YEREVAN (Armradio)–Sunday marked the eighteenth anniversary of the massacre of Armenia’s in Baku, Azerbaijan. The seven-day pogroms, which began on January 13, resulted in the murder of hundreds of Armenia’s.
According to Azerbaijani historian Arif Yunusov, 86 Armenia’s were killed between January 13 and 15. Armenian figures, however, place the dead at over 150. Thousands of Armenia’s fled the pogroms to find shelter in the "Shafag" cinema. From the cinema, they were moved to the port of Baku, then transferred the port of Krasnovodsk in Turkmen’stan, and finally to Yerevan.
The massacres came two years after the massacre of Armenia’s in cities of Sumgait and Kirovabad in February and November 1988. The pogroms were the result of growing enmity toward Armenia’s in Azerbaijan because of the Karabakh Movement.
Witnesses have testified that a few days before the massacres began, Azerbaijani nationalists plastered maps pointing to the houses of Armenia’s on the walls of the Azerbaijani Popular Front party building.
"The whole city had gathered at the meeting of the Popular Front. Anti-Armenian calls could be heard during the whole meeting. The last slogan called ‘Long live Baku without Armenia’s,’" according to one of the former leaders of the Azerbaijani Popular Front Zardusht Alizade. The Armenian massacres started during the demonstration."
Soviet troops, however, only entered Baku to quell the violence after the massacres had ended.
Two years ago, in response to the assertions of the reporter of the "Moskovskiy Komsomolets" saying troops were brought to Tbilisi, Vilnius, and Baku, the first and last President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev declared that upon his order troops entered only the capital of Azerbaijan.
As leader of Nakhijevan in the early 1990s, Heidar Aliyev told American reporter Thomas Golts that "Black January" could be blamed on "the State Security Committee of Moscow and that of Azerbaijan, as well as the whole leadership of Azerbaijan." He said "they all were involved in the attacks against Armenia’s."