Həzi Aslanov, Azerbaijan
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Azerbaijan the Republic of Azerbaijan, is a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south; the exclave of Nakhchivan is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, has an 11 km long border with Turkey in the northwest. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic proclaimed its independence in 1918 and became the first democratic Muslim state. In 1920 the country was incorporated into the Soviet Union as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic; the modern Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence on 30 August 1991, shortly before the dissolution of the USSR in the same year. In September 1991, the Armenian majority of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region seceded to form the Republic of Artsakh; the region and seven adjacent districts outside it became de facto independent with the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994.
These regions are internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan pending a solution to the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh through negotiations facilitated by the OSCE. Azerbaijan is a unitary semi-presidential republic, it is one of six independent Turkic states and an active member of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Non-Aligned Movement, the OSCE, the NATO Partnership for Peace program, it is one of the founding members of GUAM, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Azerbaijan holds observer status in the World Trade Organization. While more than 89% of the population is Shia Muslim, the Constitution of Azerbaijan does not declare an official religion and all major political forces in the country are secularist. Azerbaijan has a high level of human development that ranks on par with most Eastern European countries.
It has a high rate of economic literacy, as well as a low rate of unemployment. However, the ruling party, the New Azerbaijan Party, has been accused of authoritarianism and human rights abuses. According to a modern etymology, the term Azerbaijan derives from that of Atropates, a Persian satrap under the Achaemenid Empire, reinstated as the satrap of Media under Alexander the Great; the original etymology of this name is thought to have its roots in the once-dominant Zoroastrianism. In the Avesta's Frawardin Yasht, there is a mention of âterepâtahe ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide, which translates from Avestan as "we worship the fravashi of the holy Atropatene." The name "Atropates" itself is the Greek transliteration of an Old Iranian Median, compounded name with the meaning "Protected by the Fire" or "The Land of the Fire". The Greek name was mentioned by Diodorus Strabo. Over the span of millennia, the name evolved to Āturpātākān to Ādharbādhagān, Ādharbāyagān, Āzarbāydjān and present-day Azerbaijan.
The name Azerbaijan was first adopted for the area of the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan by the government of Musavat in 1918, after the collapse of the Russian Empire, when the independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established. Until the designation had been used to identify the adjacent region of contemporary northwestern Iran, while the area of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was referred to as Arran and Shirvan. On that basis Iran protested the newly adopted country name. During the Soviet rule, the country was spelled in English from the Russian transliteration as Azerbaydzhan; the earliest evidence of human settlement in the territory of Azerbaijan dates back to the late Stone Age and is related to the Guruchay culture of Azokh Cave. The Upper Paleolithic and late Bronze Age cultures are attested in the caves of Tağılar, Damcılı, Yataq-yeri and in the necropolises of Leylatepe and Saraytepe. Early settlements included the Scythians in the 9th century BC. Following the Scythians, Iranian Medes came to dominate the area to the south of the Aras.
The Medes forged a vast empire between 900–700 BC, integrated into the Achaemenid Empire around 550 BC. The area was conquered by the Achaemenids leading to the spread of Zoroastrianism, it became part of Alexander the Great's Empire and its successor, the Seleucid Empire. During this period, Zoroastrianism spread in the Atropatene. Caucasian Albanians, the original inhabitants of northeastern Azerbaijan, ruled that area from around the 4th century BC, established an independent kingdom; the Sasanian Empire turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state in 252, while King Urnayr adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century. Despite Sassanid rule, Albania remained an entity in the region until the 9th century, while subordinate to Sassanid Iran, retained its monarchy. Despite being one of the chief vassals of the Sasanian emperor, the Albanian king had only a semblance of authority, the Sasanian marzban held most civil and military authority. In the first half of the 7th century, Caucasian Albania, as a vassal of the Sasanians, came under nominal Muslim rule due to the Muslim conquest of Persia.
Hazi Aslanov was an Azerbaijani major-general of the Soviet armoured troops during World War II. Aslanov was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union title twice; the second Hero title was awarded on July 12, 1991, by Mikhail Gorbachev, at the constant recommendations by Heydar Aliyev. Hazi Aslanov was born on January 1910, in Lankaran in a working-class Talysh family; when he lost his father at the age of 13, he left local school number 1 and worked in the Lankaran Brick Plant. In 1929, Aslanov graduated from the Transcaucasian Preparatory Military School in Baku and continued his education at Leningrad Cavalry School, where he passed courses at the Military Academy of Armored Forces. After graduation, in June 1931 he was appointed commander of a 15th Cavalry Regiment platoon of 3rd Cavalry Division Bessarabia named after Grigory Kotovsky. In June, 1933, he was appointed commander of the separate tank company. In 1937, he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Aslanov served as deputy commander for the technical part of company, commander of 2nd Rifle Division and 60th Rifle Divisions, followed by motor transport battalion of the Kiev Military District, where he attained the rank of captain in February 1939.
He served during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland and fought in the Karelian Isthmus took part in the breaking of the Mannerheim Line during the Winter War. He was promoted to major in November 1940. In August 1941, he replaced the injured commander of a tank battalion, composed of 12-15 machines type T-26, BT-5, BT-7 and T-34. In the fierce battles near Shostka and Pyriatyn, his tank commanders fought to the last tank, while Aslanov led his battalion in the attack. In one of these battles, Aslanov received two bullet wounds in his right leg and a severe shrapnel wound to the head, but despite these injuries he continued to fight; when the battalion lost all of its tanks, he was recalled to the reserve in September 1941. He was appointed 10th Deputy for the technical units, where he fought in Pyriatyn, Okhtyrka and Kharkiv; the next year, he was appointed to the command of the 55th Tank Regiment. In 1942, he led the 35th Guards Tank Brigade from Stalingrad through Borisovo and Minsk to Vilnius and Riga, participated in the battles of Rostov and Taganrog.
His brigade liberated the town of Pleshinitsy. Aslanov was famous for his "thrust from flank" technique, which involved launching an attack by heading straight toward the enemy, while other Soviet troops were sent to attack from the sides. On January 24, 1945, near Priekule in the Liepāja District in Latvia during a reconnaissance, Aslanov was wounded and died five and a half hours on the battlefield, he was posthumously awarded the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st degree, for his leadership of the Tank Brigade. Aslanov received his first star in 1943 for his performance at Stalingrad; the second was supposed to be given for the crossing of the Berezina river, under the recommendation of General of the Army Ivan Chernyakhovsky, but because of discriminatory treatment, he received it posthumously, 46 years in 1991, after a special appeal by Azerbaijani intelligentsia to Mikhail Gorbachev. A subway station, oil tanker and a streets in Baku and Volgograd, monument in Vialejka were named after him.
The village in Agstafa region carries his house museum functions in Lankaran. A special granite memorial plate was constructed in memory of him on Mamayev Kurgan; the bust of Hazi Aslanov was unveiled in the settlement of Baku named after him. Герои Советского Союза: Краткий биографический словарь. V.1. Moscow: Voenizdat, 1987. Золотые Звезды Азербайджана. Баку, 1975