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Celebrating 9th of May

By Messenger Staff
Friday, May 9
9th of May was celebrated in the Soviet Union as the day of victory over Fascism. So far the date remains as such for veterans of World War II and elderly people. There are less and less people remaining of this age. The state tries to comfort these veterans offering them some presents and financial support. Memorials of the war are decorated with flowers.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union there has been a constant discussion whether to celebrate this day or not.

During the Soviet times, the 9th of May was the symbol of the power of the USSR. People remember this day. It was connected with a sense of victory. The Soviet Union participated in the defeat over Fascism and the country sacrificed many lives for this victory.

Already during the government of the first President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, veterans were told that this war was somebody else’s war, that it was not Georgia’s war. Veterans were opposed to this concept.

During Eduard Shevardnadze’s presidency, the Soviet approach returned. The 9th of May was celebrated by veterans as well as the President and the state.

After the Rose Revolution in 2003, President Mikheil Saakashvili tried to change the date from the 9th to the 8th of May as it is celebrated in Europe. The veterans did not like the idea so at the end the official day, in Tbilisi it was celebrated both on May 8 and 9. However, the veterans remained irritated that the officials stated that there was no difference between Stalin and Hitler.

Today the attitude of the population towards the May 9 is controversial because of Russia – the country, which especially during Vladimir Putin’s leadership has privatized the victory assigning it solely to Russia. Putin tried to highlight that May 9 was the symbol of Russia’s strength, therefore, the countries, which have had controversies with Russia were separated from this date.

The date is not celebrated this year in Ukraine as well.

This year the Georgian government is distributing a certain amount of money to the veterans of WWII and their families.

In WWII, Georgia sacrificed a huge number of lives. According to the official estimates, more than 300000 Georgians lost their lives in the war. It was around 1/10 of the entire population of the country, which is a huge number for a tiny country like Georgia.

Georgia took its share in fighting against fascism and it should celebrate this anniversary.