The Azerbaijan Embassy has issued a press release marking 20th January 2022 as the 32nd anniversary of Azerbaijan’s Black January tragedy.
In 1987 anti-Azerbaijani pogroms broke out in Armenia with attacks on Azerbaijani villages, killing hundreds of civilians. As a result, 250,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from Armenia.
Territorial claims of Armenia, armed separatism instigated by radical Armenian nationalists, and mass violence against the Azerbaijani population of Armenia were supported by the Soviet leadership. This stirred the people of Azerbaijan to stand up for the protection of the territorial integrity of the country, leading to mass anti-Soviet protests in Azerbaijan, which soon turned into a national freedom movement.
On January 20, 1990, under direct instructions from Mikhail Gorbachev, 26,000 Soviet troops stormed Baku and other cities of Azerbaijan, massacring the civilian population using heavy military equipment in order to block Azerbaijan’s path to independence and to quash the freedom movement of the Azerbaijani people. As a result, 147 civilians were killed and 744 were seriously injured.
After the return of the national leader Heydar Aliyev to political power in Azerbaijan, the tragedy of 20 January received political and legal assessment at state level. On March 29, 1994, Azerbaijan’s legislative body Milli Majlis (Parliament) adopted a resolution “On the tragic events committed in Baku on January 20, 1990”. Since then, 20th January has been commemorated as a National Day of Mourning.
Despite the fact that many years have passed since the bloody massacre committed by the Soviet Union in Azerbaijan, the Azeri people do not forget the pain of those terrible days, and every year commemorate the martyrs of 20th January with deep sorrow and respect for those who sacrificed their lives for the independence of Azerbaijan, and the freedom of its people.