20 January 1990 – Road to Victory

20 January 1990 – Road to Victory

Today marks the 34th anniversary of the tragedy of January 20, 1990. This tragedy, which entered history as Bloody January, is not only a tragedy for the people of Azerbaijan but also an honorable page in the history of the people who are ready to make any sacrifices to protect their dignity.The tragedy of 20 January is engraved in the history of Azerbaijan as both a national tragedy and the peak of the national liberation movement of Azerbaijani people for independence and freedom.

The Soviet army sent to the country in order to forcefully suppress the mass protests of the Azerbaijani people and the national independence movement started in response to the discrimination policy of the USSR 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 region of Azerbaijan, committed an unprecedented massacre against the civilian population grossly violating international law and the Constitution.Armed forces killed more than 100 civilians mercilessly regardless of their nationality, age, or sex, including children, women, and elderly, 744 peaceful, innocent people were wounded in the capital city of Baku and surrounding areas, hundreds went missing and 841 persons were unlawfully imprisoned. Even the ambulances and physicians carrying the injured persons were fired on, therefore medical staff became martyrs or were injured. 21 people were killed after the declaration of a state of emergency on January 20.

On January 21, 1990, immediately after the tragic events, at the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan in Moscow, National Leader Heydar Aliyev, demonstrating his solidarity with the Azerbaijani people, strongly condemned the crime committed against the Azerbaijani people, demanded political and legal assessment of the massacre, and punishment of the perpetrators.

At the special session of the MilliMajlis (Parliament) of the Republic of Azerbaijan held in February 1994 the brutal killing of innocent people on 20 January 1990 was qualified as military aggression and a crime, and in March 1994 a decision “On the tragic events committed in Baku on 20 January 1990” was adopted. 20 January was declared the National Mourning Day.

The hard, difficult, but honorable path that began in 1990 reached its most important peak in November 2020. Under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani Army liberated the occupied territories from Armenian occupation in 44 days. And after successful local anti-terrorism measures conducted by the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan on September 19, 2023, separatism and terrorism were eliminated from Karabakhand  Azerbaijan fully restored its sovereignty.

The young people who came to the Alley of Martyrs wrote a heroic epic themselves. They restored the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and ensured its independence and sovereignty.