Georgian Leaders Mark VE Day, Europe Day

Georgian leaders marked on May 9 the 76th anniversary of the Victory in Europe (VE) Day by laying a wreath at the memorial of Meliton Kantaria, a Soviet Georgian soldier who hoisted the Soviet flag on top of the disarmed Reichstag in 1945, in Tbilisi’s Park of Culture and Leisure of Veterans. Also today, the Georgian leaders commented on Europe Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the historic “Shuman Declaration.”

In her video address, President Salome Zurabishvili said “the history of Europe has shown us that every great challenge, war or calamity is followed by new opportunities, new strength, new energy.”

“Europe has demonstrated that it sees Georgia as an important ally and that Georgia’s stability and democratic and progress are not just empty words but a real goal and objective,” the President asserted, referring to the EU-mediation of a political crisis in Georgia, which resulted in the April 19 agreement between Georgian Dream government and opposition parties.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, who paid tributes to the fallen soldiers of World War II together with some of his cabinet members in the Veterans’ Park, said that “Georgia and Georgians paid a great contribution to achieve this victory [over Nazi Germany].”

In his separate video address dedicated to Europe Day, the Prime Minister noted that “Georgians are proud to be among the creators of European culture. Since regaining our independence, we have been striving towards our natural belonging – space in Europe.”

Reckoning that “European unity needs Georgia as much as we need Europe,” PM Garibashvili said “in 2024 we will apply for full membership in the European Union. I am thrilled that present generations will be fortunate to make the dream of our ancestors come true.”

New Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava, who also took part in a wreath-laying ceremony in the Veterans’ Park said „76 years ago the humankind achieved victory over a dangerous enemy… In this victory, Georgians played a very big role.”

In a separate video address regarding Europe Day, Speaker Kuchava noted that “Georgia has always been an inseparable part of Europe culturally, historically and politically.” “[Becoming] a member of the European family is a historic choice of the Georgian people,” he asserted.

“Since the restoration of independence [in 1991], the EU stood by our country and this support is invaluable,” underscored the Georgian Parliament Speaker.

Georgia, like Russia, marks the VE Day on May 9, following the USSR tradition, whereas the most European countries mark this day on May 8. Annually, on May 9, Georgian leaders and WWII veterans mark the victory over nazism by laying wreath at the tomb of an unknown soldier in Tbilisi’s Vake Park, but the ceremonies were moved to the Veterans’ Park this year over renovation works in Vake Park.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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