2017-05-13Victory Day

Having seen quite a few Ukrainian presidents and governments for the last twenty-two years, I cannot but arrive at the conclusion that all of them may be diagnosed with what the psychiatrists call a “multiple personality disorder.” Within the last quarter of a century our leaders and ruling bodies were positioning themselves both as socialists and capitalists, internationalists and nationalists, Euro-Asians and Europeans, conservatives and liberals, Soviets and anti-Soviets, etc. The holidays and events which are marked in this country and which conflict with each other are a consistent pattern of this attitude. There was a time when we celebrated the Day of (Ukrainian) Independence along with the Day of October (Russian) Revolution – the latter actually did away with the Ukrainian independence in 1917. Until recently the Ukrainians celebrated the Day of their own Armed Forces and the Defender of (Russian) Fatherland Day, the International Women’s Day (in March) and Mother’s Day (in May). It must be admitted, however, that this practice has its tradition: we have always had two Christmases, two New Years and, very often, two Easters.

It was crystal clear from the very beginning that Day of Memory/Reconciliation that is observed on May 8th, and Victory Day celebrated on May 9th are poles apart. One day, we are supposed to grieve over the victims and reconcile with our former adversaries, and the next day, we should be jubilant over the victory and, shaking our fists at the enemy, say: “We may repeat it, if need be.” Besides, those who were laying wreaths at memorials on May 9th, remembered not so much the World War as they were filled with malice, if not hatred, towards Ukraine. They were chanting anti-Ukrainian slogans, they identified with St. George’s ribbon in the lapel of Putin’s coat and with his “immortal battalions.”

There was at least one good point in what happened on May 9th: it helped draw a more distinct demarcation line between Russia and Ukraine and see more clearly who Ukraine’s enemy inside Ukraine is. Should we, then, observe Day of Reconciliation?

P.S. The cartoon introducing this blog was posted in the Int’l Herald Tribune 12 years ago. However, it looks quite modern. Alas!


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