Victory Day unites people in the former Soviet space


9 May is marked in Russia and other parts of the former Soviet space as Victory Day, the day in 1945 when World War II ended.  This year’s celebrations in Moscow as usual attracted millions of people. Twenty thousand military personnel representing all the branches of the Russian Military Forces passed by in front of President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin.

The Second World War was a cataclysmical moment in the history of mankind, and not least Russia and those other nations that at the time were with it in the USSR. Twenty million Soviets died in the war, aptly named “the Great Patriotic War”. They were not all Russians, indeed many were from Central Asia and Ukraine, and many also from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

The memories of the war and the 9 May victory are therefore commemorated throughout the post Soviet space. In Armenia and Azerbaijan yesterday formal ceremonies took place with the participation of state leaders, and even in Georgia, despite its current awkward relationship with Russia, president Saakashvili  found time to lay a wreath on the tomb of a Georgian war hero.  9 May is also a good occasion to honour the veterans of that conflict, and although there are few of them left, their contribution to the defeat of fascism should not be forgotten.

Victory Day however should also be an occasion to focus on the horrors of war. It offers an opportunity for the Russians and Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijanis and other nations to not only to remember shared history but also to learn lessons from history.

(photo: War veteran preparing to light the eternal flame on Moscow's Red Square; Photo courtesy of Russia Today)

10 May 2011. Compiled by the commonspace.eu editorial team

Related articles

Editor's choice
News
Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell underlined that the European Union will make every effort to support the peace process and to remain a committed partner to the Afghan people. "Of course, we will have to take into account the evolving situation, but disengagement is not an option.  We are clear on that: there is no alternative to a negotiated political settlement, through inclusive peace talks.
Editor's choice
News
Uncertainty around the negotiations with Iran on nuclear deal as new president prepares to take over in Tehran

Uncertainty around the negotiations with Iran on nuclear deal as new president prepares to take over in Tehran

Several challenges sour the path of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the JCPOA countries. The last round of talks in Vienna concluded on 20 June with all draft deals rejected. Chief US negotiator Robert Maley said that "there is a real risk that they [Iran] are making unrealistic demands about what they can achieve in these talks." 

Popular

Editor's choice
News
Uncertainty around the negotiations with Iran on nuclear deal as new president prepares to take over in Tehran

Uncertainty around the negotiations with Iran on nuclear deal as new president prepares to take over in Tehran

Several challenges sour the path of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the JCPOA countries. The last round of talks in Vienna concluded on 20 June with all draft deals rejected. Chief US negotiator Robert Maley said that "there is a real risk that they [Iran] are making unrealistic demands about what they can achieve in these talks."