The Peninsula newspaper of Qatar published an article related to the 29th anniversary of 20 January Tragedy

This month, the people of Azerbaijan commemorated the 29th anniversary of the tragedy of January 20.

On this day in 1990, under the orders from the former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet tanks and a large contingent of Soviet Army units entered into Baku city and some other regions of Azerbaijan and opened fire on civilians, said a statement issued by the embassy of Azerbaijan in Qatar. With this invasion and violence the USSR leadership was trying to maintain the Communist regime in Azerbaijan and strangle the national liberation movement.

At the end of 1980s Armenians increased their claims on NagornoKarabakh, a mountainous region inside Azerbaijan, and forced Azerbaijanis to flee from Yerevan and other regions of Armenia. Azerbaijanis were savagely killed and driven from their homes. Therefore the people protested this injustice and assumed to struggle to protect their rights and to preserve the territorial integrity.

The failure of the USSR government to prevent increasing Armenian claims on Azerbaijan’s territory and separatist activities in Nagorno-Karabakh, caused concern of Azerbaijanis and reinforced the people’s national liberation spirit.

In 1988 mass demonstrations of Azerbaijani people started and eventually developed into a national liberation movement. As a result of this aggression by Soviet army on January 20, 1990; 137 civil citizens were killed in Baku, more than 700 people wounded, 800 people were illegally arrested.

The soldiers destructed and burnt a great number of houses and apartments, automobiles, including ambulance cars. Women, children and elders, as well as ambulance and militia employees were among the victims of this massacre.

Azerbaijani people refused this invasion and united in their effort to continue their struggle to repair justice. From those people, Azerbaijan’s national leader Heydar Aliyev, who lived in retirement in Moscow at that time. He strongly condemned the Soviet leadership for this invasion at a press-conference held in Moscow on January 21, 1990 and soon after that he proclaimed his resignment from the Communist Party. Tragedy of January 20 is one of the most tragic events in the country’s recent history and became a turning point for Azerbaijan, strengthening the will of the people to build their own independent country and led to it’s independence and freedom a year and a half later. In 1991, Azerbaijan became independent state.

Azerbaijani people remember and will never forget memory of all fallen heroes on January 20, 1990 and every year in this day, thousands of Azerbaijani citizens visit the graves of those victims buried in Alley of Martyrs, a cemetery on the highest part of Baku to pay their tribute to the martyrs who sacrificed themselves in the way freedom and independence of Azerbaijan.

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