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Joint meeting was held between Azerbaijani and Russian Presidents with railway veterans and workers on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Baikal-Amur Mainline VIDEO

Moscow, April 23, AZERTAC

A joint meeting was held on April 22 in Moscow between Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, with railway veterans and workers on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Baikal-Amur Mainline.

Addressing the meeting, President of Russia Vladimir Putin said:

- Dear Ilham Heydarovich!

Dear friends!

Fifty years ago, the construction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline began. This railway stands as one of the world’s largest arteries, a true path of the future. For many involved in the inception and implementation of this project, the BAM is a symbol of dreams and romantic aspirations cherished by an entire generation as they used to say back then and we can confirm now.

The BAM also epitomizes the immense labor and bravery of two million young people from across the Soviet Union. They embarked on a ground-breaking project, unparalleled in world history.

Today we see that the BAM largely shapes the global logistics for the whole 21st century. Our country has gained a tremendous potential for exploring and developing Siberia and the Far East, for expanding freight traffic volumes towards the Pacific Ocean. To put it bluntly, the pivot to the east at the present stage was made possible precisely thanks to the Baikal-Amur Mainline.

I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the participants in our meeting on the launch of the Baikal-Amur Mainline construction. Firstly, I would like to speak about the veterans of the railway industry, construction sector, and railway troops. I congratulate not only you but also your families, loved ones, friends, colleagues, and comrades who have stood by you through both challenges and triumphs. And now I am addressing the veteran builders – you had it all including songs by campfires, yet one thing stands out above all else – your hard, hard work.

A profound salute to all who worked alongside you on the BAM, for the labor feat you collectively achieved. Through the trials of the 1990s, you remained steadfast in your dedication to your life’s work, preserving work crews and ensuring reliable operation of the BAM.

I extend my warmest regards to all those who currently reside and work here, at the BAM, upholding the glorious traditions of the pioneers and contributing to the reconstruction, expansion, and maintenance of this vital railway line.

In recognition and appreciation of your courageous efforts, an Executive Order has been signed to award veteran builders and workers in the construction and railway sectors with high state decorations.

I am sincerely happy to congratulate President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Baikal-Amur Railway construction. His father, Heydar Aliyev, as all BAM builders know well, played a special, enormous role in the BAM’s history. As First Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, he supervised the BAM construction and did everything he could for implementing this most complicated project.

He had a colossal amount of knowledge and experience, a managerial talent, an ability to resolve most complicated problems that have helped him alongside with his special personal qualities, of course, primarily, a caring and respectful attitude to the people with whom he worked and resolved those huge challenges. He personally visited BAM facilities and spoke to builders and residents of new cities and towns. It was easy to approach him and tell him about one’s problems or to discuss current issues.

I know that our meeting is attended by those who worked with Heydar Aliyev. I would like to ask you by all means to share your memories with us, to tell us what role he played in your life.

I would like to add that with Heydar Aliyev’s support, Azerbaijani designers and builders established two towns with railway stations – Ulkan and Angoya. Now they are taking part in the reconstruction and modernization of the BAM sections in the Khabarovsk Territory and Yakutia.

One more area of Russia-Azerbaijan cooperation is relevant to the scale and historical significance of the BAM. I am referring to the development of the North-South transport corridor. It actually connects the Northern Sea Route with the Persian Gulf or, let’s say, may and should connect them.

Just as the BAM that became a truly nation-wide construction site and was called upon to serve the interests of all Soviet republics, the North-South transport corridor should become an example of broad international cooperation. I mean the creation of new logistics routes for the accelerated socioeconomic development of the countries in Eurasia and the Global South.

I would like to emphasize once again – we invite all interested countries to join this project and we hope that the best, time-tested traditions of friendship and mutual support of the BAM builders – people of most diverse ethnicities united by a common goal – will be much in demand in this project.

For our part, we are ready to offer our partners access to rapidly growing markets of Asia and the Pacific. For this purpose, we intend to use new technologies so as to fulfil our plans for a rapid upgrading of the BAM and Transsib (Trans-Siberian Railway) and the development of the entire Eastern Operating Domain.

The realization of these plans is of great importance for strengthening the connectivity of our country, as well as our political and economic sovereignty. It is no coincidence that the ideas of development of communication routes to the eastern borders of Russia were promoted by prominent politicians and public figures at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

In particular, in 1908, Pyotr Stolypin, at a meeting of the State Council, which at that time actually played the role of the upper house of parliament, defended the project of construction of the Amur railroad, thanks to which the Trans-Siberian Railway completely passed through the territory of our country.

I am absolutely confident that the new ambitious tasks on the development of the Eastern polygon are within the capabilities of real warriors - such as the workers of BAM. It is a special community of people with strong character who know how to achieve their goals.

I am sincerely glad that the BAM commonwealth has been created. It unites all those involved in the BAM – veterans, specialists from Russia, from the former Soviet republics, and other countries. It is important that you revive and strengthen the friendship of the BAM workers, tell young people the fates of the people, about the glorious history of this huge project, and, of course, provide assistance to the veterans.

To support the people of BAM, we need not only public efforts, of course, but also concrete steps on the part of the state. The BAM builders often lived in very harsh conditions – in huts and barracks. Now, at the present stage, it should not be like that.

In this regard, I would like to note that the Government of the Russian Federation has already approved plans for the comprehensive socioeconomic development of such key BAM cities as Tynda, Severobaykalsk, Neryungri, and Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

We are talking about large-scale renovation and development of their transportation infrastructure, housing and public utilities, overhaul and construction of schools, hospitals, kindergartens and sports facilities. Of course, we will definitely build new, modern houses, new housing, and generally create decent conditions for those who live and work at BAM today.

Thank you very much for your attention.

I would like to give the floor to our guest and friend. Please, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Heydarovich, you have the floor.

X X X

President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!

Dear friends!

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to you, Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich, for the invitation to take part in today's event. It is a great honor for me to be among those who built the BAM, who dedicated their lives and their youth to the All-Soviet Union construction.

I would also like to congratulate all the builders, specialists and all BAM workers on the 50th anniversary of the start of construction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline.

Vladimir Vladimirovich mentioned that this construction project brought together all the republics of the Soviet Union. This, in fact, is very true, and it is not by chance that it was called the All-Soviet Union construction. And we, of course, are proud that Azerbaijani builders and specialists took an active part in the construction and, as Vladimir Vladimirovich noted, built two railway stations.

Of course, I would like to say words of special gratitude to Vladimir Vladimirovich for the respect for the memory of Heydar Aliyevich Aliyev. We know perfectly well that it was Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Heydar Aliyevich Aliyev who laid the foundation of friendly and neighborly relations between our countries in the early 2000s. In 2001, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin visited Azerbaijan, marking the beginning of a significant journey that we are undertaking together."

Today, we discussed the realization of many plans related to our cooperation, which has been implemented for more than two years within the framework of allied interaction between us. Of course, the Heydar Aliyev factor always played and will always play an important role in our interstate relations, because during his years in this building in Moscow, in the Kremlin, he made tremendous efforts to contribute to the development of the Soviet state and the sphere he was entrusted with. One of them was the transportation sphere.

We are also grateful to the workers and builders of the BAM, to all transport workers of Russia for immortalizing the memory of Heydar Aliyev. A railway station in the Angoya settlement was named after him. As BAM workers know very well, he covered a long distance – practically on foot, by train, by helicopter – in difficult conditions from Bratsk to Vladivostok and Nakhodka. He shared in the joys and sorrows with the people of BAM for ten days.

And I remember that when he returned, he was impressed not only by the scale of construction that the Soviet state was capable of implementing, but, first of all, by the dedication of the BAM workers, who, in the harshest possible conditions, sometimes in permafrost, in impassable forests, lack of roads, were putting their lives at risk, performing a feat, a miracle practically every day, predetermining the future development of the Soviet state, the present-day Russia and neighboring countries, and creating a unique example of infrastructure, which for many years – for 50 years and more – will serve the cause of regional development and international cooperation.

I would also like to express my gratitude to Vladimir Vladimirovich and our Russian friends for honoring the 100th anniversary of Heydar Aliyev. This day was celebrated with particular respect in Azerbaijan and Russia last year. This is our common history and we cherish it very much.

Today, it is gratifying that modern Russian-Azerbaijani relations are based on this solid foundation: on friendship, mutual understanding, mutual support and focus on results. Today, we are not only implementing major transport projects, as Vladimir Vladimirovich noted, we are actively involved in the creation of the international transport corridor North-South. We also actively cooperate in economic, political, energy, humanitarian and many other spheres.

As for the North-South transport corridor, Vladimir Vladimirovich and I discussed this issue in detail once again today. Appropriate instructions have been given to members of the Government. I am confident that all the issues will be agreed upon in the near future and we will start the implementation of one more magnificent project.

I must say that a railway connecting the Azerbaijani-Russian border with the Azerbaijani-Iranian one exists on the territory of Azerbaijan. But the needs of shippers dictate us the need to build new sections of this railway so that we could increase freight traffic on it and thus provide a unique transportation route from the North to the Indian Ocean.

Once again, I would like to express my gratitude for the fact that I had an opportunity to participate in this event, to congratulate all BAM workers on this anniversary and wish the builders of Azerbaijan, Russia and all CIS countries continued success and achievements.

Thank you.

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