January 20 – Day of Honor for Azerbaijanis

January 20 is the symbol of struggle for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijani people.

The January 20, 1990 entrance of the Soviet army forces into Baku, to suppress the masses, resulted in unprecedented tragedy in Azerbaijan. The protests were held against the USSR-supported Armenia's aggressive actions, made upon territorial claims towards Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani valiant people put the country's freedom, honor and dignity above everything else, sacrificed their lives and became shahids.

The Soviet army, without declaring a state of emergency, began military operations against Azerbaijan on the night of January 19-20, 1990. As a result of the military rally, 133 people were killed, including 117 Azerbaijanis. As many as 744 people were seriously injured, four were missing, 400 were arrested. After declaring a state of emergency, 21 more people were killed in Baku, 26 people were shot in Neftchala and Lankaran.

The tragedy of January 20 brought huge losses and death of innocent people. But it also demonstrated the spirit and pride of Azerbaijani nation, which couldn't stand the betrayal policy of the criminal empire led by Mikhail Gorbachev.

At that time Azerbaijan's national leader, former President Heydar Aliyev, was living in Moscow and he came to Azerbaijan’s permanent representation to present his condolences to the people. In an emotional speech he directly blamed the officials of the USSR in initiating the tragedy. Heydar Aliyev, who considered this tragedy a crime against the Azerbaijani people, emphasized that the initiators bore responsibility for it and should be properly punished.  As a result of the insistence of President Heydar Aliyev, January 20 tragedy was marked at state-political level and the names of the offenders were openly stated.

"Black January" is forever inscribed in the country history as a day of heroic struggle in the name of the freedom and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The day that led to serious losses and the killing of innocent people demonstrated the readiness for struggle, the pride of people who could not bear the policy of the USSR leadership treacherous towards Azerbaijan, raised their voice to gain freedom and independence.

Every January 20th is a mourning day in Azerbaijan to commemorate all martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for the bright future of the nation.



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