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20th Anniversary Of 'Black January' Events In Azerbaijan

Soviet tanks in Baku during "Black January" in 1990

Soviet tanks in Baku during "Black January" in 1990

Azerbaijan is marking the 20th anniversary of the "Black January" violent crackdown by Soviet forces on the Azerbaijani independence movement during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

On January 20, 1990, Soviet troops stormed the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, on the orders of the Kremlin in an ultimately failed attempt to save Communist rule and crush the opposition.

For several days, some 26,000 Soviet troops cracked down on protesters, firing into crowds, and killing more than 130 people and injuring 700.

Moscow also decreed emergency rule, which lasted for more than a year.

In October, 1991, Azerbaijan formally declared its independence from the Soviet Union.