Tbilisi, DFwatch – The Georgian government continues distancing itself from its predesessors’ military bravade as it announces, third year in a row, that Independence Day celebrations will go on without a military parade.
The decision about the Independence Day and Victory Day, on May 9, celebrations was announced by the Government after its session on Friday.
During Soviet rule May 9, the day commemorating victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany and its allies in the WW2, was a stage of major celebrations and a Red-Square-style military parades in Tbilisi center. However, it has lost its lustre after collapsing of the USSR and since then the focus has switched towards May 26, commemorating proclamation of Georgia’s independence in 1918 by the newly formed government in Tbilisi led by Social Democratic party, i.e. Mensheviks.
During Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidency, military parade used to be a key component of May 26 celebrations. However, the new government has decided to switch to the less bellicose mode. It announced that instead of the military parade, there would be exhibitions, ceremony of taking an oath by recruits and a concert.
Each ministry have to join the celebrations by arranging street exhibition of its own projects on Rustaveli av. There will be different entertainment programs and a concert at the parliament building later in evening.
Military equipment and machinery will be exhibited along with historical costumes too.
Independence day will be marked in all regions around the country.
The government also stated that all veterans of the WW2 would receive a single allowance of 1,000 laris (USD 440) each as a gift for May 9 celebrations. It is an accepted practice in Georgia to bestow WW2 veterans for their role in defeating Nazis. Last year the allowance amounted to 400 laris (USD 230).
It is yet unknown what events are planned for May 9. In last years the scope of celebrations were confined to Vakis Parki, at the Unknown Soldier Memorial, where WW2 veterans meet. By the most recent data number of WW2 veterans registered in Georgia is up to 1,800.
Earlier president Giorgi Margvelashvili, along with many leaders around the Globe, declined invitation by his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to attend pompous parade in Moscow’s Red Square on May 9.