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::: 20 January - The Baku Tragedy

The last several years of Soviet Regime in Azerbaijan observed with number of complicated political events some of which unfortunately left tragic pages in the history of this country. Everything started in 1988, when Armenia with the assistance of Russian government put forward territorial claims on Upper Karabakh against Azerbaijan. Rough statements of Armenian politicians followed with mass deportation of Azerbaijan people from Armenia brought to mass meetings of Baku citizens to express their protests against aggressive actions. For the January of 1990 the situation still remained strain, because neither local Government nor Central Committee of Communist party took measures against Karabakh problem. Fed up from unjustified Soviet regime people was demanding National Independence. On the eve of the terrible night of the 20th of January nothing threatened of approaching disaster. Some time before official delegation sent to Azerbaijan by the leader of USSR Michael Gorbachev announced that State of Emergency will not be implemented in Azerbaijan. However on January 19 1990 Michael Gorbachev rudely broke up 119 article of Russian and 71 articles of Azerbaijan Constitutions signed the decree regarding implementation of state of emergency from the 20th of January in the territory of Azerbaijan giving command to send Baku armed forces. The capture of Baku was carried out by the commandment of the minister of USSR defense Yazov. But there was no any agreement or confirmation from the Azerbaijan Highest Council regarding implementation of State of Emergency. Baku citizens also were unaware of the declaration of state of emergency as the energy block of television was exploded from 19:30 by group УAlfaФ-special services sent from Moscow. Also by military commandment was banned publishing of any newspapers through the city. As the result Baku citizens were informed of the implementation of state of emergency only at 7 a.m. in the morning from radios and leaflets thrown from helicopters. By that time it was too late as more than 100 innocent people were already killed by Russian armed forces. Anyway, even before 00 a.m. were already 9 martyrs. Entered from the several directions to Baku Tanks crawled over barricades sweeping away on their way vehicles, running away unarmed people. Soviet soldiers were even shooting completely wounded people. They even shoot off the car of first aid that came to take the wounded people. Depopulation of peaceful citizens was continuing next day. By military forces was shoot off bus with peaceful population. Even people who were in their homes suffered from the pullets of soviet army, as they were shooting dwelling houses and balconies. During several days 137 people were killed, 4 people missed, 700 wounded, , 800 people were arrested. Among killed people there were under aged, women, and old people. The martyrs of January tragedy were not only people of azeri nationality but also Russians, Tatars and Jews. On that terrible night military personnel even turned out the electricity in some hospitals, didnТt allow volunteers to approach the hospitals for the blood aid by shooting them. In hospitals people died from the shortage of medicines, while Moscow didnТt allow their import to the country as from different parts of the region as from foreign countries. At the same time in southern regions of Azerbaijan Neftchala and Lenkoran where State of Emergency was not implemented were killed 26 people by soviet troops. As was determined by the investigation committee in that operation were enabled 20 000 military services of Soviet Army and internal forces, heavy military techniques, hundreds of tanks, BMP and BTR, transport aviation and military boats. The soviet leadership include to staff sent to Azerbaijan military parts consisting of Armenian soldiers and officers mobilized in Stavropol, Krasnodar, Rostov, solders of Armenian nationalities serving in soviet military parts. In spite that by bringing in armed forces Soviet government planned to take Azerbaijan into control they lost Azerbaijan in essence in 1990 indeed. Over 200 thousand people burned their party tickets and went off from the rows of Communist Party after January tragedy. The 20th of January completely destroyed the myth of older brother, nationТs friendship, strong army which is defender of peace and loyalty in the world. The tragedy of the 20 of January showed that it was continue of the terrible scenario over the problem of Upper Karabakh. One day after tragedy on the 21st of January dismissed from power by Gorbachev and being in Moscow Heydar Aliyev took the press conference in the permanent representative office of Azerbaijan and officially announced his protest against policy and activities of Soviet government. On those terrible times nearly every family of Baku hanged black flags over their balconies. On the 22nd of January under the gun points installed by military personnel on the roofs of the buildings passed nearly 1, 5 million processions of Baku citizens. Baku attended to the last way its sons and daughters of different nationalities, who were struggling for the independence of Azerbaijan. They became first shahids Ц martyrs - buried on the top of hill, on the one of the highest place of Baku - Shahidlar Khiyabani Ц the Alley of Martyrs. Every year on the date of nation-wide mourning president of Azerbaijan Republic, ministers, leaders of administrations, diplomatist together with thousands of people attend the Alley of Martyrs where are buried 134 martyrs of that terrible night and victims of Karabakh war and put flowers on their graves. However tragic was slaughter of January 1900 it could not break the will of azeri people on its effort on struggle for national liberation. The tragically events of bloody January united the nation. Every year on the 20th of January azeris of all the world perform memorial ceremony Ц ehsan, sounds prayers after are given charitable lunch. In January of 1990 millions of carnations were brought to alley of martyrs. These flowers completely changed the point of view to joy and sadness. That date became border between time when carnations were given to beloved woman and start to be brought to graves of folks. Particularly after 20th of January 1990 Azeri lovers donТt come to meetings with carnations as they became symbol of blood of innocent people of the terrible night which will always remain in the minds of Baku citizens Е

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