Victory and Peace Day in Armenia
The inhabitants of Armenia is celebrating Victory and Peace Day on the 9th of May. Not to mention that this day has special importance for Armenians. At that day Armenians are celebrating not only the victory in the Great Patriotic War over Nazi Germany in 1945 but also the victory in the liberation of Shushi, a fortress in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1992. The Victory Day is traditionally celebrated with military parades and solemn ceremonies at monuments, memorials and also cemeteries. These ceremonies aim at honoring those who suffered and died during the war. However, special honor is paid to the veterans of the war who are still alive.
The Great Patriotic War
At this day all Soviet Union is celebrating the victory over the Nazi Germany. World War II(or Second World War) started with the German occupation of Poland in September 1939. It lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier. In addition, the most widespread war in the history was The Great Patriotic War. This War, in fact, involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. Armenians also participated in this war as they were part of the Soviet Red Army. On May 7, General Alfred Jodi, Chief of Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command, signed the unconditional surrender of the German forces to the Allies. This news spread on May 8. The end of the war was considered to be on May 9.
Armenia is proud of four Marshals and one Admiral- Ivan Baghramian, Armenak Khanferiants, Hovhannes Ter-Isahakian and Sergei Aganov.
More than 60 Armenian generals were in command of large military groups of the Red Army. 70,000 Armenian soldiers, officers and also generals were awarded orders and medals for courage. In spite of that about 600,000 Armenians participated in the great patriotic war and nearly half of them died.
Armenians on this day remember many of their ancestors that died during World War II on the Eastern Front. Hundreds of veterans in their medals and uniform march to the monument of the Unknown Soldier in Victory Park. Here they pay their respects and laying flowers at the eternal flame. Students, schoolchildren, and government also laid flowers in Victory Park.In spite of their age, they shared their war-time memories with those who gathered in the park.
The Nagorno-Karabakh War was a territorial conflict that took place from 1988 to 1992. The War was between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
During the war, Shushi has become the main military point of Azerbaijan, from where Stepanakert(the capital of Artsakh) and surrounding regions were bombed. So the citizens of Stepanakert and also nearby villages had to be hidden in the basements of buildings for several months without electricity and heating.
Armenian talented military specialists planned, developed and managed the Action Shushi’s Liberation. “Wedding in the Mountains” is the name of this action.
Arkadi Ter-Tadevosyan, Samvel Babayan, Seyran Ohanyan, Gurgen Dalibaltayan and also Jirair Sefilian were the commanders and leaders of that War from Armenia.
After six years of intense fighting, both sides were ready for a ceasefire. On May 5 all parties agreed to cease hostilities. So they vowed to observe a ceasefire that would go into effect at 12:01 AM on 12 May. The agreement was signed by the respective defense ministers of the three principle warring parties (Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic).
Our victorious achievements, manifestations of self-devotion of yesterday’s and today’s heroes, also their living examples drive us to new victories. The liberation of Shushi was a turning point which showed what stands for “the Armenian who learned the lesson”. So in that war, the Armenian people proved that they are ready with weapon their right to live freely and peacefully.
For 24 years, each person saying “May is a month of victories”. So the Armenian Nation will always celebrate May 9 as a double holiday: the day of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the Liberation of Shushi.
The Victory Park or also “Akhtanak” Park dedicated to the victory of the USSR in the Second World War. Before the start of the Great Patriotic War the inhabitants of Armenian opened the park, but got the name “Victory Park” after completion that war. It is also one of the attractions of the capital – “Mother Armenia”.
“Mother Armenia” is a sculpture of a woman with a sword in hands and shield at her feet personifying the image of the Native land. Her most visual rendering is a monumental statue in Victory Park overlooking the capital city of Yerevan, Armenia. So the Mother Armenia statue symbolizes peace through strength. It can also remind viewers of some of the prominent female figures in the Armenian history, such as Soseh Mother and others, who took up arms to help their husbands in their clashes with Turkish troops and Kurdish irregulars. Additionally monument rises to a height of nearly 44 meters. At the feet of the statue stiffened tanks, formidable defenders.
Inside the monument, there is also the military museum of the Ministry of Defense of Armenia. Near the monument stands the tomb of “unknown soldier”. This monument dedicated to those who died in the struggle against fascism. The museum collects a variety of exhibits devoted to the Second World War. Here you can also see objects that tell about the life of civilians in these difficult times.
Sayings about Victory Day
Gohar Ghumushyan, an organizer, said:”We want the entire Armenian nation to celebrate this Victory Day with united efforts to immortalize all the heroes as well whose pictures will now be raised.”
Rafael Hunanyan said: “Marches of the kind are common in most former Soviet republics (Commonwealth of Independent States), remembering and glorifying their heroes. But in spite of that our parade is different, because apart from participants of the Patriotic War, we have here also a picture of the Artsakh, and April war heroes.”
Serzh Sargsyan, president of Armenian Republic, said: ” On May 9 of 1992, we were once again in the trenches of justice and freedom fighting against national discrimination and genocide… So today we bow to the memory of all the brave fighters who paid for peace by their own lives. Long live the peace – the mother of all blessings of the world! Glory to our heroes!”
Bako Sahakian said: “The Artsakh Liberation War has become one of the greatest victories of the Armenian people.”
“Armenians were excellent soldiers and our nation gave birth to famous marshals, who played a great role in the victory in the Great Patriotic War,” Rosalia Abgaryan, the World War II veteran and also a deserved teacher in Armenia, told journalists.
“It was a horrible war… There are episodes that you don’t even want to remember. There were defeats, there also were retreats, but what helped our soldiers survive was their faith and certainly their homeland,” said Rosalia Abgaryan.
Films dedicated to the Victory Day
- The Liberation of Shushi (Dedicated to the liberation of Shushi
- Shusha 1973 (Also dedicated to the liberation of Shushi)
- They fought for their country ( Dedicated to the Great Patriotic War)
- Ballad of a Soldier ( Also dedicated to the Great Patriotic War)
Songs dedicated to the Liberation of Shushi
This song dedicated to the commander of Liberation Shushi- Arkadi Ter-Tadevosyan.