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No parade on Independence Day once again

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, April 27
Georgia will not hold a military parade as a part of the Independence Day celebrations on May 26.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, its former member states always used to demonstratively hold military parades to emphasize their independence. However, for the third straight year the government has decided not to hold the parades in the capital Tbilisi.

The main argument of the government is that holding military parades is too costly for the budget of the country and they simply cannot afford it.

The Head of Government Administration, Maia Tskitishvili, told journalists that a military parade on the Independence Day will not be held but there will be many cultural events, in which all citizens will have the opportunity to participate.

“The parade will not be held, but there will be a big concert in the evening, and military equipment and historical costumes will be exhibited,” Tskitishvili said.

According to the majority MP Gia Volski, May 26 is a public holiday of peace and freedom and such an overt military emphasis is inappropriate.

The positions concerning the issue are different, as well as the arguments amongst citizens, politicians and political analysts.

Some agree with the government’s decision and think that the event will cost too much for the country. According to others, the place of the Army is not in the streets, while some think that the government does not want the army to honor the Commander-in-Chief of Georgia's military forces, President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

The former defense minister, Davit Sikharulidze, thinks that the military parade should be held, because May 26 is the only holiday of independence of Georgia, which should be celebrated properly.

“Military forces are the symbol of the unity and independence of the state and I think that the military parade should be held,” Sikharulidze stated.

Ex-defense minister Davit Tevzadze, who was the minister in 1998-2004, thinks that a concrete date must be appointed for holding military parades in order to avoid political speculations.

“Holding military parades is a tradition in every country, which must be held every year. Also, it is a good way to inspire patriotism in soldiers and express respect and gratitude towards them,” the ex-minister added.

A member of opposition the United National Movement, Mikheil Machavariani, thinks that the parade will not be held because of the tension between President Margvelashvili and Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili.

“The Army deserves to come out and show its beauty, power and preparation to the population. It is a shame of the government that because of internal confrontations this event will not be held,” he stressed.

Historian Lasha Bakradze believes that holding a military parade is not a thing that the government cannot afford and it is the indicator of independence.

The author of the national anthem, Davit Magradze, thinks that holding military parades is not the expression of respect to the army.

“Such demonstrations of power are relics of the Soviet era and make no sense for us today. We must create a society praising freedom, not power,” Magradze stressed.