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Occupation Day - Georgia memorializes its heroes

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Thursday, February 27
On Tuesday, flags were lowered to half-mast in front of the Tbilisi and Kutaisi Parliament buildings, the president’s residence as well as the country’s government buildings in remembrance of the hundreds of thousands of young soldiers who died in the battle of the Soviet Occupation of Georgia 93 years ago on one of the most tragic days in the Georgian history.

On 25 February 1921, Georgia lost its independence, when the Bolshevik 11th Red Army entered Tbilisi and occupied Georgia.

This day has its own heroes - the military college students 20-21 years-old, and the young cadets, who were guarding the capital all alone against the Russian Red Army.

The Day of Soviet Occupation was first officially marked in Georgia in 2010. Parliament unanimously passed a resolution instructing the government to organize various memorial events each year on February 25 to commemorate the victims of political repressions of the Communist occupational regime.

To mark the occasion, President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, and other officials honored fallen heroes by visiting the memorial in Kojori. “They are an example of the courage and the ability to protect our country from very powerful empires, and from aggressors who have historically always attacked us,” Margvelashvili stated.

Minister of Defense, Irakli Alasania called it “an example of how to live."

A new generation of cadets also honored the fallen heroes. Vakhtang Kapanadze, head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, said that the cadets’ heroism in history is one of the most successful and a good example for the new generation of recruits.

The parliament minority also visited the memorial. Leader of the oppositional United National Movement (UNM), Davit Bakradze, said that the battle for freedom is an eternal battle and it never ends. “This day also reminds us that the fight for freedom is not just about the past, it is our present and it reminds us of our hero who died just a few days ago in Kiev, compatriot Davit Kipiani. The struggle for freedom today is our future,” Bakradze stressed.

Philosopher Levan Ghambashidze said that what’s most pitiful of all is that our country had chosen its path, and because of the occupation, it was stopped. “The most awful thing that can happen is to lose [our] independence,” Ghambashidze stressed.