By Abdul Kerimkhanov
A member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Gosar, has condemned the killing of 147 Azerbaijani civilians by Soviet troops in Baku on January 20, 1990.
"I rise today in remembrance of the 30th anniversary of the events in Azerbaijan culminating in what is now known as Black January. In January 1990, the former U.S.S.R. attempted to continue to suppress freedom and impose its political will on the people of Azerbaijan. At that time, however, the people of Azerbaijan decided that they had enough of Soviet control and resisted," Gosar said in a statement made on January 15.
The senator reminded that the attack was aimed to crash Azerbaijan’s independence movement.
"While the Azeris used peaceful protests and calls for freedom, the Soviets responded with guns and tanks. These actions resulted in 147 civilian deaths, with hundreds more wounded and imprisoned.
"This tragedy only emboldened them in their cause, carrying on the mission of their countrymen which culminated in their August 1991 independence," he said.
Gosar reminded that Azerbaijan has been the U.S. friend and ally since its independence in 1991.
He urged other senators to recognize Black January and join in the honoring of allies in Azerbaijan and their quest for liberation.
Black January, also known as Black Saturday or the January Massacre, was a violent crackdown on a civilian population of Baku on January 20, 1990, following a state of emergency during the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
According to official estimates, 147 Azerbaijani civilians were killed, 800 people were injured and five people went missing. However unofficial number put the number of victims at 300 dead.
In 1995 Gorbachev apologised to Azerbaijan by stating: "The declaration of a state emergency in Baku was the biggest mistake of my political career."
In a resolution of 22 January 1990, the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan SSR declared that the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of 19 January, used to impose emergency rule in Baku and military deployment, constituted an act of aggression. Black January is seen as the rebirth of Azerbaijan.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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