TODAY.AZ / Politics

Nakhchivan model of economic development paradigm of renaissance history

02 April 2023 [11:00] - TODAY.AZ

By Susanbar Aghamaliyeva, Ph.D in Philology

The term renaissance which reflects a historical development stage, meaning rebirth in its French origin, was used back in the Middle Ages by Italian philosophers. Apart from that, Renaissance means revival, renewal, restoration, and a new rise. It occurs wherever there is a comprehensive development in all areas.

Nakhchivan is the only example in humankind's history of creating a renaissance in the conditions of a blockade. Of course, the road leading to the renaissance first lies through economic development. Then following the economic thrive, the culture, education, health care, and other spheres rise through efforts.

In this sense, the Nakhchivan model of economic development is one of the aspects of Nakhchivan's renaissance history that must be studied in depth and analyzed. The main achievement of this model is attaining development in the conditions of a blockade, in the absence of a direct link with the main territory of the country, as well as the sustainable nature of development and the way of its rapid evolution.

The blockade is not a barrier to the development of Nakhchivan

In conditions where economic and transport links are restricted, it is a peculiar trait of the Nakhchivan development model to achieve the high economic activity, tap into the production potential, consistently build, resolve social problems, and most importantly, improve the living conditions of the population. All of this allows us to call the post-1995 period of our history the 'renaissance period of autonomy'. Despite the difficulties of the blockade, a major construction program was implemented in Nakhchivan in 1995-2023, important achievements were made in all spheres. The large-scale construction efforts and comprehensive development of the region are realities that are similar to a miracle. In the five thousand years of the cultural history of Nakhchivan, there is hardly a period as magnificently valorous as the past 30 years. How was the progress achieved?

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"What matters most is the love for the motherland. The economic opportunities may be big or not so big. However, if there is a love for the motherland, much can be accomplished even with restricted economic opportunities."

These words of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev explain the reasons for the renaissance that emerged in the blockade conditions. Back in 1996 at one of the meetings Parliament Speaker of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Vasif Talibov said: "They have found a good excuse and link every shortcoming or their own inactivity with the blockade." He thus openly announced that the blockade is not a barrier to development. Nakhchivan is an unprecedented example of finding a renaissance through development as a result of good administration, love for the motherland, and taking ownership of the native land.

In the modern Nakhchivan, built on the love for the motherland, it is only the visible side of implemented measures that large-scale construction efforts are underway, roads and bridges are built, production facilities are created, schools, hospitals, sports complexes, village and service centers are constructed, the residential houses are rebuilt, the provision with electricity, gas, and water is improved. The purpose for all works carried out in the name of the bright future of Nakhchivan is unmeasurable and it is hard to simply comprehend it.

Today in the autonomous republic the demand for the majority of food and non-food products is met through domestic supply and the export potential of Nakhchivan is increasing by the day. The objective set forth is to meet the demand for all products through local production and completely eradicate the dependence on imported products.

Probably one of the main achievements scored in the republic on this front is the full provision of energy and food security in the region. Nakhchivan used to import energy, and now it exports electricity. The autonomous republic has been 100 percent provided with gas. President Ilham Aliyev highly regarded the work done in this sphere and said:

"Today Nakhchivan not only completely provides itself with energy, but even exports it. Most importantly, Nakhchivan meets its domestic demand 100 percent through renewable energy sources. This is a scene which I can say is a rare sight indeed in the world".

The provision of energy security created the conditions for the development of industry in the autonomous republic. Agriculture used to account for the majority of the gross domestic product in the autonomous republic, but today it has turned into an industrial-agricultural region. As a result of measures carried out to build a modern economy with the industrial sector in the leading roles, major achievements have been scored in recent years. Starting in 1996 the mothballed industrial facilities resumed their operations and new production areas were built. Consequently, new industrial products are manufactured, and, in general, industrial production has dynamically grown. Today it can be said that Nakhchivan produces everything, from food products to cars.

In addition to the industry, the development of agriculture is also at the center of attention. As a result of meeting the demand for irrigation water and creating the agro-leasing service the provision of agricultural equipment increased and this prompted the farmers to become more attached to the land. Consequently, every year the arable area and production increase. The land suitable for harvesting has been completely used. In addition to increasing the production of the strategic product, wheat, and grain warehouses were built to ensure food security.

In order to improve the living standards of rural residents in parallel to the work done to develop agriculture, the living conditions of the people were brought in line with modern standards. The construction of new school buildings, village and service centers, and roads built up to modern standards eliminated the difference between the city and village and brought urban comfort to villages.

Future development lies in hands of the intelligent generations

The development of any region is primarily up to the locally educated people. If there are a sufficient number of specialists and intelligent people, then all sectors of the economy can be developed. Hence, developing education became one of the main goals of Nakhchivan. Over the past 23 years, more than 300 educational facilities were built or refurbished in the villages and towns of the autonomous republic. There are no differences between school buildings in the most remote mountain villages of the autonomous republic and those built in the town of Nakhchivan.

The love for the motherland, dedication to the native land, determination, and will, as well as the great creative energy of the head of the autonomous republic is an example for everyone. Basking in the light of this example a great army of patriots, creative and constructive young people are growing up. These young people intend to not only bring even greater progress to Nakhchivan but to even restore the historical territories that were violently taken from it.

Healthcare is the basis of a robust future

Human health stands at the foundation of any creative and constructive activity. For this reason, consistent efforts are made to develop health care in Nakhchivan. In the past 30 years, the autonomous republic built or refurbished offices for 250 healthcare facilities. Modern equipment has been supplied to the hospitals built in the town of Nakhchivan and in district centers, as well as to the small clinics in the villages. No more does a resident of the remote village of Sahbulaq need to go to the district center for a small problem, such as a measurement of blood pressure. No more does a resident of the town of Nakhchivan with a serious heart condition need to go to the neighboring countries for open heart surgery.

Special care to the environment

Planting trees is one of the measures aimed at protecting the health of people and further improving the environmental situation. Only 1 percent of the autonomous republic's territory was considered green in the middle 1990s, but currently, this can be said about 100 percent of the overall territory of Nakhchivan.

The uniqueness of nature in the autonomous republic, the richness of its material and immaterial resources, diversity of its flora and fauna necessitate special protection of these territories. With his respective decrees, the Speaker created the Arazboyu and Arpacay national reserves, which had a positive effect on protecting the flora and fauna reserves and ensuring the environmental balance.

Importance of human factor

In the autonomous republic, the human factor is always at the forefront and those who need special care receive the due attention. The refugees and displaced persons, those who are in need of housing receive flats. Various government bodies regularly visit families in need and the autonomous republic's population is very grateful for this.

The renewal and renaissance in the autonomous republic are not limited to construction activities. In parallel, serious attention is paid to studying and researching the history of Nakhchivan. At the initiative of the Nakhchivan Speaker the Nakhchivan branch of the Azerbaijani Academy of Sciences was set up, creating the conditions for complex research and study of the Nakhchivan history. The work done to this end is not limited to history.

Major work has been done to inform the public of the obtained results. This is vividly illustrated by the publication of two volumes of the Nakhchivan Encyclopaedia, Encyclopaedia of Nakhchivan memorials, Historical Atlas of Nakhchivan, the first volume out of the three of the History of Nakhchivan, and other similar books. There used to be a time when even the medieval period of the history of it was not studied in depth, but now Nakhchivan puts forth serious scientific arguments to prove it has an urban culture that spans five millennia.

The results of the research on the history of Nakhchivan are not limited to the publication of books. Consistent efforts are made to deliver these scientific results to the international community. Starting from 1996 the republic has hosted international symposiums and conferences, which are very important in this regard. Serious attention is paid to the documentation and restoration of historical monuments in Nakhchivan as proof of early settlement and building of cities. This and the determination of the Duzdag culture in Nakhchivan as the new scientific area stems from the attention toward proper research of the motherland's history.

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The cultural life in Nakhchivan

The cultural life of the autonomous republic is also busy these days. The conditions created for cultural facilities yield new and new successes. Today the autonomous republic has bands that perform on national and camera instruments. Important decisions were made for the development of the Nakhchivan theatre, which has rich traditions. The building of the theatre was refurbished.

The sponsorship of the Nakhchivan theatre by the Speaker, his direct contact with actors and producers, and his valuable advice to them lead to new creative successes for this art. Today the folk theatres and music bands in the autonomous republic play an important part in the productive organization of the people's spare time.

Nakhchivan's security relies on its military potential

One of the most significant historical achievements of modern Nakhchivan is building here powerful military personnel potential. In order to train young military personnel in the autonomous republic the Speaker raised the issue and with the 13 March 1998 directive of [the then], President Heydar Aliyev the High Military School was opened in Nakhchivan. Today it bears the name of Heydar Aliyev and its graduates serve in the Azerbaijani army with honor. The school is generating worthy successors to the Kangarli generals, who were born in Nakhchivan.

In addition to training military personnel, the autonomous republic also takes consistent efforts to strengthen the material and technical basis of the army. During one of his visits to the Nakhchivan AR, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev highly assessed the work done to build up the military here and said:

"In terms of building the army a lot of work is being done in Nakhchivan. This military unit can be an example for any military unit in Azerbaijan. The conditions here are up to the highest standards. This is how the Azerbaijani army should be."

The formation of the field army in Nakhchivan is a crucial historic decision that serves to ensure the security of the autonomous republic. As the Azerbaijani President said, now the Nakhchivan army not only ensures reliable defense of the autonomous republic's borders but is also capable of executing any military task.

As a result of the accomplished work, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic has long broken the blockade. The blockade only exists on paper for Nakhchivan, where towns and villages rapidly get renovated, international events and sports competitions are held, every year 350,000 - 400,000 tourists visit, five-star hotels operate, production facilities that use local raw materials are built, the export capabilities are increasing, all social needs of the population are met. In other words, in the conditions of a blockade, created a renaissance.

This is the common view that guests to the autonomous republic have: Nakhchivan is on the path to speedy development. This is a very clean and safe region. It is for these reasons that American journalist Mark Hey dubbed Nakhchivan San-Francisco of the Caucasus; Slovenian journalist Stefano De Francesco described the ancient land as a herald of modern development and progress. The majority of foreign guests to Nakhchivan called it Azerbaijan's Strasbourg.

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Modern Nakhchivan is being built as national leader Heydar Aliyev would have liked to see it. Back on 30 October 1996 at a meeting with representatives of Nakhchivan, he said that the work is on the right path:

"Personally I am very happy with the measures the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic's leadership has recently implemented. The positive impact of these measures is plain to see for you. I receive regular updates on this and I monitor this work. However, at the same time, I am very happy with the great positive changes that have already occurred in the town of Nakhchivan, as well as when I see the climate and mood here. I believe that the administration of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is on the right path. Together you will be able to make great achievements on this path."

President Ilham Aliyev said the following 30 years after this historical speech:

"When I once more learned about the work done in Nakhchivan I saw how much has been accomplished, how much love and care the Nakhchivan authorities display to developing the autonomous republic. I believe that there is no need today for extra words regarding Nakhchivan's future development. Because all work has been done here at the highest level. I would like to note once more that you have resolved all issues: construction, refurbishment, energy security, military potential, execution of infrastructure projects, and food security. New achievements can be added to these ones in the future."

These are the results of the love for the motherland and caring for the land. In the exemplary region where efforts do not go to waste neither the enemy's blockade, a snowy winter, nor empty shop stalls, nor the queues for bread threaten us. If you wish to live comfortably without having to put a lock on the door, if you wish to live in safety and excellent economic conditions, meet all requirements of the population, and always have electricity, natural gas, and clean water, then this is Nakhchivan.

Nakhchivan residents mark with great joy and magnificent achievements the 90th anniversary of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Let us not forget that these achievements were made in the conditions of a blockade. Without the blockade, there would hardly be a place comparable to Nakhchivan in terms of development.


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