Azerbaijan remembers victims of 1990 Black January massacre

Azerbaijan on Thursday remembered the victim of the 1990 Black January massacre in which nearly 150 civilians were killed and 744 others injured.

“As a result of military aggression of the units of the Soviet Army and special forces, as well as contingents of internal troops against Azerbaijan, civilians, including children, women and elderly were massacred in the cities of Baku, Sumgayit, Lankaran and Neftchala by order of the USSR leadership,” said a statement by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.

The statement said that Soviet troops sent to the country to suppress the mass protests by the Azerbaijani people and the national independence movement committed “an unprecedented massacre against the civilian population grossly violating international law.”

It also said that the national independence movement began in response to “the discriminatory policy of the Soviet leadership against the people of Azerbaijan, the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from their historical lands in the territory of present-day Armenia, and Armenia’s unfounded territorial claims against Karabakh.”

“The tragedy had a decisive influence on the formation of the national identity of Azerbaijan and became a turning point in the restoration of the independence of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani people, who were subjected to military, political and moral aggression of the Soviet regime 33 years ago, showed commitment to their historical traditions of struggle,” the statement said.

It said that the Black January massacre is "one of the most terrible crimes committed in the 20th century," adding that the leadership of the former Soviet Union is directly responsible.

“We once again commemorate with deep sadness the dearest memory of our compatriots who sacrificed their lives for the territorial integrity of our country, the freedom of our people and the independence of our state,” the statement concluded.

Seen as the rebirth of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Black January witnessed the massacre of at least 147 people on Jan. 20, 1990.

The tragic events surrounding Black January are remembered by Azerbaijan every year on Jan. 20.

Source: Anadolu Agency