On January 22, Ukraine marks the Unity Day.
In 2016, citizens celebrate the 97th anniversary of proclamation of the Unification Act. Signed in 1919, the document earmarked the merge of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the West Ukrainian People’s Republic – two the-then state formations on the territory of modern Ukraine.
The agreement was aimed at creating a unified Ukrainian state, a movement long awaited by the intelligentsia on both sides. In the USSR, all discussions and public actions that had anything to do with Ukrainian nationalism were strictly banned, so citizens didn’t celebrate the holiday for a while. Under 1999 presidential decree, it gained the status of the official state holiday.
Traditionally for this day, the “live chain”, a mass public action took place at Paton Bridge in Kyiv, as well as in many other cities and towns across the country. This year’s action started at 8 a.m., with citizens unfurling the 30-meter-long national flag.
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The live chain of unity has been a long-standing tradition to mark the holiday in Ukraine. To mark the 71st anniversary of the signing of the Act Zluky in 1990, over 300,000 Ukrainians created a human chain (approximately 482 km) from the capital Kyiv to Lviv (western Ukraine). That took place on January 21, 1990. The chain proved to be the largest public demonstration in Ukraine since the beginning of Glasnost in the USSR.
Ukrainian leaders joined the citizens and took part in the flower-laying ceremony to monuments of great poet Taras Shevchenko and famous historian Mykhailo Hrushevsky.
President Petro Poroshenko congratulated his compatriots on the occasion of the holiday in his video address. As is known, the Head of the state is currently in Davos, Switzerland where he chairs the Ukrainian delegation at the World Economic Forum.