US congressman issues statement on 30th anniversary of 'Black January' in Azerbaijan
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 20
Steve Chabot, a member of the US House of Representatives, has made a statement in the US Congress in remembrance of the 30th anniversary of the January 20 tragedy in Azerbaijan, Trend reports referring to Azerbaijan’s Embassy in the US.
“I rise today to remember the innocent lives lost in the massacre of Black January at the hands of the Soviet Union,” Chabot said. “January 20 marks the 30th anniversary of this tragic day in the history of Azerbaijan, which is seen as its rebirth as an independent country. On the night of January 20, 1990, 26,000 Soviet troops attacked Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, and its surrounding areas. This vicious invasion is fixed in Azerbaijan’s national history and is remembered in the hearts of its people as ‘‘Black January’’.”
“In the Soviet brutality, more than 145 innocent civilians died, around 800 people were injured, and hundreds were arrested,” the US congressman noted. “The Soviet crackdown was meant to smother the independence movement in Azerbaijan which was gaining momentum at the time. It proved to be a futile attempt to prop up the rule of the Communist Party, and really the whole Soviet Union. In fact, it had the opposite effect, further inflaming the independence movement and strengthening other such movements throughout the former Soviet Union.”
“Following the events of Black January, popular sentiment drove Azerbaijan to break away from the Soviet Union and declare independence,” reads the statement. “On August 30, 1991, Azerbaijan’s Parliament adopted the Declaration on the Restoration of the State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and on October 18, 1991, the Constitutional Act on the State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan was approved.”
“Azerbaijan began to receive international recognition of its newfound independence in November 1991, and shortly thereafter the US became one of the first nations to recognize the country, establishing diplomatic relations on February 28, 1992,” Chabot added. “Today, cooperation between the US and Azerbaijan has blossomed to include a broad range of issues, particularly energy development and security, and we share many common interests and goals for the region. I urge my colleagues to join me and the Azerbaijani people as they remember the events of Black January and celebrate that brutality cannot stifle the thirst for freedom.”