During the period of tsarist Russia, Armenians, previously settled in various Azerbaijani districts, took advantage of the crisis of power and began to seize the lands of Azerbaijanis, exterminating the population of the Azerbaijani villages and settlements.
The Armenians have actively used weapons, destabilising the situation in various Azerbaijani districts since 1905, especially in Baku city. They tried to intimidate the indigenous population and aggravate the situation in the region.
After the October Revolution in Russia, the Bolsheviks (representatives of a far-left, revolutionary Marxist faction) and Armenian Dashnaks (representatives of Armenian nationalist and socialist political party) seized control in Baku. Stepan Shahumyan (Armenian Bolshevik revolutionary) played a special role. During this period, the number of attacks on Azerbaijanis increased.
Armenian and Bolshevik gangs killed 50,000 Azerbaijanis in Baku, Shamakhi, Quba, Khachmaz, Lankaran, Hajigabul, Salyan, Zangazur, Karabakh, Nakhchivan and other Azerbaijani districts from March 30 through April 3, 1918.
After the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the Council of Ministers adopted a resolution on July 15, 1918, to create an Extraordinary Commission of Inquiry to investigate this tragedy.
In the first stage, the Commission investigated the March genocide – atrocities in Shamakhi, grave crimes committed by Armenians in the Irevan province.
A special organisation was created under the foreign ministry to bring these realities to the attention of the international community. March 31 was announced as a day of national mourning by the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
Thus, for the first time in history, an attempt was made to give a political assessment of the genocide against Azerbaijanis and the occupation of the Azerbaijani lands, which lasted for more than a century.
While addressing US President W. Wilson on May 28, 1919, Head of the Azerbaijani delegation at the Paris Peace Conference A. Topchubashev along with other documents, also presented the documents of the Extraordinary Commission of Inquiry.
The events of 1918 were clearly outlined in Azerbaijan as genocide against the Azerbaijani people.
The same tragedy reoccurred 74 years later. Armenians committed another awful genocide in Azerbaijan’s Khojaly city on February 26, 1992, which was a continuation of the bloody massacre throughout history.
As a result of the attack on the city, 613 out of 3,000 people were killed, including 106 women, 63 children, 70 old people, 487 people were injured, including 76 children and 1,275 people were taken hostage and tortured.
These events are considered one of the bloodiest pages in Azerbaijan’s history.
The official remembrance date in Azerbaijan, which is marked on March 31, was established upon the decree of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev “On the genocide of Azerbaijanis” dated March 26, 1998.