May 9th – the Victory and Peace Day

Avarayr, Sardarapat, Kharakilisa, Bash-Aparan, Shoushi – it sometimes feels that all the victorious battles of Armenians took place in May.

If anything, the month of May makes me proud of being Armenian.

Better yet, the date of May 9th is the official Armenian holiday – the Victory and Peace Day. The day when the nation celebrates victory in the Great Patriotic War, where over five hundred thousand Armenians fought on the side of Soviet Army and in partisan groups in France and elsewhere in Europe, as well as part of the US Army. On the evening of May 8-th, 1945 the Nazi Germany capitulated. It had already turned May 9th in Moscow, so my Grandpa – tank unit commander, found out he can come home now… and live a happy life in Soviet Armenia, and than not so happy one in earthquake devastated Gyumri of the free, independent, war torn, poor Armenia. May 9th for me always remained the day of Grandpa – the day, when he would roam around the house looking for the medals – taken to most incredible places by naughty and younger grandchildren. Grandpa is no more, but his day remains…

Equally important, on May 9, 1992, liberation of Shushi marked a turning point in the Artsakh war. Ironically, the leaders of our people – who gave us this noble victory – Robert Kocharyan, Levon Ter-Petrossian, Serzh Sargsyan are among the most hated people today. Ironically, war heros – people like Zhirayr Sefilyan have found themselves jailed
or put in disgraceful conditions for their political views. Sadly it all makes sense, and this consequence takes the whole feeling of joy for the noble victory away from me.

Right! I was supposed to be happy and greet everyone on this great occasion of double victory day! So I will – congrats, everyone!

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17 thoughts on “May 9th – the Victory and Peace Day

  1. Yeah, one more thing – http://europa.eu/abc/symbols/9-may/index_en.htm

    On the 9th of May 1950, Robert Schuman presented his proposal on the creation of an organised Europe, indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations.

    This proposal, known as the “Schuman declaration”, is considered to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the European Union.

    Today, the 9th of May has become a European symbol (Europe Day) which, along with the flag, the anthem, the motto and the single currency (the euro), identifies the political entity of the European Union. Europe Day is the occasion for activities and festivities that bring Europe closer to its citizens and peoples of the Union closer to one another.

  2. observer jan sax haskacank bajc vor Zirajr Sefilyanin el atoxner kan ed mek@ chhaskaca??? ova iran atum ete gaxtniq chi??

    mersi

  3. “The day when the nation celebrates victory in the Great Patriotic War, where over one hundred fifty thousand Armenians fought on the side of Soviet Army and in partisan groups in France and elsewhere in Europe.”

    Observer,
    Here is a serious assignment for you. Please research (if not for anything else, for your grandpa’s sake) and find definitive data on the number of Armenians fighting in the War. I have seen conflicting data. According to some of them, 200000 Armenians actually died in the War, and number of overall participants was about half-million. Can you find the conclusive info? Thanks.

  4. Artashes – i’d be happy to do research – for my grandpa’s sake, and for the sake of accuracy, and I’m sure you’d be happy to give me a couple of links to relevant material. The figure above came from an old history textbook, estimating the number of serviceman who died in war at 150,000. I just looked it over – again, my mistake :( I took it for the number of fighters. Anyways – I’ll take a look and get back with corrections as soon as possible.

  5. Artashes – thanks for prompting that. I didn’t realise how much of our history I have actually forgotter since graduation of the university :(

    According to V. A Parsamyan, Sh. R. Harutyunyan, “History of Armenian Nation”, 1979 edition, Yerevan, “Luys” Publishing house, page 668: more then half million Armenians (500,000) took part in the Great Patriotic War.

    From bits and pieces elswhere in the chapter XXXIII (pp 630-669), of this number 320,000 were ashkharazorayin – non professional soldiers(?). Around 100 Armenians received the honorary title of Heros of Soviet Union. 27 Armenian soldiers were decorated by all 3 degrees of war honors and received the title of “Knight of Honor”. Among Soviet Forces there were 60 Armenian generals, 70,000 Armenian soldiers received USSR medals.

    18,000 Diaspora Armenians fought against Fascism as part of the US Army. “Hay Azgayin Chakat” – was the name of the partisan movement of French-Armenians. A lot of Armenians fought in Italy, Bulgaria, Romania.

    Interestingly, the book also notes, that ARF Dashnaktsutyun formed a shadow government in Berlin and formed the 8000 strong Armenian Legion headed by Dro Kanayan, who received General’s rank from the Nazis. Armenian Legion and fought on the side of Germans, hoping, that after Germany crashes Soviet Union, they can free Armenian from Communists. Eh, Dashnaks, Dashnaks… :)

  6. I am not sure if it went through the first time so I am doing it again.

    Since there is a talk on Armenian history (my favorite subject) I thought I ask. There is a developing article on March 1st at wiki. Here is the link.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Armenian_presidential_election_protests

    Have you read it? Do you think it is accurate? I am waiting until it is fully developed before reading it, because I wasn’t there and don’t want to read something that might not be accurate.

  7. Ditord jan,I think you were wrong mentioning Levon in your list,omitting Vazgen Sargsyan. Levon was the man only disturbing armenians to achieve victory.
    If anyone need the link proving my words I can provide it by request.

  8. Tigran jan – I only mentioned those leaders, who led the nation to victory, but are hated by many people today.

    I don’t think many people hate Vazgen these days.

  9. Grigor – the Wikipedia article definately needs some editing – which I’ll do next week. It seems balanced, but there are certain things that need fur her clarification and Corrections.

  10. Tigran jan, there is a problem with all this Shoushi fuss.

    Some are saying, that Levon was against it. Some are saying, that Levon planned it. The problem is – I can’t trust neither, nor. The sheer fact, that Robert Kocharyan said Levon was against liberation of Shoushi is good ground for me not to trust that position – simply because I don’t trust anything that Kocharyan says. And because Kocharyan said it – anybody reiterating that point of view automatically becomes untrustworthy for me.

    On the other hand, I have learned to mistrust most of the things that Levon supporters are saying.

    So you see, we have a dilemma here, and even worse yet, with most of historians directly engaged in politics, we can’t even trust historians :(

  11. Very beautiful piece, Observer. Thanks

    Reflects my feelings exactly. The Granpa’s Day :) Especially the medals! We (his 7 grandchildren) have photos with him in “Manument” each and every May 9th. And every time the number of grandchildren increased, the number of medals decreased. He was wounded near Kertch in an attack. I have heard the story of this attack a thousand times and every time it has some new variations :) The other granpa volunteered (he had diabetes) to fight in the Stalingrad battle, got heavily wounded on the first day and spend two years treating his foot. Both their families were sent to Siberia after the war and when they came back they had to start from the scratch.

    Nevertheless, I have so much pride from their stories! They were a victorious generation that participated in the greatest event of their time. And I am sure their spirit was has something to do with our past, present and even future victories.

  12. Observer – I appreciate your point about reliable news.

    And this is the problem we all face today, not just about Shushi, but in general. H1 or A1+, newspapers or TV. Many sources have lost credibility that is hard to win back. There are people on this and other blogs writing about the paradise of privatization in the early 90s, or how Vazgen Sargsyan or Karen Demirjian were role model democrats, etc. It is this complete disfiguring of history that the young generation today should not be force fed.

    The point for us to remember about Shushi is that it was the capstone of a national heroic effort that many played a role in. May such victories be cherished by our entire nation.

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