January 20 - the Day of Nationwide Sorrow in the Republic of Azerbaijan
31 years have passed since January 20, the heroic page of the people of Azerbaijan. The night between January 19 and 20, 1990, military units of the former Soviet army made unprecedented massacre in Baku against the civilian population wishing to have an independent state and to obtain sovereignty. But the bloody act could not overcome people’s love of freedom, even at the expense of their own blood, they gained the state’s independence.
The crime committed against the Azerbaijani people 31 years ago is a terrible act of terror against humanity and humanism. 147 Azerbaijani citizens were killed, 638 were injured and 841 people were illegally arrested. As a result, a number of international documents on human rights, including the requirements of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were violated.
After the events of January 20 in Baku, the National Leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev, working in Azerbaijan's Permanent Representation in Moscow, strongly condemned the atrocities at the joint press conference and described it as terror committed against the unarmed people, law, democracy and humanity. At the era of the Soviet Empire, the National Leader proved once again that these kind of great steps are taken only by great personalities.
Martyrdom for homeland is the peak of effort, skill, honour and dignity. The National Leader Heydar Aliyev, highly assessing the self-sacrifice of Azerbaijani people who stood up for the motherland’s dignity in the night of January 20, 1990 conquesting immortality, said: “The heroism of the martyrs of January 20 is an example for the people of Azerbaijan, for the youth of Azerbaijan. The current generation and future generations will follow the heroism of the martyrs. In order to protect the national freedom of the people of Azerbaijan, they will constantly struggle to protect their independence. Examples of heroism will always show examples of patriotism. For this reason, the degree to which the death of these martyrs will be saddened for us, as hard as it is, is an example of our national wealth, national pride.”
After the National Leader Heydar Aliyev turned to political power in our country, the disaster was given political-legal value at the state level. In the special session of the National Assembly (Milli Mejlis) in February 1994, the massacre of innocent people on January 20, 1990 was considered as military crime and murder. As a result of the negotiations, the decision was made in March the year about "tragic events committed in Baku in 1990 January 20".
"Martyrs do not die, they live in our hearts forever," - said the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Significant measures are being taken to perpetuate the memory of the martyrs of January 20, to keep their names high, as well to development and strengthen social protection of their families.
The disaster of January 20, which has become a symbol of national unity and patriotism, is the honorable history of the victory of our people for their sovereignty. Every year on the anniversary of the tragedy, millions of people visit the Alley of Martyrs, which is located at the highest point of the capital Baku, to commemorate the heroes. To pay tribute to the martyrs, these ideas of National Leader Heydar Aliyev may come to mind again: "Those who have died in the 20 January disaster are heroes, they are heroes of our nation. Their death is a great loss for our people. But at the same time a symbol of the heroism of our people. Their blood is the blood of all of our people, the strength of our people, the heroism of our people, the national freedom and the desire for independence. The blood that spilled that night is the blood on our national flag that shows Azerbaijan's independence.