Azerbaijan: Corruption and Creeping Nationalism

Azerbaijan: Bring the Work of the Republic’s Party Organization in the Ideological and Internationalist Upbringing of the Working People to the Level of New Tasks. April 20, 1973


Report by Comrade G. A. Aliev, First Secretary of the Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee, at the Meeting of the Republic’s Party Aktiv on April 19, 1973 (excerpts).

Original Source: Bakinskii rabochii, 20 April 1973, pp. 1-4.

… The thirst of the growing generation and all the working people of Azerbaijan to master the Russian language is growing stronger all the time. In Azerbaijan’s schools the Russian language is studied, along with the native language, from the first grade on.

The Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee recently adopted a decision outlining measures for the further improvement of Russian language teaching in the general-education schools. An Azerbaijan Pedagogic Institute of the Russian Language and Literature has been set up.

But there continue to be considerable shortcomings in the organization of Russian language study in technicums, vocational-technical schools and higher schools. There are not enough qualified instructors in a number of educational institutions, especially in rural localities. The fact that certain higher schools, specialized secondary educational institutions and the vocational-technical education system permit instructors with a poor command of the Russian language to teach classes in it is cause for comment. This reduces the students’ possibilities of acquiring knowledge and affects the upbringing significance of teaching, especially in the social disciplines.

The enormous possibilities of television and radio should be used more widely and more effectively in helping the broad masses of working people to master the Russian language. …

In recent years, the Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee has been waging a consistent and uncompromising struggle against antisocial phenomena, against people whose mores are alien to ours and their protectors….

We have been forced to remove a good many officials from their posts and to apply measures of Party responsibility and bring criminal charges against some of them. During these years, a considerable number of persons who had engaged in bribery and other malfeasances and several groups of thieves who for a long time had plundered state and public property with impunity were exposed and brought to trial.

Instances of large-scale embezzlement were brought to light in the system of the Chief Administration for the Procurement, Processing and Sale of Vegetables and Fruit, in the Ministries of the Food Industry, of the Communal Economy and of Social Security, and in state and cooperative trade.

The trial of a group of bribe-takers who had operated at the Baku Tire Plant ended recently. The group’s participants–led by the plant’s former director, F. Aliev–had over a period of several years extorted bribes from workers and office employees at the enterprise in return for allotting them apartments in buildings the plant had put up. In all, 71 instances of bribe-taking from 1966 on were established; the bribes totaled about 48,000 rubles. The criminals received the punishment they deserved: they were sentenced to long terms of deprivation of freedom. …

Fulfilling their internationalist duty, hundreds of highly qualified specialists and workers from Soviet Azerbaijan are working in many foreign countries, helping in the creation and development of these countries’ national economies and in cultural construction. A good many Azerbaijani specialists, scientists and artists have been awarded foreign orders and diplomas for their fruitful work.

At the same time, there are also substantial shortcomings in the way tourist groups and specialists are selected for trips abroad. The executives of a number of Party, trade union and Young Communist League agencies, ministries, creative organizations, scientific institutions and higher schools at times display lack of principle in issuing character references and recommendations. As a result, morally unstable people sometimes go abroad and use their stay in foreign countries to satisfy their Philistine consumer interests.

In recent years, the republic’ s Party organization has intensified its work on the atheistic upbringing of the population. A republic Council on Scientific Atheism and similar councils under the province, city and district Party committees have been set up and begun work. City and zonal scientific and practical conferences have been held on the question of ways of overcoming religious survivals in people’s minds and behavior.

The reduced attendance at many mosques and churches and the smaller number of individuals performing religious rituals and ceremonies is indicative of the intensification of atheistic propaganda and the stepped-up struggle against violations of the legislation on religious cults. Drawing conclusions from the criticism voiced at the plenary session of the Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee. The Party organizations of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, Barda District and other districts have reorganized their work.

But we have still not been able completely to achieve the desired results. Therefore, aggressive atheistic work is still an urgent task for us.

The propaganda and introduction of new socialist traditions, ceremonies, rituals and holidays in the working people’s everyday life is an important field of ideological-political work. The plenary session of the Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee held in October 1971 demanded that Party, Soviet and public organizations enliven this work and intensify the struggle against harmful mores and traditions.

A Council on the Propaganda and Introduction of Socialist Traditions and Rituals has been set up under the Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee, and a civic rituals commission has been formed under the republic Council of Ministers.

Many new labor and civic traditions reflecting a higher cultural level and the spiritual and esthetic needs of the broad masses of working people have been disseminated in the republic recently. …

But we still frequently encounter relapses into the past and cases in which individual Communists, members of the intelligentsia included, observe what are essentially religious rituals. Many times the Party organizations do not react to these instances sharply and from a principled position. New traditions and rituals are still being poorly propagandized in a number of cities and districts.

Today we again call the attention of the aktiv to the need for a determined struggle against obsolete and harmful rituals of a religious nature. At the same time, Party organizations, the Soviets, the trade unions and the Komsomol should actively participate in the creation and dissemination of new traditions and rituals, making them the property of all the working people, above all of our young people….

However, the necessary changes in the activity of the State Committee for the Press and its publishing houses have still not been made. Publishing plans continue to be drawn up carelessly and without thoughtful consideration of today’s requirements. The procedure for implementing approved plans is being violated, and many works not provided for by the plan are being published. Of the 906 books included in the classified plan for 1972, only 238 were published. There are continuing attempts to include books by particular authors in the plans of various publishing houses. At times the irresponsible attitude of authors, reviewers and editors leads to situations in which books on important sociopolitical subjects are published with serious flaws….

There are serious shortcomings in the organization of social science teaching. There are a good many teachers who give lectures on an inadequate ideological and theoretical level and do a poor job of relating their materials to life and the practice of communist construction, thereby failing to arouse interest in the social sciences and in questions of Marxist-Leninist theory. The percentage of students receiving passing marks in the social sciences is low at a number of higher schools, especially in the evening and correspondence divisions. …

The Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee is paying a great deal of attention to the work of the creative organizations and is orienting workers in literature and the arts toward the elimination of the serious shortcomings that were criticized at the 28th Congress of the Azerbaijan Communist Party and the Central Committee plenary session of October, 1971. However, these shortcomings have still not been completely eliminated.

Certain writers have shown themselves unable to evaluate the phenomena of life from class and Party positions. The disclosure of the inner world of heroes has been replaced in a number of works by barefaced puffery and the retelling of the life stories of individuals, and petty, insignificant motifs of everyday life overshadow serious social problems. Certain writers have taken the path of the inordinate exaggeration of negative facts and phenomena. The artist who endeavors actively to be included in the struggle against amoral and anti-social phenomena, thereby giving effective assistance to the Party organization, deserves complete approval and we are always ready to support him. But it is bad when a writer, carried away by his depiction of the shady side of life, ignores the best things the people have achieved and overemphasizes the transient, temporary difficulties that we encounter on our path.

A one-sided approach in depicting the most important processes of life is still a substantial shortcoming of our literature. For example, a good many works on rural subjects have been written in our republic. But the enormous advances that have taken place in life in the countryside since the March (1965) plenary session of the CPSU Central Committee are almost never depicted in Azerbaijan prose writing. Works devoted to the working class deal mainly with production affairs and have very little to do with problems involving that class’s sociopolitical role in contemporary society….

Recently the Bureau of the Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee discussed the question of the development of popular songs in the republic. The adopted decision noted that, along with definite achievements in this field, there are serious shortcomings; many of our composers have lost sight of past traditions and have no interest in writing songs on heroic. civic and labor themes.

A withdrawal into the field of intimate and sentimental experiences and a low ideological and artistic level of lyrics and melodies have become characteristic of many songs in recent years. The repertoires of certain performers and the works of some composers show tendencies alien to Azerbaijani folk music; they have lost their exactingness and have forgotten about the traditions of high stage standards. We think it is intolerable that songs smacking of Philistinism should push out civic, labor and heroic-patriotic works. The republic Ministry of Culture, the creative unions and the State Television and Radio Committee have been instructed to bring order into this important matter.

The tasks stemming from the CPSU Central Committee’s resolution “On Literary and Art Criticism”* are still not being accomplished satisfactorily. The proper exactingness and devotion to principle are frequently lacking in our criticism. It has not acquired Party sharpness and is not always objective and professional in evaluating particular works. The press carries laudatory articles about poor works. A tendency deliberately to “smooth over the rough edges” in criticizing unsuccessful works for fear of spoiling relations has been noted. This lack of principle and rotten liberalism not only does not stimulate the writers’ creative growth but, on the contrary, facilitates the appearance of new superficial and artistically inexpressive novels, novellas, stories and poems.

The pages of the literary organs of the Writers’ Union, the newspaper Adabiyat ve indzhesenet [Literature and Art] and especially the magazine Ulduz–are not always effectively used for the good of the cause. Their editorial boards do not show the proper exactingness in the selection and publication of materials, including materials by their own staff members.

The Party attaches enormous importance to the completion. during the current five-year plan, of the changeover to universal secondary education, improving the instructional and upbringing work of educational institutions of all types, raising the level of students’ theoretical and practical knowledge and cultivating in them a love for labor and an interest in public and political activity.

However, there are still substantial shortcomings and gaps in the activity of educational agencies, the higher and specialized secondary educational institutions and the vocational-technical education system, especially where ideological-political upbringing is concerned.

Some tasks stemming from the resolution of the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers “On Completing the Transition to the Universal Secondary Education of Young People and the Further Development of General-Education Schools” are not being accomplished satisfactorily. Many schools, especially those in rural areas, do not have enough teachers.

The level of the theoretical and professional knowledge of many graduates of higher schools, technicums and vocational-technical schools does not meet the growing demands of science and production. The overwhelming majority of ratings received by students in a number of higher schools and specialized secondary educational institutions are “satisfactory.” The indices of academic progress in the higher schools’ correspondence and evening divisions are especially low.

Political-upbringing work in educational institutions needs further improvement. This is indicated, in particular, by the great many cases of the failure of higher-school, technicum and vocational-technical school graduates to report to the place of work to which they have been assigned. A disrespectful attitude toward labor and public and political work persists among students. Some students are falling under the influence of bourgeois culture and tastes and are committing amoral acts.

In most cases, the low level of instructional and upbringing work is connected with serious shortcomings in the selection, placement and upbringing’ of teaching cadres. We must improve the moral climate at certain educational institutions where there are still frequent quarrels and squabbles among teachers and cases of slander, anonymous letter writing, parochialism and nepotism….

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