On January the 20th, 1990, then the Soviet Army attacked the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku. The attack was carried out at night without warning. As a matter of fact, the representatives of Kremlin in Baku promissed just prior to it that there would be none.
As a result of that military action, at least 160 civilians were killed, scores of them injured. The order to use tanks and army against children and women was signed by "the peace-maker" Gorbachev.
For a time we thought that it was the worst military action against civilians in the former Soviet Union. It did not take long for the Russian Army to disprove that. Soon after the Russian Army attacked the civilians in Vilnius, participated in the massacre in Hojaly, Garabah, Kalbajar, ethnic cleansing in Vladikavkaz and Abkhazia, war in Tajikistan, casually bombed downtown Moscow, and, finally, has fully shown its "abilities" in Chechnya. Just as before, the Russian army follows its "tradition" of indiscriminate killing, thus causing death of people of different nationalities and ages.
The tragedy in Baku was significant as an indication of the Moscow's will to use army against civilians despite all the casualties. It has also shown rather strange western understanding of the Kremlin's behavior. This is a very painful and separate topic, but only imagine what does one feel being under open military offensive and listening to the words of support "to the democratic changes".
Yeltsin, an opposition leader at that time, did not show much of the sympathy to the victims. Perhaps, this was also a hint of the true nature of this "democrat".
Since then, the use of army in politics has become even more usual, independence even more formal, the refugee crises even deeper, laws more senseless and human life even more depreciated. Therefore, the massacre in Chechnya, although unprecented by its scale, was, probably predictable.
We never thought then, on the January 20th, that it could be worse. It is, today in Grozny.
Remembering the victims of the Black January in Baku, as well as all of the other victims of the Russian military, we pray for our brothers and sisters in Chechnya. Let us hope that the world will not be so tolerant to use of army against unarmed civilians and that the blood shed will teach us something.
Prague, the Czech Republic
P.S. We wrote this not to provoke a political discussion, but to remember the victims.