Having restored the country’s independence on October 18, 1991, Azerbaijan faced a number of internal and external challenges with a real prospect of losing its statehood. Military aggression by Armenia, economic decline and internal governmental crisis reached its culmination in June 1993. The situation in the army was also critical, with the increasing number of cases of desertion from military units. Separate military groups and individuals were fighting for power, the country faced internal political crisis. The military unit deployed in Ganja disobeyed orders of the Defense Ministry, and the government sent troops to Ganja to suppress the military revolt. As a result of the negligent policy, the scale of revolt extended and became uncontrolled. Rebels were moving toward Baku and demanding a change of power. The government of that time led by Azerbaijan Popular Front and Musavat parties understood that it couldn’t prevent the threat of civil war.
In such troubled times, the country was in need of a strong-willed, intelligent and experienced leader who could address the existing crisis and avert a potential crisis. When the Government and the people of Azerbaijan believed that the national statehood was on the edge of fall, they demanded change of the existing power, relying their destiny on the prominent political leader Heydar Aliyev who was a speaker of the Supreme Majlis (parliament) of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan.
Taking the mission to shield the country from the civil war, Heydar Aliyev left for Ganja at the risk of his life and as a result of negotiations, he prevented the extension of a civil confrontation. The proper steps taken guaranteed Azerbaijan’s independence in such a difficult political period.
On June 15, 1993, Heydar Aliyev in his speech at the Milli Majlis (Parliament) focused on how to develop Azerbaijan’s statehood strategy. He later crafted and implemented this plan. If independence was the first step to achieve, the second most important issue was to protect and develop it. On July 24, 1993, Heydar Aliyev began to function as the President of Azerbaijan. On October 3, 1993, he was elected President through the nationwide voting.
June 15 entered the history of an independent Azerbaijan as the Day of National Salvation. The holiday acquired the official status in 1997, and it has become a national holiday since 1998.