Victory Day, established in honour of the triumph of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces at the 44-day war under the leadership of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, victorious Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev, will be celebrated for the first time this year on 8 November. The historical significance of this great victory, which has become a symbol of the power of the Azerbaijani people and state, does not fit within a century. As a result of the 44-day Patriotic War, the 30-year occupation of Azerbaijani lands came to an end and the territorial integrity of our state was restored; furthermore, this War has dealt a crushing blow to Armenian chauvinism and expansionism – which caused numerous national disasters for the Azerbaijani people over the past two centuries – and solved an issue of utmost importance linked to the historical destiny of the Azerbaijani people. As it is known, after the occupation of the Azerbaijani khanates located to the north of the Araz River in the early 19th century, Tsarist Russia relocated more than 1 million ethnic Armenians from Iran and Turkey to the South Caucasus throughout the 19th century to change the ethnic landscape of the region and strengthen its positions here. In addition to the change in demographic landscape in the region, this process also contributed to Armenian religious and ideological expansion. In 1836, the tsarist government subordinated the Albanian Christian Church in Karabakh to the Armenian Church. After that, the Armenian Church of Echmiadzin appropriated the ethnic and cultural heritage, literature and history of Albania introducing them as their own.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Armenian chauvinists formed nationalist parties such as Armenakan, Hnchak and Dashnaktsutyun, and began to lay the groundwork for the realization of the idea of the Greater Armenia myth from sea-to- sea using armed struggle and terror. In 1905-1907, as well as in 1918, they massacred Azerbaijanis in Baku, Tbilisi, Yerevan, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Garabagh, Zangazur, Goycha and other places, burned cities and villages, and killed children, women, and the elderly with unprecedented brutality. Tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis who managed to survive the Armenian atrocities were forced to leave their homelands. The territories cleansed of Azerbaijanis were annexed to the Republic of Armenia, which declared its independence in 1918. After the establishment of Soviet power in Armenia and Azerbaijan, another part of the Azerbaijani lands, including Western Zangazur, was attached to Armenia by the Bolshevik regime, as a result of which its territory was increased from 9.8 thousand square kilometres to 29.8 thousand square kilometres.

The policy of hostility towards the Azerbaijani people also continued during the Soviet era. While hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis who lived in their ancestral lands that remained in the territory of Armenia were not given autonomy, the so- called “Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region” was established for the Armenians in Azerbaijan. With the help of the USSR leadership, the ruling circles of the Armenian SSR succeeded in deporting hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from Armenia between 1948-1953. A campaign of severe moral aggression was conducted against Azerbaijanis. For more than the last hundred years, several generations of the Armenian people have been brought up in the spirit of national exclusivity. Through the efforts of Armenian “scientists”, the history of the region has been falsified, the non-existent history of the Armenian state has been fabricated, and the events taking place in the South Caucasus have been deliberately distorted.

As a result of Armenia’s policy of ethnic cleansing and occupation, which began in 1988 and expanded in 1992, 20 percent of the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan was occupied, and more than 1 million Azerbaijanis were expelled from Armenia and the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Serious crimes of national hatred and enmity were conducted against Azerbaijanis, and the Khojaly genocide, one of the most horrific tragedies of the 20th century, along with several other massacres, were committed.

After the declaration of a ceasefire in May 1994 at the frontline between Armenia and Azerbaijan to create the necessary conditions for a peaceful settlement of conflict, all the activities of the Armenian leadership were aimed at reinforcing the consequences of the occupation, rather than resolving the conflict. The UN Security Council Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of 1993, which unequivocally affirmed the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan and demanded the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as well as the UN Resolution No. 62/243 adopted by the General Assembly in 2008 and resolutions adopted by the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other international organizations adopted in different years were all ignored. Negotiations mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group to resolve the conflict have been used to validate the consequences of the occupation of Azerbaijani lands in one way or another, and if this is not possible, to prolong its duration.

Taking advantage of impunity, the Armenian leadership tried to disrupt the process of peace once and for all. For this purpose, provocations were committed against the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in April 2016, as well as July and August 2020. The measures taken by the Republic of Azerbaijan in response to these provocations have led to heavy losses of the Armenian armed forces in terms of manpower and military equipment.

Armenian officials have proven through their statements and behaviour that not only does the state not intend to return the occupied territories and achieve a just peace, but it instead intends to occupy new territories of Azerbaijan as well. The expansion of the policy of illegal settlement in the occupied territories, attempts to change the format of the negotiations, the Armenian Defence Minister’s claims of a “new war for new territories”, and other statements and actions revealed the true intentions of the occupying power.

For decades, the leadership of the Azerbaijani state has stated that the Republic of Azerbaijan will never agree to the usurpation of its sovereignty in one part of the country, accept barbaric seizure, and occupation of its lands and will use every opportunity to restore its territorial integrity. On September 27, 2020, after another act of aggression by the Armenian armed forces, the Republic of Azerbaijan, using the right of self-defence granted by the UN Charter, launched a counter-offensive to force the aggressor to peace and end the occupation of Azerbaijani lands.

By achieving amazing triumphs in the 44-day Patriotic War under the leadership of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the victorious Supreme Commanderin-Chief Ilham Aliyev, the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have written new glorious pages in the military history of the world. Heavy blows were inflicted on the occupying forces, and a large portion of their manpower and military equipment were destroyed. Most of the occupied territories of our country, including Fizuli, Jabrayil, Zangilan, Gubadli districts, Hadrut and Sugovushan settlements, about 300 settlements in total, were liberated. One of the most glorious pages of the Patriotic War was November 8, the day when Shusha, the pearl and crown of Karabakh, the cradle of Azerbaijani culture, was liberated from captivity.

Realizing that it could not stand up to the Azerbaijani Armed Forces and was doomed to destruction, Armenia admitted defeat. The military victory of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces ended with triumph in the political arena. A tripartite statement signed by the Presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia, and the Prime Minister of Armenia on November 10, 2020, put an end to more than 30 years of conflict.

Significant achievements have been attained in all spheres of life in the Republic of Azerbaijan under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev. The socio-economic development strategy that meets the requirements of the modern age has converted Azerbaijan into one of the most dynamically developing countries in the world and a champion in the South Caucasus. The military policy launched after the return of National Leader Heydar Aliyev to power in 1993, and successfully implemented for the last 18 years, resulted in the development of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in line with high standards, and in it becoming one of the 50 strongest armies in the world.

All these factors, as well as the indestructible unity between the government and the people, have ensured the settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The historical mission to prevent the long-term policy of ethnic cleansing, aggression and expansionism carried out by the Armenian chauvinists against the people and the state of Azerbaijan has been successfully fulfilled and historical justice has been restored.

The victory of November 8 was a celebration and demonstration of the invincible will and great commanding skills of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, as well as the military preparedness and determination, courage, high military-technical, moral-psychological training, and professionalism of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. The liberation of Karabakh and East Zangazur, the ancient historical lands of Azerbaijan, has freed our people from the pain of a long-term defeat and turned them into a victorious nation. Mighty Azerbaijan has demonstrated resolutely that it is able to change the political, economic, military, and humanitarian landscape of the region, and that from now on, no one can speak to it in the language of force and pressure.

The Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan is convinced that the great victory of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in the 44-day war has created new opportunities of peace and development not only for our country, but for the entire South Caucasus region as well. In order to realize these opportunities, the Republic of Azerbaijan is ready to establish normal neighbourly relations with the Republic of Armenia on the basis of mutual recognition and respect for each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognised borders in accordance with the principles and norms of international law. The Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan declares that the international community must take effective measures to push Armenia to put an end to the vindictive rhetoric and actions targeting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and make constructive steps towards building bilateral relations with Azerbaijan on the basis of the grounds stated above.