Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was joined Artsakh President Bako Sahakian and president-elect Arayik Harutyunyan in Stepanakert on Saturday to mark the 28th anniversary of the liberation of Shushi, as well as the establishment Artsakh Armed forces and the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany—the three events that make May 9 Victory Day in Artsakh and Armenia.
The three leaders, joined by other high-ranking officials from Armenia and Artsakh, as well as the Primate of the Artsakh Diocese, Archbishop Parkev Mardirosyan, visited the Stepanakert Memorial and laid wreaths to honor all those who gave their lives in defense of the Armenian Nation. The group then visited the Shushi Tank memorial and the a monument dedicated to Armenia’s late prime minister and defense minister Vazgen Sargsyan.
Earlier in the day, Pashinyan and his spouse, Anna Hakobyan were greeted at Stepanakert Airport by Sahakian and his wife, Anahit and Harutyunyan and his wife, Christina.
“Every single family celebrates this day, one of the most cherished holidays glorified by the courage and dedication of successive generations of the Armenian people,” said Sahakian in a message to the people of Artsakh.
“The establishment of the Artsakh Republic Defense Army and the liberation of Shushi tripled the thrill of the holiday becoming the greatest victory of Armenians worldwide, the victory of spirit, mind and arm of thousands of brave Armenians,” added Sahakian.
“We have proved to ourselves and the entire world that we can fight to the last breath and defend our native land, rise again from under the debris and build a state in line with international norms and standards—a free, independent and democratic state,” said Sahakian.
“Our young generation—patriotic, educated, brave and dignified—will carry on the heroic traditions of our people. They are fully aware of the price of victory won by the blood of our ancestors and cherish it like the apple of their eye,” said Sahakian who paid homage to all the heroes who gave their life at the altar of freedom. “It is our responsibility to translate their [the heroes’] dreams and goals into reality and build a resilient, safe and developed country.”
“The liberation of Shushi ushered in the liberation of Artsakh,” said Pashinyan in his address to the nation to mark Victory Day, saying the victory in Shushi “became the pledge for our people’s security and peace.”
“We are firmly determined to ensure the security of the people of the Artsakh Republic. Their their right to self-determination is not subject to bargaining. Both are absolute values for us,” stressed Pashinyan.
“Let us remember the brave fighters who fell in the Four-Day April War—our modern-day heroes—who sacrificed their lives to prove our people’s unbreakable will for freedom,” said Pashinyan.
In Gyumri, Armenia, the anniversary of the Soviet victory over the Nazis was marked by a air show, accompanied by aircraft from the Russian military base there. The planes flew from Gyumri to Yerevan, where the skies were filled with aerial maneuvers, culminating in a commemoration march from the Mother Armenia stature to Victory Park.