First Republic Day was marked in Armenia today, May 28. The country’s top political, military and spiritual leadership attended traditional celebrations at Sardarapat, a location some 40 kilometers west of capital Yerevan, where advancing Turkish troops were stopped in a heroic battle these days 98 years ago.
Along with other Armenian military successes at Bash-Aparan, Karakilisa and elsewhere in May 1918 that victory also led to the establishment of the first democratic Armenian republic.
The first Republic of Armenia lasted for about two and a half years. It fell after Bolsheviks supported by the Red Army seized power in Armenia in late 1921 turning it into a Soviet republic.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, who also attended the celebrations at the Sardarapat Memorial today, made an address on the occasion of the holiday in which he also referred to last month’s hostilities with Azerbaijan in Nagorno Karabakh.
“Military operations that unfolded in early April revealed more vividly some realities – good or bad, within and around us. Among all, the most important one for me was our new generation – the generation born with independence, the generation that proved to us and to all that they are the masters and guardians of our State. Those, who created the “May 28” in 1918, would only dream of a regular army, such as ours, and of a new generation, such as this one. And they are with us, now,” the president said as quoted by his press service.
“There will be no new Sardarapat since by and large it was a war of desperation. Those who fought there did not know what country’s citizens they were of, and if they were citizens at all. There will be no new Sardarapat since there stands a State. There is a generation born with independence, which wants to move in step with the contemporary world – and it will; a generation, which wants to move its country forward – and it will; a generation born with independence, which grasped the bequest of May 28 better than anyone else. All this stems from the fact that in their families and in their schools the bequest of May 28 was also grasped properly. We as a State, as a nation and as a society grasped the bequest of May 28 well.”