Independence Day of Ukraine takes place on August 24th, 2020, one day after Ukrainian Flag Day! Independence Day of Ukraine is the main state holiday in modern Ukraine, celebrated on 24 August in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence of 1991. That’s a year before I was born! Is it appropriate now to show off that my parents protested to make sure I was born in a free country? This is them during the summer/fall of 1990. My dad is the one with the megaphone and my mom is dressed up in the traditional Ukrainian style.
Independence Day of Ukraine
Notice me saying Ukraine and not the Ukraine (thank you Grammarly!) This is something that politicians in English speaking-countries often get wrong 29 years later. It was ‘the’ Ukraine when it was a region of the USSR. On August 24th 1991, the ‘the’ was dropped and it became Ukraine.
Also, the capital of Ukraine is spelled Kyiv, not Kiev (thank you again Grammarly!) This highlights the difference in pronunciation between Russian and Ukrainian.
Although these two languages are very similar as they are in the Slavic family, there are many differences. In fact, Ukrainian is more similar to Slovakian than Russian. Anyway, in the past, there weren’t really translation guides between languages. This is why when I moved to the Czech Republic when I was 3 years old, my surname, pronounced Kahuy, was written as Kagui. Russian has a harder “g” and a different “i.” When I got my Czech citizenship in 2014, the Czechs followed a translation guide and changed my surname spelling based on the proper Ukrainian pronunciation. The same thing has been done with Kyiv.
History of Ukraine
Prehistoric Ukraine, as part of the Pontic steppe, has played an important role in Eurasian cultural contacts, including the spread of the Chalcolithic, the Bronze Age, Indo-European expansion and the domestication of the horse. Ukraine is also the site of early Slavic expansion and enters history proper with the establishment of the medieval state of Kievan Rus, which emerged as a powerful nation in the Middle Ages but disintegrated in the 12th century.
After the middle of the 14th century, present-day Ukrainian territories came under the rule of four external powers: the Golden Horde, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Kingdon of Poland, and the Crimean Khanate. After a 1648 rebellion of the Cossacks against the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky agreed to the Treaty of Pereyaslav in January 1654. The exact nature of the relationship established by this treaty between Cossack Hetmanate and Russia remains a matter of scholarly controversy.
War and Russification
“After the Partitions of Poland (1772–1795) and the Russian conquest of the Crimean Khanate, the Russian Empire and Habsburg Austria were in control of all the territories that constitute present-day Ukraine for a hundred years.
A chaotic period of warfare ensued after the Russian Revolutions of 1917. The internationally recognized Ukrainian People’s Republic emerged from its own civil war of 1917–1921. The Ukrainian–Soviet War (1917–1921) followed, in which the bolshevik Red Army established control in late 1919 The Ukrainian Bolsheviks, who had defeated the national government in Kyiv, established the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which on 30 December 1922 became one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union.
Initial Soviet policy on Ukrainian language and Ukrainian culture made Ukrainian the official language of administration and schools. Policy in the 1930s turned to russification. In 1932 and 1933, millions of people, mostly peasants, in Ukraine starved to death in a devastating famine, known as Holodomor. It is estimated by Encyclopædia Britannica that 6 to 8 million people died from hunger in the Soviet Union during this period, of whom 4 to 5 million were Ukrainians.”Wikipedia
Holodomor – Ukrainian Genocide
After Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland in September 1939, the Ukrainian SSR’s territory expanded westward. Axis armies occupied Ukraine from 1941 to 1944. During World War II the Ukrainian Insurgent Army fought for Ukrainian independence against both Germany and the Soviet Union. In 1945 the Ukrainian SSR became one of the founding members of the United Nations.
After the death of Stalin (1953), Khrushchev as head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union enabled a Ukrainian revival. Nevertheless, political repressions against poets, historians and other intellectuals continued, as in all other parts of the USSR. In 1954 the republic expanded to the south with the transfer of the Crimea. Ukraine became independent again when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.
Current Conflict Explained
I could try to summarize what is happening right now, of this pretty lady can do it in 3 minutes. Check it out. She does her best to remain PC hence all the ‘according.’ She is also lax on the death count which is officially known to be higher than she stated. But it’s still a decent summary.
Summary: Independence Day of Ukraine
It is more important to celebrate the Independence Day of Ukraine than ever before. We are at war and struggling for our independence as we speak. Ukraine is a beautiful country and you can currently visit it safely, especially if you go to Kyiv or Lviv. Speaking of which, I will be writing more about tourism in this wonderful country soon! Happy Independence Day, Ukraine!
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