21 Years After Massacre and Dispossession, Azerbaijan’s Lost Armenians Still Forgotten

This week marks the 21st anniversary of the pogroms of Armenians in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, which started on January 13th, 1990 and lasted a full seven days.

The pogroms were the latest in a long string of massacres that began in 1905, perpetrated against the Armenian population of the territories, which later became part of Azerbaijan.

According to international reporters and eyewitness accounts, the massacres did not begin spontaneously and were instead planned and executed, with attackers were given lists of Armenian names and their home addresses to target.

When the pogroms began, the Armenian quarter of the city became an arena of death, the Armenian Church a charred ruin, and the whole of the population residing in Azerbaijan fled the country in search of refuge.

Armenian Pogroms in Azerbaijan

1905 -1907: First Armenian massacres by Azeri Tatars in Shushi, Baku, Nakhichevan and Elizavetpol

1918: Massacres in Baku

1920: Massacres in Shushi

1988: February massacres in Sumgait

1988: November massacres in Kirovabad

1990: January massacres in Baku

1992: April massacres by the Azerbaijani army of the Maragha Armenians

According to United Nations data from 1995, Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan numbered more than 415,000. Most of the refugees, approximately 300,000, fled the country to neighboring Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Though the majority of survivors found refuge in the Republic of Armenia, their socio-political situation is dire. Deprived of international refugee status, these Armenians, who make up 10% of the country’s population, never recovered from the catastrophe of the pogroms.

The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy raised the issue in a recent meeting with EU Special Representative to the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby. “We addressed [the refugees’] helpless situation in Armenia and in Karabakh. We plan to pursue our actions for an official initiative of the European Union in this regard,” explained Hilda Tchoboian, President of the European Armenian Federation.

Tchoboyan also criticized Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev for his increased anti-Armenian rhetoric. Rather than honoring the suffering of the victims, the Azeri leader lashed out at Armenia in his New Year’s address, claiming its capital, Yerevan, was Azeri land.

“Military buildup, war rhetoric and now Armenian land claims from Azerbaijan–Aliev discredits the principle of good faith in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process,” said Tchoboian.

“On the same days, the President of the European Commission, Mr. Barroso, visited Baku and, he too, failed to honor the memory of the Armenian victims of the pogroms,” said Tchoboian. “We expect from Mr. Barroso not to sacrifice our core values for oil and gas deals, but instead, raise them as a wall against Azerbaijan’s delusional rhetoric,” concluded Hilda Tchoboian.


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  1. facts said:

    Criminals and the one who burned Armenians during pogroms of 1990 are buried in the Shahid Alley in Baku. The same Shahid Alley was visited by US secretary of State Hillery Clinton last year. Did somebody in Armenia and Diaspora realize that?

  2. Hye-phenated said:

    During the war in Artsakh the mother of one of the shakhids buried there bought an Armenian prisoner of war and cut out his heart from his living body. Then she placed a jar with this heart on the grave of her son. The jar was guarded by Azeri soldiers for a long time. The story was covered in Azeri press extensively to boost patriotism.

    Azeri government organizes an annual show every January 20th to commemorate 1/20/90, when after 7 days of Armenian pogroms the government finally brought in troops to stop them. Hundreds of Baku Armenians were killed by that time, thousands more injured, raped and robbed. The entire remaining Armenian population of Baku (40,000 of elderly people and women mostly) was thrown out of the city within these 7 days. These were the last Armenians out of a 200,000 strong Armenian community in Baku.

    The organizers and perpetrators are known by name – they don’t hide these facts from their biographies and actually are very proud of what they did and honored for that in today’s Azeri society. Some of them also travel around the world, have businesses in Russia, US and elsewhere. Why are they not arrested and brought to the Hague? Apartments where Armenians were killed and raped are for rent and for sale in Baku and are very popular among expatriates.

    Instead, Hillary and now the Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Azerbaijan Hon. Matthew Bryza go to that show and bring flowers to the murderers of Armenians. What they need to bring to these monsters is jars of blood which would be more appropriate for the occasion.