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The Day of Ukrainian Statehood: what should it remind the Ukrainians and Russians of?

On July 28, Ukrainians will celebrate the Day of Ukrainian Statehood for the first time

On July 28, Ukrainians will celebrate the Day of Ukrainian Statehood for the first time

For the first time, Ukraine celebrates the Day of Ukrainian Statehood on July 28, 2022. What was this holiday introduced for, considering that we already have Independence Day on August 24, and what does it mean for Ukraine and its positioning in the world?


Історія України у 1000 років та символіка

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Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued the order establishing the Day of Ukrainian Statehood on August 24, 2021.

Later, on May 31, 2022, the Verkhovna Rada passed a law to make the holiday a day off (however, there are no extra days off on holidays during martial law).

Quote"The Day of Ukrainian Statehood will assert the connection of Ukrainians living now with many generations of our people," said Zelenskyy, addressing the Ukrainians on the eve of the first Ukrainian Statehood day.

He stressed that Ukrainians will never give up their independence and "will not break from the inside".

Quote"With this holiday we remind ourselves and the world that today’s Ukraine is an heir of the state-building tradition dating more than 1000 years back and originating from this exact place, Kyiv, the capital of our country," the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance wrote on the day before the holiday.

They pointed out that, however Russian propaganda might promote its statements about "unity" and "brotherhood" of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples or "artificial origin" of Ukraine, the real history proves them to be fake.

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The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy offered universal visual identics on its Facebook account for everyone concerned to use on social media on the Day of Ukrainian Statehood.

It includes posters featuring specially created stylistics and highlights from the history of Ukraine, photos of Ukrainian defenders, participants of the Maidan revolution, and more. The Page used it in the design of this article.

Countering Russia’s claims

The new holiday was created to draw public attention to the traditions of Ukrainian state building, says Maksym Yarmystyi, first deputy head of the Institute of National Remembrance, as cited by Ukrinform.

Volodymyr Tylishchak, deputy head of the UINR, added that the Day of Ukrainian Statehood should remind that the history of Ukraine spans a thousand years and not only 30, dating back to Kyivan Rus.

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Oleksii Haran, doctor of historical sciences and professor of political science at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, reminded in his commentary to The Page that this day was previously celebrated as the day of the baptism of Ukraine-Rus.

Quote"The additional name was introduced in an attempt to counter informational (and groundless) attacks from Russians claiming their "ownership" of Kyivan Rus, the baptism of Rus, prince Volodymyr, etc," the professor explained.

@material: https://thepage.ua/ua/politics/yak-zminyuvalasya-konstituciya-ukrayini-za-25-rokiv-z-1996-po-2021

At the same time, Haran considers the naming of the holiday to be inappropriate.

Quote"In fact, we already have August 24, and if we still want to celebrate something in addition, it should be January 22, the day of the Fourth Universal, the act that declared independence of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. But for some reason, we celebrate it only as Unity Day," he pointed out.

Kyivan Rus against the Moscow horde

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Volodymyr Fesenko, Chairman of the Board of the Penta Center of Applied Political Studies, explained to The Page that the purpose of the holiday is to emphasize the millenium-long age of Ukrainian state building, therefore the date is significant too.

Quote"The very date of July 28 already explains a lot. Це It’s the Day of the Baptism of Rus. Previously, it was purely a religious holiday, although the government also reacted to it. But the great war that Russia wages against Ukraine showed that there’s one more frontline to this conflict, a historical one," the political scientist says.

He says that Russia has long been trying to "privatize and monopolize" the historical heritage of Kyivan Rus, and this is where it derives its "monarchical tradition" from.

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Quote"However, the Russian absolutist tradition has more to do with the Mongol Horde than Kyiv and its princes. The attempts of Putin’s Russia to appropriate the history of Kyivan Rus should also work (as devised by Russian propagandists) as a justification for its war against Ukraine and the seizure of historical Ukrainian territories," says Fesenko.

Moscow stole the name Rus from Kyiv

The political scientist points out that the history of Kyivan Rus has more connections with Ukraine through its cultural, language, social, and political traditions.

Quote"This was meticulously substantiated once, more than 100 years ago, by a prominent Ukrainian historian and a public figure, the first leader of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, Mykhailo Hrushevskyi," Fesenko reminded.


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He said that the rivalry between Kyiv and the ancestors of Muscovy began back in the days of Kyivan Rus. It was Hrushevskyi who reminded everyone that Muscovy appropriated the very historical name of Ukraine, Rus.

Quote"This is why he named his study History of Ukraine-Rus," said Fesenko.

He added that the Day of Ukrainian Statehood celebrates the centuries-old history of Ukraine and its statehood, while the Independence Day is a holiday of restoration of Ukraine’s independence and statehood.

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Quote"They don’t contradict but complement each other. This is the connection between Ukraine’s old times bearing our historical heritage and the present days. And it’s a reminder of what we are fighting for," he summarized.


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