The South Caucasus countries today, along with the world are celebrating the 71st anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
This morning Baku held a solemn ceremony dedicated to the holiday. It was attended by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, the Prime Minister Artur Rasizade, the speaker of the National Assembly of Azerbaijan, Ogtay Asadov, the head of the Presidential Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev and other officials.
The chairman of the Board of Veterans, Major General Dadash Rzayev, greeted the head of state. Ilham Aliyev and Mehriban Aliyeva congratulated the veterans with the Victory Day, after which the head of state met with family members of the Hero of the Soviet Union Azi Aslanov and laid a wreath at his monument.
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Ilham Aliyev on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
"I sincerely congratulate you with the 71st anniversary of the Victory in Great Patriotic War. May 9 is a glorious date of the common history of Russia and Azerbaijan. This day will forever remain a symbol of unity and unprecedented heroism of our peoples, who fought shoulder to shoulder against fascism on the battlefields and worked selflessly at home for the sake of Victory," the president stressed.
"I am confident that the time-tested ties of friendship will continue to serve as a solid basis for the strengthening of the Russian-Azerbaijani strategic partnership," he noted.
Putin also asked to pass his congratulations to all veterans in Azerbaijan, as well as his most sincere words of gratitude, wishes for good health, happiness and long life.
The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev sent a holiday telegram to his Azerbaijani counterpart Artur Rasizade. Medvedev wished happiness, health and long life to the veterans and asked Rasizade to deliver to the veterans the words of respect and gratitude for what they had done for the world.
The veterans of the Great Patriotic War and representatives of the Azerbaijani community visited the grave of the Hero of the Soviet Union Azi Aslanov.
The heads and military attaches of the diplomatic missions of the CIS countries in Baku laid a wreath at the memorial of the military glory on the occasion of Victory Day. The Russian ambassador to Azerbaijan, Vladimir Dorokhin, congratulated veterans on Victory Day on behalf of the diplomats of the CIS countries.
The ambassador stressed Azerbaijan's role in the victory over fascism. "One and a half million people were cured and recovered in the hospitals, which were on the territory of the Soviet Union. We can write and talk a lot about Azerbaijan's heroism and contribution. Thank God, people remember and talk about it. We are very pleased that Azerbaijan is among the countries that do not want to rewrite history. They respect and value what really happened, and oppose the falsification of history, stand against downplaying the feat of the Soviet people in this war. This testifies to the wisdom of the Azerbaijani leadership, society, the country's maturity," Trend cited Dorokhin as saying.
He added that while trying to downplay the victory of the Soviet people, the monuments dedicated to the victory over fascism are desecrated in some countries, but in Azerbaijan, on the contrary, the monuments dedicated to the victory are preserved and restored.
May 9 was declared a holiday in Georgia. In Tbilisi, the main celebrations are being held in the park at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and made a speech. "May 9 is the biggest victory of humanity over the evil. We, being a small nation, can proudly say that Georgia and Georgians have contributed greatly to this victory," Sputnik Georgia cited him as saying.
The head of the General Staff of Georgian Armed Forces, Vakhtang Kapanadze, laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier together with the head of state and wished the veterans health and long life.
The Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said that it is an unprecedented example of heroism of tens of millions of people in the history of mankind. "As a result of this huge sacrifice fascism has been defeated, and it is our duty to bow before the people who have sacrificed their lives and health in order to ensure that their descendants live in peace," the politician said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a congratulatory letter to the people of Georgia and the veterans of the Great Patriotic War.
"'71 years have passed since fascism was defeated. The peoples of Russia and Georgia have paid a very high price to achieve victory over this evil," the head of state stressed.
He expressed confidence in strengthening bilateral relations in the future. "I am confident that, based on glorious traditions of friendship and mutual assistance, we will be able to strengthen the Russian-Georgian relations, and ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for next generations. I send my sincere wishes of health and long life to Georgian veterans, as well as peace and prosperity to the friendly people of Georgia," Vladimir Putin concluded.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and the Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II laid a wreath at the Eternal Flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 'Victory park’ in Yerevan. The ceremony was attended by members of the Georgian government, the command of the country's Armed Forces, as well as the diplomatic corps accredited here.
Then the president, the patriarch and ministers met with veterans of the Great Patriotic War.
"The Second World War was indeed the Great Patriotic War for our people. Many of the sons of our nation fought for the freedom of our country and its bright future at all fronts," Sargsyan said.
"Today, we pay tribute and express gratitude to the bright memory of our heroic predecessors, hundred thousands of whom fell in the struggle with the evil. We also pay tribute and express gratitude to sadly a small number of veterans who today stand with us," he stressed.
"This holiday is dedicated not only to the military victory but also to peace. Along with other nations of the Soviet Union, we paid dearly for the victory and earned peace. That victory has given us a historic chance to rise again as a nation economically, culturally, and politically," the head of state concluded.
This year the 'Immortal Regiment' march was held in the country for the first time. The action was organized by the Communist Party of Armenia, Association of War Veterans of the Republic of Armenia, the Russian-Armenian Youth Unity, the International Center of Russian culture 'Harmony' and the Armenian Union of Soviet officers.
Currently, there are only 830 veterans in the country. About 600 thousand people from Armenia fought on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War, more than 300 thousand people were killed.