As a part of the decommunisation effort in Ukraine, the soviet and post-soviet celebration, or commemoration of the end of WW2 on 9th of May is going through changes. One thing's for sure: people are, and will have difficulties to keep commemorating 9th of May, aka Victory Day, the way they have been doing for their whole life.
But first of all, I need to explain the following video. Read below
Ukraine has officially changed the 9th of May commemoration to 8th of May, joining the rest of Europe, where the capitulation of Nazi Germany is dated for the 8th. Simply put, in the USSR it was the 9th, because Stalin said so. The Russian Federation kept the tradition.
Apart from the date, so did the symbolism of Victory Day change in Ukraine: good bye soviet symbols, hello red poppy.
Also, officially the country is saying good bye to the classic soviet/Russian rhetoric about the liberating Red Army, and is involving the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which during soviet rule was an outlawed, repressed memory, given that the organisation fought both the soviet and the nazi forces.
So the way I see it, Ukraine is trying to break its ties with the classic soviet history, while trying to find a suitable Ukrainian version for the events and the end of WW2 in Europe.
The video consists of three different parts.
First scene is 8th of May, the official commemoration at the feet of The Motherland Monument, with a speech by President Petro Poroshenko, who took every opportunity to say something about the Russian Federation and its aggression towards Ukraine.
I suppose an art project was also revealed: soldiers of our time holding pictures of their predecessors, who had take part in the Second World War.
The second scene if on Maidan and the intersecting street, Hreshatik. One could argue what interested people visiting the central square of Kyiv: the few pictures in reference to WW2 and Ukrainian participants, or the Eurovision village. Yep, Kyiv was experiencing a cultural golden age those days. As the Eurovision slogan goes: 'Celebrate Diversity'.
The third scene is the ugly one.
One day later, pro-Russian or not pro-Russian people, whatever, decided to commemorate 9th of May the exact same way they did for the past countless years, the exact same way as people do it in Russia. Among the crowd of people hoping to place flowers on a soviet obelisk in a park, were actual WW2 veterans, or their relatives.
Unfortunately for them, those classic symbols are prohibited by law. Kind of.
A group of Ukrainian activists, many of them veterans of the current war, decided that they would protest the event. They surrounded the obelisk, and as I understand, tried to keep people away from it.
Then the crowd of course started calling them fascists.
To put it simply: the event served as a great example how divided people are regarding certain topics.
Let me emphasize, that these lines represent my subjective view on things, nothing should be taken as a fact. These are thoughts mirroring my experience, which of course, is disputable.
All ideas, reactions, criticism and that sort are welcome in the comment section.
*Material of the official commemoration was provided by a great friend, the video about the protest was borrowed from YouTube *