Every year, the month of May brings multiple ridiculous parades of the World War II commemorations around the former Soviet countries. Large-scale, costly military parades and St. George ribbons all the way around have become a national pride symbol. Hundreds of old-fashioned concerts honoring the millions of victims are a routine. Military marches, wartime symbols, patriotic songs, and movies – all of these are elements that shape the way we remember history.
The crowd dressed in military uniforms in Russia and Post – Soviet countries exclaims:
“Thank you Grandpa for Victory!”
“World, Work, May!”
The significance of May 9th
On May 9th, Russians celebrate Victory Day, a holiday that commemorates the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. It was first inaugurated in the 15 republics of the Soviet Union, following the signing of the German Instrument of Surrender late in the evening on 8 May 1945. The Soviet government announced the victory early on 9 May after the signing ceremony in Berlin. Although the official inauguration occurred in 1945, the holiday became a non-labor day only in 1965, and only in certain Soviet republics. The Russian Federation has officially recognized 9 May since its formation in 1991 and considers it a non-working holiday.
WHY PEOPLE WEAR THE Ribbon of Saint George ON May 9th?
The ribbon of Saint George is a Russian military symbol consisting of a black and orange bicolour pattern, with three black and two orange stripes. It appears as a component of many high military decorations awarded by the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and the current Russian Federation. In the early 21st century, the ribbon of Saint George has come to be used as an awareness ribbon for commemorating the veterans of the Eastern Front of the Second World War. It is the primary symbol associated with Victory Day. It enjoys wide popularity in Russia as a patriotic symbol, as well as a way to show public support to the Russian government. Since 2014, the symbol has become much more controversial in certain post-Soviet states such as Ukraine and the Baltic States, due to its association with pro-Russian and separatist sentiment.
May 9th, during wartime between Russia and Ukraine- WHAT HAS CHANGED?
This year, Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, marking a steep escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War which began in 2014. The invasion has caused Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, with more than 5.8 million Ukrainians leaving the country and a quarter of the population displaced.
Until now, 87 states signed the UN letter condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As a sign of solidarity towards Ukraine, the letter Z, the Ribbon of Saint George and war parades have been banned in most countries. In spite of the ban, the majority of pro-Russian supporters went out to celebrate The Day of Victory.
The Ukrainian President, Vladimir Zelensky came out with a reaction about May 9th Victory Day, through a video.
“We are fighting for our children freedom, and therefore we will win. We will never forget what our ancestors did in the World War II, which killed more than eight million Ukrainians. Very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine. And someone won’t have any.”
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