Ukraine's Independence: What it means to be Ukrainian in 2016?

15:03 Aug. 24, 2016

What it means to be Ukrainian in 2016?

People wearing the traditional Ukrainian garment known as the vyshyvanka at a gathering in the center of Kiev, Ukraine, on Thursday, May 21, 2015. Ukraine on Thursday marked Vyshyvanka Day in recognition of the garment’s role in cultivating a nation

As the country marks a quarter of a century of independence from the Soviet Union, what does it mean to be Ukrainian in 2016?

For many Kyivians, to be patriotic is to be cool. White-and-black T-shirts with the Ukrainian trident, an ancient Ukrainian symbol, are commonplace in hipster bars and shopping malls. Vyshyvankas, a usually white shirt or dress with a traditional floral pattern, are also in fashion. Ukrainian blue-and-yellow flags are commonplace on the dashboards of vehicles. And all of the above are particularly easy to spot now, as the country marks a quarter of a century of independence from the Soviet Union. But what does it mean to be Ukrainian in 2016?

Read more Watch Live: Independence Day military parade held in Kyiv

Journalist and civil rights activist Maxim Eristavi believes what Ukraine calls its "Maidan Revolution" sparked an "unprecedented quest" among many Ukrainians as they tried to fathom an answer to that question. For Mr Eristavi, it is not about language or ethnicity. He hopes Ukraine can forge an identity based on common "values", embracing the diversity of nationalities and ethnicities that live in the country.

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Read more Ukraine receives first greetings on its upcoming Independence Day

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