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The First Secretary of the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Belgium prepared brief review on the tragedy of January 20

21 January 2006 [04:18] - TODAY.AZ
The First Secretary of the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Belgium Dr. Fuad Humbatov prepared a brief review dedicated to the tragedy of January 20.

As APA informs according to the embassy of Azerbaijan in Belgium, the review states:

"On 20 January 1990 the Central Soviet Authorities perpetrated an atrocious crime against Azerbaijani people. On that day the Soviet Army stormed Baku – capital of Azerbaijan to punish people rallied on the streets protesting against violations of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Special Soviet troops using heavy offensive weapons, including tanks and armored vehicles, occupied a city. As a result of punitive actions more than 130 civilians were killed and 700 wounded, hundreds of people were arrested and subjected to various forms of physical pressure. Among victims were a 7-year old boy, a 16-year old girl, an 80-year old man, a young doctor shot in ambulance while helping another victim, and many other civilians of different nationalities of Baku. This massacre entered the history of Azerbaijan as the "Black January".

The strong indignation and protest of the people of Azerbaijan was caused by the prejudiced and biased policy of the Communist Party and the Government of the Soviet Union towards the people of Azerbaijan. Soviet authorities' connivance at the Armenian expansionists, who claimed a part of the territory of Azerbaijan, compelled the people of Azerbaijan to defend the territorial integrity of their country. Such a policy of the Soviet leaders led also to the expulsion in 1988-1989 of 200.000 of Azerbaijanis from Armenia. Not a single Soviet mass media entity touched upon this crime and the tragedy of the Azerbaijanis in Armenia passed over in silence.

Bloody events of the period from 1988 to 1990 and the tragedy of the Black January ushered in a new tragic chapter in the policy of mass persecution and ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis, which had been executed primarily in Armenia, and in Azerbaijan itself by Armenian nationalists, dashnaks and their patrons from the Soviet Communist leadership at the beginning of the last century.

People took into the streets to voice their legitimate protest against violations of the territorial integrity of their homeland by Armenia that was openly supported by the then soviet leadership, namely Michael Gorbachov and his close political and economical advisers of Armenian nationality like Aganbegyan, Shaghnazarov, Tsitaryan and etc.

In the fall of 1989, the independence movement in Azerbaijan had reached an incredible momentum with hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating for the ideals of freedom, independence and sovereignty. New democratic forces were clearly in control of political agenda and stood poised to win the upcoming parliamentary elections in March 1990. Clearly, the Soviet Army descended on Baku simply because the Kremlin was determined "to restore order" and return the status-quo – to keep the regime of the Soviet Empire alive in Azerbaijan and anywhere else within the boundaries of the former Soviet Union.

The twenty six thousand strong Soviet troops stormed the capital of Azerbaijan – city of Baku, center of the Azerbaijani national independence movement – on the night from 19 to 20 January 1990 in a desperate, brutal and yet futile attempt to strangle that national movement and stop the demise of the Soviet regime in Azerbaijan and to put the legitimately claiming people under the illegitimate soviet disorder of the time.

The invasion was launched at the midnight and committed with ferocity and no mercy for children, women and elderly. Helsinki Human Rights Watch has documented how the Soviet army intentionally ran down and crashed unarmed peaceful civilians under their tanks. How they opened fire at a civilian bus that posed no conceivable physical threat, killing the driver and many passengers. How they attacked hospitals and clearly marked ambulances and medical personnel assisting the wounded. How they randomly sprayed residential yards and apartment buildings with automatic fire. Finally, how they stabbed defenseless civilians to death with bayonets.

The Wall Street Journal editorial of January 4, 1995, stated:
"It was Mr. Gorbachev's recall, who in January 1990 chose to defend his use of violence against the independence-seeking Azerbaijan on the grounds that the people of this then-Soviet republic were heavily armed gangs of hooligans and drug-traffickers who were destabilizing the country and quite possibly receiving support from foreign governments."

Black January has become the turning point in the history of modern Azerbaijan. On January 20, 1990 Azerbaijanis acquired their national identity. The Soviet invasion failed to achieve its aim. The Azerbaijani people confronted the tragedy with strength and dignity. Every bullet that was fired splattered blood across the face of the Soviet regime, undermining the ideals of communism and totalitarianism. Those tanks, armored vehicles, automatic rifles and bullets were supposed to have scared the nation into giving up its dream for independence. But instead, the sun rose the next day on a very different Azerbaijan more determined than ever to pursue its dream.

Unfortunately, the perpetrators of the 20 January tragedy went unpunished. While the punitive actions against public in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1989 and Vilnius, Lithuania in 1991 were strongly condemned by the Soviet and world public, the truth of the Black January received less public attention through the efforts of the Soviet authorities. The Soviet authorities removed all files and evidences related to this massacre from Azerbaijan. The massacre of January 20 was one of the outrageous manifestations of the totalitarian regime against its own citizen.

In 1991 Azerbaijan became independent. Today the victims of the Black January repose in Martyr's Alley in the capital city of Baku. They were among the first to sacrifice their lives for freedom that Azerbaijan nowadays enjoy and those heroes will never be forgotten…"


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