Military Parade Marks 25th Anniversary of Armed Forces, Victory Day
Kazakhstan marked its May 7 Defender of the Fatherland holiday with the largest military parade in the country’s history in the capital, Astana. The event celebrated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the country’s armed forces.
Though military might was on display, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev used his speech opening the festivities to discuss the achievement of peace. After congratulating all who serve the country in the military, he pointed out, “We have no enemies in any part of the world. We are building friendly and trust-based relations along the entire perimeter with our neighbours. We are friends with them, we remember the wise covenant that a peace agreement is more valuable than 100 victories.”
This year’s parade broke records for participants, with more than 5,000 servicemen, some 300 units of military machinery and 70 military jets, airplanes and helicopters taking part. Helicopters made in Kazakhstan were on display, as was other modern military hardware and air power.
Nazarbayev also commented on May 9, Victory Day, which marks the end of hostilities in the European theatre in World War II. “We are immensely grateful to all the heroes of that terrible war that overcame fascism at the cost of their efforts. Your feat will always live in the hearts of descendants,” he said.
Though Kazakhstan is committed to peace, the country must remain able to face any threats, the President continued, and terrorism is first among them.
“The fundamentally new direction of the whole block is the fight against terrorism. Kazakhstan should keep up with the times and fight back any threat,” he said.
On Victory Day, Nazarbayev laid flowers at the Otan Qorgaushylar (Defenders of the Fatherland) monument in Astana.
“War veterans laid the path to our happiness, independence and today’s clear blue skies. Today, laying the flowers to the Otan Qorgaushylar monument we are expressing our feelings of great admiration for the heroism and hard labour of our people on the battlefields and on the home front,” Nazarbayev told a large crowd.
He also noted Kazakhstan’s heavy losses in the bloody conflict.
An Astana Times editorial quotes sources putting Kazakh losses in the war at 410,000, out of a population of just 6 million. The anniversary of that hard-won victory is a reminder that nations must remain vigilant, it said.
“The tragedy of World War II is a reminder that every nation, no matter how peaceful, needs to have a strong military that can protect its land and people. This is especially the case at a time when our world is facing many challenges, including global terrorism.”
“Of course, we hope to never need to deploy the military forces we have established, but it is a testament to the great work our armed forces and the Ministry of Defence have done since our independence,” it said.
As it has developed defensive capabilities, the country has also built avenues for dialogue.
“Kazakhstan has been consistently committed to dialogue, partnership and peace ever since our independence. As well as Kazakhstan’s tireless efforts to promote a world free from nuclear weapons, the country has also contributed to the resolution of regional and global conflicts, including in Syria and Ukraine. Our military exists purely for peaceful purposes.”
As the country has grown, its strong defence capabilities have enabled it to contribute to UN peacekeeping missions in several nations, it said.
Keeping peace is only possible through international cooperation, the editorial pointed out. “For this reason, Kazakhstan has continued to push for closer global cooperation on major international issues. This is why Kazakhstan has good relations with all of its neighbours, as well as with the European Union and the United States.”