Azerbaijan commemorates victims of "Bloody January"
Azerbaijan commemorates victims of the 1990 January Massacre.
On the night of January 19-20, 1990, several units of the Soviet army entered Baku and some other cities of Azerbaijan in order to suppress the popular movement for independence and impose a state of emergency.
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This happened amid the crisis in the USSR, escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the growing dissatisfaction with the position of the Soviet authorities regarding the Karabakh conflict. At that time, thousands of protest rallies were held in Baku every day.
To stop all this, troops were sent to Baku.
According to official figures, 147 people were killed that night, hundreds were injured – mostly civilians.
In 1994, the prosecutor’s office of already independent Azerbaijan found several high-profile Soviet officials guilty of the tragedy, including Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, however, none of them ended up being held responsible for it.
January 20 is a day of mourning in Azerbaijan. On this day, officials of the country, diplomats and ordinary citizens come to the Alley of Martyrs to commemorate victims of the January Massacre.
Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan
“The events of January 20, 1990 should be classified as a crime against humanity, and its perpetrators should be punished”, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued in connection with the 32nd anniversary of the tragedy.
The Azerbaijani MOFA stressed that “responsibility for this crime lies directly with the former Soviet leadership”, whose goal was to dissolve a nationwide movement and eradicate the will to independence of the Azerbaijani people.
“Strengthening the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is the basis of our statehood. All necessary steps will be taken to ensure that those who are responsible for various crimes against the Azerbaijani people and state answer before the law”, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said in a statement.