But, besides Russia, the Victory Day is rightly celebrated by many residents of those former Soviet republics, in which pro-Western governments were in power after the collapse of the USSR. In the Baltic countries, and more recently in Ukraine, the authorities are doing everything possible to rid the memory of the great victory of the Soviet people over the Nazi invaders. History Great Patriotic War brazenly twisted and defiled by modern "Goebbels". And, nevertheless, in Ukraine and in the Baltic states, a huge number of people, despite the anti-Soviet and anti-Russian policies of the authorities, recognize and honor Victory Day. Indeed, all the peoples of the Soviet Union contributed to the defeat of Hitler Germany. But today, those who are not afraid to openly celebrate Victory Day in Latvia, Estonia or Ukraine, you will not envy.
In Estonia, the police were summoned for questioning by Dmitry Linter, who was the organizer of the “Immortal Regiment” action in the country. It is known that 7 of May Dmitry Linter was detained on the Russian-Estonian border when he was returning to Estonia from Russia. Linter was forced to spend nine hours at the border checkpoint before he was allowed to enter Estonia. The secretary of the Estonian Security Police, Harris Puusepp, told reporters that Linter was called in for questioning as a witness, but refused to disclose details of what particular case a public figure is witnessing. Therefore, there is reason to believe that the reason for the increased attention of police officers to Dmitry Linter may be precisely his active social activities, including the holding of the action "Immortal Regiment". However, in Tallinn, the march "The Immortal Regiment" took place and gathered around 500 people who had left to honor the memory of soldiers and officers who died at the front and who had died from war veterans.
As you know, in Estonia, Victory Day has long been not an official holiday date. Instead, the country celebrates a certain "Europe Day" - the anniversary of the signing of the agreement between France and Germany on the industrial union, which marked the beginning of the process of European integration. Nevertheless, thousands of people in the country - the descendants of the participants of the Great Patriotic War - do not forget the date of May 9. Those who wish to honor the memory of the participants of the Great Patriotic War gather at the monument "Bronze Soldier" at the Military Cemetery in Tallinn. There are public organizations, representatives of the embassies of Russia and Belarus, clergymen of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. This year in Tallinn, the first march "Immortal Regiment - Tallinn" was held, the participants of which laid flowers at the monument "Bronze Soldier". In addition, the action "Immortal Regiment" was held in Sillamäe, Narva, Kohtla-Järve and Jõhvi. In Tartu, Pärnu and a number of other cities, caring citizens visited the mass graves of the Red Army soldiers who gave their lives for the liberation of Estonia from the Nazi invaders. In honor of the Victory Day in the Estonian cities and celebratory concerts are organized by public organizations.
In Latvia, instead of Victory Day, 8 is now celebrating May Victory Day over Nazism in World War II - on the model of Western Europe and the USA. It is on this day that official events are held, in which representatives of the country's leadership participate. However, since in Latvia a large part of the country's population is made up of Russians, and many Latvians are descendants of the participants of the Great Patriotic War as part of the Red Army, the celebrations take place on May 9. This year, May 9, the solemn ceremony began at the monument to the Liberators in Riga. The event was attended by the mayor of Riga, Nil Ushakov, the ambassadors of Russia and other states, activists of public organizations, veterans of the Great Patriotic War and their relatives. By the way, Nil Ushakov, about whom the Military Review has already written, is one of the active participants and organizers of the celebrations in honor of Victory Day for many years. It should be noted that this year in Latvia there will be no live broadcast of celebrations in Moscow. The fact is that on April 7, 2016 was banned from broadcasting on the Russian TV channel Russia-RTR for a period of six months. The Latvian authorities have accused the channel of "inciting hatred and calls for military action." Latvian nationalist parties are known for extremely negative attitudes towards the Soviet era in the country's history. They are the main supporters of the laws on the de-communization of Latvia, which criminalize any positive statements about the Soviet past.
In contrast to the Baltic republics, which began to demonstrate their negative attitude to any positive information about the Soviet past, including Victory Day, in Ukraine for a long time Victory Day was celebrated at the official level. The very possibility of banning the celebration of Victory Day in Ukraine several years ago seemed utterly absurd - millions of natives of the Ukrainian SSR died at the hands of the Nazis, millions participated in the Great Patriotic War in the ranks of the Red Army and partisan formations. However, the negative attitude to the celebration of Victory Day took place in the western regions of Ukraine. He was actively promoted by representatives of radical nationalist organizations, for which Russophobia and anti-Soviet sentiments are the “calling card”. Militants of right-wing extremist organizations committed provocations at celebrations, and sometimes openly attacked their members, without being ashamed to beat old veterans. In Western Ukraine, the local radicals indulged the right radicals. Back in 2010, the Lviv court banned any activities on Victory Day. 9 May 2011 in Lviv, there were massive clashes between representatives of the pro-Russian political party "Rodina" and Ukrainian nationalists. Stones, smoke bombs, “injuries” went into action, one person was injured, but the Motherland activists managed to break through to the Hill of Glory and raise the red banner of Victory there.
The first attempts to “revise” the history of Ukraine at the official level were made under President Viktor Yushchenko, who postponed the date of the traditional military parade on August 24 - Independence Day of Ukraine. The point of view that the real defenders of Ukraine were not residents of the Ukrainian SSR, who fought in the Red Army and partisan detachments, but members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, began to be actively promoted. Recall that the UPA did conduct operations against Hitler’s troops in Ukraine, but the Soviet Union remained its main opponent. The UPA fought against the Red Army even after the victory over Germany until 1949, and the individual centers of resistance of the Bandera remained the entire first half of the 1950s. However, Viktor Yushchenko did not hesitate to openly demonstrate opposition to Victory Day - he attended the parade in honor of the Victory's 60 anniversary in Moscow 9 in May 2005, participated in laying wreaths on the grave of the Unknown Soldier in Kiev.
Viktor Yanukovych, who replaced Yushchenko as president of Ukraine, treated Victory Day much more respectfully. 9 May 2010 of the year in Kiev and other major cities of the country passed military parades in honor of the 65 anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. In Kiev, 142-meter St. George ribbons were carried in, military personnel from Belarusian and Russian units specially arrived in the country took part in the parade. Russia at the parade was represented by the 45-th separate guards special-purpose regiment of the Russian Airborne Forces. However, after the coup d'état that took place in 2014, the new Kiev authorities, targeting the United States and actively using anti-Russian rhetoric (if not to say more, turned Russophobia into the main ideology of the Ukrainian state), fundamentally revised the country's official position on Victory Day. In April 2015, the celebration of Victory Day in Ukraine was canceled. At the official level, there was a rejection of the terms "Victory Day" and "Great Patriotic War." Now Ukraine is celebrating Victory Day over Nazism in World War II, and all solemn events are postponed to May 8 - on this day victory over Germany is celebrated in the United States and Western Europe. The Day of Victory over Nazism in Ukraine is also called the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation. I wonder who the Ukrainian authorities want to “reconcile” with whom? Executioners of concentration camps with their victims? Or a soldier who had fought against fascism for four years, with accomplices of the nazis — policemen who were creating lawlessness against the civilian population of the occupied territories?
In Ukraine, the main symbols of the Victory are now prohibited - the ribbon of St. George and the red banner. For understandable and well-known reasons, the St. George ribbon is especially hated by the Kiev authorities and Ukrainian nationalists. Now it is associated exclusively with popular resistance in the Donbas, which the Kiev authorities call "separatism." As for the red banner, its use is officially prohibited in Ukraine in accordance with the law on de-communization. For the Day of Victory over Nazism, the new authorities of the country found new symbols - poppies that are used in Europe and red and black ribbons - the color of the flags of Ukrainian nationalist organizations (which imitate UPA in symbolism).
The ban on the use of the symbols of the Great Victory is already in force, so repressions began in Ukraine against those who are not afraid of 9 in May to go out with the St. George ribbon or red banner. Literally 9 in May 2016, it became known that the National Police of Ukraine opened a criminal case in connection with the use of the Victory Banner in Cherkasy - at a festive event in honor of the 71 anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. The inquiry will be carried out in accordance with the criminal case initiated under Article 436 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine - "Propaganda of war and encroachment on external security, peace-loving policy of the state." As it became known, veterans tried to raise the red banner, after which they were attacked by activists of the Ukrainian national radical party "Freedom" and militants from the volunteer battalion of the Ukrainian National Guard "Azov", famous for their participation in the war in the Donbas. Although we managed to stop the fight, now there is a risk that the Ukrainian authorities will arrest the veterans - very elderly people - just because they left 9 on May, on their holiday, with their banner.
9 May 2016 Conflict occurred in other cities of Ukraine. Thus, in the occupied Slavyansk, a group of radicals attacked the solemn march of the Victory and poured green paint on war veterans and MP Natalya Korolevskaya. During the attack, young people shouted slogans “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!". In order not to lose the “face” definitively, the Ukrainian authorities decided to imitate an angry reaction to the actions of the provocateurs. The National Police of Ukraine detained all participants in the attack on the festive procession, after which they were taken to the police station, and an inquiry was initiated in their respect.
The clash occurred in Kharkov. Here two groups of participants of the festive event at the Memorial of Glory fought. Some people came with Ukrainian flags, others - with Soviet flags. As it became known, government officials, veterans and members of Ukrainian nationalist organizations marched in the festive procession. They were followed by a column of pro-Russian activists with Victory banners, red flags and St. George ribbons. Ukrainian nationalists attacked the Kharkiv city council deputy Andrei Lesik, who is a member of the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU). The red flag, which Andrei Lesik carried in his hands, the attackers tore off the flagpole. A fight broke out in which two people were injured, including a person who rushed to separate the fighting officers of the National Police of Ukraine.
Victory Day continues to be celebrated, as we see, in those countries of the “near abroad” where the authorities are very negative towards Russia and the Soviet past. All adopted laws on “de-communization”, attacks by right-wing forces on demonstrations, measures of censorship in the mass media are nothing compared to the popular memory of the Great Victory. It is possible that, sooner or later, history will once again put everything in its place.