The 1918 founding of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) as a secular democratic state is called the Republic Day, commemorating one of the brightest days in the history of the Azerbaijani people.
For many years, Azerbaijan was subjugated to its neighbors, first to Iran and later to the Russian Empire. After the 1918 Russian Revolution and following the Azerbaijani people’s struggle for liberation, Azerbaijan’s National Council, in a determined move, proclaimed sovereignty for the first time in the country’s history.
On May 28, 1918 the signing of Azerbaijan’s Declaration of Independence took place in what is now present-day Tbilisi, the capital of the country of Georgia.
Azerbaijan became the first secular, democratic nation in the Islamic world and the first Muslim-majority country to grant women the right to vote, a year before the United States gave its women the right to vote.
The 19th constitutional amendment granted and guaranteed American women the legal right to vote. It passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, and was ratified on August 18, 1920, achieving a milestone that required a lengthy and difficult struggle and the victory took decades of agitation and protest.
Azerbaijan’s Declaration of Independence outlined the south Caucasus nation’s status as an independent republic which guaranteed freedom to all citizens. Unfortunately, the Republic lasted only twenty-three months. On April 28, 1920, the Soviet Red Army invaded Azerbaijan and the young state lost its independence for the next seventy years, forced to live under the Communist-Soviet yoke.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991, Azerbaijan proclaimed its sovereignty once again.
Azerbaijan Commemorates Republic Day
In 1992, May 28 was declared and established as Azerbaijan Republic Day, a national holiday paying homage to the short lived Azerbaijan Democratic Republic of 1918-1920.
Every year during the Republic Day in Azerbaijan prominent government’s officials lay a wreath at Republic Monument, located on the Istiglaliyyat Street, while a general ceremony is held at Buta Palace, one of the principal performing arts centers and music venues of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
The Declaration of Independence monument was erected in honor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, and was opened on May 25, 2007. The monument is located between the buildings of the Institute of Manuscripts of the National Academy of Sciences and the Azerbaijan State Economic University.
Concerts and parades celebrating Azerbaijan’s history and culture are also held across the country and many schools across the country use the holiday to educate the young generation about Azerbaijan’s history.
The Day of Restoration of Independence
Azerbaijan again becoming a sovereign nation is celebrated annually on October 18, as a state holiday in the country.
After seventy years of being the Soviet Union satellite state, Azerbaijan became free again. Fourteen other nations became former USSR countries.
On this day in 1991, the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan adopted a Constitutional Act on the Declaration of Independence of Azerbaijan. The final dissolution of the Soviet Union and the declaration by a referendum took place on 26 December 1991. Shortly before that date, the Azerbaijan SSR joined the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Until 2021 October 18 was marked as Independence Day. In October 2021, it was renamed and became Day of Restoration of Independence.
Since that monumental day in 1991 the celebration of Azerbaijan’s restored independence accelerated.
On October 9, 1992, a parade of independent Azerbaijan, commemorating the first anniversary of the establishment of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces and the anniversary of the restoration of independence was held in Azadliq Square, which is the largest city-centre square in Azerbaijan, lies next to Baku Boulevard.
On 11 October 1998, Heydar Aliyev was re-elected as President of the Republic of Azerbaijan with 76.1 percent of votes in a high turnout election. President Aliyev’s inauguration coincided with the celebration of Independence Day. A year later, in 1999, Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic’s 75th anniversary celebrations were connected with the Independence Day holiday of just 6 days later.
In 1996, the 5th anniversary celebrations were the first major festivities marking this holiday with large scale celebrations. The 10th anniversary, in 2001, the festivities were even greater.
In 2017, attended by prominent officials, a military parade took place that marched through the capital of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, a landlocked enclave of the Republic of Azerbaijan, honoring the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the first military unit and 26th anniversary of the restoration of independence.
In 2020, Niagara Falls Canada’s side was lit up in Azerbaijan’s flag’s colors marking the country’s Independence Day.
That same 2020 year, in a show of support for Azerbaijan after the Armenia Ganja Ballistic missile attack, a Turkish delegation led by Mustafa Sentop, the speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, visited Baku to participate in the Independence Day celebrations.
Freedom is Precious
It is most unique for a country to establish its independence, then fall out of its independence once and re-establish it once again. Azerbaijan did it.
It slightly resembles the state of Israel. The nation of Israel lost its first commonwealth with the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem in 586 B.C; the nation of Israel lost its second commonwealth with the destruction of the Second on Temple in 70CE, to reestablish third commonwealth with the formation of modern sovereign state Israel.
Happy Republic Day Azerbaijan.