Celebrations of the Victory Day in Rostov-on-Don. Ekaterina Dekanis (left), South-Western Front, May 9, 2011. Photo by the "Caucasian Knot"

10 May 2011, 22:00

Regions of SFD and NCFD, and countries of Southern Caucasus, celebrate Victory Day


In the regions of Southern Russia and Transcaucasian countries the Victory Day was celebrated in various formats.

Cities of Southern and North-Caucasian Federal Districts (SFD and NCFD) host veterans' marches and Victory Parades

On May 9, the march of war veterans in Rostov-on-Don was attended by about one thousand persons from different regions of the city. New suits were sewn for them by the holiday. However, many of them preferred their old war-time uniform jackets.

"This uniform was created in the Soviet Union and became famous all over the world. It is not only nice but also comfortable. It's good both for combat and everyday life. That's why I prefer to wear it," said veteran Evgeniy Tsymbal.

On the eve of the holiday, young journalists from the Rostov-on-Don association named "NOJ" (Independent Society of Journalists) held an action "Victory Mail", within which war veterans were delivered the "Krasnaya Zvezda" (Red Star) newspaper of May 10, 1945.

Let us remind you that on May 6, 2008, Rostov-on-Don was awarded the honorary title of the "City of Military Glory".

By the Victory Day, each of the veterans received one-time monetary aid of 1100 roubles from the regional budget. In total, it was provided to 11,442 invalids and participants of the Great Patriotic War (World War II).

Cities and villages of the Krasnodar Territory held holiday actions dated to the 66th anniversary of the Great Victory. Residents commemorate the victims by laying flowers at the memorials, attended commemorative rallies, special events and mass festivities, while new passenger cars were allocated to the territorial veterans' organizations.

At 10:00 a.m., the Square of Perished Warriors in Volgograd hosted a parade dedicated to the 66th anniversary of the Great Victory with participation of about 2000 servicemen of the Volgograd garrison.

Then, a war-time tank T-34-85, recently renovated by the workers of the Volgograd Tractor Plant, crossed the square. The holiday was not spoiled by the pouring rain.

One of the veterans told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that this year's parade was magnificent. "This year, I think, it turned out better than before. Look, what attention is the youth paying to veterans," he showed a bouquet of flowers. "They give flowers, congratulate us, wonder where I fought, and what my medals are about. Children come to get photographed with us."

On May 6, war veterans from Volgograd received 96 flats in four buildings, recently built in the township "Komarovo" (Sovietskiy District of Volgograd).

Northern Caucasus celebrated under tightened security measures

On May 9, the Freedom Square of Vladikavkaz was the venue of a military parade. The festivities were held in all dwelling settlements of the republic.

"During the Great Patriotic War our small Suadag sent 166 soldiers to the front, of whom 94 never came back," said Ruslan Khadartsev, head of a rural settlement.

In Chechnya, celebrations of the 66th Victory Day anniversary were accompanied by tightened security measures. Since late April, the employees of the local Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) were in the intense service regime.

Every war veteran living in the Chechen Republic received 20,000 roubles from the republic's budget and a present.

"In 1942, my grandfather went to war as a volunteer at the age of 16. He was wounded and was decorated by orders and medals. He died several years ago. When the republic's authorities had announced allocation of cars to WW II veterans, they extorted a bribe of 50,000 from my grandfather. He refused to pay and never got his car," Ramzan D., a resident of Grozny, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

Alikhan M., another citizen of the republic, noted, in his turn, that in Chechnya war veterans are remembered, as a rule, only on the Victory Day. "They're invited somewhere, receive presents or money. But all the rest of the time nobody cares about them. I find it wrong. I have seen many times elderly veterans standing for hours in queues waiting for their pensions and benefits, or for some bureaucrat. These things are absolutely unacceptable," says Alikhan.

According to the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Development of Chechnya, now 117 veterans of World War II live in the territory of the republic.

In Ingushetia, the Victory Parade was held in Malgobek - a City of Military Glory. It was attended by Yunus-Bek Evkurov, the head of Ingushetia.

After a concert, where war-time songs were performed, veterans visited an exhibition of Ingush painters dedicated to the victory over fascism.

At 10 p.m. the holiday was crowned with the volleys of celebratory salute. "In recent years, the situation in the republic was so complicated, murders were committed every day; however, now, fortunately, the situation has begun stabilizing; so, it's a real celebratory salute," one of the veterans shared his feelings with the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

In Makhachkala, the celebrations were held on May 9 in all city parks. The central place of the holiday was the "Ak-Gel" Park.

Celebrations were also held in towns and districts of Dagestan. The centre of the Dokuzparin District saw establishment of a memorial board in honour of Khanbika Novruzovna Emirsultanova, who suffered the Leningrad blockade. The RIA "Dagestan" reports that on the eve of the Victory Day obelisks in the villages of Novo Kara-Kyure and Tekipirkent of the Dokuzparin District had been renovated.

In Kabardino-Balkaria, the Victory Day was traditionally marked by laying flowers at the Eternal Flame in the Nalchik City Park, where residents of the city - young people, war veterans and people of different ages came by 10 o'clock in the morning.

The leaders of the republic decorated the Eternal Flame with baskets of flowers. Then, all the people were invited to the Accord Square, where a gala concert dedicated to the holiday took place.

On May 9, on the initiative of the Centre for Social Services to Population of Nalchik, the taxi companies "Grand" and "Alania" transported WW II veterans free of charge.

The Victory Day was also celebrated in towns and district centres of the republic, in spite of the counterterrorist operation (CTO) regime introduced on February 20 in some districts.

Anatoly Antonov, 89, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that during the war he made a deed, for which he was nominated to the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union. However, he was never awarded the title, as the staff officials had lost his award documents. Antonov received only the Order of the Combat Red Banner.

Kabardino-Balkaria sent 60,000 soldiers to the war front - half of them never returned.

By the holiday, the authorities of Kabardino-Balkaria had allocated 5000 roubles to every WW II veteran and every widow of perished soldiers.

On May 9, every country of Southern Caucasus celebrated its own holiday

On May 7, Nagorno-Karabakh was the first in Southern Caucasus to start celebrating the Victory Day over Fascism. On that day, schoolchildren visited a number of military units, which take care of schools.

On May 9 this year, Nagorno-Karabakh celebrated a triple holiday - the Victory Day in the Great Patriotic War, the 19th birthday of the Defence Army of Karabakh and the liberation day of the city of Shusha. On this date in 1992 Armenian armed forces entered Shusha controlled by Azerbaijanis, from which, according to the Armenian party, Stepanakert was constantly shelled since the start of the war.

In Armenia, May 9 is also considered a day of double victory - the victory in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War and the victory in the battle for Shusha.

After a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a minute of silence, local militaries made a solemn march across the central square of Yerevan.

In the years of World War II, 600,000 Armenians went to the battle. Every other did not come back. Six divisions were formed from Armenians. 107 soldiers and officers became Heroes of the Soviet Union, including 38 persons - posthumously.

In Baku, the Victory Day started with war veterans' visiting in the morning on May 9 the memorial "Eternal Memory" in the Narimanov District, where more than 1460 soldiers who died in Baku hospitals were buried. During the war, 61 hospitals operated in Baku, the ITAR-TASS reports.

"On this holiday, we repeat same words that may seem trivial, but these words come from the heart. It was our common victory, the victory for all the peoples of the former Soviet Union," Vladimir Dorokhin, Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, said during the ceremony of laying flowers at the memorial.

Traditionally, the central place of celebrations was the Nagorny Park in downtown Baku, where the monument to Major-General Azi Aslanov, double Hero of the Soviet Union, commander of armoured forces, who perished in January 1945 in the battles for liberation of the Baltic countries, is erected.

On that day, the "Trend" Agency of International Information, hosted a roundtable with participation of Azerbaijani and Russian scholars and political scientists, dedicated to the Victory Day. The participants of the event expressed their intention to keep the history through a joint dialogue and agreed to set up an Azerbaijani-Russian historical club.

On the occasion of the Victory Day, the State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan is paying one-time financial subsidies in the amount of 500 manats (about 600 US dollars) to veterans of the Great Patriotic War; the campaign will cover more than 32,400 persons.

Apart from lump-sum payments, veterans of WW II and equated persons also receive uplifts to their labour pensions.

In total, 681,000 citizens of the Azerbaijan SSR, including 10,000 women, were recruited to the front. 300,000 of them perished died on battlefields.

In the context of the Victory Day, Georgia made May 9 a public holiday and day off. The centre of festivities was the Vake Park in Tbilisi, where veterans started gathering from the morning.

This year, same as the last one, the government will pay 200 laris (about 120 US dollars) to every war veteran. By tradition, wreaths and flowers were laid to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; while in the afternoon the parliament organized a reception in honour of veterans of the Great Patriotic War.

On May 8, the Vake Park hosted celebrations of the Victory Day over Nazism on the initiative of the Coalition of NGOs. The Coalition stands for celebrating the Victory Day on May 8, not on May 9 May, as was customary in the Soviet Union. This idea was supported by Grigol Vashadze, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Currently, Georgia is the home of about 4700 WW II veterans. The republic sent 700,000 soldiers to the war out of its population of 3.6 million. Half of them came back, that is, every second was lost. 167 Georgian citizens became Heroes of the Soviet Union.


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