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"Black January," a Struggle for Azebaijan's Independence, to Be Marked in South Korea
Azerbaijan Embassy in Seoul to Host Event
This file photos shows that Azerbaijan Ambassador to Seoul Ramzi Teymurov (right) explains about the related photos of "Black January" to participants at his event held in Seoul on Jan. 20, 2016.

The 20th of January is a "Day of National Mourning" in the Republic of Azerbaijan. January 20, 1990 is a day which went down in history as a fight for Azerbaijan's independence and territorial integrity.

On Jan. 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.

During the night of 19–20 January, 26,000 Soviet troops invaded Baku to quash the uprising, acting in the wake of a state of emergency declared by the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium, signed by President Gorbachev. The Azerbaijani public was not informed of this move – news of the decree only spread as many citizens lay wounded or dead in the streets, hospitals and morgues of Baku.

The Soviet army also attacked the state TV building, in order to cut off the power supply for preventing the dissemination of news to the international community.

The suppression was brutal and uncompromising. Altogether, 133 Azerbaijani civilians were killed and approximately 700 were wounded. The victims included elderly people, women, children, and even medical personnel.

The killings were indiscriminate, with the slain including Azerbaijanis, Russians, Jews and Tatars. In addition to the massacre in Baku, killings took place in the Lenkaran and Neftchala regions of Azerbaijan, claiming the lives of 26 people.

Valiant sons and daughters of Azerbaijan put the country's freedom, honor and dignity above everything else, sacrificed their lives and became martyrs.

The massacre perpetrated by the Soviet military machine in Azerbaijan was an act of unseen aggression and execution of citizens by its own state. It represented a flagrant breach of the Constitutions of the former USSR and Azerbaijan SSR.

By sending troops to crush the civilian population on that day, the USSR government flouted the international law, including UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of which it had been a party.

This despicable act could not prevent the intention of Azerbaijani people to be independent from the Soviet Union. As a result of brave struggle the Azerbaijani people restored its independence and Azerbaijan became a sovereign State.

Despite that many years have passed since those bloody days, Azerbaijani nation remembers the dreadful night that took many innocent lives, and marks the anniversary of the January 20 tragedy every year.

Thousands of people, including the President and members of Cabinet of Ministers and Parliament, high ranked officials of the Government, are visiting Alley of Martyrs to commemorate the heroism of courageous sons and daughters of the Azerbaijani people perished on January 20, 1990 for the sake of freedom and independence.

The tragedy of January 20th brought huge losses and death of innocent people, but it also demonstrated the spirit and pride of Azerbaijani nation.

The above article is provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Republic of Korea. For details leave an Email to its embassy at

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