At war over territories and ideology, Russia and Ukraine are also fighting over World War II, the conflict that bonded the two countries together for over a half century as part of the Soviet Union. But this struggle over history is not a straightforward one.
Rather than abandoning the traditional Soviet Victory Day on May 9, Ukraine this year held another one — a Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation on May 8, in line with practices in Europe.
Critics charge that Ukraine is replacing one embroidered version of history with another. Proponents, though, counter that it is a long overdue process of self-reflection needed for building Ukraine’s self-identity.
“We are rejecting Soviet traditions that have discredited themselves and that the Russian Federation is using now to mobilize people to war against Ukraine,” commented Volodymyr Viatrovych, director of the state-run Ukrainian Institute of National Memory.
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi. He is a frequent contributor to EurasiaNet.org's Tamada Tales blog. Nikoloz Bezhanishvili is a freelance filmmaker based in Tbilisi