Talk:Black January

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Pogroms of Armenians[edit]

I have added this page on my watch list, and will revert any attempt to act like the in progress pogroms of Armenians is some unimportant footnote. I warn you NOW I will NOT be discriminating about whatever edits are made after an attempt to erase this information and its position, I will revert back to the last version where it is intact. If you want to make a change to that basic information, we can discuss it here. Changes of the type Grandmaster made are fine of course, but eliminating it from the start of the article is not acceptable, and is POV. I would appreciate any assistance from Azeris, Armenians and Chinese alike in helping to keep this in the article, where it belongs. --RaffiKojian 03:53, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Raffi, the numerous army units, including Baku garrison and other forces, Caspian flotilla, two military schools, the students of which were normally used to keep order, plus 12 000 strong MVD troops were more than enough to restore law and order. Instead, they preferred not to act, claiming they had no orders. The reason apparently was that Popular Front was going to come to power after the elections, scheduled to February, so the communist authorities needed a reason to suppress Popular Front. That’s probably why the pogroms were organized, and that’s why militaries waited for one week before taking measures. The real intent of the military operation was to keep the Communist Party on power, which was confirmed by Dmitry Yazov, who gave orders on military operation on 20 January. He confirmed that in an interview to Izvestia newspaper:
26.01.1990 Д.Т.Язов в интервью "Известиям" заявил, что цель армии в Баку состояла в том, чтобы разбить структуры захвата власти, имевшие ответвления "повсюду" [1]
D.T.Yazov stated in an interview to Izvestia newspaper, that the goal of army in Baku was the destruction of the structures of seizure of power, which had their branches “everywhere”.
No mention of Armenians. Grandmaster 08:37, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
This was a crazy time, Grandmaster, so it is not surprising if indecision and preparation took a week. They couldn't decide what to do with the Karabakh issue itself year after year. As usual, I am open to other viewpoints, but when we're talking about why there was an invasion, there are of course official reasons and (often) unofficial ones. Gorbachev himself would be the best source - what does his biography say about this? There are few non-Azeri sites on this matter (and I'm not sure who Yazov is), but the Library of Congress clearly states "Meanwhile, Azerbaijanis unleashed a wave of violence against Armenian residents of Baku and other population centers, causing turmoil that seemed to jeopardize ACP rule. In response, in January 1990 Moscow deployed forces of its Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ministerstvo vnutrennikh del--MVD), Committee for State Security (Komitet gosudarstvennoi bezopasnosti--KGB), and the military in a brutal suppression of these riots. Moscow also began a crackdown on the APF and other opposition forces in Baku and other cities, and Soviet forces cooperated with Iranian authorities to secure the Azerbaijani-Iranian border." [2] (if the bookmark doesn't work, go to and click on "Demands for Sovereignty and the Soviet Reaction". So anyway, it seems there is a strong arguement for saying that the Armenian pogroms were a reason (or at least a pretext) for the invasion. --RaffiKojian 10:05, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Pogroms were a pretext, but not a real reason. Yazov was a minister of defense of the USSR at the time. Later he was one of the leaders of the coup against Gorbachov. Soviet authorities never cared about ordinary people, but they cared about communist party staying on power, so that’s apparently a reason why they waited for a week to have the highest number of casualties. That would be a good pretext to ban the anticommunist opposition. The pogroms were started by the refugees from Armenia, by that time the whole Azeri population of Armenia was expelled, and the refugees took the streets of Baku. Some forces directed their anger against Armenians, living in the city, and some say it was organized to prevent the fall of the Communist regime. Grandmaster 11:29, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, they may have been a pretext, though Library of Congress gives them as "the" reason. I also think that maintaining control was the main reason, but still, the pograms must have been important, since they definitely did not make Moscow or Baku look good. It seems they must have been a factor of some sort... --RaffiKojian 12:19, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
I’m not saying that the pogroms were not an important factor, but they were not a decisive factor. The facts speak for themselves. Why did the Soviet authorities have to bring the troops from outside while they had more than enough forces within the city to restore law and order? And why all those troops took no measures to stop riots, while they could as early as 13 January? It appears that they waited until the situation got as bad as possible, to have a reason to ban the opposition. And Yazov himself explained why the troops stormed Baku, he said they did it to prevent opposition from coming to power. He was a soldier, not a politician, and he openly admitted the purpose of the military action. Grandmaster 15:31, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Personal interpretations have no relevancy in the article and are no reason for edits. Fad (ix) 17:03, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Mine or Yazov's? Grandmaster 04:20, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
soviet leader never cared about people of soviet union, they couldnt care less about death armenians or death azerbaijanis. they only wanted to proceed their control over resisting azerbaijan. azerbaijanis were already destroying iran border the year before and in 1990 they wanted independence, this got soviet leader shoked. and if azerbaijan became independent then all caucasian countries would follow. so soviet union wanted to proceed to maintain control over azerbaijan. also i dont know how its internationally but in azerbaijan that day, bloody january is also known as the bloody birth of azerbaijan republic, i think this page should include that - Karabakh

User:Karabakh - please sign your comments with the --~~~~ so that your name is AUTOMATICALLY linked to your user page and people can tell that user Karabakh wrote something, rather than an anonymous user randomly said the word Karabakh at the end of their comment. Also, please do NOT remove information about Armenians without discussion (and not even mention it in your edit summaries!). You must know this is sensitive and should be discussed. It is currently still being discussed. GRANDMASTER - I agree that Yazov would be more likely to know the truth, but LOC would be more likely to say the truth... you know what I mean? But in any event, as I said, I think it likely the invasion was for just what he said, but that the pretext was the Armenian thing... --RaffiKojian 12:46, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

This article needs work in the beginning of the text. It should be explained that by January 1990 the whole Azeri population of Armenia was expelled and many of them sought refuge in Baku, living virtually in the streets of the city. Local police did not even have pistols, because all local police forces in the region were disarmed by Soviet authorities to prevent them from participating in ethnic clashes. It should also be said that while pogroms of Armenians were used as a pretext for the intervention, the real goal was preventing the fall of the communist regime. I’ll do that later. Grandmaster 13:02, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
GM - Please make sure to use good sources - as it surprises me to hear that ALL the Azeris of Armenia were already in Azerbaijan by that date. It also surprises me to hear police were unarmed (though the soldiers wouldn't have been), but that is quite interesting. --RaffiKojian 03:06, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
Of course, I always use sources to back up my edits. And it’s really true about policemen, I think they disarmed police in both Armenia and Azerbaijan, because they started shooting each other on the borders. Instead, the Soviet authorities sent internal troops of MVD to the region to keep order and prevent ethnic clashes. They also confiscated all hunting rifles from the people. I will include this once I have a good source for it. Grandmaster 05:03, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
Raffi, please have a look at this document by HRW, it’s called Playing the "Communal Card": Communal Violence and Human Rights, see section called Black January. It basically supports what I was saying:
While the government did not instigate these pogroms, central authorities, including the local militia and 12,000 Soviet Ministry of Interior troops in Baku, did little to stop the violence; they mostly occupied themselves with protecting Communist Party and government buildings. Various excuses were put forward to explain the inaction: the troops were not equipped to handle civil disorders; no orders were given; confusion in the chain of command. Some journalists pointed towards a conspiracy.
On the night of January 19, 1990, Soviet forces, under the authority of a state of emergency decree that would only be announced hours later, stormed Baku in an effort to crush the anti-Moscow Azerbaijani Popular Front and safeguard the rule of the Azerbaijani Communist Party. The Popular Front had taken de facto control in a number of Azerbaijani regions and was poised to win Supreme Soviet Elections scheduled for March 1990. While the Kremlin's ostensible reason for the military action was to safeguard the Armenian population, most evidence simply does not support this contention. For example, documents of the military procurator's office in Baku examined by Human Rights Watch/Helsinki indicate that the military action was being planned even before the January 13, 1990 pogroms. [3] Grandmaster 06:06, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

The edit as of now works for me! --RaffiKojian 13:23, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

I had a history professor who also agreed with GM's thesis although he referred to it during the Sumgait pogrom, not Baku. Here's an article by TIME on the event so give it a read (if you don't have a subscription, I'll e-mail the article) [4].--MarshallBagramyan 01:33, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

In State of Emergency, in paragraph 2, it uses the term "Soviet Empire". While i have no problem with the idea that the U.S.S.R. was Imperialist, i would like to remind everyone that the official term is Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or C.C.C.P., or Soviet union informally. Unless anyone objects, i will change it to Soviet union on Monday the 21. --Aristotle58 (talk) 23:51, 20 January 2008 (UTC)Aristotle58 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aristotle58 (talkcontribs) 09:03, 20 January 2008 (UTC)


we need some pictures to be added to this page

Unfortunately, the image that I uploaded of Black January that is currently on this page - cannot be used because of a possible copyright violation. If you can, try to argue for a better fair use rationale, although it will be a bit tough since we are dealing with an image by the AP.

State of Emergency[edit]

Armenian political scientists acknowledge the fact that military force was used to prevent collapse of the USSR: Azerbaijan holds mourning events dedicated to the “hard times when the soviet troops entered Baku.” However they entered not to defend Armenians but to prevent collapse of the communist regime. Those victims Azerbaijan is speaking about were the people who wished to seize the power,” the political scientist underscored. From:

This information should be corrected in the text. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 13:33, 16 January 2007 (UTC).

Recent additions[edit]

This article was completely unintelligible. I reverted back to a readable version. Sorry if I removed anything important. Rees11 (talk)

Number of dead?[edit]

I might be missing it but how many died during this event? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Special:Contributions/ ([[User talk:--Doom Child (talk) 19:00, 20 January 2010 (UTC)|talk]]) 04:39, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Good question. I am also looking for the exact numbers. I'll add it in once I have data based on official count. Tuscumbia (talk) 13:47, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
I removed the claim about Soviet soldiers allegedly killed. Not sure what information it is based on. Tuscumbia (talk) 14:24, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
According to Azeri evidence (, over 130 died and over 700 were wounded. Brand[t] 14:56, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Thank you Brand. It is clear that more than 130 people died but I tried to search for precise numbers. Most of the sources claim either 131 or 137, some indicate higher numbers. Tuscumbia (talk) 15:08, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

HRW does not provide the exact number, just says it was over 100. [5] But the total death count is 132, from what I know. Grandmaster 07:26, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Hello Grandmaster. Thanks for helping out. Is there an official count on any of Azerbaijani government websites? I've searched all around but had not yet come across one Tuscumbia (talk) 13:57, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Removing the fact that Soviet soldiers were killed with a scholarly source is unacceptable. Do not do it again. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:33, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Where is the exact source stating the Soviet soldiers were killed? Are you referring to Gorbachev's statements in his own defense because he ordered a military invasion of Baku? Of course he's going to say there were soldiers killed. Where are the Soviet reports about soldiers being killed? If there were any, I assure you their names would have been publicized. Tuscumbia (talk) 21:46, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
A scholarly source cites a report saying Soviet soldiers were killed. Your dispute with the sources means nothing. Go publish your findings in an academic journal if you have a problem with the sources. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:13, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Good for you. Have everyone discuss and come to agreement then you can place it in the article.Tuscumbia (talk) 22:15, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
No such policy conforms to your suggestion that sourced information from scholarly material needs to have unanimous approval on a talk page. Do not delete the sourced information in an effort to censor this article to the dictates of an ugly nationalist cause. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Stop making false accusations and assume good faith Tuscumbia (talk) 22:20, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Your deletion of sourced material stating that Soviet soldiers were killed is not acceptable. Unless you can present a scholarly source disputing the fact they were killed, you have no right to remove the text.
You have to discuss the edits on the talk page. The talk page exists for disputed information so that people discuss it, come to agreement and incorporate into the article. You do not. You make changes by deleting large chunks of text in small edits indicating one small thing but actually deleting quite a lot. Once you're ready, you and I as well as other editors will discuss. Otherwise, the changes will be reverted and I'll take the matter to arbitration. Assume good faith and respect edits of others. Tuscumbia (talk) 22:26, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
It is not disputed that Soviet soldiers were killed in the Baku riots of January 1990. See the scholarly source I cited. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
No other (dozens of) sources indicate any dead soldiers. When one finds a source that claims otherwise it's debatable so that people research and find the truth. Tuscumbia (talk) 22:30, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Again, show sources disputing the fact that Soviet soldiers were killed. Wikipedia has rules against original research, by the way. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
review sources already in the article. Tuscumbia (talk) 22:39, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
This is a ridiculously one-sided article that reads somewhat like propaganda published by Azerbaijan's information ministry. The event is depicted as a massacre even though it involved over 100 killed and wounded soldiers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:42, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
There is nothing ridiculous about massacres. This was a full invasion by Soviet troops to suppress independence movement and any political opposition in Azerbaijan. It's not a "propoganda by Azerbaijan's information ministry". Neither is it any Soviet propoganda you want to present it as. Black January was not the first and not the last massacre of civilians by Soviet troops. Events of 1956 in Hungary, 1968 in Czechoslovakia, 1986 in Kazakhstan, 90's in Baltic states and Georgia are all good examples. Tuscumbia (talk) 21:30, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Please do not use this page to spread absurd allegations. You are continuing to vandalize this article by removing sourced text simply because it does not conform to the official propaganda of the post-1990 nationalist-revisionist regime in Azerbaijan and their fairy tales of a "massacre". It is impossible to talk of a massacre when bandit sympathizers of the so-called "Popular Front" ended up killing or wounding over 100 soldiers, as well as carrying out ethnically motivated massacres against Armenians. (talk) 06:47, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
There are no absurd allegations. What article reflects is based on sources. I reviewed the sources which you added and kept the information which was legitemately considerable. I also added the new information sourced in detail. So, do not go removing any sourced data because you feel it doesn't fit your wishes. Also, please assume good faith. This was by no means a "fairy tales "massacre". This was the massacre of Baku civilians exterminated to suppress an independence movement. All sources indicate that. So, please feel free to check all the sources before vandalizing the page. Tuscumbia (talk) 16:35, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Deletions of recently added text[edit]

Tricolor, is there a reason you deleted the recently added text and adding "re-entered Armenian theme"? What is meant by "re-entering Armenian theme"? Tuscumbia (talk) 14:39, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

New infobox[edit]

I think Infobox historical event, which is used in Khojaly Massacre in particular, fits better than that for military conflict because, unlike Khojaly Massacre, BJ occurred under different circumstances. Or we can interchange them, placing military conflict into Khojaly Massacre and historical event into BJ. Thoughts? Brand[t] 07:41, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Brand, thank you for the message. I actually copied the info box from January Events (Lithuania) article. I think the box is a detailed indicator of events and participants as opposed to the info box from Khojaly Massacre article you provided. In my opinion, all of the articles describing massacres done by Soviet troops (in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia, Kazakhstan) should use the same info box. But I'll read and research the Khojaly Massacre article too. Maybe we could make changes to it, as well. Tuscumbia (talk) 16:01, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Comments by Soviet leaders[edit]

You cannot have it both ways: ignoring certain statements and misintepreting others. Based on what Gorbachev said, the intent was to preserve security and protect the population in response to pogroms against Armenians and the extremist activities by the nationalist bandits. It was the decree that said: "Extremist groups are organizing mass disorders fanning national enmity. They are committing bold criminal acts, mining roads and bridges, shelling settlements, taking hostages." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:11, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Nobody's misinterpreting any statements. Any educated person will understand that if the Soviet leadership has gone on civilian-killing rampage all over the Soviet Union (Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia) and countries of Warsaw Pact (Hungary, Czechoslovakia), of course they will tend to justify their actions with claims about saving the "democratic" regime", "order of law", in case of Baku, "saving Armenians"! Have you heard any Soviet leader tell the world otherwise starting with Stalin and ending with Gorbachev. Where were Soviet troops during the mass exodus of Azerbaijanis in November 1987 to December 1989 when 225 Azerbaijanis were murdered in Gugark and Spitak, let alone killings in NKAO?
Read this:
"According to some sources, this was Moscow's real reason for mounting the January 1990 crackdown, and not any namby-pamby business about saving Armenians." Azerbaijan Diary. Thomas Goltz, page 51
"The first stirrings of a Soviet response to the bloodshed in Azerbaijan came on 15 January, when the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium decleared a state of emergency in the NKAO and surronding areas. Inexplicably, the state of emergency was not expanded to include Baku until five days later, by which time the anti-Armenian pogroms had all but ended" The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict: causes and implications. Michael P. Croissant. Page 37
"When Soviet forces entered the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, in January 1990, the oficial pretext was to protect what remained of the Armenian minority from Azeri rioters. Bu the rioting had ended a full week earlier. The bloody Soviet occupation of the capital - in what came to be known to Azeris as "Black January" - was aimed mainly at crushing the nationalist movement and reinforcing the power of the Azerbaijani CP" Ethnic conflict and international politics: explaining diffusion and escalation. Steven E. Lobell, Phillip Mauceri. Page 58
A person with common sense will understand that if the occupation of Baku by Soviet army was to "protect Armenians", why did the Soviet leadership wait for so long and stormed Baku only a week after the riots stopped on January 13. Common sense will tell you that the riots against Armenians were encouraged by Soviet leadership and used as a pretext a week later.
And don't remove any data from Human Rights Watch. In your opinion, statements by Gorbachev are a "gospel" and statements and findings of Human Rights Watch, a noble international human rights organization is not a "gospel"? Do not vandalize this page with your prejudices Tuscumbia (talk) 13:37, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Nobody's misinterpreting any statements. Any educated person will understand that if the Soviet leadership has gone on civilian-killing rampage all over the Soviet Union (Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia) and countries of Warsaw Pact (Hungary, Czechoslovakia)

You are misinterpreting statements, particularly those by Yazov, who said that extremists were undermining the security situation and plotted a coup d'etat. Your argument is based on false premises and brings into question just how informed you are about the issue. There were not civilians killed in Hungary, only armed rebels who fought against the Hungarian Government and Soviet forces during a conflict in which hundreds of Russian soldiers were killed. In Georgia, the nationalist extremists killed about a dozen people because their actions brought about a stampede in the crowd. What happened ini Litva and Czechoslovakia was similar. Nor were there civilians killed in Baku, but extremist sympathizers of the so-called "People's Front", who ended up murdering or wounding over a hundred Russian soldiers. Looking at news reports from even the Western media such as Associated Press and New York Times about the riots in Baku, basically none of them portrayed this as a "massacre of civilians", but as a response to riots.

why did the Soviet leadership wait for so long

Because of the actions of the local Azerbaijan authorities, who instead of stopping the riots actually supported them. It was the priority of Azerbaijan's local authorities, not the leadership in Moscow, to enforce the law and preserve order. Instead, the Azerbaijan Interior Ministry helped the bandits to carry out ethnically motivated massacres.

Human Rights Watch, a noble international human rights organization is not a "gospel"?

HRW, supported by the billionaire imperialist George Soros, has actually provoked considerable controversy. Note that its predecessor "Helsinki Watch" was originally founded for the purpose of disseminating anti-Russia propaganda. There is no reason why this outfit deserves a prominent place in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:53, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
I am not misinterpreting statements. On contrary, you're pushing your POV which makes no sense. Red army, known for its brutality in the beginning of the 20th century when it overran all those republics replayed its powerful role in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Geogia, Baltic states, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. All of a sudden, all of the crowds became extremists and the "humane" Soviet army murdering civilians en masse became glorified. Come on, now. Extremism, if any, is handled with containment and when needed with dispersing crowds by water cannons, not with bullets with shifting gravity fired at crowds of civilians, apartment buildings with no specific targets, ambulances and morgues.
Azerbaijani leadership was corrupt at the time with an installed puppet regime of Abdurrahman Vazirov who hastely escaped Baku and took refuge in Moscow. There was no action from law-enrorcement and 11,000 Soviet army contingent stationed in Baku at all times because Moscow authorities ordered not to intervene. For your information, the 11,000 Soviet army deployed in Baku did not obey orders of any Azerbaijani leadership. It was subordinated to Transcaucasian command under Moscow's direct authority. Receiving orders not to intervene is clearly stated in media reports, especially NY Times. For some reason, Sovie leadership imposed a curfew on the whole republic with thousands of Soviet troops controlling it already, but Baku went free from any curfews up until the morning of the massacre when hundreds laid dead.
HRW provokes controversy only for supporters of human rights abuse. When civilians are massacred, that's called human rights abuse and HRW makes sure it's widely disseminated. There no anti-Russian propoganda whatsoever. Actually, many of those who died in Baku were ethnic Russian. That is the brutality of Soviet regime. Tuscumbia (talk) 13:36, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

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Image of the monument[edit]

I don't agree with this edit. I think that the image of the monument in Baku could be used in the article as the monument is described in the article, in the section about the monument. I don't see here any fail of NFCC. --Interfase (talk) 07:39, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

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