: Ukraine marks 71st anniversary of Victory over Nazi Germany in WWII (photos)

10:23 May. 9, 2016

Ukraine marks 71st anniversary of Victory over Nazi Germany in WWII (photos)

The Eternal Fire memorial at the monument to an Unknown Soldier, Kyiv (UNIAN Photo)

It is the first time the country celebrates the holiday officially

On May 9, Ukraine marks the Victory Day over Nazi Germany in the World War II of 1939-1945.

Ukraine's Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) fixed the commemorative date only on 9 April in 2015, by introducing the law "On perpetuation of the victory over Nazism in the 1939-1945 World War II", as part of de-communisation laws.

Currently, Ukraine celebrates 9 May as the day of victory over Nazi forces in the World War II, breaking up with the traditional Soviet-era Victory Day in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War. The term 'Great Patriotic War' was used in the former USSR to emphasize that in 1941-1945 citizens defended the Soviet Union as their common homeland.

Read also Ukraine's leader marks WWII end with a heartfelt video about Ukrainian soldiers

However, Soviet symbols are banned from using in ceremonies commemorating those who died in the World War II, according to Volodymyr Vyatrovych, chairman of the Ukrainian National Memory Institute.

Like many European countries, Ukraine now uses a red poppy as an official symbol to celebrate the victory over Nazism in the World War II as well as pay tribute to the WWII victims on the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation. The slogan of both memorable dates - 8 and 9 May - is "1939-1945. We remember. We are winning." 

Read also Ukraine in World War II (Infographics)

Last year the law did not come into force before May 9, thus, the new holiday is officially celebrated for the first time in Ukraine in 2016.

Memorial events dedicated to the Victory Day will be held across the country, including wreath-laying ceremonies, peace marches, concerts, shows of military brass bands and flash mobs. Ukraine's capital does not stage a traditional military parade.

Watch also Ukrainian activists commemorate upcoming Victory Day with two heartfelt videos

Ukraine's decision to introduce new memorial and victory days mirrors modern European tradition and comes in contrast to the triumphalism which characterizes the Russian Federation's Victory Day celebrations (May 9) under Vladimir Putin.

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