Victory Day: Ukraine is reviewing its role in World War II
On average, there is one descendant of Ukrainian Insurgent Army fighter per 60 grandchildren of veterans of the Red Army
Victory without a banner
Ukrainian Institute of National Memory has warned about the prohibition of the Victory banner during the holiday. The Institute refers to the law "On the condemnation of the Communist and National Socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and the prohibition of propaganda of the symbols," which prohibits flags, symbols, images, or other attributes, which has a combination of a sickle, a hammer, and a five-pointed star.
Why this prohibition has not been signed last year? Because President Poroshenko had not yet signed the law on de-communization. He did it only after the holidays - May 16, 2015. Before that day, the law "On perpetuation of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 years" was actual. According to that law, the form of the Victory Banner was supposed to correspond to 150th Rifle, Order of Kutuzov 2nd class, Idritsa Division. This banner was raised by the Red Army soldiers on the Reichstag building in Berlin, on May 1, 1945, the day that Adolf Hitler committed suicide.
Starting from 2016, in accordance with the new law, May 9 is not a Victory Day, it is the Day of victory over the Nazis in World War II. The term "Great Patriotic War" is not in official use.
Ukraine does not pretend on participating in the anti-Hitler coalition
In 2008, the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory has initiated the process of international recognition of Ukraine as subject to the anti-Hitler coalition. "Ukraine, along with Russia, Britain and France, can be recognized as a subject of the anti-Hitler coalition to the greatest extent," said Hero of Ukraine Ihor Yukhnovsky who led the Institute of National Memory at that time. He pointed out that during the period of the liberation of Ukraine in 1943-1944, 60-70% of units of four Ukrainian fronts consisted of Ukrainians: 200 Soviet army generals, 7 commanders of the fronts, 32 double Heroes of the Soviet Union were ethnic Ukrainians.
Now the Institute of National Memory said that the Second World War was a national tragedy for Ukraine, during which Ukrainians were deprived of their own state, "were forced to fight for the interests of others and kill other Ukrainians." According to the institute, in the ranks of the Allied armies fought up to 250 thousand Ukrainians and up to 50 thousand were mobilized in the military allies of the Third Reich.
When the war began?
The methodological recommendations of the Institute of National Memory highlight that the Soviet Union entered the Second World War 17 September 1939 on the side of Nazi Germany.
This day started "Polish campaign" of Red Army, which lasted for 12 days (until 29 September 1939). By the time the Polish government has already left the country, and as a result of the campaign in Ukraine current Volyn, Lviv, Rivne, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk regions were annexed, which previously belonged to the Second Rzeczpospolita (1918-1939). November 14, 1939 extraordinary session of the Supreme Council decided to "take the Western Ukraine into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and thus reunite the Ukrainian people in a single Ukrainian state."
The contemporaries did not regard these events as part of World War II. For them, it began September 3, 1939, when England, France, Canada, Australia, and other countries declared war against Germany's invasion of Poland. They did not declare war against the Soviet Union. It was not declared after reunification of Ukraine, Bessarabia, and Bukovina in 1940. Then Chernivtsi region and part of the Odesa region (Izmail) went to the USSR.
June 22, 1941 began German invasion in the Soviet Union, part of which was Ukraine. The same day, Italy and Romania declared war against the Soviet Union.
No more "people-winner"
Institute of National Remembrance said “Soviet-Ukrainian war 1939-1954” was separate episode of the Second World War. They point out that the liberation movement in Ukraine was attended by 100 thousand soldiers of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. However, according to the Institute of National Remembrance, 6 million Ukrainians participated on the side of the Soviet Union in World War II. It turns out that the proportion of participants (and consequently their descendants) is sixty to one. On average, there is one descendant of Ukrainian Insurgent Army fighter per 60 grandchildren of veterans of the Red Army
Now Institute of National Remembrance recommends the media to focus on micro level (a specific soldier winner) instead of the macro level (the Soviet people or the state are the winners). It also says not to concentrate on the heroism and "Soviet patriotism," but rather on individual heroic deeds.
A new symbol was introduced at the state level - a red poppy. This sad symbol was borrowed from the British veterans. The flower symbolizes the memory of the fallen in the First World War in the poppy fields of Flanders. During the First World War, Britain has lost nearly a million people - twice more than in World War II.
At the same time, somehow it is forgotten that the loss of the Red Army and Navy during Great Patriotic War totaled 8.6 million men. A total loss of the Soviet Union was 26.6 million people.
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