V-Day: Armenian leader attends WW II allies’ parade in Red Square

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan joined top leaders and representatives of more than two dozen countries at a huge military parade staged in the Russian capital Sunday to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

At the May 9 event in Red Square, Moscow, hosted by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli President Simon Peres and leaders and representatives of former Soviet republics and countries of the anti-Hitler coalition, Sargsyan watched an elite Armenian review unit marching proudly among the first at the parade, following (due to the Cyrillic alphabet) a similar unit from Azerbaijan – a rare sight of the two rival armies’ representatives at the same place.
(Sargsyan, as his press service said, did not have a separate meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, also attending the Moscow events, to talk about the unresolved dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh.)

On the eve of the celebration Sargsyan visited the grave of Armenian Marshal Hovhannes Baghramyan at the Kremlin wall in Red Square. Baghramyan, a Soviet military commander who made a major contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1941-1945, was one of four Armenian Marshals of the Soviet Union, the USSR’s highest military rank, along with Hamazasp Babajanyan, Armenak Khanperyants (Sergey Khudyakov) and [Navy Admiral] Hovhannes Isakov.

Sargsyan also talked about the contribution of Armenians in the 1945 victory in an interview with Russia-24 news channel.

He said that the post-war generations in Armenia had been brought up on the examples of 119 Heroes of the Soviet Union and 27 holders of all three degrees of the Order of Glory that the former Soviet republic produced during the years of the Great Patriotic War.

“A generation of Armenians that had experienced the inhuman atrocities of the 1915 Armenian Genocide took part in that war. And it was not accidental that Armenians were fighting against fascism not only in the [Red] Army and in the [Soviet] rear, but also in resistance movements and a number of troops of the anti-Hitler coalition,” Sargsyan underlined.

The Armenian leader called it a ‘great honor and responsibility’ to be in Moscow and see Armenian servicemen march at the parade along with counterparts from other former Soviet republics. “This symbolizes the unity that we had,” he said.

The video of Sargsyan’s interview [in Russian] is available here: http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=271407