It is logical that national holidays are the time when Ukrainians would show their attitude towards their home country most clearly. After riding on the metro and visiting downtown Kyiv on August 24 I can say that unification based on national awareness has not yet taken place. Indifferent people riding public transport tried to finally awaken or still drowsed on their seats. In metro I was lucky to come across about a dozen people, if not less, wearing embroidered shirts. When I was taking off at one of the stations a guy in traditional embroidered shirt came up to me, greeted on the occasion, and said that I was the only person in the national clothing he met that day.
At first I could not believe my ears. However, once on Independence Square I saw somewhat phantasmagoric huge Easter eggs. On a huge screen there was a video of two old ladies who were singing Ukrainian songs. This was the last item on the list of suggested national identification marks. Right in the heart of the capital of Ukraine playgrounds for various sports were set up. Festive crowd, not burdened by any pretext for understanding the history and the challenges that Ukrainian people have overcome so that today we would have this holiday in our calendar, scurried around it all.
Government authorities did nothing to make the Independence Day one of the major holidays of the country. Thinking about American films with episodes of celebrating the July 4 – America’s Independence Day, you can’t help but envy those people. Of course, it is only a film (here we can talk about the problems of Ukrainian cinematography as one of the tools of positive propaganda), but no one would deny the existence of the American tradition of celebrating this day: be it with a family or with friends. It is impressive that the state that developed its greatness thanks to efforts of not just one nation or ethnic group achieved such results and, moreover, brought up generations of patriots. We, however, for some reason still consider The Day of Victory of Evil Empire over Nazi Germany to be the greatest holiday. It would be interesting to see how it all would end if Adolf Hitler had not betrayed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
In my opinion, Independence Day should begin with the speech of the president. The person who leads the country must be the one who cares the most about this holiday. Greeting of the president should not be heard from the stage of concert halls, but from a stand in the heart of the country – the Maidan. Guarantee of the Constitution and, at the same time, of human rights should not be afraid to come out to his own people.
However, it is not all that bad. There were also people who knowingly contributed to probably the only event in the capital which was not simply of national character, but also had political context. In this case again absence of any alternative was significant. People like lady Nina came to express their position for the Ukrainian as the sole state language for Ukraine, for Ukraine as a country where there is rule of law, and, above all, for themselves as citizens of a worthy state. These people remember the long history of defeats and try to oppose it with the 21-year chronicle of rather small, but still significant victories. For these people Independence Day is not just a day off. I would also like to note the activation of youth, who joined the rally. At most, they did not chant slogans and did not put on ribbons, but simply walked hand in hand with those who came not for the sake of party symbols or hard cash.
Confusion and contrast in celebration of the Independence Day indicate that the civil society, which has to build the country, is not much more mature than the state. Independence is the word of imperfective category and every day we must pay for it.