Abulfaz Elchibey

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Əbülfəz Elçibəy
Abulfaz Elchibey.jpg
2nd President of Azerbaijan
In office
16 June 1992 – 1 September 1993
Prime Minister Rahim Huseynov
Ali Masimov

Panakh Huseynov

Preceded by Isa Gambar
Succeeded by Heydar Aliyev
Personal details
Born (1938-06-07)7 June 1938
Nakhchivan ASSR, Azerbaijan SSR, Soviet Union
Died 22 August 2000(2000-08-22) (aged 62)
Ankara, Turkey
Nationality Azerbaijani
Political party Azerbaijan Popular Front
Religion Shia Islam

Abulfaz Elchibey, (Azerbaijani: Əbülfəz Elçibəy; 24 June 1938, Nakhchivan – 22 August 2000, Ankara)[1] was an Azerbaijani political figure and a former Soviet dissident. His real name was Abulfaz Qadirqulu oglu Aliyev (Azerbaijani: Əbülfəz Qədirqulu oğlu Əliyev; Russian: Абульфа́з Гадиркули́ оглы́ Али́ев), but he assumed the nickname of "Elçibəy" (Azerbaijani for the "noble messenger") upon his leadership of the Azerbaijani Popular Front in 1990. Elchibey was the second president of Azerbaijan, serving from 16 June 1992 until his overthrow in a coup d'état in June 1993.

Presidency[edit]

Elchibey's rise to presidency came after the first round of heavy losses of Azerbaijan in the war against Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. After the Khojaly Massacre (26-27 February 1992), the fall of Shusha (8 May 1992) and Lachin (15-17 May 1992), the temporary Azerbaijani communist establishment led by Yaqub Mammadov could no longer hold power. Amidst the disorder on the frontline, former Azerbaijani president Ayaz Mutalibov's attempted comeback, two months after his resignation, in a parliamentary coup on 14 May 1992, resulted in public outrage and military overthrow of Mutalibov by the Azerbaijani Popular Front in Baku on 15 May 1992.

The national presidential elections with 7 candidates were held on 7 June 1992 in which Elchibey was elected the President of Azerbaijan, gaining 54% of votes and becoming Azerbaijan's first democratically-elected, non-communist president. During the summer of 1992, Elchibey secured the full withdrawal of the Soviet army from Azerbaijan, which became the first and only former Soviet republic (after the Baltic states) free of Soviet military presence. At the same time, Elchibey's government established the national Caspian Navy and managed to reach an agreement with Russia on receiving one-quarter of the Soviet Caspian Navy based in Baku. In June 1992, the Azerbaijani army started a counter-offensive codenamed Operation Goranboy in Nagorno-Karabakh, establishing control of over 40% of the region by the fall of 1992 and approaching within 7 kilometers of Shusha. However, as the Azerbaijani offensive pushed further into Karabakh, it became further bogged down in controversy, mismanagement, corruption and treachery by Elchibey-appointed Defense Minister Rahim Qaziyev, along with the guerilla tactics of the NKR Army in mountain warfare. This led to unexpectedly heavy Azeri casualties, loss of heavy military equipment, and the campaign ending in failure.[citation needed] He also held some Pan-Turanian views, for which he enjoyed the support of the leader of Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party, Colonel Alparslan Türkeş. Upon his election, Elchibey appointed İsgandar Hamidov, a police colonel and the leader of the newly established Grey Wolves movement in Azerbaijan, as the Minister of Interior. Hamidov, despite his personal devotion and contributions in capturing Agdere district of Azerbaijan, proved to be generally incompetent and resigned in April 1993 after the fall of Kelbajar and having threatened Armenia with a nuclear strike.[2]

As rebellious troops were advancing onto Baku, President Elchibey invited Heydar Aliyev, former Soviet Politburo member and then head of Nakhchivan (and no relation to Elchibey, whose real surname was Aliyev), to Baku on 9 June 1993 for negotiations with Huseynov. Aliyev quickly took control of the power, becoming the Chairman of the Azerbaijani parliament on 15 June 1993 and giving a chair of the Prime-Minister of the country to Huseynov. Nine days later, in the vacuum of power left by Elchibey's departure to Nakhchivan, Aliyev, as a speaker of the parliament, constitutionally assumed presidential powers.[3] He signed the Bishkek Protocol to cease hostilities on the frontline, and further solidified his power by organizing impeachment hearings and holding a national referendum on 29 August 1993, which formally stripped Elchibey of the presidency. In another national election, on 3 October 1993, Heydar Aliyev, 70, was elected as president of Azerbaijan with 99% of the votes.[citation needed].

Opposition and death[edit]

During Aliyev's presidency, Elchibey returned to Baku in 1997 and joined the opposition as the leader of Azerbaijani Popular Front Party.

In 2000, Elchibey was diagnosed with prostate cancer and died in August of the same year in a military hospital in Ankara, Turkey. His body was flown to Baku and given the state funeral at the Alley of Honor with special attendance by then-President Heydar Aliyev.

References[edit]

See also[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Isa Gambar
President of Azerbaijan
1992–1993
Succeeded by
Heydar Aliyev