STEPANAKERT (ArmRadio)—Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s Defense Army Day and the Liberation of Shushi was celebrated on May 9 in the capital city of Stepanakert. The Artsakh Republic’s President Bako Sahakyan together with Armenia’s Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan and the state’s former President, Arkady Ghukasyan attended the Stepanakert Memorial Complex, and laid a wreath and flowers to the monuments commemorating martyrs perished in the Great Patriotic War and the Artsakh Liberation Struggle.
Sahakyan, Abrahamyan and Ghukasyan also visited Shushi and laid garlands and flowers to the pedestal of the tank-monument and the monument of Sparapet Vazgen Sargsyan. They partook in the opening of “Karabakh’s Revival” photo-exhibition of prominent photographer Martin Shahbazyan and his “Artsakh-Revival” book presentation, and were present at the candlelight vigil held at the Ghazanchetsots Church.
Primate of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, National Assembly chairman Ashot Ghoulyan, prime-minister Arayik Haroutyunyan, high-ranking officials from Artsakh and Armenia, and guests from the Diaspora and abroad partook at the festive events.
May 8 marks one of the most significant victories in the history of the Armenian nation. Shushi was liberated on this day 24 years ago.
During the Karabakh liberation war of early 1990s, Shushi became one of Azerbaijan’s main military strongholds in Nagorno-Karabakh. From this strategic location, the Azeri army would bombard Karabakh’s capital Stepanakert and adjacent Armenian villages.
The liberation of Shushi in May 1992, however, became a turning point.
About 3,800 volunteers participated in the operation of liberation of Shushi the night of May 8. The operation was led by Arkady Ter-Tadevosyan, Commander of the self-defense forces of Artsakh.
On May 8, a solemn ceremony of awarding for courage and bravery shown during the defense of the Artsakh state borders and Armenia, a group of servicemen, freedom-fighters and volunteers were given awards. The Primate of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, Ashot Ghoulyan, defense minister Levon Mnatsakanyan and other officials took park in the event. The ceremony took place at President Sahakyan’s residence, where he delivered his message:
“On this festive day, we honor and bow our heads to our hero fathers and grandfathers who hand in hand with other peoples of the Soviet Union won the Great Patriotic War. We bow our heads to the brave sons of the Armenian nation who carved the victory in the Artsakh Liberation struggle defending the right of our people to live free and independent on their own soil.
Today we can proudly state about another great victory – our young generation, our modern heroes who continue their ancestors’ traditions with dignity, weaving new myths and legends in the battlefield. The selfless soldiers of the Defense Army stand firm in their positions and keep impregnable the Artsakh Republic borders.
All our victories are the triumphs of unity and consolidation around the idea of defending the Motherland facing danger. I am confident that this spirit will always guide our people and we will celebrate more victories. This is the best way to keep alive the memory of our martyrs. This is the only true path to eternity, this is our only way.”