Journalist Polina Orlovskaya was in Kiev observing celebrations of victory in WW2 over Nazi Germany. WW2 Victory Day is a huge celebration in eastern Europe since in the beginning of the war Hitler sent about 80% of his army to the eastern front, taking millions of lives. Everyone in Ukraine has a relative that was murdered by the Nazis.
While in eastern Ukraine people joined the fight against Hitler. In western Ukraine many joined German SS divisions, such as SS Galicia, murdering countless Jews, Poles and their own countrymen. Long after the was over, well into 1950s fighters from western Ukraine, known as OUN-UPA and Bandera movement tried to continue the war. After coup installed regime came to power in 2014 in Ukraine, they instated new national holiday, honoring those who fought alongside Nazi Germany. New Kiev regime decided to celebrate Nazi collaborators on the same day as Ukrainian armed forced day – October 14.
Polina reported that she hasn’t seen so many people celebrating victory over Nazism in the whole 25 years of Ukraine’s existence.
Just like every year, Ukrainian neo-Nazis and various nationalists went to the streets to disrupt the celebration. They snatched off medals and st. George’s ribbons from elderly veterans.
Celebration started in the morning, despite warnings from Ukrainian nationalist regime. People began gathering in center city carrying pictures of their parents and grandparents who fought in the WW2.
Early morning, groups of Ukrainian nationalists have already gathered near subways, ordering people to take off st. George’s ribbons – a symbol of victory of fascism. Arguments with them could be heard all over the place.
As one elderly woman carrying a picture of her father and wearing st. George’s ribbon was approached by one of he nationalists we overheard the conversation.
“why are you wearing the ribbon?” – said young nationalist.
“who are you to forbid me to wear my ribbon on Victory Day?” – woman replied.
“you are zombie, I was shot at by people wearing this ribbon in Donbass, you old Katsap bitch.” – Ukrainian nationalist continued.
“Yes, it is our fault that part of your generation is like you and we didn’t raise you right. You go to Donbass to kill locals (Note: Donbass people refuse to recognize armed government takeover of 2014 when nationalists through violence took control of the government) and you get paid for it.”
Few more nationalists wearing camouflage approached woman and demanded that she take of the ribbon. Fearing for her safety woman took the ribbon off and put it in her handbag.
Ukrainian nationalists began asking people to show their bags to make sure there’s no ribbon there. Despite all this, people continued to gather, surrounded by men in uniform, some with dogs. Despite the threats people began to sing old WW2 military songs. Later they chanted: “fascism will NOT pass!”
“I’m ashamed for what is going on here” – said one of the elder veterans – “I joined the war in 1942 and right away I ended up in Stalingrad (where most fierce battles of WW2 were fought). I was a combat pilot… Sometimes I feel like I’d rather not live to see these young Nazis walking around in our city. I was born in Donbass. I didn’t wear my medals today because I didn’t want nationalists to take them away from me, but I did wear st. George’s ribbon, I’m not afraid. What can these jackals do to me?”
Meanwhile these “jackals” began to clash with people, tearing off st. George’s ribbons from people’s chests and burning them. One of the nationalists who said that he was on the front lines attacking people of Donbass, said: “these flowers you’re carrying, we’ll bring them to your graves tomorrow.”
People chanted even louder: “fascism will NOT pass!”
Suddenly, couple dozen men in camouflage surrounded a little girl who was wearing WW2 headgear with a star, demanding that she’d take it off. Little girl began to cry. Men in camouflage yelled at her even louder demanding that she’d submit to nationalists’ demands. Little girl collapsed on the ground and continued to cry even louder. One of the women confronted the nazi at which point he grabbed the woman around her neck and tried to drag her away.
Luckily, several men from the crowd hurried up to save the little girl and the woman from Ukrainian neo-nazis.
“Are you happy? did you get your footage for Russian TV?” – said of the men in camouflage, at this time women began to approach.
“You can only fight with children and elderly and burn things! fascist scum!” – yelled one of the women at Ukrainian nationalists.
After taking flowers to the WW2 memorial, tired, but still excited people began to occupy benches.
“Nazis came to celebrate victory over Nazism” – jokingly said someone about the nationalists.
Meanwhile, countless people carrying flowers still poured into the square. Dark, violent, hateful Ukrainian nationalism did not prevail today. Despite all the threats, arrests and killings Kiev regime could not forbid this celebration to take place.
People were happy. It was their little victory over nazism.