Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev was born on 10 May 1923 in the city of Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan.
In 1939, after graduating from Nakhchivan Pedagogical School he entered Azerbaijan Industrial Institute (present 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 the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and then served as head of the General Department of the Council of People's Commissars of Nakhchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In May 1944, he was sent to work at state security bodies.
After graduating from the USSR State Security Committee`s (KGB) Senior Staff Training School in Leningrad (presently 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 (presently 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 and 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.Dzierżyńsky in Moscow.
In 1967, he was elected as chairman of the State Security Committee under the Council of Ministers of Azerbaijan SSR and was promoted to the rank of a major general.
Heydar Aliyev was elected as the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan at its Plenary Session held on 12 July 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, and was elected as its member in December 1982 and then appointed as First Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the USSR. During his tenure, Heydar Aliyev was responsible for vital sectors of the USSR`s economic, social and cultural life.
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 and personally by Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev, Heydar Aliyev resigned from his posts.
The day after the bloody tragedy committed by the Soviet troops in Baku on the night of 19-20 January 1990, Heydar Aliyev made a statement at Azerbaijan`s Representative Office in Moscow demanding to punish the organizers and executors of the crime against the people of Azerbaijan. As a sign of protest against the hypocritical policy of the USSR leadership towards the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, he left the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in July 1991.
Having returned to Baku on 20 July 1990, Heydar Aliyev left for Nakhchivan two days later, where he was elected as a member of the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
In 1991, Heydar Aliyev was elected as chairman of the Supreme Assembly of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan, and in accordance with the legislation as deputy chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Azerbaijan. He held this post until 1993.
On 21 November 1992, at the constituent congress of the New Azerbaijan Party in Nakhchivan, Heydar Aliyev was elected as chairman of the Party.
In May-June 1993, when Azerbaijan was at the verge of civil war and loss of independence, the people of Azerbaijan demanded to bring Heydar Aliyev to power. The leadership of Azerbaijan was forced to invite Heydar Aliyev to Baku.
On 15 June 1993, Heydar Aliyev was elected as chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan, and on 24 June took the office of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
On 3 October 1993, in a nationwide voting which saw high turnout, Heydar Aliyev was elected as President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
On 11 October 1998, Heydar Aliyev was re-elected as President of the Republic of Azerbaijan with 76.1 percent of votes in a high turnout election.
Having agreed to run for the presidential office at the 15 October 2003 election, he then withdrew his candidacy in favor of Ilham Aliyev in connection with health problems.
On 12 December 2003, national leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev died at Cleveland Hospital in the United States of America and was buried at the Alley of Honors in Baku on 15 December.
Heydar Aliyev was awarded the former USSR Lenin Order five times, Order of Red Star, and numerous medals, received the title of the Hero of the Socialistic Labor twice, as well as high awards of different countries, and honorary titles of prestigious universities worldwide.