President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin presents the “Pushkin” Medal to Leyla Aliyeva
The plaque was installed at the International Alley of Glory & Soldier’s Memorial Nevsky Pyatochok. The project was implemented under the patronage of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation`s Russia Office, with the support of the Government of Leningrad Oblast.
Vice Governor of Leningrad Oblast Alexander Kuznetsov said that the inauguration of this memorial plaque testifies that nations and heads of states remain faithful to the memory of their fathers and grandfathers.
Leila Aliyeva thanked participants who came to pay tribute to the memory of Azerbaijani soldiers. She said nations in the former Soviet Union had shown unprecedented courage during the Second World War. The Azerbaijani nation made a great contribution to the victory over fascism. More than 300 thousand Azerbaijanis died on the fields of battle. Mrs Aliyeva said: ‘Pilot Huseynbala Aliyev performed a great feat by shooting down 2 enemy planes and received the highest award – the Order of Lenin. The Defence of Leningrad lasted 900 days. Hundreds of thousands died of hunger, cold and from bombardment itself. But neither artillery bombardment nor the ever-present risk of death could break the iron will and patriotic soul of Leningrad's residents. The city withstood the blockade, and today’s developing St Petersburg is confirmed in its status as one of the world’s cultural capital’.
The Head of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation`s Delegation in Russia noted a list of 850 Azerbaijanis, who died during the fight to lift the Siege of Leningrad in Nevsky Pyatachok and the Sinavinsky Hills - alist published in the Memorial Annals of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Leila Aliyeva said: ‘The Battle of Nevsky Pyatachok is one of the most valorous and tragic pages in military history. The ranks of those who took the battle field changed almost daily – the dead were replaced by new soldiers. A sculptor from Petersburg has already created the monument which will be erected next year on Sinyavinsk Heights, with the support of the Leningrad Regional Government under the patronage of the Foundation’s Representation. Future generations will always remember the courage of these fighters. It is very touching that many young people are present at today's event. It is very necessary that they honor the memory of their fathers and grandfathers who gave their lives for the homeland. Thanks to the unity and friendship of our nations we gained a great victory. This victory confirmed that we can achieve a peaceful and happy future of our citizens only together’.
Mrs Aliyeva expressed thanks to Governor of Leningrad Oblast Valeri Serdyukov and to the Oblast Government for their support for the project, and to sculptors Gennady Belousov and Andrei Rytov for creating the plaque.
Azerbaijan's Consul-General in St Petersburg Gudsi Osmanov underlined the importance of inaugurating this memorial plaque to those died in the Battle for Leningrad 1941-45. He said the Great Victory was achieved only as a result of friendship and unity of our nations.
Mufti Jafar Ponchayev said a prayer for the battlers died.
Leila Aliyeva and Alexander Kuznetsov opened a memorial plaque. Participants laid flowers at the plaque. Guard of honor paid tribute to the memory of the heroes.
Leila Aliyeva also visited Museum-Reserve ‘Breakthrough – The Siege of Leningrad’. Museum staff talked about the central exhibition – a diorama reflecting the stories of 1943 that were the turning-point in the Defence of Leningrad.
Mrs Aliyeva expressed gratitude to Museum staff for honouring the loving memory of the heroes, and presented the Museum with a book titled ‘Azerbaijanis heroically died in the fight to lift the fascist Siege of Leningrad’. The book contains a list of Azerbaijanis who died in the Battles for Leningrad name by name (850 persons), and is published with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
Representative of Russian Foreign Ministry in Yekaterinburg Vladimir Zapevalov, along with Leningrad Oblast Kirov District Head Nicolay Yemelyanov, and delegates from the Japanese & Lithuanian Consulates-General, and representatives of the Honorary Consulates of Kyrgyzstan and the Azerbaijan diaspora, plus Azerbaijanis studying at the higher schools in St Petersburg were present at the ceremony.