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Azerbaijanis Mark 30th Anniversary Of Bloody 'Black January' Crackdown

Azerbaijanis are set commemorate the 30th anniversary of Black January, a bloody crackdown by Soviet troops that failed to stop Azerbaijan’s independence movement.

On January 20, 1990, more than 200 people were killed after emergency rule was declared and Soviet soldiers fired into crowds of protesters in Baku.

It was part of an attempt by Moscow to prevent the disintegration of the Soviet Union. But the crackdown only strengthened the local independence movement, and the following year Azerbaijan became a sovereign state.

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Azerbaijanis surround a victim of the Soviet crackdown in Baku starting on January 20,1990. Over several days, more than 200 people were killed and at least 700 were wounded as Soviet troops fired without warning into crowds of protesters. Ordinary citizens were targeted. The dead included Azerbaijanis, Tatars, Armenians, Russians, Jews, and Lezgins, a northeast Caucasian ethnic group.

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