A modern icon of the Intercession of the Virgin Mary embosses another view at the Defenders of the Fatherland, one that takes us on a journey through episodes of Ukrainian statehood going from the medieval state of Kyivan Rus with its center in Kyiv and spanning large extents of modern-day Belarus and Russia (figure 2 – Volodymyr the Great, Prince of Kyivan Rus) and its western counterpart, the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia (5- Prince Daniel of Galicia), going through Kozak times (6 – Kozak leader Bohdan Khmelnitskyi and 7 – Ivan Mazepa), and continuing through Ukraine’s struggles for statehood in the aftermath of WW1 (leaders of the Ukrainian People’s republic, a Ukrainian political formation that struggled for independent statehood after the demise of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires: 15 – Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, 17 – Simon Petlura; figures of Sich Riflemen, the first regular military units of the Army of the Ukrainian People’s Republic: 16 – Dmytro Vitovskyi) and during WW2 (leaders of the Ukrainian Nationalist Movement OUN: 13 – Roman Shukhevych, 12 – Stepan Bandera).
This gains a special meaning nowadays, as thousands of Ukrainian men and women are giving their lives to fight off the regular Russian army invading its East.
The Defenders of the Fatherland today fight against the very same forces that were considered to be Ukraine’s closes allies and even brothers.
,’ falsely ascribing it to the ultra right-wing in Ukraine, to which the Ukrainian Security Service released a caution describing the fake and provocative nature of these calls.
Altogether, such an seemingly insignificant event as changing the date of a celebration of Defenders of the Fatherland day ultimately means that the centerpoint of the Fatherland in Ukraine has officially shifted westward, from Moscow to Kyiv.
He has accused the Ukrainian government of promoting the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a nationalist paramilitary group active during and shortly after World War II, and conniving in the seizure of Russian churches in Ukraine, accusing the UPA of being a “fascist” organization.
Previously, Russian media had publicized a media provocation with the motto ‘Death to Muscovite Priests!
Is changing the day of a holiday really such a big deal?
There are many reasons to conclude “yes.” Although the holiday of February 23 was first celebrated in 1919, its modern celebratory tradition is one that draws heavily on the concept of the “Great Patriotic War,” as World War 2 in the period of 1941-1945 on the extents of the USSR was dubbed by Soviet historiographers.
It also simplifies the story of World War 2, creating the image of the “good” and “bad,” ignoring the collaboration between two totalitarian states embedded in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and the struggle for independence that national forces such as the UPA were leading, sandwiched from all sides between enemy forces.