Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
The Verkhovna Rada made October 14 a day off from work: on
this day the country will celebrate the Day of the Defender of the Fatherland.
244 Rada deputies voted in favor of the law. President
Poroshenko had earlier issued a decree which made a similar change.
October 14 is also considered to be the date of the founding
of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA): that was the date designated as the “UPA
birthday” by the members of the OUN-based Ukrainian Chief Liberation Council in
J.Hawk’s Note: Up to now the Day of the Defender of the
Fatherland was celebrated on the same date as in Soviet Union and, still today,
in Russia, namely February 23. UPA had earned an evil reputation as a guerrilla
force that collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War 2, and fought
against both Soviet and Polish partisans. Both Russia and Poland consider the
UPA a force hostile to their countries.
This move is rather typical of nearly all policies adopted
by the post-Maidan Ukraine. They appeal to a certain narrow demographic, but
they will inevitably do considerable harm to Ukraine’s reputation and interests
in the long term. It is rather hard to conceive for not only Russia but also
for Poland to sustain friendly relations with Ukraine which views UPA as the
prototypical defenders of Ukraine’s independence.
The official reason for adopting this date is that it’s a historical Ukrainian Cossack holiday, which the UPA rather cleverly adopted for its own uses.