ASTANA – President Nursultan Nazarbayev congratulated the citizens of Kazakhstan on the 68th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory in the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945) on May 9. He laid flowers on the Otan Korgaushylar (Fatherland Defenders’) monument in Astana and honoured the Kazakh soldiers who died in the war with a minute of silence.
Following the official part of the solemn ceremony, the orchestra of the Republican National Guard performed the Kazakhstan anthem. Afterwards, Guards of Honour of the Republican Guard marched in parade before President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and the veterans of the Great Patriotic War.
The president emphasised that time will only increase the importance of the victory in the world’s deadliest war.
“Nearly 1.8 million people from Kazakhstan fought in this ruthless war. Half of them did not return. Thus, several generations of Kazakhstanis will always remember this victory. There are fewer and fewer veterans among us and we must treat them with much respect and honour. They have shown heroism [and] unity, and today is the day of truth for many generations: for those whose grandfathers and grandmothers, mothers and fathers fought at the front and worked on the home front to bring this victory,” the president said.
President Nazarbayev noted that the Day of Victory symbolises that the unity of people, peace and stability are the most important achievements of the country.
“We must protect our citizens against the fires of war. Today, unfortunately, we hear news from hot spots as from the front lines. Peace, friendship and consent have reigned in our country during all the years of independence. We have to protect these values; the experience of the last war speaks for that. We should properly understand the value of peace. If our grandfathers had not won, we would not have an independent state. We should cherish our freedom; young people should always take care of veterans. And the government provides and will continue to provide them with overall support,” the president stressed.
President Nazarbayev wished the veterans and their families good health and well-being and expressed the hope that they could again jointly celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory in two years. There are currently 291 veterans registered in Astana, including 215 war participants and 76 disabled war veterans.
Participants of the ceremony then went to a tent camp organised on the square next to the Otan Korgaushylar monument, where traditional soldier’s cuisine and theatrical performances were waiting for veterans. About 5,000 carnations crowned the monument.
War veterans, representatives of state authorities, the diplomatic corps, and the city community attended the ceremony. Thousands of city residents took part in the ceremony to pay tribute to fallen soldiers on this remarkable day.
The citizens of Kazakhstan were involved in the war effort from the beginning to its end in the spring of 1945 in Berlin. They helped defend Leningrad and Stalingrad and liberate Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, the Baltic nations and the peoples of Europe.
During World War II, Kazakhstan increased industrialisation and mineral extraction in support of the war effort. Besides being an overwhelmingly agriculture-based economy, Kazakhstan was one of the main arsenals for the front. In total, from 1941-45, almost 500 plants, ore mines, individual productions and factories, producing machinery, weaponry, radio and other military technologies, were established in the country, including many that were evacuated from Soviet Union’s occupied European part.
Twelve Kazakh divisions that passed through the entire war received honorary titles. Five divisions have become guards, including the famous Eighth Guards Division named in honour of Hero of the Soviet Union Ivan Panfilov. During the Great Patriotic War, 497 Kazakh soldiers were awarded with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. The last title of Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded on December 11, 1990 to the legendary Bauyrzhan Momyshuly. Four citizens of Kazakhstan, attack aircraft pilots Talgat Bigeldinov, Leonid Beda and Ivan Pavlov and fighter pilot Sergey Lugansky, have been twice awarded the Golden Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union. Machine gunner Manshuk Mametova and sniper Alia Moldagulova were also awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union titles.
In honour of the victory, all towns and villages of the country celebrated the great achievement and honoured veterans of World War II. All regions of the country held commemorative events.
The highest-level officials; heads of organisations, institutions and enterprises and citizens congratulated these veterans, who, in their turn, shared their personal memories of the hard years.