SUKHUM / AQW'A ― A solemn assembly commemorating the 78th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War took place at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier on Dioscuri Embankment in Sukhum. The gathering was attended by leaders of the republic, parliament deputies, government members, and representatives from various political parties and public organisations. Dzhansukh Nanba, head of the administration of the President of Abkhazia, addressed the assembly.
"Today, we celebrate the victory in the Great Patriotic War. Firstly, we congratulate the direct participants and witnesses of those events, our esteemed veterans. Their heroism is proof that even the most horrific evil can be defeated. We are grateful for everything they have done for us. On this day, we remember those who sacrificed their lives to secure peace and freedom for all of us," he said. Nanba emphasised the importance of remembering that the victory in the Great Patriotic War was made possible by the unity and solidarity of the Soviet people.
The Russian Ambassador to Abkhazia, Mikhail Shurgalin, speaking at the gathering, noted that May 9th is a sacred date. "This is a sacred date for our people, as in Abkhazia and Russia, every family remembers its heroes, participants in that devastating war. As previously mentioned, over 55,000 residents of the republic joined the active army at the front. Of these, more than 17,000 never returned home. The memory of the immortal heroism of those who defended the Motherland and worked in the rear, those who perished on the battlefields and fell victim to fascist invaders, is one of the most significant pillars of allied Russian-Abkhazian relations, ensuring their continued progressive development. We are grateful to the Abkhazian side for the attention they pay to the memory of the fallen and veterans, honouring their contributions, remembering, respecting, and preserving the monuments, burial sites, and other war-related dates and events," he said.
Addressing the veterans present, Shurgalin hailed them as the legendary warriors of a great nation. "Thanks to you, we all live today, work, raise children and grandchildren. Our normal, peaceful lives are a direct result of your efforts. We bow low to you, wishing you health, the longevity of the Caucasus, vitality, and optimism," said the Russian diplomat.
The assembly was also graced by the presence of Avtandil Surmanidze, Deputy Head of the Administration of Sukhum, and Zakan Nanba, Deputy Chairman of the Union of Veterans of the Great Patriotic War and Labor of Abkhazia. Following the gathering, a ceremonial parade by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Abkhazia was held.
Victory Day is a commemorative holiday that celebrates the Soviet Union's triumph over Nazi Germany in 1945. The holiday was first established in the 16 Soviet republics after the German Instrument of Surrender was signed on the night of 8 May 1945, which was 9 May according to Moscow Time. The Soviet government declared the victory on 9 May, following the signing ceremony in Berlin. While the official inception of the holiday took place in 1945, it only became a non-working day in 1965, and only in select Soviet republics.