On January 20, 2014, the commemoration ceremony on the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the tragedy of the 20th January of 1990 was held at the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
At the outset the praying session was held and the documentary on this tragedy was screened for the audience.
At midnight of 19th to 20th January of 1990 without any prior notification Soviet military entered the city and fired the civilians with machine guns and Kalashnikovs. That night 121 persons were killed by the Soviet army, more than 700 persons were injured in Baku. On subsequent days 132 persons in total perished; out of which 123 males, 5 female and 4 infants.
During the 20 January tragedy besides Muslim Azerbaijanis, other inhabitants of Baku, including 6 Russians, 3 Tatars, 3 Jews were killed. Among the killed there were 4 police men, 1 doctor, and 4 scholars (Ph.D). 25 females and 20 infants were among the registered 700 injured.
In late 80s socio-political situation was aggravated in Azerbaijan. Ongoing processes within the former Soviet Union, misimplementation of economic reforms, misconduct in national policy had triggered national-freedom movement in Azerbaijan. Another important cause of aggravation of socio-political situation in Azerbaijan, was the territorial claims of Armenia against Azerbaijan, bringing up the so called Nagorno Karabakh problem.
Shielded with an idea of preventing mass protests, the Soviet leadership had ordered military to enter Baku in January 1990. Decree of the Soviet Supreme Council dated 19th January on declaring emergency situation in Baku effective from the 20th January was announced to the civilians only at 6 a.m. on 20th January from the Soviet tanks.
In the evening of January 19th, the energy bloc of the Azerbaijan had been destroyed(bombed). Later the State Investigation Commission on 20th January proved that this explosion had been planned and implemented by the Soviet special services.
Azerbaijani nation commemorates the memory of its heroes annually on the 20th January, and this day is a National Mourning day in Azerbaijan.
Eternal flame complex on the memory of martyrs was constructed by the initiative of the National Leader Heydar Aliyev at the Martyrs' Alley lying on the highest hills of Baku. Honorary title of the Martyr of 20 January was awarded by the Decree of the President dated January 17, 2000 to the victims of that tragedy.
Official documents of subsequent years assessed the importance of 20th January as an exceptional symbol in fight for Azerbaijan's freedom, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.