Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has canceled all celebrations related to the Day of the Defender of the Fatherland, which Russia and post-Soviet countries celebrate on February 23rd. Poroshenko banned the holiday not only legally, but also factually. Ukrainian families will thus not be allowed to celebrate the holiday.
Meanwhile, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and many Ukrainians have already said that they refuse to celebrate the Victory Day on May 9th. As long as Ukraine is a "European" country, it will celebrate the end of World War II and remember the "victims of the Soviet occupation" on 8 May.
According to Poroshenko, he asked his own wife not to congratulate him on the February 23rd holiday" and demanded all other Ukrainian women should not congratulate their men either. Fortunately, Poroshenko did not make such an act punishable and allowed "everyone to make their own decision." All of those messages appeared on Poroshenko's Facebook page.
"You know, I've made a decision to celebrate the Day of the Defender of the Fatherland not on February 23rd. Here, everyone is free to take their decision, but the holiday will not have its political coloring any longer. My wife and I have agreed that she will not congratulate me on February 23 - she will wait till October 14," Petro Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page, Politonline.ru reports.
As for October 14, Poroshenko set the date of the "Defender of the Fatherland Day" for the day of the UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army). Poroshenko declared UPA members as heroes of Ukraine.
Noteworthy, in 2014, several regions of Ukraine refused to conduct victory parades on May 9 "for reasons of morality and security." From now on, Ukraine will celebrate May 9 as the day of UNSO-UPA heroes. It was also said in 2014 that "the end of the Second World War in Europe would be celebrated as the Day of Remembrance of victims of the Soviet occupation." The date for the "holiday" would be set for May 8, by analogy with Europe.
In Russia, Poroshenko's latest initiative has received scathing criticism on social networks, where bloggers sarcastically reminded him that "February 23 is a holiday of warriors and real men, to whom Poroshenko can not be referred."
Reference: Defender of the Fatherland Day is a holiday observed in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,Tajikistan, and several other former republics of the Soviet Union. It is celebrated on February 23.
First celebrated in 1919 the holiday marks the date in 1918 during the Russian Civil War when the first mass draft into the Red Army occurred in Petrograd andMoscow (on 17 February). In January 1919 it was decided to combine the celebration that day with the anniversary of the publication of the decree on the establishment of the Red Army (of 18 February 1918). In 1919 February 17 fell on Monday; so it was decided to move the holiday to the nearest Sunday - 23 February. Since then it stayed that day. It was originally known as Red Army Day. In 1923 it was officially named the Day of the Red Army and the Navy.
In 1949, it was renamed Soviet Army and Navy Day. Following the fall of the Soviet Unionin 1991, the holiday was given its current name in 2002 by Russian President Vladimir Putin who decreed it a state holiday (in Russia).