Baku Pogroms | ON THIS DAY

ON THIS DAY in 1990 (13 Jan) the Baku Pogrom began. The pogrom was directed against the ethnic Armenian inhabitants of Baku, Azerbaijan SSR. From January 12, 1990, a seven-day pogrom broke out against the Armenians civilian population in Baku during which Armenians were beaten, murdered, and expelled from the city. There were also many raids on apartments, robberies and arsons. According to the Human Rights Watch reporter Robert Kushen, “the action was not entirely (or perhaps not at all) spontaneous, as the attackers had lists of Armenians and their addresses”. The pogrom of Armenians in Baku was one of the acts of ethnic violence in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, directed against the demands of the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians to secede from Azerbaijan and unify with Armenia.

World Chess Champion, Gary Kasparov, whose mother was Armenian, he and his family were among the evacuees. As an eyewitness he later testified:

No one would halt the Armenian pogroms in Baku, although there were 11 thousand soldiers of internal troops in the city. No one would intervene until the ethnic cleansing was carried out. The pogroms were happening not in a random place but in the huge capital city with blocks of flats. In such a megapolis as Baku the crowd simply cannot carry out targeted operations like that. When the pogrom-makers go purposefully from one district to another, from one apartment to another this means that they had been given the addresses and that they had a coordinator.

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