YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Mlitary parades were held in Stepanakert and Yerevan Friday dedicated to Victory Day and the anniversary of liberation of Shoushi–which is a state holiday in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
The town of Shoushi–Karabakh’s historic center–which was populated mostly by Azeris following the pogroms in the 1920’s was liberated by the Karabakh Armed Forces in 1992.
All armed forces of the Karabakh Defense Army–including aviation–participated in the parade–which was also televised live in Armenia. A large group of veterans of the Second World War opened the march. The parade was attended by Acting President Leonard Petrossian–as well as by former President Robert Kocharian and Defense Minister Vazgen Sargssian.
"One can say without exaggeration that it is because of the Karabakh Defense Army that the establishment of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh as a state–maintenance of border inviolability and successful development of economic reforms and restructuring of the state control system has been possible," Petrossian said.
According to him–fragile as it is–peace has been won by Nagorno-Karabakh’s own armed forces which have succeeded in defending the Republic’s position towards the conflict settlement. Petrossian assured that Karabakh authorities would continue to work for stronger defense of the Republic.
Commander of the Karabakh Defense Army Garegin Ghazarian spoke of the contribution of the people of Karabakh to the victory over Nazi Germany–the historic significance of the liberation of Shoushi–establishment of the Karabakh Army and success achieved by its soldiers.
The leader of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church–Bishop Pargev Martirossian congratulated all World War II veterans–the Karabakh Army and the Republic’s leaders on the occasion and gave them his blessing.
Petrossian presented a group of Karabakh servicemen with government awards. Karabakh Defense Minister Samvel Babayan was conferred the title of the Hero of Karabakh. He was also awarded the Order of the Golden Eagle.
Armenia’s state and government delegation led by Prime Minister Robert Kocharian arrived in Stepanakert later that day to attend festival celebrations there.
Armenia Marks Victory Day
Thousands of local residents came to lay wreaths and flowers to the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb in Victory Park of Yerevan. The ceremony was attended by Levon Ter-Petrosyan–parliament speaker Babken Ararktsyan–Constitutional Court Chairman Gagik Harutunian– almost all government member and many parliament deputies.
Wreaths and flowers were also laid by staff members of the Russian embassy headed by ambassador Andrei Urnov–representatives of the armed forces and the Russian border troops stationed in Armenia.
For several years V-day was a regular working day in Armenia–it was only last year that war veterans managed to achieve its celebration and designation as the Day of Victory and Peace.
Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are also marking the 5th anniversary of Shoushi liberation. In 1992 after fierce fighting Karabakh defense units took the town–used by Azeri troops to shell Stepanakert.