St. George’s Day – 6 May in the Orthodox calendar – is traditionally the Day of Army Valor in Bulgaria and is celebrated with a parade of the armed forces in the center of Sofia.
(All Images by Johann Brandstätter/JB Photography)
For the first time President Rosen Plevneliev attended this parade together with the political and military leadership, as well as several foreign military attaches. Formations of the National Guard, the National Guard Orchestra (both in picturesque red uniforms, complete with fur hats – heat stroke included on a hot day like this…), the élite 68th Special Forces Brigade (better known as Spetsnaz), Bulgarian ISAF troops, and regular Land Forces, Navy and Air Force.
The absence of any weaponry during the parade – with the exception of an ageing Mi-17 and two Cougar helicopters – might be taken as a delicate hint for the fact that the Bulgarian armed forces are strapped for cash and are struggling to keep the three branches – Army, Air Force and Navy – operational and up to NATO-Standards.
Another notable fact was the short duration of the ceremony – only about half an hour – and the smaller number of attending foreign military attaches compared to last year’s parade.
More images from the Army Day parade on my website www.jb-photography.org.