YEREVAN (Public Radio of Armenia) — President Serzh Sargsyan on May 23 attended the ceremony unveiling the statue of the Hero of the USSR, Chief Marshal of the USSR armored troops Hamazasp Babajanian.
The memorial is in the public square adjacent to Babajanian Street in Avan administrative district of Yerevan. The memorial was created by the sculptor Hamlet Matinian and architect Michael Missakian.
Present at the ceremony were also Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan, Yerevan Mayor Taron Margarian, veterans of World War II, the Commanding General United States Army Europe Lieutenant General Frederick Benjamin Hodges, the Adjutant General of Kansas, the military commander of the Kansas National Guard Major General Lee E. Tafanelli, military attachés of foreign states, natives of Chardakhlu residing in Yerevan (Khachisarians) and other guests.
Sargsyan laid flowers on the monument and paid tribute to the memory of the great warrior. After the march of the ceremonial guard, the Honorary Citizen of Yerevan, Rafael Vahanian and the Vice Chair of the Armenian Chess Federation Hovik Khalikian handed to President Sargsyan a symbolic gift – chess board which belonged to Babajanian which had been presented by the descendants of the Marshal.
Babajanian, born in 1906, was a Soviet military commander.
In July 1943, Babajanian was sent north to take part in the Battle of Kursk. He was given command of the 20th Tank Brigade, which at the time was part of the Soviet Guards 8th Mechanized Corps. His brigade was tasked with blocking the Germans’ northern and southern advances toward Kursk by taking up position at an intersection near Oboyan. The brigade sustained heavy losses from German armor assaults, and Babajanian himself was wounded during the course of the attacks. He rapidly recovered from his injuries and returned to active duty. His unit was incorporated into the 1st Ukrainian Front and sent once more to take part in the struggle to evict the Axis out of Ukraine. Over the course of the winter of 1943-44 Babajanian’s brigade participated in the liberation of the towns and villages of Vinnytsia, Zhmerynka, and Ternopil. The tanks under Babajanian’s command distinguished themselves in particular in the battle of Koziatyn, which resulted in the annihilation of the German 70th Motorized Rifle Division and its two regiments.
In March 1944, Babajanian led his brigade across the Dniester in a drive to retake the town of Stanislav. After eleven days of heavy fighting his forces took and occupied the right bank of the river. For its efforts, the commanders of the 8th Mechanized Corps on April 2 conferred upon Babajanian the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
He died in 1977.