the achievements of modern science and
applied technology to this end.

One of the most prominent and influential US economists, John
Galbraith, said: "The industrial system is promoting its demands and
interests with skill and persistence… And the boundary between
the industrial system and the state, as we could see, is becoming
increasingly more artificial and indiscernible" [translated from
Russian, not an original quote] (J. Galbraith, "The New Industrial
State", M., St Petersburg, 2004, p 537). In the light of this
convergence of industrialism and the state, active introduction of
information technologies in the country becomes an important factor of
development. The world order cannot be imagined without the Internet
and instant messaging today. All of this is part of our life, our being
and social reality which acquires an increasingly different meaning
and "sound" after the invention of an LCD screen. Understanding full
well that the future of the Azerbaijani youth lies with active use
of advanced information technologies, the president adopted a state
programme "For the informatization of the education system of the
Republic of Azerbaijan in 2008-2012".

The main task of such programmes is to shape the strategy of the
national development in the era of information society by means
of a scientific approach. The Strategy of the Information and
Communications Technologies Development approved as early as in 2003
by [former] President Heydar Aliyev determined the goals and tasks
of the country’s technological breakthrough. Over the past years,
we have managed to take important steps in terms of the formation of
e-government although the process is still under way. In spite of this,
web-technologies are already playing an important role in the process
of liberalization of the national economy by means of setting up direct
connection, "dialogue" between the state and a citizen. Currently, a
whole number of executive bodies are coordinating their work by means
of information technologies, which allows increasing the speed and
improving the effectiveness of implementing the tasks. The development
of information technologies in Azerbaijan allows transformation of
the education sphere and provides for its transition to the new level:
applicants’ documents are being accepted, examinations are taken and so
on by means of internet technologies. A large-scale computerization of
Azerbaijani schools has been under way in the past several years. This
will help fully resolve the problem of computer illiteracy within
the next few years, thus bringing the level of education among the
Azerbaijani youth to a new stage.

A planned development of all spheres of information society in
Azerbaijan is important to us. A set of measures aimed at the creation
of the system of informational exchange within the country needs to
be implemented to this end. This will allow increasing the efficiency
of the executive bodies’ work.

Third, in the conditions of global transformation, preservation of the
national identity, traditions, language, history and socio-cultural
background of the Azerbaijani people is considered important. One
should not forget that the world today seeks to establish a new,
safer and more stable World Order [words capitalized]. Actors
change, global conditions transform, borders between states erode
under the pressure of transnational financial flows. All of this
significantly affects the role and the place of an individual in
the life of a society. Our society is subject to visible influence
by external factors which form the global culture. As a result,
the national culture, history, traditions become derivatives from
the global socio-cultural coordinate system, replacing everything
local and transforming national socio-cultural factors into a fused
global. Apparently, we will not be able to avoid this. But we will have
to struggle to maintain our unique national traits which facilitate
our progress towards universal values. This is why it is important
to not only preserve the national culture and traditions but also to
create conditions for their development and for passing them on to
the future generations. This is one of the key tasks of the modern
youth which plays the role of the main integrator of the national
identity into the future.

A nation that does not understand the significance of its own history
and culture is not ready to take the path of development. The authors
of Project Russia, a book quite controversial but popular in Russia,
aptly said: "The planet can be compared to a room full of high-pressure
balloons of different sizes and colours. Each one has its place and
simultaneously supports the others. As soon as the pressure decreases
in one balloon, the neighbouring balloons start squeezing it. It is the
spiritual values rather than the economy or the army that determine the
pressure. The consumerist civilization is puncturing balloons like a
needle. Should things continue this way, one day, the room will become
empty. The colour balloons will be lying on the floor like shreds of
coloured cloth" ("Project Russia", Book Two, M., 2008, p 121).

Fourth, when people are increasingly frequently talking about
national history, trying to rethink the path taken by the Azerbaijani
people over the past century, one has to be especially careful when
considering the issues that have determined and will determine the
strategy of the nation’s development. The new generation should
be able to appreciate everything that was and remains our national
heritage, what constitutes the history of the Azerbaijani people, what
we have lived with for many years and centuries. One cannot dismiss
the years spent as part of the Soviet Union. This is our history and
it is extremely important to remember and study it. We also have to
give a serious thought to the history of formation of the Democratic
Republic of Azerbaijan in order to pay tribute to those who were among
the pioneers of the first democratic republic in the East. The names of
those who signed the Declaration of Independence have to be remembered
and honoured. This is our history which defined our future development.

When talking about history, we should not be guided by any kind
of political speculations and insinuations. History is a concrete
statement of facts where the role of processes or persons should be
determined based on reality rather than mythological works created
based on corporate interests. Today, our history must be a set of
precise and concrete facts which reflect the reality. Precisely this
kind of an approach will let us build effective statehood.

Fifth, the Azerbaijani society is facing a task of bringing up
new managers, young executives, technocrats, people who will be
responsible for preserving the statehood, for the effectiveness of
the development strategy, successful implementation of modernization
ideas introduced today, for the future of the country. All of these
tasks will have to be tackled by those who are probably still school
pupils or students today. It is nevertheless already clear that they
will have to implement concrete and important tasks. To this end,
it is important that a political culture which is in the interests
of the Azerbaijani people and has a large enough potential for
the elaboration of the national democratic model is formed in the
society today. It is important that we develop and refine our own
development strategy without expecting anyone to offer us a model of
state development nurtured in a foreign environment on a tray. At
the same time, we have to be prepared [to deal with the fact] that
someone will not like our way of development, that someone will be
worried about the country’s independent policy, that someone will be
outraged by the independent policy implemented by the authorities. We
have to be able to distinguish between right and wrong, understand
whether the criticism directed against us reflects the real flaws or
takes the shape of geopolitical and geoeconomic pressure. It is hard
to disagree with a Russian politician who put it very accurately:
"We have to be understanding about the grumbling and critical remarks
made about our domestic affairs from abroad: those who are grumbling
and shouting need this kind of democracy in our country so that they
could live better".

People are often trying – and will keep trying – to show us the way
of development, the strategy of modernization, they will keep telling
us what we should or should not do. These are the negative effects
of the time which takes shape under the influence of the unilateral
world order which has, however, long stopped being unipolar. The
global integration made the world diverse in political and economic
terms. As for the socio-cultural aspects, it is creating new conditions
which pose a threat to the traditional archetypes. Despite everything,
national political culture should be based on the three factors which
will provide for the preservation of sovereignty, effectiveness of
development and ideology of statehood.

First, the openness and transparency of the system will serve as a
basis for the formation of the new political space of the country
where competitiveness and competition for the true embodiment of
public interests represent the priority task of political forces. We
have to admit that political forces which could fully reflect the
interests of the society and the state have failed to take shape in the
country. Opposition parties are completely dependent on their leaders,
their remarks and statements today. Political institutions have been
personified here. There are as many parties in the political arena as
there are persons. Given the fact that none of the opposition parties
has proposed a blueprint of social and economic modernization, it is
possible to conclude that a person is in fact a political institution
in our political culture. Not the only one but the most important
one. One should not forget, however, that the role of parties and
political organizations is invaluable in a pluralist society. They
are the most important factor of political stability, development
and democratic transformation.

Second, the liberal ideas which are gradually taking shape in the
Azerbaijani society during its democratic development will define
the future of the country’s political culture. However, we should
not think that liberalization serves nothing but the building of a
"night watchman state". A strong state with guaranteed freedom,
provision for citizens’ rights and duties is a priority for our
statehood. Francis Fukuyama is right when he says: "Only the state
is capable of uniting and purposefully allocating the law-enforcement
forces. These forces are necessary to ensure the rule of law within a
country and to maintain international order. Those who advocate the
‘twilight of the statehood’ – whether they are proponents of a free
market or side with the idea of multilateral agreements – need to
explain what exactly will replace the power of sovereign nation states
in the contemporary world… In reality, this gap has been filled by a
motley collection of international organizations, criminal syndicates,
terrorist groups and so on which can, to a certain extent, have power
and legitimacy but rarely both at the same time. Having no precise
answer, all we can do is return to a sovereign nation state and
try to understand once again how to make it strong and successful"
[translated from Russian, not an original quote] (see F. Fukuyama,
[?State Building], M., 2006, p 199).

Today, our political culture, being a derivative of the whole set of
geopolitical and geoeconomic factors experienced in the post-Soviet
area, reflects the aspects of national development which display
convergence of neoconservatism and neo-liberalism. This fusion of
two ideological platforms is a reflection of the new idea in the
contemporary world-system. Such convergence is a basis of what is
happening with the world order today. Immanuel Wallerstein wrote: "Ten
years from now, neo-liberal globalization will be called a cyclical
deviation in the history of the capitalist world-economy. The question
is not whether this phase is over but whether this deviation will
be able to restore a relative balance in the world-system the way it
happened in the past" [translated from Russian, not an original quote]
(I. Wallerstein, "2008: The Demise of Neo-liberal Globalization",

Today, the Azerbaijani society is developing in compliance with
the global processes which are transforming the essence and meaning
of social relations. A global crisis which unfolded right in front
of us in the sphere of finances and politics has demonstrated that
the system of global management institutions is incapable of coping
with the challenges it is facing. We are witnessing the vacuum of
global institutionalization when there are no international arenas
for tackling concrete problems that are pressing today. At the
same time, the "global interdependence" determines the way these
processes affect sovereign states. As a result, it often happens
that the way development is understood becomes a factor of external
involvement while sovereignty is undermined by the illusionary new
economic order. It is perfectly clear that the world order that has
been created over the past decade never managed to provide for safe
and stable development of the mankind. The institutions of global
political and economic security suggested after the World War II proved
to be impotent when confronted by the urgent threats and challenges
that the mankind is facing today. This is why a new approach to the
formation of global stability – rather than traditional responses to
unconventional threats – is required.

The global community today is silently accepting the restrictions
on its independence, if not the loss of national sovereignty. The
development of information technologies, internationalization of
education, dependence on the "strong ones" in promoting one’s own
political and economic interests have shaped what we habitually call
"globalization" today. In reality, however, this globalization is a
different, new form of expansion, skilfully disguised as a factor of
world integration. It is not without a reason that theoreticians of
globalization claim that the winners in this race are only the strong
ones while the weak ones are being sidelined.

The task facing the new independent states today lies with the
appropriate evaluation of their own capabilities and significance. We
are talking about choosing the path of modernization that would
facilitate the innovative development of the state on the one
hand and preserve its conservative moral and spiritual values on
the other. At the same time, as was aptly put by Russian President
Dmitriy Medvedev not long ago, "an effective system of stimuli for
rational behaviour – the behaviour based on the balance evaluation
of risks and assessment of possibilities – should be created within
the framework of modernization".

In view of the rapidly changing world reality, the statements
that states have the right to choose their own strategy and pace
of development become increasingly topical. An important role in
this regard is not to be played by "international policemen" but
directly by the societies that are to form democratic traditions and
institutions and abide by them in accordance with their historical
path and socio-cultural development. These societies are the ones
capable of building an appropriate democratic environment which will
determine the state development for years ahead.

Azerbaijan, as a sovereign state, has the necessary potential for
the formation of a stable, transparent, open democratic system and a
liberal economy. Our long-term strategic task is to make Azerbaijan
an important link in the chain of the democratically developed
states, capable of meeting the challenges of the forthcoming new
civilization. The historical past of the first democratic republic in
the East provides us with great prospects for such a demarche. However,
the political elite alone will not be able to fulfil this task,
which is why active involvement of civil society institutions and,
more precisely, the whole Azerbaijani society in general, is to play
an important role. At the ceremony to mark the 90th anniversary of
the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, President Ilham Aliyev said:
"I can see no obstacles before us, simply all decisions that are
made have to be implemented in a timely manner, we need strict public
control. When carrying out political reforms, we are simultaneously
paying attention to the strict public control in order to let
people follow all the moves made by the state, by the government,
and thoroughly analyse them. If need be, some reforms should be
amended. We cannot do this without holding broad discussions. This
is why all key decisions made in Azerbaijan become subject of broad
discussions both among the public and in Milli Maclis [parliament],
the government and public organizations. The views, approaches,
positions of the Azerbaijani people and the Azerbaijani authorities
coincide in this regard" (Bakinskiy Rabochiy, 28 May 2008).

President Ilham Aliyev’s call for strengthening public control
represents the strategy of consolidating and developing the Azerbaijani
statehood. Today, the Azerbaijani society has reached the stage when
there should be no dividing lines whatsoever between the state and the
society. The society must actively participate in the democratization
and liberalization of the national space, and this is the only way
we can confirm that we are moving towards the democratic consolidation.

In addition to public control, we should intensify the state’s role in
providing for law and order, democratic development and transparency
of the executive branch, accountability of every official before the
government hierarchy and society. At the same time, each citizen of
Azerbaijan should understand the whole weight of responsibility that
he or she undertakes before the state. The pace of global development
compels peoples to face new tests. Only responsible approach will
allow us to achieve specific goals set beforehand. Our main criteria
in the formation of the control system will be the three principles
that represent the essence of the state power: the rule of law,
responsibility and accountability. Understanding these factors will
help the state system and the executive branch to work with maximum
efficiency, will assist us in our struggle with the negative factors
of our reality.

When talking about strict state control, we are by no means following
the example of proponents and advocates of an autarchic system. Far
from it. The system of state control is actively applied in all
democratically developed countries. The goal of our intention to
increase the state control is to ensure a stable, safe and democratic
development of the state. Our priority is a free person who has
certainty in his or her state and in tomorrow, managers for whom
state interest is the meaning of life. Therefore, the success of
modernization and building of an efficient statehood in Azerbaijan
depends on how each civil servant approaches the tasks set before
him or her, on responsible implementation of the tasks set by the
head of state and on the accountability of each one of us before
society. We need to understand that the state is all of us together,
society which aspires to achieve a breakthrough, an innovative leap and
novelties, wants to rationally borrow advanced Western technologies,
and this goal is our development strategy in the 21st century. Our
choice is predetermined by the aspiration to invest in human capital
and consolidate the statehood through the development of democratic
traditions and institutions, liberal economy, rational use of natural
resources, improvement of people’s wellbeing. This is the long-term
strategy of national development defined by President Ilham Aliyev.

Finally, the third important component of the new political culture
in Azerbaijan will be the national idea as the key element of
modernization of the Azerbaijani society. Precisely the national idea
is the dominating aspect of intensive development of a nation in the
conditions when there is an idea of optimal behaviour of a person for
the benefit of himself or herself and the society, more precisely,
the nation. At the same time, as a result of the fact that a national
idea always depends on various factors – beginning with socio-political
and down to natural and climatic ones. As an important aspect of the
national development, it is a temporary representation of a given
development strategy.

It has to be noted that a national idea is the sphere of the public
consciousness which remained outside the scope of the national academic
research despite the fact that it is the most powerful catalyst of
social processes. When talking about nationalism with the meaning of
the "national idea", a prominent Azerbaijani enlightener and public
figure, Ahmad-bay Agayev wrote as early as at the dawn of the 20th
century: "It was and will be the source of the greatest heroic deeds
in the history. Without it, many peoples would still be suffering from
a foreign yoke and, thanks to it, many are yet to find an acceptable
[way out]" (see Agayev A. B., "Our Nationalists", Kaspiy, No 207,
25 September 1903).

The existence of Turkic Azerbaijanis counts a millennium but
the Azerbaijani self-consciousness dates back to the time when
M. F. Axundov, H. B. Zardabi, M. Kazimbay, M. A. Topcubasev,
M. A. Sahtaxtinskiy and, even earlier, A. K. Bakixanov (1794-1846)
asked the existential question about what is Azerbaijan, what is its
ethnogenesis, mission and place in the interaction of peoples and
states? These issues were being raised on the pages of newspapers
especially actively on the eve of and after the First Russian
Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution and the Russo-Japanese War. The
Azerbaijani intelligentsia (A. Agayev, A. Huseynzada, M. Rasulzada,
C. Mammadquluzada, O. Nemanzada, N. Narimanov and others) understood
that the progress of the society had to be speeded up, its energy
channelled towards a road well-trodden by advanced nations. However,
it was only possible through the awakening and enlightenment – diverse,
principally pluralist and principally public – of the people.

Of course, understanding the first "impetus" which awakened public
consciousness and self-consciousness in studying the history of
social thought in Azerbaijan represents an academic and practical
interest. However, it is also important to know something else. While
the "national idea" of the Azerbaijani people was expressed by
M. A. Sahtaxtinskiy (1891) as a unique direction – "Azerbaijanis",
"the Azerbaijani language", and later by M. E. Rasulzada – "the
Azerbaijani people", "Azerbaijanis", the discussion of the "national
idea", having changed its trajectory, found its expression in the triad
of "Turkism, Islamism and modernity", proposed by Turkism ideologues
A. Huseynzada and Ziya Goyalp in the early 20th century.

Thus, in 1905-1918, representatives of the Azerbaijani national
movement managed to form the content of the "national idea" as
"Azerbaijanihood" which incorporated the elements of history, culture,
traditions, an ethnic component, new trends of the era and standards
of the European mentality and lifestyle. The issue on the agenda was
the choice between the "Azerbaijanihood" and "Turkism". The "Turkism,
Islamism and modernity" formula was used as a philosophical and
political doctrine of the national development. Afterwards, this triad
acquired a status of the national idea of the Democratic Republic of
Azerbaijan. It was a compromise response to the political turmoil that
raged around the South Caucasus and especially Azerbaijan at the time.

Today, "Azerbaijanihood" as a "national idea" has a different, new
form. For the modern generation of Azerbaijanis, it is philosophy,
politics, ideology and social action. It is a social, moral and
psychological source of the nation’s strength in an absolutely new
period of time. There is strength, social energy in this national idea
and it is capable of uniting the society with the aim of resolving the
main task in the post-industrial era. The national idea is a founding
principle which defines the content of the goal, ways and means of
achieving it. Patriots without a concrete national idea resemble
soldiers in the battlefield without a concrete tactic and strategy.

Some of us may often hear: "What can I do?", "Nothing depends on me",
"Do I have to do this?" As a result, a certain defeatist syndrome takes
shape in society when no-one wants to undertake the responsibility
for various social, economic or – worse – political disproportions
in development. It is not so much about the responsibility as about
co-participation in settling a problem. Everyone considers it one’s
duty to "look up", wait for a problem to be resolved as a result
of making a corresponding decision "from above". Could this ever
allow us to develop our state and society in a stable and sustainable
manner? Every citizen, every member of society, every individual today
is a law-maker of the socio-political and economic structure of the
society taking shape in the country. Everyone is responsible for the
processes that unfold around us or things that happen to us. We are
building this state together, forming a democratic regime, improving
Azerbaijan’s economic prospects.

The success of the national modernization to a great extent depends
on the social activeness of the youth. [Young people] are often the
authors of new ideas, original solutions. This is why the maximalist
attitudes of the youth should be directed at the creation and
consolidation of the statehood. High levels of education, ability to
think, talent, rationalism, scientific and technical way of thinking,
patriotism and inspiration – these qualities should distinguish our
modern youth. The new generations should remember this in order to
keep providing for the effective development of the national statehood.

The national idea implies the task of creating a necessary, appropriate
environment for effective and intensive political, economic and social
development. At the same time, one should not confuse the national
idea with the expressions of nationalism or chauvinism as the goal of
the national idea is to tone down the mutually destructive struggle
between the forces of the society.

In place of conclusion: ideology or idea?

"Personal responsibility is as much of an inalienable trait of
capitalism as personal freedom." J. Norberg [translated from Russian,
not an original quote].

John Galbraith wrote: "All the necessary changes, including
the change in views which form the military and foreign policy,
affect the sphere of spiritual emotions and intellectual interests"
[translated from Russian, not an original quote] (J. Galbraith, "The
New Post-Industrial Society" [as published], M., 2007, p 539). The era
of post-industrialism has made its corrections to the understanding
of what we called ideology for many years. It is impossible to
imagine the years of the Soviet totalitarianism without an ideology
which regulated all activities of the state and the people, down to
the final days of their lives. In the era of Gorbachev’s reforms,
ideology became a symbol of everything negative that we had to live
with, started representing Communism as something anti-popular,
antidemocratic, completely contrary to human reason. Subsequently,
thanks to "democrats" and populists, the word "ideology" quickly
went out of fashion and started being considered an archaism or a
historical term, depending on who preferred what. Ideology started
reminding of the past, the past to which no-one wanted to return. Few
people thought about the fact that ideology by itself very rarely
embodies ideas or views that aim to destroy a whole state or impoverish
peoples. Neither did they recall that a true communist ideology as such
laid claims exclusively on general solidarity and equal distribution of
opportunities. Nevertheless, due to objective and subjective factors,
communism in the Soviet Union came to represent a decline, collapse of
the country, meaningless geopolitical competition, mutually destructive
ethno-national conflicts. Thus, the term "ideology" for a former
Soviet citizen became an antithesis of effective state development.

The end of the Cold War transformed the "positions" of ideology in
academic and political literature, including in the research conducted
in the Western countries. The concept of ideology was not even
considered when describing political parties. This does not, however,
mean that in the world we live in ideological struggle has become a
thing of the past, the struggle between different ideas has stopped,
there are no clashes of worldviews, social ideals, socio-political
ideas. On the contrary, as in the past, all of this permeates the
consciousness every hour and every day. Sometimes we do not notice or
ignore it. Nevertheless, we keep living in the "ideological era". The
dispute about the essence of ideology starts as soon as people realize
that, in a socially diverse society, any motives of ideal nature always
in some form express concrete ideas and interests – important ones
at that. Ideology itself plays the role of a relatively systematized
expression of ideas and goals, interests, aspirations, drives, motives,
social ideals of large social groups. The notions of "ideology" and
"forms of public consciousness" intertwine but do not fully coincide
with each other. Ideology is a very complex, "multi-reflected" form
of spiritual activity. This is why people often complain about the
complexity of the notion of ideology itself. "Only a few words in
the vocabulary of social research proved to be as controversial and,
at the same time, as influential as ideology…" Irving L. Horowitz,
one of the prominent representatives of the "sociology of knowledge",
said [translated from Russian, not an original quote].

The World Encyclopaedia of Philosophy says: "Ideology is a notion
which traditionally refers to a set of ideas, myths, legends,
political slogans, party manifestos, philosophical concepts; while
not being religious in its essence, ideology is based on the reality,
perceived or ‘constructed’ in a certain way, is oriented towards
practical interests of people and aims to manipulate and control
people by influencing their consciousness" (see M., 2001, p 386).

There is a difference between the notions of "ideology" and "idea". In
a way, the former stems from the latter. An idea which preoccupies
the mines of large social groups of people becomes a powerful weapon
in implementing its goals and interests. "Idea is a notion widely
used in various philosophical systems to describe the most advanced
forms of spirit (knowledge)", the World Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
says (see M., 2001, p 388). It is considered to be one of the main
forms of human cognition. In Kant’s philosophy, idea is a notion
of the mind which has no equivalent in experience. Ideas occur as
a result of attempts to go beyond sensation and are considered by
Kant to be principles that set the goal for cognition. For Hegel,
the absolute idea is the highest point of the knowledge development
which incorporates all of the preceding forms of knowledge and is
therefore the highest objective truth where the thought and reality
coincide (ibidem).

The shift of geopolitical orientation points has led to the quick
introduction of ideological concepts of developed societies elaborated
in the West – conservatism, liberalism, social democracy, their neo
versions and convergences – in the place of the ideological views of
the communism. They were easily adopted by some societies while in
others, failing to find social, political and economic basis, they
were evened out in accordance with traditional foundations of a given
society. Remarks started being made that ideological concepts of the
West are alien to traditional societies and [these societies] will
develop exclusively based on their own traditional way of development.

Attempts immediately started being made to apply social democratic,
conservative or liberal ideas, which were still alien to the
Azerbaijanis, in the national political space. Unfortunately,
the practical experience quickly demonstrated that it was hard
for a state on the brink of collapse, with stagnating economy
and political chaos to choose an imported ideological concept,
especially given that it [the state] had just given up on its own,
quite unsuccessful experience of ideological domination. It would
take years for any ideological concept to start working in the
national space, for a minimum opportunity to appear for applying any
concepts and ideas in Azerbaijan. In addition to that, the time was
needed for the development of political and economic institutions,
formation of public consciousness associated with the democratic
traditions and norms, liberalization of the economic structure,
change of political arrangement. It would take years for important
geopolitical and geoeconomic projects to start working, for social
events to start being carried out, for public priorities to start
being reassessed, for the country to begin breathing freely. In short,
it would take tireless efforts and sleepless nights to overcome the
negative repercussions of the post-Soviet transition and determine
an historical concept of the national development.

Now that the larger part of this path has been completed, overcome,
we can easily say in the hindsight that what has been done belongs
to the future generations. We also have to state an important and
memorable truth: all of this is the result of labour of one person,
Heydar Aliyev. For him, the national idea has always meant serving
his homeland. He had founded the philosophy of Azerbaijanihood
(which incorporates both idea and ideology) which, as a constant
concept of the successful development of the nation and the state,
is the embodiment of the socio-political and economic modernization
of Azerbaijan. As a cultural and historical layer of the national
development, it determines the main ways and directions of strategic
development, is reflected in the inviolability of the national
language, priority role of the national culture and importance
of national values. All of this represents a set of the national
ideological model which has been formed with the understanding of the
changing role of the country in both regional and global conditions.

Ideology is a product of the mind while ideas are produced by the
time. The analysis of the possibilities of a given Western ideological
concept in Azerbaijan and their prospects is beyond the scope of
this article. However, when we are touching on this issue, it becomes
increasingly more apparent that our goal is the building of a state
with a strong or, more precisely, stable and sustainable government,
a state promoting rights and freedoms of its citizens, attributing
great significance to its historical roots and traditions and making
free market and transparency of economic relations a priority task of
its development. These are the goals that were set by Heydar Aliyev and
[their achievement] today will provide for effective state building. We
are moving in this direction without a rush as each one of our steps
is though-out and well-considered. We understand full well that we
are responsible for this state, for this arrangement, sovereignty and
independence, for each one of our citizens, and understanding this
eternal truth gives us the strength to move with greater confidence
towards building an open society and a democratic state with correctly
working and balanced economic system.

In the conditions of "revolutionary wealth" (Alvin Toffler/Heidi
Toffler), the role of a person, the way a person is affected by
ideological concepts and views is, in effect, changing. Today, when
mass media are replaced by blogs, when business operations are carried
out via the internet and communication with a vast number of people
can be established by means of video connection not only on a computer
but also through a telephone, the following question arises: what is
the "ideology of global disorder"? And if this is order, what is it
like and is there a place for ideology in it? In the contemporary
world, precisely information and communication technologies shape
the ideology, its contents and successful introduction to people’s
consciousness. If we make a basic estimate of the degree to which IT
is part of our lives, [the fact that] 900 million people are internet
users, 1.4 billion people use mobile telephones and 800 million have
personal computers makes it clear that the ideology of modernity
is formed by an LCD screen with everything behind it. Can we talk
about the CNN effect today as we can listen to the opponents of the US
domination on the internet without any interference or broadcasting of
any media? Is there a need to assert that blogs maintained by ordinary
internet users are often more popular and get more hits than the
websites of news agencies? The modern worldview will soon be formed
by the specific, rejecting the global and increasingly plunging into
the local. This is precisely how the ideology of the modern world
– the space defined by the convergence of possibilities – is being
shaped. Alvin and Heidi Tofflers are absolutely right when they write
that "no-one could say with certainty where these discoveries would
lead and that, in real life, they would become a profitable good or
service that people would want to have and business or governments
would supply them" [translated from Russian, not an original quote]
(see A. Toffler, H. Toffler, "Revolutionary Wealth", p 26)

Azerbaijan has reached the level of development when its society
actively opposes ideological concepts of isolated, autarchic
society. As the Azerbaijani state is developing, a new environment is
taking shape where freedom – both internal and external – is becoming
an increasingly greater priority. Today, an individual is shaping his
or her own world based on real and often virtual considerations. It
cancels all of the accepted customary norms and standards. The
struggle for the mind of individuals and societies unfolds without
cannons and guns. In the contemporary world, a war is won by those
who correctly use knowledge and innovative technologies. However,
regardless of the ideology of the real or virtual world, one should
not forget that the Azerbaijanihood as a national philosophy of
action, the idea of statehood, the ideal of patriotism and heroism,
the value of the national socio-cultural image and the archetype of
the Azerbaijani identity should always be the basis of the moral and
socio-cultural image of Azerbaijan’s new generation.