Address of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the people on occasion of Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis
March 30, 1999
Today Azerbaijan is living through the 8th year of its independence. One of the most distinguished results achieved in the period of independence is obtaining of possibility to create the objective picture of the period and events that were hidden, falsified and misrepresented in the course of many years. One of these events is day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis the anniversary of which is being celebrated today and which has received its political and legal appraisal.
Celebrating annually the 31 March – day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis, we return repeatedly to our historical past and commemorate with a heavy heart the implicit actions taken against our people.
Our people faced several severe tragedies in XIX-XX centuries. Armenians, these cruel and guileful executors of imperial politics of big countries have repeatedly committed ethnic purges and genocide against Azerbaijanis, inflicting hardships, national tragedy and misfortunes to our people. Hundreds of thousands of civilian Azerbaijanis were annihilated because of their ethnic affiliation, driven out of their native lands, ancient settlements of Azerbaijan were destroyed.
The politics of genocide, carried out by Armenian nationalists due to the imperial politics of tsarist Russia at the launch of the century and Soviet regime in 40-50s, strengthened even more starting from the mid-80s under the veil of “perestroika” policy and brought new tragedies to the people of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, neither the international community, nor the leadership of the Republic of Azerbaijan gave appropriate appraisal to these bloody actions in due time, consequently creating favorable conditions for successful activity of nationalist-separatists forces.
In consequence, hundred thousands of Azerbaijanis were annihilated and driven out of their historical lands because of their ethnic affiliation on the first stage of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict kindled since 1988; atrocious crimes were committed against the people that protested such injustice in Baku and other parts of Azerbaijan in January 1990; bloody Khojaly genocide was committed in 1992.
As a result of the adventurous ethnic purge movement of the Armenian aggressors and ideologists of “Great Armenia”, more than one million of our compatriots were driven out of their native lands and were subject to inhuman sufferings. Only in the 20th century, more than 2 millions of Azerbaijanis fell victims of the atrocious genocide committed in either form by our enemies. However in spite of these tragedies, hardships and injustice, our people survived, protected its independence and demonstrated strong will.
Today, we take a look at our history once again. We are proud of our successes and regret for our losses. Now, all conditions have emerged for Azerbaijan to live as an independent state, spread its just voice in the world and strive for eliminating injustice occurred in the past.
Among our main tasks are: to form in the present and future generations a strong memory about the genocide committed against our people in the last century; to achieve a political and legal assessment of those tragedies in the whole world; to make efforts to liquidate their consequences and prevent such acts in future. For that purpose we should only demonstrate strong and steadfast national unity. We can prevent any treachery and aggression against our people only with steadfast struggle and will on the way to independent Azerbaijan state, which is the highest goal for all of us.
I call upon you to unite and struggle steadfastly on the way of defending the national interests and rights of our people.