Ukraine: Victory Day Blemished

May 9 is Victory Day in the former Soviet states. It is the day that Hitler’s forces surrendered to the Soviet Union in 1945. The day is celebrated by Russia and the former Soviet states, since 1946. It is the greatest patriotic holiday in their culture, and WW2 veterans receive great honoron this day.

As a side note, I also first met my Eastern Ukrainian wife in person on a Victory Day weekend.

Every year, Moscow has a parade with what they say is 11,000 troops, tanks, missiles, planes, helicopters… you name it, and they display it. It seems like far more troops than that. It is a celebration of Russia’s might.

This year, it was celebrated in Moscow and Crimea.  Normally, it would be celebrated in Ukraine too. This year, the “acting government” forbade the celebration in Kyiv, and cities such as Dnipropetrovsk.

What was reported was clashes in Mariupol, where “heavily armed pro-Russian separatists” are blamed for starting the shootout with Ukrainian forces. What Western news does not report is that the action by the pro-Russians was the result of the murder of unarmed citizens (1st one at 5:30, 2nd and 3rd at 8:30+) celebrating Victory Day by the Ukrainian forces. Some sources say these were the “ultra-nationalist national guard” (Right Sector) and not regular Ukrainian forces. In Lviv, they had right-wing protesters attack WW2 veterans on a bus to prevent Victory Day celebration, and they celebrated the Waffen SS (Bandera) divisions that sided with Hitler in the WW.

But some in Ukraine celebrated peacefully anyway, such as this lone WW2 veteran in Zaporozhya, under the protection of a younger man. Hurrah!