Charmed By Baku, Russian Envoy Hails Expanding Ties With Azerbaijan

Fuad Muxtarlı Interview 2 October 2019
Charmed By Baku, Russian Envoy Hails Expanding Ties With Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani capital city Baku has hugely impressed Russian ambassador Mikhail Bocharnikov, who did not hesitate to talk about it in an interview with a local media outlet. The envoy marks his first year in the post.

“Baku has left a huge impression on me,” Russian ambassador to Azerbaijan Mikhail Bocharnikov said.

- Mr. Ambassador, you have been working in Azerbaijan for a year, please share your impressions of our country.

- Generally speaking, working in Azerbaijan is, of course, very interesting and comfortable. Yes, you are right, a year has passed since I have been in Azerbaijan, and my impression of the country, as a whole, has already been formed. Without any exaggeration, I can note that I really like the capital of Azerbaijan, the city of Baku. The city is very cosy and convenient not only for living, but also for the implementation of one or another activity that a person is engaged in. Especially what makes me happy is that people are very friendly.

Baku has a special atmosphere and a rich history that you can observe everywhere, for example, peering into historical buildings that will tell you about the past. But I also want to note that, along with historical buildings, modern buildings are also striking and beautiful and do not spoil the wonderful look of the capital, complementing very successfully the architecture, creating a unique look of the city itself.

The excellent traditional cuisine, which is simply unrealistic to refuse, in particular the most delicious kebab, which is served everywhere, is worth talking about. Unfortunately, I do not often manage to walk through streets and enjoy the beauty of the city due to the heavy workload.

As for my work in the country as a diplomat, I can confidently say that Azerbaijan is a center of intersection of many international interests and regional activities and the country with an energetic politics and economy makes professional activity very saturated.

- Today Azerbaijan and Russia cooperate in many areas and are considered strategic partners. In your opinion, is all the historical and cultural potential used in cooperation between our countries?

- You know, our countries have huge potential. And I do not think that it can ever be used completely. But as they say, we must strive for this. For the year that I work in Azerbaijan, I want to note with pleasure the significant development of our humanitarian ties. This period was marked by a rich cultural exchange: I, as the ambassador of Russia, am very pleased that Azerbaijan was visited by many high-class representatives of our art, theater and ballet performances, exhibitions, and concerts took place. The tour of the ensemble Berezka (Birch) is to take place soon.

Of course, we also appreciate the Azerbaijani cultural presence on Russian soil. When Azerbaijan has such an ambassador as the respected Polad Bulbul oglu, who is an outstanding cultural figure, I think there is no need to initiate anything else. It is very important that thanks in many respects to his tireless efforts, Azerbaijani culture is perfectly represented in our country.

- Mr. Ambassador, people are always interested not only in your professional activities, but you are also interested for them as a person. Please tell us about your hobby.

- I can say right away that I do not collect anything. Of course, like any person, I have a favorite pastime, which I indulge in with pleasure as soon as I find some free time. This is reading books. Even despite the fact that we live in the century of high technology, in which all information is provided in electronic format.

- Who you read from Azerbaijani classics and contemporaries, and which literary work do you like more?

Azerbaijani literature is diverse and multifaceted - it is difficult to evaluate it within a short period of time, especially since cultural life in the country is in full swing. Arriving in Azerbaijan, I, of course, tried to pay attention to Azerbaijani literature.

For example, the jubilee of the great Azerbaijani poet Imadeddin Nasimi was recently celebrated, I became interested in his gazelles, lyrics that are beautifully translated into Russian, such as, in particular, one of the most famous creations of Nasimi’s pen - the gazelle “Both Worlds Will Fit Into Me”. I read popular writers, such as Cingiz Abdullayev, Maqsud Ibrahimbayov, Natiq Rasulzada and, of course, Anar Rzayev, who is not only a writer, but also a director, screenwriter and public figure. When we talk about the interweaving of our cultural traditions, all the above examples clearly show how close we are.

- Please tell me how developed is the Russian language in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan in your opinion?

- For the most part, people, especially in large cities, are fluent in Russian, which is good news. I noticed that in public places they mostly speak pure Russian, without an accent, I have not yet encountered a single situation in which there would be no native Russian speaker. I see that a lot is being done in the country for the development of the Russian language: today there are more than 300 schools where the Russian language is taught. Parents are very serious about ensuring that their children are fluent in Russian.

- Your wishes of our editorial office

Of course, the activities of the media in today's world are very important. After all, people will learn everything that is happening in the world precisely from them, and it is very important that each publication and website provide reliable information, without any distortion. To your website, I would like to wish to continue contributing to the mutual understanding between our countries, to objectively cover everything that is happening in the relations of our countries.