Government buildings in Georgia lowered national flags to half-staff on February 25 as the country observes the day when the Bolshevik’s Red Army took over Tbilisi on this day 98 years ago.
The Day of Soviet Occupation is officially marked in Georgia after the Parliament passed a resolution in 2010 instructing the government to organize various memorial events on every February 25 to commemorate, as the decision puts it, hundreds of thousands of victims of political repressions of Communist occupational regime.
President Salome Zurabishvili, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, government officials, opposition politicians and top army commanders laid flowers at the memorial of Georgian cadets killed during the defense of Tbilisi in February, 1921.
“95 years ago many cadets died defending Tbilisi; this is a tragic day for Georgia, but the struggle for freedom continues,” President Zurabishvili said at a ceremony in Tabakhmela in Tbilisi outskirts, which saw some of the heaviest fighting.
Speaking to reporters after the wreath laying ceremony, PM Bakhtadze said: “Today, we are commemorating one of the hardest days in the history of Georgia – the day of Soviet occupation… I bow my head to all Georgian heroes, who sacrificed their lives for freedom and independence of their homeland.”
The Bolshevik Red Army took over the Georgian capital on February 25, 1921 after days of heavy battle around Tbilisi. The Bolsheviks overthrew the Social-Democratic government, ending the country’s short-lived statehood. The country restored its independence on April 9, 1991.