Western Ukrainians will no longer celebrate Soviet-named Victory Day


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Feb 16, 2009
KIEV, May 25 (RIA Novosti)
Residents in the western Ukrainian province of Lvov will celebrate the end of WWII by a different name in the future because the present name does not coincide with historic reality, Ukraine's UNIAN news agency reported on Tuesday.
A total of 62 out of 120 legislators voted to rename Victory Day, which is celebrated on May 8-9 in many countries as the end of WWII, and will now celebrate Days of Memorial to the Victims of World War II.
Other post-soviet republics typically refer to WWII as the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). Lvov legislators have scrapped the previous name because, according to them, Ukraine does not consider it "patriotic."
During the country's holiday, Ukrainians will remember those "who became the victims of Nazi-German and Moscow-Communist totalitarian regimes," the agency reported.
Before, during and after WWII, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its militant wing, the Ukrainian Insurgents Army, fought for Ukrainian independence first from Poland and then from Nazi Germany after it became apparent that Germany had no plans of giving the Ukrainians sovereignty. However, later the organization rejoined German efforts to fight against a common enemy, the U.S.S.R.
Many politicians and social figures from the region believe Ukraine suffered identically from both Hitler's Germany and Stalin's U.S.S.R.
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, known for his promotion of Ukrainian nationalism, issued a controversial decree in January to award one-time Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera the title of a national hero about a month before his presidential term expired in February.
The decree honoring Bandera provoked anger from both Russia and the West. Late Polish President Lech Kaczynski said the order ran contrary to the historical truth.
A Donetsk-based lawyer later appealed the decree in a local court on the grounds that the national hero status can only be conferred to Ukrainian nationals, which Bandera was not as Ukraine became an independent state only in 1991.
In April, a Donetsk court pronounced illegal a decree issued by Yushchenko in October 2007 to award the Hero of Ukraine title to another leader of Ukrainian nationalists, Roman Shukhevych, on the same grounds.
Both decrees issued by Yushchenko were repealed by the country's new leader, President Viktor Yanukovych, who is seen as more a pro-Russian politician than Yushchenko.

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