Chingiz Mustafayev was born into a military family on 29 August 1960 in Astrakhan region of Russia. His family moved to Baku when Chingiz was 4 years old. In 1983, he graduated from Azerbaijan Medical University and started his medical career in a remote northern region of Azerbaijan called Davachi. However, Chingiz’s glorious future was in no way linked to his profession. Destined to play a key role in modern Azerbaijan’s history, Chingiz soon started to pursue his true passion – journalism.
He started his amateur career by shooting atrocities of the Soviet army against civilian population in Baku on 20 January 1990. With the outbreak of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh region, Chingiz devoted himself entirely to military journalism. Later in October 1991, he was recruited by Azerbaijani television to serve as a war correspondent. The charismatic freshman shortly gained audience’s admiration. Chingiz Mustafayev’s accounts became one of the most trusted and reliable information source for ordinary people seeking to learn about the fate of their relatives in the war-torn regions of Azerbaijan. Chingiz together with his small crew travelled through the frontlines and provided invaluable first-hand reports about the real situation on the ground. In a number of cases, he filmed under heavy gunfire risking his life. Thanks to those video and photo materials, the world learned about the true nature of the conflict and saw the brutality of Armenian forces against innocent civilians. Chingiz helped to overcome the information blockade and to obstruct the flow of on-sided stories by Armenian controlled media outlets.
Probably the most profound work of his short-term military reporting career was filming scenes of the atrocities in Khojaly. In order to document the massacre, despite heavy Armenian fire Chingiz managed to reach twice the massacre site with a group of journalists via helicopters. He was able to film the scene showing hundreds of dead bodies strewn across snow-covered fields of Khojaly. The film echoed commentaries of a sobbing and emotional Chingiz as he described the carnage he had seen as he filmed. He described the horrible scene that he had witnessed:
“Among the dead were “dozens upon dozens of children between 2 and 15 years old, women and old people, in most cases shot at point blank range in the head. The position of the bodies indicated that the people had been killed in cold blood, calculatedly, without any sign of a struggle or of having tried to escape. Some had been taken aside and shot singly; many had been killed as whole families at once. Some corpses displayed several wounds, one of which was invariably to the head, suggesting that the wounded had been finished off. Some children were found with severed ears; the skin had been cut from the left side of an elderly woman’s face; and men had been scalped. There were corpses that had clearly been robbed”.
On 15 June 1992 during a fierce fighting in the village Nakhchivanly Chingiz Mustafayev was shot dead by a projectile while trying to capture the development of military operations. The camera continued to shoot at that moment.
By the Decree of the President of Azerbaijan on November 6, 1992 Chingiz Mustafayev was posthumously awarded with the title of the National Hero of Azerbaijan. He rests in the Alley of Martyrs in Baku.