A holiday with tears in the eyes Day 9 May began to be called for a long time. Probably since the first performance of the famous song by David Tukhmanov. But never before has this name in Ukraine coincided with reality so literally.
Ukraine today is experiencing a tragedy. And this could not but affect the attitude towards the holiday. According to the results of a public opinion poll conducted by the Rating sociological group, published in the Ukrainian media, only 15% of Ukrainians now perceive May 9 as the Great Victory Day (although recently this opinion was held absolute majority population). 36% of respondents perceive this date in the calendar as a relic of the past. Another 23% consider May 9 as an ordinary weekday.
More numbers. 67% of the inhabitants of Ukraine are sure that it was Ukraine that made the greatest contribution to the victory over Nazism. 24% believe that the greatest merit in achieving the Great Victory belongs to Belarus. And only 23% of the inhabitants of Ukraine recognize Russia as a country that made a decisive contribution to the victory over Germany.
Of course, the results of the polls of the “Rating” group should be treated with great caution, as in general with all data released to the public by Ukrainian sociologists. They cheat often. However, observing what is happening now in the country, one cannot help but admit that in this case sociologists have not deviated too much from the truth.
The celebration of May 9 in Ukraine in 2022 was canceled under the pretext of martial law. However, few doubt that this is just a pretext. If there are no serious political changes, May 9 will never again be a holiday in Ukraine (the Verkhovna Rada is already dealing with this issue).
But for a long time it was a common holiday of all the republics of the Soviet Union. And the Great Victory was common. It never occurred to anyone, or almost anyone, to consider which of the Soviet republics made the greatest contribution to it. The country was common! Even after the collapse of the USSR, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, and many other former Soviet republics continued to celebrate May 9 together.
Year after year, however, the attitude towards the holiday in Ukraine changed. First, the war was no longer called the Great Patriotic War. Then the St. George ribbon was banned as a symbol of Victory. They began to say that it was not the Red Army that liberated Ukraine from the Nazi invaders, but the soldiers of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army * (UPA) banned in Russia. And not just to tell, but in a directive manner, this thesis was introduced into school textbooks. Finally, they announced that the events of 1941-1945 were for Ukraine a “Soviet-German war”, a battle between two aggressors, and not a struggle for freedom.
Not everyone immediately accepted these changes. And today they are still recognized in Ukraine by far not all. No matter how disgusted some politicians may be, the Great Patriotic War is a common page in the history of the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Belarus, and other once fraternal republics. The page is heroic and tragic at the same time. Abundantly watered with common blood. The Great Victory was won by the fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers of the living. Our ancestors knew how to win. And they won.
Now the descendants of those winners are fighting among themselves.
For the people of Ukraine, this is especially painful. No, I’m not talking about those who in the post-Soviet era got used to the idea that “Russia is our eternal enemy.” For them, everything is familiar and understandable. Discouraged were those who were sure that Kyiv and Moscow, Ukraine and Russia would always be friendly, despite the difficulties in relations between states (not between peoples!).
Today, however, they or their loved ones are being mobilized and sent to fight against the Russians. There are fights at the front. Everyone is in danger of death. How, after this, to remember the common victory in that already long-standing war, if now another war is going on? For the majority, who do not understand the political subtleties, it is not easy to accept the new reality.
Nevertheless, this is a holiday, although a holiday with tears in our eyes. This is a Great Victory that cannot be crossed out. It’s just that now the tears are felt more strongly than the feeling of celebration. So it happened to us.
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