Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev was born in the city of Nakhchivan, Republic of Azerbaijan, on May 10, 1923.
In 1939, after graduating from Nakhchivan Pedagogical School he entered Azerbaijan Industrial Institute (present-day Azerbaijan State Oil and Industrial University), Faculty of Architecture, but the outbreak of the World War II prevented him from completing his education.
In 1941-1944, Heydar Aliyev headed a secret division at the Archive Department of People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and then served as head of the General Affairs Department of the Council of People's Commissars of Nakhchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In May 1944, he embarked on a career in state security bodies.
After studying at the USSR State Security Committee`s (KGB) Senior Staff Training School in Leningrad (present-day St. Petersburg) in 1949-1950, Heydar Aliyev was appointed as department head at the State Security Committee of Azerbaijan SSR in 1950.
In 1957, he graduated from Azerbaijan State University (present-day Baku State University), Faculty of History.
In 1958, Heydar Aliyev was appointed as head of the Counter-Intelligence Department of the State Security Committee of Azerbaijan SSR. He was promoted to deputy chairman of the State Security Committee in 1964.
In 1966, Heydar Aliyev completed senior staff professional development courses at the High School named after F. E. Dzerzhynsky in Moscow.
In 1967, he was appointed as chief of the State Security Committee under the Council of Ministers of Azerbaijan SSR and promoted to the rank of major general.
Heydar Aliyev was elected as first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan at its Plenary Session held on July 14, 1969.
For twenty-two years, Heydar Aliyev had been a member of the Supreme Soviets of the USSR and Azerbaijan SSR. From 1974 to 1979, he held the post of first deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers.
In 1976, Heydar Aliyev was a candidate to the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In December 1982, he was elected as a member of the bureau and appointed as First Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. During his tenure, Heydar Aliyev was responsible for vital sectors of the USSR`s economic, social and cultural life and initiated a number of important projects.
In October 1987, in protest at the policy pursued by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, namely Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev, Heydar Aliyev resigned from his posts.
On January 21, immediately after the Soviet troops committed the bloody tragedy in Baku on the night of 19-20 January 1990, Heydar Aliyev visited the office of Azerbaijan`s representation in Moscow. He demanded punishment for the organizers and perpetrators of the crime against the people of Azerbaijan. In protest at the USSR leadership`s hypocritical policy towards the conflict that broke out in Nagorno-Karabakh, Heydar Aliyev left the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in July, 1991.
Having returned to Baku on July 20, 1990, Heydar Aliyev left for Nakhchivan two days later where he was elected as a member of the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
In 1991, Heydar Aliyev was elected as chairman of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan and in accordance with the legislation as deputy chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan. He held this post until 1993.
On November 21, 1992, Heydar Aliyev was elected as chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party at its founding conference in Nakhchivan.
In May-June 1993, when Azerbaijan was on the verge of civil war and faced the risk of losing independence, the people of Azerbaijan demanded that Heydar Aliyev be brought to power. The then leadership of Azerbaijan was forced to invite Heydar Aliyev to Baku.
On June 15, 1993, Heydar Aliyev was elected as chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and on June 24 took office as President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Heydar Aliyev was elected as President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in a nationwide voting held on October 3, 1993.
In a high turnout election on October 11, 1998, Heydar Aliyev was re-elected as President of the Republic of Azerbaijan with 76.1 percent of votes.
Having agreed to run for the presidential office in the October 15, 2003 election, he then withdrew his candidacy in favor of Ilham Aliyev in connection with health problems.
On December 12, 2003, national leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev died at Cleveland Hospital in the United States of America, and was laid to rest at the Alley of Honors in Baku on December 15.
Heydar Aliyev was awarded the former USSR Lenin Order five times (1971, 1973, 1976, 1979, 1983), Order of Red Star (1962) and numerous medals, received the title of the Hero of the Socialist Labor twice as well as high awards of foreign countries, and honorary titles of prestigious universities worldwide.