On 9 May, it’s Victory Day in Azerbaijan, as well as in many other former Soviet Republics. Victory Day commemorates the end of World War II, the defence of the USSR from Nazi invasion, and the total collapse of the Nazi Regime.
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In the West, 8 May is VE (Victory in Europe) Day, celebrating the surrender of Nazi Germany. But it was already 9 May in Moscow at the time Germany surrendered, so 9 May has always been the “VE Day of the East”.
Azerbaijan’s involvement in World War II was more than just incidental due to being a part of the USSR. It contributed huge quantities of oil for use in the Soviet Army. And many of Azerbaijan’s people volunteered to serve in the army and participate in “The Great Patriotic War”. Over 400,000 Azeri soldiers and civilians perished during World War II.
In Azerbaijan, Victory Day is a time when surviving World War II veterans put on their uniforms and their medals and come out to honour those fellow soldiers who perished in the conflict at a special monument for that purpose. There are also special ceremonies, concerts, and other events that take place all over the country throughout the day.