Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in remembrance of the over 130 innocent men, women, and children who were killed by the Red Army in the days following its invasion of Azerbaijan 23 years ago.
On January 20, 1990, the Soviet Union, in a brutal attempt to end the growing independence movement in Azerbaijan, sent in 26,000 troops under the pretext of restoring public order, while actually aiming to forcefully end peaceful demonstrations for independence.
The invasion and subsequent massacre, which resulted in over 130 killed, 611 injured, and 841 arrests, is remembered as "Black January'' in the Republic of Azerbaijan today and has left an indelible mark on that nation's memory.
It was the overt oppression of innocent people by the Soviet government that further inspired the Azerbaijani people to regain its independence after 70 years of foreign rule.
Less than two years later, on October 18, 1991, Azerbaijan gained its independence from the Soviet Union and was soon recognized by the international community.
Today, the United States and Azerbaijan enjoy a close and important relationship, built on trust, understanding, and mutual support. It is important on this day that America remembers the trials and tribulations our friends in Azerbaijan have had to endure for the cause of freedom and continue to support their vital role as a beacon of democracy and prosperity in the Caspian Region.
Mr. Speaker, I ask the House of Representatives to please join me in remembering the tragic events of Black January and honor those who gave their lives in order to give birth to their country.