Azerbaijan Center, HBSCA and Azerbaijani American Cultural Alliance cordially invites you to share memories, to give the warmth of your hearts, to remember those who lost their lives for the independence of Azerbaijan in 1990.
“Black January” tragedy
Black January (Azerbaijani: Qara Yanvar), also known as January Massacre, was a violent crackdown in Baku on January 19-20, 1990. On January 20, 1990, 26,000 troops under orders from the Soviet leadership in Moscow invaded Baku, killing hundreds of unarmed civilians and injuring over thousand men, women and children, and setting in motion the events which led to Azerbaijan’s independence a year and a half later. The significance of this day, which went down in history as the “Black January,” for the eventual collapse of the USSR cannot be overestimated. Peaceful demonstrations had been taking place for several weeks in downtown Baku, protesting the Soviet control of Azerbaijan. In fact, Azerbaijan was the first among the former Soviet republics to mount a serious move toward independence, and it was the prospect of a breakup of the Soviet empire that prompted Mikhail Gorbachev to send both armored troops and KGB officials to Baku. Despite the bloodshed, the Soviet leadership was unable to stop the quest for freedom of the Azerbaijani people. In 1991, Azerbaijan finally restored its independence.