February 1, 2006

A ceremony of presenting books by the Russian Pushkin Library Fund to the Heydar Aliyev Foundation

On February 1, ceremony of donation of the books from the Russian Pushkin Library Fund was held at Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

Ceremony was opened by President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva.

Speech by Mehriban Aliyeva:

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

First of all I would like to welcome in Heydar Aliyev Foundation the general director of the Fund "Pushkin Library" Maria Vedenyapina, chair of international department of the Moscow State Institute of the international relations, professor Tatyana Alekseyeva.

The today's exhibition of the books presented by Fund "Pushkin Library" to Heydar Aliyev Foundation in fact opens a lot of actions, which will be carried out within the framework of the Year of the Russian Federation in Azerbaijan. You, probably, well remember all, that according to the Soviet statistics, Soviet Union was considered as the most reading country in the world. And I, probably, shall not be mistaken, if I shall tell, as today the post-Soviet space is the most reading space in the world. And consequently, when during the certain period of development of our countries the edition of books was sharply reduced, has disappeared scientific literature, fiction, we began to feel the real book famine.

Revival of publishing house was accompanied, on the one hand, by a sharp rise in price of books, on the other hand, fear, that henceforth we are doomed only for reading of detectives, ladies' novels, culinary books and horoscopes. But, fortunately, in the society there appeared forces which have managed to meet this deepest crisis, and the today's exhibition is evident to that confirmation.

I think, that you though it is superficial, had an opportunity to familiarize with this literature. It is really that true and scientific literature without which it is impossible to present not only education and science, but also, as a whole, the life of society. I want to pay especially your attention to textbooks. It is obvious, that in a new political situation in the independent states has ripened a question on creation of absolutely new type of textbooks. And the "Pushkin Library" in Russia became one of few structures that has actively supported and participated in development of this program. Among the books submitted to your attention there are more than 800 textbooks. In our republic, this problem today is very topical. And I very much hope, that in the near future all of us will become witnesses of revival of publishing house in Azerbaijan. Probably, it is possible to name the beginning of this process, that large-scale project which is already carried out in the country within 2 years. This is edition of the Azerbaijan, foreign, classical and modern literature on Latin script. This year this project will be continued. Besides, according to the Decree of the President, the Ministry of Education prepares for the separate big program on textbooks, which will cover all directions of specialties of the higher school. And, certainly, at realization of this program, it is very valuable for us the Russian experience, in particular, experience of the "Pushkin LIbrary".

I want to note especially, that Azerbaijan is, probably, the unique country on all the post-Soviet space where is preserved in such great volume of education in Russian both on the secondary and in the higher school. And, financing of this education goes as against some adjacent republics from the budget of the Azerbaijan Republic. WE have in the country the Slavic University that prepare for specialists practically on all Slavic languages. And we are proud today of that we could preserve cultural field of the great Russian literature. Certainly, it is the cultural bridge between Azerbaijan and Russia.

You, probably, well remember all, that in our common past one of popular propaganda slogans of the Soviet period was as such: "The Book is the best gift". And if we in those years concerned to this phrase a little bit ironically, today, looking at this fantastic variety of very good and necessary books, we recognize, that, really, the book is the best gift".

Let me express once again my gratitude to Director General of the "Pushkin Library" Fund Maria Vedenyapina for such precious gift and give the floor to her.