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Lala Shovkat

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Lala Shovkat

Lala Shevket
Secretary of State of Azerbaijan
In office
June 7, 1993 – January 13, 1994
Preceded by Ali Karimli
Succeeded by position abolished
Personal details
Born (1951-11-07) November 7, 1951 (age 62)
Baku, Azerbaijan SSR, USSR
Nationality Azerbaijani
Political party Azerbaijan Liberal Party

Professor Dr. Lala Shevket (Azerbaijani: Lalə Şövkət, sometimes transliterated as Lala Şövkat or Lala Shovkat; Лала Шевкет in Russian transliteration) (born 7 November 1951, Baku) is an Azerbaijani politician, the Leader of the National Unity Movement and Azerbaijan Liberal Party.


Lala Shevket’s father – Shevket bey Muslim bey oqlu Khalifabeyli-Hajiyev was born 1912 in Quba province of Azerbaijan into a family of noble landowner and philanthropist Muslim bey Khalifabeyli. Shevket bey’s mother Tughiya khanum was the descendant of Imam Shamil and daughter of a Dagestani Khan (Prince) of Tabasaran.

Shevket bey graduated from the State Pedagogical University in Baku as philologist and historian. He was one of the founders and leaders of the Party of Azerbaijan’s People’s Freedom (created 1940 in Quba City). From 1948 this party continued its covered activity under the name “MARS” (Independent Azerbaijan Republic Party). Its aim was to free Azerbaijan from communist colonialism, Stalinist yoke and to create an independent national state. Shevket bey died on 2 March 1983.

Mother – Siddiqa khanum Shihali bey qizi Useynova was born 1920 in Baku City into a noble family of Shihali bey and Hajikhanum Useynov. She graduated in 1950 from Azerbaijan State Medical University. Later on she received her MSc and worked as a principal of Medical College in Baku. Her uncles Yusif bey, Yunus bey and Rahman bey Useynov graduated from different respected universities of the Russian Empire. In 1937 being members of national Musavat party they were all persecuted and sent to Siberia (Siddiqa khanum’s father Shihali bey died before that in 1933). Siddiqa khanum died on 8 March 1988.

Early life and scientific career

On leaving in 1968 189th secondary school of Baku, Lala Shevket entered N.Narimanov Azerbaijan State Medical University and received qualification of a professional physician. Her first scientific publications are attributed to that time. After graduation, she moved to Moscow where she had her post graduation and master course on the surgery chair of Patrice Lumumbe International University under the guidance of world famous academician, professor V.V.Vinogradov.

At 25, she received M.Sc. becoming the youngest M.Sc. in area of surgery in the USSR. Since 1978, Lala Shevket had been working at N.V.Sklifosovsky Moscow Scientific-Research Institute of the First-aid. Lala Shevket traveled a long road from a junior research officer to a leading scientific specialist and the head of the department.

At 37, she successfully defended a Doctor dissertation and became the youngest Doctor of Medicine in the USSR in the area of organizing and administering of health care. She worked as the head of the Department of organization and management of health care in a Scientific Centre of Health Care Ministry of the Russian Federation. The results of her research effectively influenced the development of health care in the USSR and got a widespread international recognition.

She is the author of more than a hundred scientific works. Was invested with the professor title. In 1991, Lala Shevket was officially enlisted by the Russian Prime Minister N. Silayev to work out the concepts of social policy of the country.

Lala Shevket worked as a head of the expert commission of the Russian Federation Supreme Soviet on the health care legislation, a vice-president of the International Association of Social-Hygienists and Health Care Organisators and also as a member of Presidium of International Eco-Philosophic fund. At the same time, she was awarded an honorary PhD.

Lala Shevket has one son.

Political career

“Perestroika” epoch and the worsening of in the end of 1980s of the Qarabagh problem greatly influenced the forming of her social and political activity. It became the basis for the cooperation with the prominent leaders of Soviet Union’s democratic movement.

The “Bloody January” events of 1990 became a sort of a detonator of the flight of her political career. The whole world became the witness of the barbarian military demarche of the Soviet Army against the peaceful population of Baku because of the press-conference, called by Lala Shevket at the permanent representation of Azerbaijan in Moscow on 20th and 21st of January. It was the time, when the republic was taken in a ring of information blockade... The correspondent of an American information agency NBC called this press conference "The historical moment in the process of increasing the self-consciousness of Azerbaijan people."

In 1991 alongside Eduard Shevardnadze, Alexander Yakovlev, Sobchak, Popov, Brazauscas and other famous democrats Lala Shevket was one of the founders of the Movement for Democratic Reforms in the USSR. The same year she founded the International socio-political movement "For Democratic Reforms in Azerbaijan Republic and Protection of Human Rights", which became the first international political organization of a national republic of the union officially recognized by the Soviet government. Representations of this organization were founded in Azerbaijan as well as other Soviet republics and countries of Western Europe.

In June 1993, Lala Shevket was invited to Baku by the acting President H. Aliyev and on 7 June was appointed the Secretary of State of Azerbaijan Republic.

In January 1994, Lala Shevket wrote a resignation letter as a protest against corruption in the government. This has become a precedent in Azerbaijan of voluntary resignation from such a high position because of one’s morality principles.

In January 1993, Lala Shevket was made Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador thus making her the first woman ambassador in the history of Azerbaijan. Despite further appointment of her as ambassador to the UN she, creating a precedent in the world practice, for 8 months refused to go to New York since she could not represent the policies that are not acceptable to her.

In 1995, Lala Shevket created the Liberal Party of Azerbaijan and was elected as its leader on the Constituent Conference, which took place on 3 June 1995. Thus, she became the fonder of liberal ideology in modern Azerbaijan. The first book on theory of liberalism in Azeri language was published under her guidance.

ALP’s leader calls all her companions and confederates to support the slogan: "TO THE CIVILIZED AZERBAIJAN THROUGH THE LAW AND DIGNITY OF MAN, CREATION OF CIVIL SOCIETY AND STATE SOVEREIGNTY."

In 1998 Lala Shevket has been one of the five potential presidential candidates, who boycotted the Elections.

On 7 June 2003 in the Liberal Party Congress Lala Shevket resigned from the party in order to start her presidential campaign as an independent candidate. Thus, she has laid another cornerstone into the political tradition of Azerbaijan.

As leader of the National Unity Movement and the Liberal Party of Azerbaijan, Lala Shevket participated in the 2005 Parliamentary Election at the head of the list of 70 Liberal Party candidates. Lala Shevket won a decisive victory in her constituency, which was officially recognised by the Central Election Commission. As the result of total falsification, however, the victory of at least 11 Liberal Party candidates was not officially recognized. The Central Election Commission and the courts either did not examine their complaints or groundlessly rejected them. At the same time, the authorities also denied the victory of approximately 50 candidates from Liberal Party's ally - the “Azadliq” Bloc. When starting her campaign Lala Shevket said: "I am not fighting for a parliamentary seat, but for my nation". After the election she considered them as the greatest injustice and an aggression against the will of the people. Being true to the word given to the people and her allies Lala Shevket officially resigned her seat in the National Assembly of Azerbaijan Republic.

On 17 February 2006 the "Azadliq" Political Bloc was created. The Bloc consisted of three major oppositional political parties – the Azerbaijan Liberal Party, the Popular Front Party and the Citizens and Development Party. During its existence the Bloc has proved itself in the vanguard of the opposition's struggle for democracy and human rights in Azerbaijan.

In 2008 Lala Shevket together with other opposition leaders has boycotted the presidential election due to complete lack of freedom and openness in the country, lack of even the minimal requirements for the election to be free and fair.

In 2010 before the parliamentary elections "Azadliq" Political Bloc has been disbanded due to the decision of the Popular Front Party to join a coalition with the Musavat Party. Azerbaijan Liberal Party has participated in the parliamentary elections together with its ally from the disbanded "Azadliq" Bloc the Citizens and Development Party, as well as the Green Party and the Movement of Intelligentsia, forming the Election Bloc "For Human". The elections, however, have been totally falsified and not a single member of the opposition has been allowed to enter the Parliament.

Today Professor Lala Shevket is the leader of Azerbaijan Liberal Party and its candidate for presidency.


This article has been written based on the information taken from Prof. Dr. Shevket's official website. The information included in the site is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, used with permission.

External links

  • Official website of Lala Shevket
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