21 years pass from January events of 1990s which entered to the history of Azerbaijan as Bloody Tragedy of January. Spiritual, ideological and political aggression against Azerbaijan during 70 years came up on the military desk with January 20 events. The purpose of this terror was the physical death of Azerbaijanian people.
Over the night from 19 to 20-th January, 1990 without preliminary declaration of the state of emergency military units of former Soviet Union were entered into Baku city and some regions of Azerbaijan. The invasion into Baku of a large contingent of Soviet Army units, interior troops and special destination detachments was accompanied by particular cruelty and unprecedented atrocities. Reprisals were inflicted toward peace population, hundreds of people were killed, wounded, missing.
In total as a result of illegal entering of troops into Baku city and regions of the republic 133 men were killed, 611 men – wounded, 841 men – illegally arrested and 5 – missing. The soldiers sacked and burnt 200 houses and apartments, 80 automobiles, including ambulance cars, the state and personal property with total worth 5637286 rubles was destroyed. Women, children and old men, as well as ambulance and militia employees also were among the killed persons.
Entering of troops and introduction of the state of emergency in Baku were rough violence of the USSR Constitution (article 119), Constitution of the Azerbaijani SSR (article 71), International Pact “On civil and political rights” of 1966 (article 1) and the sovereign rights of the Azerbaijan Republic.
The illegal declaration of the state of emergency in Baku, invasion of armed forces into the city and severe violence against the peace population with use of heavy equipment and killing weapons under conditions of full lack of any resistance from the population was the crime against the Azerbaijani people.
It was proved that individual military men acting under conditions of the state of emergency implemented inhuman actions that may qualify them according to the Decree of International Military Tribunal, Genevan Conventions on protection of victims of war of 1949, Additional protocols I and II of 1977 to them, and Criminal Code of Azerbaijan as military criminals. In fact all acting international conventions on human rights including Common Declaration on human rights of 1948, International Pact on civil and political rights of 1966, international pact on economic, social and cultural rights of 1966, Final act of Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe of 1975, Final document of Viennese meeting of CSCE of 1989, Declaration on protection of women and children in emergency and armed conflicts of 1974, Convention on child’s rights of 1989, acting conventions regulating waging of war, in particular, 4th Hague Convention about the rule and customs of land war of 1967 were violated. The military men shot the people point-blank with particular cruelty, tanks and armored troop-carrier specially rode into cars to kill the people sat in them, fired on the hospitals, prevented medical staff to help to the wounded persons. Personnel of troops finished the wounded persons off, killed by bayonets, use bullets with 5.45 caliber in Kalashnikov submachine gun, which not only wound the man, but increase his suffering and do his death inevitable.
The bloody tragedy took place in Baku in January, 1990 showed anti-national character of totalitarian regime when USSR armed forces were again used not for protection from foreign aggression, but against its own people.
The events took place before the tragedy
The analysis of the measures implemented by party and state bodies, and contradictory process took place in Baku, on the eve of the 20th of January, shows that the January tragedy was the corollary of prepared military operation.
The policy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union contradicting to interests of the people and directed against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in the period before January, 20, biased and preconceived line of the Center, inefficient activity of the leaders of Azerbaijan became the main reasons of introduction of the state of emergency in Baku.
This aggression against Azerbaijani people implemented stage by stage: provocations which led to the massacre carried out in the city, weapons were withdrawn even from militia employees under the pretext of population disarmament, etc.
From the end of 1989 right up to the January events additional contingents of internal troops and forces of Soviet Army were sent in Baku. In connection with it various preparatory measures for quartering of military units were taken. In spite of presence in Baku of 110.000 armed security and law-enforcement personnel additional 66.000 soldiers and officers were transferred to Baku among them also were reservists, conscripted for short period in the middle of January, 1990.
The Investigation Commission ascertained that reservists and personnel of units 11.500 strong entered into the city were brought intensive psychological pressure: information about necessity of this action for Russian population protection in Baku which is allegedly annihilated cruelly by the local population was spread, false information about fair amount of snipers and submachine gunner from National Front stationed around the barracks and on the roofs of the houses who will meet the troops with burst of sub-machine gun fire and etc. is reported. Thus, the troops are expected fierce fire and were ready for cruelty. According to the materials of the Investigation Commission there are many persons of Armenian nationality among reservists.
Some days before the events beds in the hospitals in Baku were freed quickly, preparation for receiving quantity of wounded is implemented, members of families of soviet servicemen were evacuated from Baku. Thus, all conditions for implementation of military aggression and troops entering into Baku were created.
The next stage of military operation has become explosion of the power block of the Azerbaijani television and full stopping of broadcasting in the republic on January, 19. Since the day of tragedy the activity of other mass media was suspended and the people was deprived its rights to get information.
For realization of this planned criminal action USSR defense and interior ministers, other high rank military officials and party figures arrived to Baku. In all their speeches they assured that they arrived to Baku to understand the situation and not allow the troops to be entered into the city.
Due to the inefficient activity of local leadership tried to satisfy the central authorities and blindly implement its instructions the situation in the city was beyond the control.
Just in this period during a few months in Baku, other cities and districts mass meetings in connection with unequal attitude of the central authorities of USSR to separative claims of Karabakh Armenians about annexation to the Armenian Republic of the autonomous republic which is the part of Azerbaijan were held. Unclear position of the leadership of USSR in the decision of this issue, undisguised play with Armenians in this issue became the reason of the conflict spreading and led to the mass proscription of the Azerbaijanis from Armenia. About 300.000 Azerbaijanis were subjected to torture and killed with aim to oust them from their own houses, and forced to be refugees and took refuge in the Azerbaijani Republic.
All these inflamed anger of the people, and the demands about the resignation of the leadership of Azerbaijan were made at the mass-meetings . The proposal about introduction of the state of emergency put forward at the meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan on January, 1990 was a result of fear to loose the power. On the basis of this decision on January, 15 1990 Presidium of USSR Supreme Council adopted the Decree “On declaration of the state of emergency in Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast and some other districts”. On January, 15 1990 during the visit of chairman of Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijani SSR to Moscow under conditions of lack of quorum illegal meeting of Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijani SSR was held where the decision about consent on introduction of the state of emergency in Azerbaijan were taken under the pressure of the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan. It again confirms that the tragedy of the 20th January was beforehand planned criminal action.
Decision by Presidium of the USSR Supreme Council “On introduction of the state of emergency in Baku city” violating item 14, article 119 of the USSR Constitution and article 71 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijani SSR, its publication after introduction of the state of emergency and blood shed of hundreds innocent inhabitants of Baku city confirm that this military and political action was open aggression and the crime against the Azerbaijani people committed by the leaders of CPSU, Soviet state and personally Mikhail Gorbachev.
January, 21 1990
The tragedy of January, 20 has evoked anger and indignation of the progressive forces all over the world. The radio stations of many countries broadcasted full information about the January tragedy and damned imperial forces.
The city awoke by the night tragedy only in the morning, 6-7 hours after declaration of the state of emergency in Baku, listened the Decree of Gorbachev and the order of the city commandant by the radio. Disorders by troops entered into the city have continued, the people have perished, and these events continued for several days.
January, 22 1990
The extreme session of the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijani SSR held on January, 22 1990 at request of the people and initiative of the group of deputies tried to evaluate the January events and adopted some documents.
The session adopted the Decree of the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijani SSR “On cancellation of the state of emergency in Baku city”.
The appeals to the USSR Supreme Council, Supreme Councils of union republics, parliaments of all countries of the world, UN as well as to all nationals and peoples living in the Azerbaijani SSR also were adopted at this session. Questions about legal evaluation of the events were risen at this session and the deputy investigation commission was created.
This day Baku bid farewell to the sons and daughters of Azerbaijan perished as a result of the January tragedy. Millions people have gathered at the Lenin square. The funeral procession reached Upland park in Baku – the highest place in the city which was chosen as the place of burial of the victims of this terrible tragedy. They became the heroes for the next generations and the shehids (martyrs) perished for independence of Azerbaijan.
In 1994 according to the decree of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev “On conducting of the fourth anniversary of the tragedy of January, 20” Milli Mejlis (parliament) after holding special meeting adopted resolution “On tragic events took place in Baku on January, 20 1990” where the events of tragic January, 1990 were given political and legal evaluation for the first time.
The Decrees of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev of December, 16 1999 “On the 10th anniversary of the tragedy of January, 1990” and of January, 17 2000 “On awarding of honorary title “Shehid (Martyr) of January, 20” (where all the victims of the tragedy are listed) once more showed the deepest respect to the tragic history of our people.
Azerbaijani people remember and revere memory of all fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
May they rest in peace!
BLACK JANUARY of 1990