Azerbaijan marks 34th anniversary of January 20 Tragedy

Azerbaijan marks 34th anniversary of January 20 Tragedy
# 20 January 2024 00:00 (UTC +04:00)

34 years have passed since the 20 January Tragedy that occurred in 1990 in Azerbaijan, APA reports.

On the night from January 19 to 20, 1990, troop units of the USSR Defense Ministry, State Security Committee, and Ministry of Internal Affairs attacked Baku and several regions of Azerbaijan with an order of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, civilian people were shot using heavy weapons and guns of different types and massively killed.

The occupation of Baku by the Special Forces of the Soviet Army and a large contingent of internal troops was accompanied by special and unprecedented brutality. Militaries killed 82 people ruthlessly and injured 20 fatally until the application of an emergency was declared to the population. After the declaration of an emergency situation, 21 people were killed in Baku within a few days. 8 people more were killed in regions and cities, where the emergency situation was not announced, - in Neftchala on January 25 and in Lankaran on January 26.

Thus, as a result of the illegal deployment of troops, 131 people were killed, and 744 were injured in Baku and surrounding regions. There are women, children, and elder people, as well as workers of the emergent assistance team and police among the killed persons.

Illegal deployment of troops was also accompanied by massive arrests among civilians. 841 people were illegally arrested in the capital Baku and other cities and regions of the Republic during operations, and 112 of them were sent to prisons in different cities of the USSR.

200 houses, 80 cars, as well as emergent assistance vehicles were shot by military servicemen, and a mass amount of public and private properties were destroyed as a result of fires, caused by incendiary bullets.

Victims of January of 1990 are called “Martyr of January 20” symbolically. In total, Azerbaijan has 150 “Martyrs of January 20”.

Immediately after the tragedy – on January 21, 1990, National leader Heydar Aliyev went to the Permanent Representation of Azerbaijan in Moscow with his family members and demonstrated solidarity with his native people, expressed his severe protest against the bloody operation of the USSR leadership, and exposed those, who led to the military operation.

January tragedy demonstrated inviolability, the steadfastness of will of the Azerbaijani people, besides being national mourning. Despite the ruthlessness and brutality of the Soviet Army, the declaration of an emergency situation in Baku, Azerbaijani people held a mourning rally at “Azadlig” Square on January 22 regarding the burial of January 20 martyrs. About 2 million people participated in the burial ceremony in the Alley of Martyrs. An extraordinary session of the Supreme Soviet of USS Azerbaijan was convened with the requirement of people and a decision on cancellation of the emergency situation in Baku was adopted, but most leading persons of the Republic, who were scared from the anger of people, did not participate in the session.

January 20 tragedy was legally politically assessed at the level of the supreme legislation body – Milli Majlis for the first time on March 29, 1994, on the initiative of national leader Heydar Aliyev. January 20 has been commemorated as a Day of National Mourning every year since then. Officials and citizens visit the Alley of Martyrs where the victims of the January 20 tragedy were buried every year.

According to the plan of special measures, from 7.00 am until the end of the commemoration ceremony on January 20, traffic will be restricted in streets and avenues toward the Alley of Martyrs in order to provide the safety of visitors. In this regard, it is recommended not to use private cars but prefers public transport.

The memory of the victims will be commemorated with a minute of silence at 12.00 Baku time on January 20. Ships, cars, and trains will signal. The national flags will be lowered in Azerbaijan as a sign of mourning.

The embassies, diplomatic missions, and Azerbaijani communities in foreign countries also take appropriate measures to draw the attention of the world community to the bloody January tragedy.