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Unification Day in Ukraine

21. January 2011 by Michelle 0 Comments

Rallies and protests are planned for tomorrow as Ukraine celebrates Unification Day, also known as Reunion Day. The holiday became official in 1999 and honors the date that the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the West Ukrainian People’s Republic merged into a single nation.

 

The Ukrainian People's Republic formed in 1918 from Ukrainian land that had formerly been part of Russia. The West Ukrainian People's Republic was created that same year from land that had formerly been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They joined together in a ceremony in Kyiv on January 22nd, 1919.

 

Before the day became an official holiday, Ukrainians often celebrated the occasion. In 1990, 300,000 people joined hands to form a 300-mile long human chain, which stretched from the capital city of Kyiv to the western city of Lviv.

 

 

Tomorrow, President Victor Yanukovych will take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the monuments of Tara Shevchenko and Mykhaylo Hrushevskyi in Kyiv. Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Prime Minister of Ukraine and the leader of the Batkivschyna All-Ukrainian Association Party, encouraged people to commemorate Unification Day with a rally in Sofiyska Square.

 

“I want to remind everyone that on January 22 in Ukraine, we celebrate one of our major holidays and events,” Tymoshenko said. “If our people have the strength, the love of freedom and to Ukraine, it is necessary to enter the square.”

 

Representatives from several other parties will be in attendance, including The Civil Position Party and the People’s Movement of Ukraine.

 

“We expect the rally to be really massive. Clergy, political leaders and renowned public figures will speak at the event,” politician Taras Stetskiv said.