Bloody memories

Bloody memories

In the history of our Republic there are dates whish are especially remembered by people.

Tragedy of January 20, Khojali genocide and March, 31 - the day of genocide of Azerbaijanis  

January 20, 1990 is a heroic page of the struggle of our nation for the freedom

20 January 1990 is a day, which went down in history of the struggle for the freedom and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, as a heroism page. Leading of the battle divisions of the Soviet army aimed against wide mass who got out in the streets and squares of Baku to protest against aggressive actions of Armenia, which was raising territorial claims to our country, against protection rendered to this country by the government of the former USSR had brought to the unprecedented tragedy in Azerbaijan. On those terrible days valiant sons and daughters of our Motherland, the country's freedom, honor and dignity of whom was above all, sacrificed their own lives and rose to the top of shahid. Tragedy of January 20, which brought to huge losses and destruction of innocent people, demonstrated martial spirit, inexorability and pride of our nation, which couldn't stand the policy of the government of Gorbachev headed criminal empire treacherous towards Azerbaijan, intended to the freedom and independence. As a result of it, we gained our independence many years we had been dreaming of and our country had achieved sovereignty.

In spite of the fact that a few years has passed since those bloody days, our nation remembers that dreadful night and expresses its deep contempt to those who committed that tragedy. Our republic celebrates the day of tragedy of January 20 broadly every year, which had immortalized in the vital memory of our nation as a Day of the Nationwide Sorrow.

Khojaly genocide

Over the night from February 25 to 26, 1992 Armenian armed forces implemented the capture of the Khojaly city with support of hard equipment and the personnel of the infantry guards regiment #366 of former Soviet Union.

The massed firing with using artillery weapon, hard military equipment, which was begun in the evening of February 25, preceded assault of the city.

As a result of this the fire began in the city and by five o'clock in the morning the whole city was in fire. The population (about 2500 people) remained in the city were forced to leave their houses in the hope to find the way to Aghdam - the district center and the nearest place mainly populated by Azerbaijanis.

But these plans have failed. Armenian armed forces with the military support of the infantry guards regiment destroyed Khojaly city and with particular brutality implemented carnage over the peaceful population. As a result:

613 people were killed, among them:

63 children

106 women

70 the elderly

8 families were killed completely

25 children lost both parents

130 children lost one of the parents

487 people were wounded, including:

1275 people were hostages

150 people were missing

The damage done to both state and private property estimated 5 billion rubles (according to the prices for 01.04.1992)

These figures show the results of the most bloody tragedy of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which began on February, 1988 with illegal demands of ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of Azerbaijan SSR to join Armenia SSR that was provoked with direct support of ruling circles of the Armenian SSR, consent and inactivity of central authorities of Soviet Union.

Khojaly was under blockade since October, 1991. On October, 30 the ground traffic was cut off and helicopter was the only way of transportation. The last civilian helicopter arrived in Khojaly on January, 28 and after civilian helicopter was brought down over Shusha city, as a result of which 40 people died, the helicopter traffic also stopped its functioning. Beginning from January 2 there was no electricity in the city. The city lived due to the courage of population and heroism of his defenders. Defense of the city was organized by local guard forces, militia and fighters of National Army armed mainly by submachine guns.

From the second part of February Khojaly was encircled by Armenian armed forces and subjected to daily artillery and hard military equipment firing, attack attempts of the Armenian side.

Preparation for Khojaly attack began in the evening of February, 25 when the military equipment of regiment No 366 began to take positions around the city. The assault of the city began with the 2 hours firing by tanks, armored cars and guns with the missile "Alazan". Khojaly was blocked from three sides and the people tried to escape in Askeran direction. But very soon they understood that it was the ominous trap. Near Nakhchivanik village the Armenian armed forces opened the fire on the unarmed people. Just here, in Askeran-Nakhchivanik shallow gully many of the children and women, the elderly, frostbitten and weaken in the snow of forests and mountain passes became the victims of the brutality of Armenian armed forces.

These events took place when Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Iran Ali Akbar Vilayati visited the region with mediatory mission. On February, 25 he met with leadership of Azerbaijan in Baku and on February, 27 he planned to go to the Garabakh, and then to Armenia. In connection with that according to agreement of both parts three days cease fire was declared from February, 27 till March, 1, but it was also ignored by the Armenian side. It was also happened on February, 12 when the mission of Council of Security and Cooperation in Europe arrived in Garabakh with the aim to acquaint and analyse the situation in the conflict zone and possibilities of its settlement, and then it planned to go to Yerevan and Baku. Exactly on February, 12 Armenian extremists carried out capture of Malibeyli and Gushchular villages of Shusha district, as a result of which the villages were completely destroyed and burnt. Only in Malibeyli about 50 people were killed, wounded and taken as hostages.

Those days Azerbaijani forces couldn't burst through to help the population of Khojaly, and there was also no ability to take away the dead bodies. At the same time special groups of Armenians in white camouflage cloaks using helicopters searched the people in the forests, groups of people who came out the forest were shot or taken as hostages and subjected to tortures.

On February 28 the group of local journalists could reach the place of massacre of Azerbaijanis by two helicopters. Awful sight shocked all - the field was covered by dead bodies. Despite the convoy of the second helicopter they could take only 4 dead bodies because of firing of the helicopters by Armenian militants. On March, 1 when the group of the foreign and local journalists could come to this place, the sight that they saw was more terrible. The dead bodies were mutilated. Many of them had the bullet wounds to head and this showed that the wounded people were finished. After medical checkup of dead bodies it was determined that they were scalped, their ears and other organs were cut off, the eyes were put out, their extremities were chopped off, they have numerous of gun wounds, many of them pressed by hard equipment.

Those days foreign newspapers wrote:

"Crual L'Eveneman" magazine (Paris), March 25, 1992: "The Armenians attacked Khojaly district. The whole world became the witness of the disfigured dead bodies. Azeris speak about thousand killed people".

"Sunday Times" newspaper (London), March 1, 1992: "Armenian soldiers annihilated the hundred families".

"Financial Times" newspaper (London), March 9, 1992: "…Armenains shot down the column of refugees, fled to Aghdam. The Azerbaijani side counted up about 1200 dead bodies…

… The cameraman from Lebanon confirmed that the rich dashnak community of his country send the weapon and people to Garabakh".

"Times" newspaper (London), March 4, 1992: … "Many people were mutilated, and it was remained only the head of one little girl"

"Izvestiya" newspaper (Moscow), March 4, 1992: "…Camcoder showed the kids with the cut off ears. One old woman was cut off the half of her face. The men were scalped…"

"Financial Times", March 14, 1992: "General Polyakov said 103 Armenian servicemen from regiment No 366 stayed in Nagorno-Garabakh".

"Le Monde" newspaper (Paris), March 14, 1992: "… The foreign journalists in Aghdam saw the women and three scalped children with the pulled off nails among the killed people. This is not "Azerbaijani propaganda", but reality"

"Izvestiya" newspaper, March 13, 1992:

"Major Leonid Kravets: "I saw about hundred dead bodies on the hill. One little boy was without head. Everywhere were the dead bodies of women, children, elders killed with the particular brutality".

"Valer actuel" magazine (Paris), March 14, 1992: "…On this "autonomous region" Armenian armed forces together with the people who are natives of Near East have the most modern military equipment, including the helicopters. ASALA has military bases and ammunition depots in Syria and Lebanon. Armenians annihilated Azerbaijanis of Garabakh, implemented bloody massacre in more than 100 Moslem villages".

Journalist of British TV company "Funt man news" R. Patrick who visited the place of tragedy: "Crime in Khojaly can not be justified in public opinion".

From the report of "Memorial" Human Rights Watch Center


…Since autumn of 1991 Khojaly has been practically blocked by Armenian armed formations and after withdrawal of internal troops from Nagorno-Garabakh, full blockade of Khojaly was imposed. Beginning from January, 1992 electrical energy transfer to Khojaly was stopped. Part of inhabitants left blocked city, however, despite insistent requests of head of executive power of Khojaly city Elman Mammadov, total evacuation of peaceful population was not organized.

On February, 25 Armenian armed formations began assault of Khojaly.

Units of Artsakh National Liberation Army participated in the assault using armored equipment - armored troop-carriers, combat infantry cars and tanks.

Artillery firing of Khojaly began about 11 p.m. on February 25. Barracks located in housing estate and outposts were destroyed first of all. Entering of infantry units into the city took place from 1 a.m. till 4 a.m. in the morning on February 26.

The last resistance was broken by 7 a.m. in the morning.

As a result of firing of the city unknown number of peaceful inhabitants was killed on the territory of Khojaly during the assault.

60 people fled from Khojaly during the city assault were questioned by "Memorial" observers in Aghdam and Baku. Only one man of all questioned people said that he knew about existence of "free corridor".

These refugees proceeded along the "free corridor" situated on the territory adjoined to Aghdam district of Azerbaijan were fired, that resulted in death of many people.

After the occupation of the city by Armenian armed formations about 300 peaceful inhabitants including 86 Turks-Meskhets were in the city.

According to information received from both sides over 700 captive inhabitants of Khojaly took as hostages in the city and on the way to Aghdam were passed to Azerbaijani side by March 23, 1992. Among them were mainly women and children.

Inhabitants of Khojaly who could fled had no possibility to take with them even the most necessary part of their property. The inhabitants who were taken as captives by members of Armenian armed formations also had no possibility to take the part of their property.

Observers from "Memorial" Human Rights Watch Center became witnesses of active unlimited marauding in the occupied city. The property left by Khojaly inhabitants got out from the city by inhabitants of Khankendi (Stepanakert) and neighbouring settlements. The names of new owners were written on the gates of the most of houses.

Milli Majlis (Parliament) of Azerbaijan declared February 26 as the "Day of Khojaly genocide". Every year at 5 p.m. on February 26 people of Azerbaijan honors memory of Khojaly victims in a minute of silence.

Khojaly inhabitants became refugees and took temporary refuge in 48 districts in Azerbaijan are waiting fair solving of Nagorno-Garabakh conflict, end of aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, restoration of territorial integrity of the republic. They appeal to the people of the world, states and international organizations to protect the truth and justice, condemn facts of terrorism, ethnic cleaning implemented in Khojaly.

Culprits of Khojaly tragedy, its organizers and executors must get deserved punishment. There is no and cannot be crime without punishment. XX century witnessed many bloody pages which are the history of genocide and ethnic cleaning. Khojaly is one of the most terrible tragedies among them. Everybody implicated in this terrible crime now has responsibility just before its conscience, but the day will come and they will answer for all before court of history.

March, 31 - the day of genocide of Azerbaijanis

In 1998 the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan issued the Decree on declaring of March, 31 as the day of genocide of Azerbaijanis. This decree is demonstration of the national memory about the tragic events in the history of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani people for the past century. The outrageous facts of mass killings, repression, expatriation of the Azerbaijanis from their native places are one of the tragic pages of the world history of XX century. Clear sign of Armenian nationalism that is delirious about creation of "Great Armenia" and use any ways for achievement of this goal is shown in this tragic history of the Azerbaijani nation.

Facts of mass massacre - genocide committed against Azerbaijanis with unprecedented brutality after violent division of Azerbaijan were called by their right names in this significant document for the first time in our history, particularly roots of policy of ethnic hostility carried out in all Transcaucasian against Azerbaijani population in 1905-1907, 1918-1920, 1948-1953 and 1988-1993 by Armenian nationalists, nationalist circles and reactionary great powers supported them were disclosed, political assessment was given to ominous policy of anti-Azerbaijani powers which saw the main and real way to implement chimera about "Great Armenia" in destruction, deportation of Azerbaijanis who were natives of these territories along all history, in destruction of their historic and cultural monuments, rename the toponymies.

Transmigration of tens thousands of Armenians into Azerbaijan after concluding of Goulistan and Turkmenchay peace treaties legalized the occupation of Azerbaijan by tsarist Russia as well as gave them broader rights and privileges in comparison with local population on the basis of religious community that led to supplant of Azerbaijani population by Russian-Armenian alliance by all means. This process was intensified after beginning of activity of Armenian nationalist parties Dashnaksyutun and Gnchak and unification of fanatic Armenian mass under their nationalistic slogans. In 1905 after beginning of first revolution in Russia organized armed troops of Armenians became the first initiators in Caucasus such a terrible crime as genocide on ethnic basis. In 1905-1907 they implemented mass massacre of Azerbaijanis in Baku, Tiflis, Erivan, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Karabakh, Zangezur, burnt cities and villages, killed children, women, the elders with unprecedented brutality. Only in Shusha, Javanshir, Jabrail and Zangezur districts 75 Azerbaijani villages were razed to the ground in this period, and in Erivan and Ganja provinces more than 200 settlements were thoroughly destroyed and ravaged. Tens thousands Azerbaijanis who could escape brutality of Armenians were forced to leave their native lands. So, humiliating tradition of refugeeness history of which will soon amount to one century was founded.

Genocide policy committed against Azerbaijani people by Armenians have got broader scale in 1918 when Central government of tsarist Russia was collapsed and in circumstances of arbitrariness and anarchy former empire have lived its last days. The genocide of this period was committed in more organized way and with more brutality and merciless. Only in March - April of 1918 in Baku, Shamakha, Guba, Mugan, Lankaran Armenians killed more than 50 thousands Azerbaijanis, destroyed their homes, drove them out their native lands. Only in Baku 30 thousand of our compatriots were killed with particular merciless, in Shamakha district 58 villages were destroyed, about 7 thousands people were killed including 1653 women and 965 children. 122 Moslem villages were razed to the ground in Guba district, more than 150 Azerbaijani villages were destroyed in upland part of Garabakh, 115 villages - in Zangezur district, cruel violence were implemented against population without distinction in sex and age. 211 Azerbaijani villages were destroyed, burnt and ravaged in Erivan province, 92 - in Kars oblast (region). One of the numerous appeals of the Azerbaijanis of Erivan points that 88 villages were destroyed, 1920 were burnt, 132 thousand people were killed in this historic city. As a result of brutality carried out by Armenian troops, policy of "Armenia without Turks" pursued during period of Dashnaks' rule, number of Azerbaijani population in Erivan district reduced from 375 thousand in 1916 to 70 thousand people in 1922. Apparently, as a result of genocide and wide-ranging ethnic cleanings Armenian nationalists in a short time largely could achieve their object.

Because of impunity of the crimes of genocide and not giving any political and legal assessment to them, Azerbaijanis repeatedly faced with antihuman policy carried out against them in period of Soviet rule, too. The obvious case of this elaborate discreditable policy is fate of Azerbaijanis lived on the territory of the Armenian SSR. As a result of "creeping" deportations as well as forced deportations in 1948-1953 and 1988-1989 about half million Azerbaijanis were expatriated from the Armenian SSR, and all their property was plundered.

As a result of this only at the XX century more than 2 million Azerbaijanis have felt policy of genocide carried out by Armenian nationalistic circles and their protectors on their own backs. It can be said there is no family in Azerbaijan that has not suffered as a result of Armenian nationalism.



Source:      www.president.az