Black January – Day of Sorrow and Pride

20 January 1990 is a day of simultaneously heroism and mourning in the history of Azerbaijan. It represents the remarkable struggle of people striving to regain their independence and get rid of the chains of oppression of the Soviet regime. January 20, which rendered huge losses by brutal and inhuman slaughtering of innocent people, demonstrated unbending spirit, inexorability and pride of our nation, who intended to regain its freedom and independence.


Helsinki Human Rights Watch has addressed how the Soviet brutal army intentionally crashed unarmed peaceful civilians under their tanks. According to its reports, “among the most heinous violations of human rights during the Baku incursions were the numerous attacks on medical personnel, ambulances and even hospitals”. As a result of the illegal incursion of Soviet troops into Baku and regions of the Republic, 133 civilians were murdered, 611 wounded, 841 illegally arrested and 5 were missing. The soldiers sacked and burnt 200 houses and apartments, 80 automobiles, including ambulance cars, the state and personal property at the result of punitive measures carried out with unprecedented barbarity. The bloodiest acts of state terrorism and crime carried out by the Soviet regime against Azerbaijani people has been, from that time on, mentioned as the “Black January”.


The Black January was a turning point in the history of Azerbaijan. This massacre did not stop the people of Azerbaijan from continuing their struggle until the achievement of the national independence of the country. Despite being subjected to military, political and moral aggression, Azerbaijani national movement succeeded to stand against Soviet challenge, and Soviet troops eventually had to withdraw from Baku.


In spite of the fact that a 27 years has passed since those bloody days, our nation remembers that dreadful night and expresses its deep contempt to those who committed that tragedy. Azerbaijan commemorates the day of January 20 broadly every year, which had immortalized in the vital memory of our nation as a Day of the Nationwide Sorrow and Pride.  

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