Azerbaijani witness recalls Soviet crackdown in 1990
ISTANBUL A surviving witness of the Soviet crackdown on the people in the Azerbaijani capital Baku recalled her memories. On Jan. 20, 1990, also known as Black January, around 150 people were killed during Azerbaijan’s break-up of the Soviet Union. Aytac Rzaguliyeva told Anadolu Agency that she will never forget what happened that night. “Many of our friends were waiting in the square to protect the democracy that day,” Rzaguliyeva said. According to her, the army did not attack the civilians at first but later tanks came in. “They began shooting randomly without distinction of the children. First we could not believe it. We thought ‘this cannot be real, they are just trying to scare us’,” she recalled. The awful truth was revealed in the morning, according to Rzaguliyeva. “There were dead children, crashed cars, randomly fired people.” “On the same day, a curfew was imposed and there was a funeral for our martyred people. As women, we were all on the street to go to the funeral. “It was like film set. Giant tanks, soldiers [were there] and we marched without taking them into account,” she said. Black January was a violent crackdown in Baku during the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Black January massacre is also regarded as the rebirth of the Azerbaijani Republic.