Seventy-five Armenian soldiers marched through Moscow’s Red Square on Wednesday in a Russian military parade that marked the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.
More than 14,000 troops from Russia as well as countries allied to it participated in the traditional parade which also featured scores of tanks, artillery systems, intercontinental ballistic missiles and warplanes. Russian President Vladimir Putin reviewed and watched them from a Red Square podium. He was joined by the leaders of seven other mostly ex-Soviet states.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian was also invited to the annual display of Russia’s military might. But he cancelled his trip to Moscow last week, citing the continuing coronavirus crisis in Armenia.
The Armenian government was represented at the parade by Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan. Like other visiting foreign dignitaries, Tonoyan underwent a coronavirus test on his arrival in the Russian capital.
The Armenian soldiers also tested negative for the virus before taking part in the parade.According to the Armenian Defense Ministry spokeswoman, Shushan Stepanian, Tonoyan praised the way they marched through the historic square. She released a photograph of the minister warmly greeting an Armenian army colonel who led the small contingent during the parade.
The 75 soldiers carried not only an Armenian national flag but also the banner of a Red Army division that mostly consisted of Armenians and reached Berlin in May 1945. Stepanian said they “reminded the world of the Armenian people’s role in the Great Victory.”
Some 320,000 residents of Soviet Armenia, then a republic of just 1.3 million people, were drafted to the Soviet army during the bloodiest war in the history of humankind. The total number of its ethnic Armenian participants from various Soviet republics is estimated at more than 500,000. About half of them were killed in action.
The Red Square parade, originally scheduled for May 9, was postponed by the Kremlin in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.