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Azerbaijan's Dark History: The Baku Pogroms Remembered

Updated: Jan 12

Azerbaijan's Dark History: The Baku Pogroms Remembered

In a dark retrospective, we remember the tragic events of the Baku pogroms that unfolded from January 12-19, 1990, leaving a permanent, bloody stain on the history of Azerbaijan and the broader South Caucasus region.


The Baku pogroms were a series of violent anti-Armenian attacks that occurred in the capital city of Azerbaijan, Baku, during the waning days of the Soviet Union. The hostility targeted the Armenian population in Baku, resulting in widespread murder, torture, violance, displacement, and enduring trauma.

Escalation of Ethnic Tensions:

The late 1980s witnessed escalating tensions between Azerbaijanis and Armenians fueled by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As Azerbaijani nationalist sentiments flared, the atmosphere in Baku became increasingly charged, setting the stage for the tragic events that would unfold.

Pogroms Unleashed:

On January 12, 1990, violence erupted with brutal force, as mobs targeted Armenians based on their ethnicity. The pogroms, characterized by looting, arson, and targeted attacks, resulted in the deaths of numerous Armenians, with thousands more fleeing their homes in terror.

Humanitarian Crisis:

The Baku pogroms created a humanitarian crisis as families were forcibly displaced, leaving behind homes and belongings. The violence shattered the multicultural fabric that once defined Baku, leaving scars that endure to this day.

Global Outcry and Response:

The international community responded with condemnation, denouncing the attacks as blatant violations of human rights. The Baku pogroms drew attention to the plight of Armenians once again. 

Legacy and Lessons:

Three decades on, the legacy of the Baku pogroms serves as a stark reminder that Armenophobia in Azerbaijan has only intensified over the course of decades. The events of 1990 have inspired future Azerbaijani generations to continue the gruesome hatred towards Armenians. Despite Azerbaijan’s dark history, their intolerance for human rights, especially those of Armenians, as evident during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war and the mass exodus of Armenians from their indigenous lands in September 2023.

Call for Remembrance:

As we reflect on the dark chapter of the Baku pogroms, it becomes imperative to remember the lives lost, acknowledge the pain endured, and strive collectively for a future marked by unity, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence.

The Baku pogroms remain a relevant chapter in the ongoing global hatred towards Armenians by Azerbaijanis. May future Azerbaijani generations learn from their history and work towards building a more inclusive, peace-driven, and harmonious future.


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