The speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Haydar Aliyev at the meeting with the families of the martyrs and some groups of the invalids - January 19, 1994

Dear sisters and brothers, families   of  the martyrs and disabled the massacre of January 20 who suffers till now, honourable  guests!

Today   we commemorate   the fourth anniversary of the tragedy of January 20. This event is the most tragic day in our history. This  day  in the night of January 20 a military, political, and spiritual aggression was committed against the people of Azerbaijan,a bayonet was thrusted    into its trust  , the worst crimes were committed  against  our nation.  This crime caused a lot of changes in the life of the Azerbaijani people. At the same time this massacre was closely connected with the previous  tragedies and events.    Some years before the aggressive forces plan  and implements  into life to split Azerbaijan and occupy its territories.

To achieve it, it was necessary  to break the will of our nation. The tragedy of  January 20 was  committed specially for this purpose.

On that day our valiant sons , brothers  and sisters were killed and some others injured but still are living  now.  But it was also not the end . That  day  our people were humiliated .  I’m sorry  that our people who betrayed the nation  and tried to hide this crime. It is already four years but this  issue  has not got its politically and legally appreciation.

At the same time I want  to note that our nation managed to maintain its honor and dignity  while lost their citizens.  Our  people proved that it is impossible to break his will. They continued  the struggle for the independence and freedom and now Azerbaijan is an independent country and achieved  its sovereignty and freedom.

 I repeat  once more that the essence of this day should not be  measured  by the number of the dead  and injured.  This  day has a very important social -political sense.  I regret  that the state, the organs of the state did not correctly appreciate this tragedy and  the cries of separate patriots were not heard but strangled . The culprits of this crime were not revealed and  fairly trialed from   political - legal point of view.    I  give my condolences  to all the families of  martyrs. I wish you patience!  Be sure  that I shall continue my efforts   for investigating  this crime  and for estimating of this terrible  tragedy.

 Here I became aware of the problems of   the families of martyrs, and injured persons  related to the massacre of January  20.  I did not know that these problems were not solved  in the past four years.  That’s why  our meeting was very efficient.  Immediately, I declare  that I charged the commission  to continue their job in future and take concrete measures for the investigation and   solution all the problems in connection with this tragedy. This incident will be  personally under my control.  Be sure that we shall do our best  and  the solution of these problems.   As the President I shall take all  necessary  measures  by means of   orders and decrees  .

 I want to  share my opinion on an issue. Our first  martyrs  were  buried here in the Martyrs ‘ Alley (before was  called  Hilltop Park ). They are the martyrs  of this bloody  tragedy.  This  is a sacred place, it is  a spot for our pilgrimage  and it will remain in the history  like this. I think  that we  must erect a monument to the memory of the  martyrs of  January  in order  that to display their  special role to the coming  generations.

All the victims  of the tragedy should be inscribed on this monument. Our people must always remember them. Our people had many martyrs throughout the history . Our country had an ancient and rich history. We had many martyrs .But  the martyrs and the events of each time  have thir particular importance.   That’s why, this tragedy is very significant .That is why, this event must be specially marked.

As you   know recently  some problems have been clearified specially after the decree which I issued on January 5.  Two days ago the chronicles of the decrees and documents and some explanations adopted in the last four years concerning   of  the tragedy of the January 20 were published in the news  ”Azerbaijan”.  When you read  the decrees and documents  you will be surprised once more and even horrified, enraged .  In the last four years  careless attention to this  tragedy, inconsistent policy and finally concealing   this tragedy were completely revealed.

The same day the 20th of January, was declared the day of mouring. After a while another day was declared.  Later the date  was declared the Day of Martyrs.   Now I do not want to express my attitude to  these decisions,  Whether they are grounded or groundless, particularly I do not want to say that they are in consistence with the political sense and essence of that tragedy, but all this invites us to think, to look at them in the form of a complet and approach to the  political essence.

You know that I  disclose my opinion to  this crime in my speech at  the meeting and at  the conferences  held in Moscow in that period when I was under political  pressure. On the same day in the permanent  mission of Azerbaijan I  expressed my condolences to  the people of Azerbaijan.  I  phoned  some persons with  much difficulty and asked them  to publish my condolence or   deliver  at the funeral ceremonies .  Later I learned that none of my requests   are fulfilled.

These days I was in grief. I followed  the events  as soon as possible. I felt nervous  that none of  the former leaders  of the government participated  in the funeral ceremony. Sheikul-Islam Allahsukur Pasa-zade and our intelligensia burring the murderedin the Alley of Martyrs. Remember  it!  If the former heads of the country did not participate in the funeral of martyrs  at  that  tragic period, it proves that they were guilty of this massacre  and since then they try to hide this  tragedy.

How it  can still remain unknown .  The father of the martyrs who spoke here  reminded me this event. During the investigation it was  discovered  that  beds were prepared in hospitals, on January 16-17  the wards were prepared for patients .  It’s right, tge wards were prepared, the  surgeons were warned.  Because this violence was arranged  not only by Garbachov or by other leaders of the Soviet Union in Moscow  and Communist Party. First of all it was arranged by the former leaders of the Communist Party of the Republic of Azerbaijan in order  to suppress  their  own  people , crush, oppress the liberation  movement, insult the dignity of the nation.

This is the truth.  It did not need great talent to reveal  this truth.  Unfortunately, they worked much  in the last four years to hide this event.  But they could not do it.  Imagine that  today the crimes  committed   hundreds, seventies years ago are exposed a few days ago  the television of  Moscow  broadcasted information that   they had investigated whether it was a revolution happened in 1921 in Khronshtat  or not ,and it became clear that there  had not been any rebel and the rebellious  were justified after 73 years.  After 20 years   in 1956-1957 the repression of the Azerbaijani scholars in 1937-1938 was clarified  and all of them were rehabilitated.  Here we are not talking about the imprisonment of individual persons, though actually  the criminals should bear responsibilty. Here are talking about the fair reflection  of this  event in the fate of the Azerbaijani people  from  political point of view. Therefore I have said and repeat once more : if a military-politically violence was committed against the people of Azerbaijan  on the  20 January of 1990 and if this is a grave crime, then to conceal is more growe,  it is treason against the people. 

If yesterday you watched the live broadcast of the session of the Parlament , perhaps you saw the situation. Imagine  the head of the commission, vice-president of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaycan, an academician, a scholar, a man out of common people, trying to hide these crimes for two years prove that it was as he said. I was obliged to hold a dialogue with him. Perhaps you heard it.

Now  I raise my voice as I did it in 1990 on the 21st of January  when lived in Moscow in hard conditions,  when I could not live in Baku and lived in Nakhchivan, then I spoke  at a session of the Supreme Soviet. Not for somebody but for the sake of  nation. Here we speak of the history  of the nation, of the aggression against the people, it is the top subject here. This crime was committed by the Soviet Union, the communist party and its leaders, on the other hand,it was committed by  leadership of the communist party of  Azerbaijan , the heads of the government of the country committed, it’s their fault.  

Perhaps you do not know, in Moscow, on June in 1990  I declared  of my leave   from the Communist  Party . I joined to the Communist Party in 1943 and faithfully surved it. But in 1991 in the Kremlin Palace I declared that I leave  it. Why? I will find my  letter and ask  them to publish it.  In those days they concealed my statement everywhere.  I wrote the reason of my decision.  The first reason was the disaster be fallen on the nation and the violence committed against the Azerbaijani people over the Garabagh  conflict . The  other reason is  the tragedy of  January 20, the crime  which committed against the  Azerbaijanis and its disclosure. That is why I left the Communist Party in 1991.  

I note  that I always tried hard to fulfill my duty as a citizen,  today I am in the same position , it will be in tomorrow the same.  I shall be the same for the justice  as well for the sake of protection of honour, pride and  national dignity of the Azerbaijan people.

But  yesterday I saw in the session of Parlament that not only Academician Midhet Abbasov,  but others also did not fair care for this event. Why?  Because  they are participants of this tragedy. I think that   no one who committed this crime has the right to be a citizen of this country. The punishment of individual persons is not an  important problem. The most important is to give  a legal and political appreciation to this tragedy from historical point of view  in order to move  the future generation learn that the such a crime has been committed against  the people, but the people have not lost the confidence and fairly appreciated all these  crimes. Be sure, that I shall continue my efforts and taking the advantage of my opportunities  I shall try to disclosure this crime  correctly and give it a political-legal appreciation. In our country now has  martyrs.  We protect  our home. But the martyrs of the 20  of January have a special place in the history. Our famous poet  Bextiyar Vahab-zade wrote  absolutely right: they became  martyrs  without fighting for  the freedom of land, nation. Some ones  say that it was necessary to warn the people not to go out and die. You know it seems to me  very  strange. The problem is  that when the tanks arrived if everyone  had stayed at home, nobody would have been hurt,was it possible? Then it would have been easy for the nation?  It is a strange opinion.

I  wish patience to their families!  I am sure nor  the tragedy of the 20th of  January,  the misfortunes fallen on the nation in  past or the massacres to take place in future shall break the will of our people. The Azerbaijani people can protect their land and sovereignty, highly appreciating  their history, heroic traditions. Now our soldiers protect the territory of the republic bravely and be sure that this is our just cause, our land ands our sovereignty  are defended and will be defended hence reliably.  

I am optimistic about the future and advise you the same, give  up this complaints and groans. Our future goal  is to strengthen the  independence of the Republic  of Azerbaijan, ensure  its territorial integrity. Be sure that we shall achieve it. Thank you!