Georgian WWII Veterans Commemorate V-E Day

TBILISI - More than a thousand Georgian World War II veterans on Monday will celebrate the 71st anniversary of the end of the war in Europe.

On May 9, known as Victory Day, is a state holiday in Georgia and most of the former Soviet republics.

Lavish ceremonies are staged every year to pay tribute those who fought against Nazi Germany from 1941-1945.

To mark the occasion, war veterans and their families will gather in Tbilisi’s Vake Park to lay wreaths at a monument to Georgia’s Unknown Soldiers.

More than 750,000 Georgians served in the Soviet Red Army during the war and an estimated 300,000 (8 per cent of the Georgian population) lost their lives fighting Nazi Germany.

“May 9 marks the greatest victory over evil,” Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili said at Monday’s wreath-laying ceremony while reiterating that Georgia played a vital role and committed the ultimate sacrifice in helping defeat Fascism.

According to the country’s latest census 1,295 World War II veterans are still alive in Georgia.

Georgia’s move to highlight its central role in the war follows a trend in Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic States, which have taken great pains to shed light on their contribution to the war effort.

Many across the former Soviet Union take umbrage at Russia’s attempts to take full credit for the victory over Hitler’s Germany while ignoring the sacrifices of the Soviet Union’s other republics.

Known as the Great Patriotic War in Russia, it is the country’s most important and grandiose holiday.

By Tamar Svanidze
Edited by Nicholas Waller

Photo: Guram Muradov/

09 May 2016 12:57