31 years have passed since the events of January 20, 1990, which entered the history of the Azerbaijani people as the Bloody January tragedy. The military aggression of the former Soviet state against the Azerbaijani people that day will remain one of the gravest crimes against humanity. The killing and wounding of hundreds of innocent people as a result of armed aggression against civilians fighting for national freedom and territorial integrity once again demonstrated to the world its criminal nature on the eve of the collapse of the totalitarian Soviet regime. The tragic events of January 20, 1990 in Baku and before that in the history of Azerbaijan were another manifestation of the deliberate policy pursued against our people throughout the twentieth century. AZERTAC presents an article by Elchin Ahmadov, Professor of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Doctor of Political Sciences, entitled "January 20, the annals of honor and heroism that led to independence in the history of Azerbaijan."
The incursion of a large Soviet Army, special forces and internal troops into Baku was accompanied by special cruelty and unprecedented brutality. The USSR did not hesitate to repeat its military intervention against Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Afghanistan in 1979, even in Azerbaijan, one of the allied republics of the then Soviet Union. The long-standing economic, political and social crisis in the USSR and the world socialist system intensified in the late 1980s. These conflicts have led to gross violations of the principles of international law and a serious threat to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states. These conflicts have led to gross violations of the principles of international law and a serious threat to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states.
Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan at the end of the XX century and the way to the bloody January 20 tragedy.
Undoubtedly, it would not be correct to analyze the events of January 20, 1990 in Baku separately from the Armenian aggression in Karabakh. Each time, territorial claims on Karabakh were made from outside, namely, by Armenian propaganda, incitement and pressure. Undoubtedly, these territorial claims of the Armenians were made not suddenly, but long ago by their patrons abroad on the basis of a careful and comprehensive plans.
In general, since the mid-1980s, anti-Azerbaijani, anti-Turkish propaganda has intensified in the former USSR and, first of all, in the territory of the Armenian SSR. This process became more widespread after Gorbachev was elected head of the USSR. It should be noted that even in Soviet times, Armenian ideologues and their patrons openly falsified the facts about the history, socio-economic development of Azerbaijan and spread it throughout the union. At the same time, on February 18, 1988, Gorbachev's statement on the need to reconsider the issue of national relations in the USSR aggravated the situation.
During this period, some of the Azerbaijanis expelled from Armenia turned to Sumgayit and settled there. Until then, 18,330 refugees or 3,030 families from 20 regions of Armenia came to Sumgayit alone. Most of the refugees, including four Russian families, were left homeless on the streets. In the tense situation, 26 Armenians and 6 Azerbaijanis were killed as a result of the riots in Sumgayit on February 28-29, based on a pre-arranged plan by the Armenians and with their direct participation. 17 cars of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Azerbaijan SSR were crushed.
On September 18, 1988, a state of emergency was declared in Nagorno-Karabakh and a curfew was imposed. However, the imposition of a state of emergency did not prevent violence in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. As a result of the one-sided approach of the central union authorities to the events, Azerbaijanis living in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia were expelled mass from their native lands.
As a result, the Soviet leadership's very serious and unforgivable mistakes and pro-Armenian policies led to an escalation of the situation in late 1988-early 1989. At the same time, at the end of 1988, the Armenians carried out a large-scale ethnic cleansing in Armenia - the cleansing of Azerbaijanis. At that time, 216 Azerbaijanis were killed, including 57 women, babies and 18 children.
At the same time, on December 1, 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the Armenian SSR, in gross violation of the sovereignty of Azerbaijan, adopted an unconstitutional decision to unite Nagorno-Karabakh with the Armenian SSR. The Armenian flag and coat of arms were hung in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Thus, Armenia officially declared its claims against the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, violating the basic norms and principles of international law.
Bloody January 20 and gross violation of the principles of international law
On January 19, 1990, Gorbachev signed a decree declaring a state of emergency in Baku on January 20, in gross violation of Articles 119 of the USSR Constitution and 71 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan SSR. During the night, the army entered the city unaware of the declaration of a state of emergency, and the civilian population was brutally beaten. By the time Gorbachev's decree came into force, nine people had been killed by midnight on January 20. Information about the declaration of a state of emergency in Baku was delivered to the population only on January 20 at 7 am on the national radio. At that time, the death toll had reached 100 people. Thus, the number of people killed as a result of the military intervention of Soviet troops in Baku and other regions of Azerbaijan officially reached 147.
These bloody events are also a gross violation of international humanitarian law, which contradicts the 1949 Geneva Conventions and other principles enshrined in the 1977 Additional Protocols. The use of force by one state against the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of another state is contrary to the UN Charter and is considered military aggression.
Military intervention of Soviet troops in Baku and the reaction of the world.
On January 20, the whole world learned about the terrible massacre in Baku. The military intervention of Soviet troops in Baku has already been met with protests in a number of countries around the world. Thus, the crimes committed in Baku caused strong reactions in neighboring and brotherly Turkey, and rallies and demonstrations were held throughout the country.
As for the position of Western countries, they reacted differently to the Soviet Union's military intervention in Azerbaijan. Although these reactions were generally positive, they did not reflect the objective reality.
As a result, the events in Baku were misinterpreted to the world community. A few years after the tragedy, in January 1994, the USSR Minister of Defense, Marshal Yazov, who was at the forefront of this bloody crime, testified at the trial of the DFVK: “On January 19, 1990, Gorbachev summoned me, Bakati and Kryuchkov and ordered a state of emergency in Baku. I have not seen any written decision, no decree.”
Giving a political assessment to the bloody events of January 20
During the military intervention of Soviet troops in Baku on January 20, 1990, only national leader Heydar Aliyev, despite all the difficulties, came to the Azerbaijani representation in Moscow on January 21, demonstrating political will and strongly condemned the massacre carried out by the Soviet leadership against the Azerbaijani people.
The return of national leader Heydar Aliyev to power in the second half of 1993 created conditions for the establishment of the idea of independent statehood in Azerbaijan. After that, the tragedy of Bloody January 1990 was given a full political and legal assessment at the state level.
No matter how tragic the January 1990 massacre was, it did not break the will of the Azerbaijani people, their determination to fight for national liberation. The sons of the fatherland who died on that terrible night wrote a bright page in the history of Azerbaijan, paved the way for the national freedom and independence of the people. Today, the bloody tragedy of January 20 is written in the history of the independent Azerbaijani state as a page of honor and heroism of our people.
Under the leadership of President of Azerbaijan, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani Army launched a large-scale counter-offensive to liberate our occupied lands in response to the Armenian military aggression on September 27, a year later especially in 44 days, it became a reality, brought great joy to our people and became an important military victory.
At the same time, the souls of our sons, who were martyred 31 years ago during the tragedy of January 20, 1990, for the freedom, independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, rejoiced in this historic event.