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Published:August 29th, 2006 07:53 EST
Ukraine Celebrates Anniversary of Independence

Ukraine Celebrates Anniversary of Independence

By Ann Poludenko

The very thing that unites people around the world is a desire to be free.  Independence is a great value for all the citizenry, no matter what country they are from.


These days, Ukraine celebrates its anniversary of independence.  People of the biggest country in Easten Europe lived in an officially called “free democratic state” for already 15 years. This holiday is the best time to recall the way Ukrainians achieved their independence and to impartially judge the present state of things in this country. 

 

We made our final choice far many years ago”

 

In the times when a powerful Soviet Union-- with its communists regime-- ruled such states as Ukraine, Belarusian, Baltic countries, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, most of the European countries, as wel as the United States, have been building democracy in their territories. Only in 1989, for the first time in Ukraine, appeared the Democratic block that fought for equality of ruling power, demolishing the communist monopoly and trying to bring in a multi-party system. 
The next year, more radical movements were accepted. Mass actions of disagreement took place in different parts of Ukrainian republic (which is the status it had at that time). Almost every month, the most courageous took part in meetings. That was not safe, as the ruling power in Moscow never appreciated them. The effect from the public disagreements was incredible. In the parliament of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic appeared oppositional parties. That was a very small step towards democracy. Until the end of 1990, many representatives of Moscow power left their places in the head of the Republic for the representatives from Ukraine. Several other new parties appeared; so at that time more than ten parties excited. That was the second step toward the main aim of democracy.

In the times when a powerful Soviet Union-- with its communists regime-- ruled such states as Ukraine, Belarusian, Baltic countries, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, most of the European countries, as wel as the United States, have been building democracy in their territories. Only in 1989, for the first time in Ukraine, appeared the Democratic block that fought for equality of ruling power, demolishing the communist monopoly and trying to bring in a multi-party system.  The next year, more radical movements were accepted. Mass actions of disagreement took place in different parts of Ukrainian republic (which is the status it had at that time). Almost every month, the most courageous took part in meetings. That was not safe, as the ruling power in Moscow never appreciated them. The effect from the public disagreements was incredible. In the parliament of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic appeared oppositional parties. That was a very small step towards democracy. Until the end of 1990, many representatives of Moscow power left their places in the head of the Republic for the representatives from Ukraine. Several other new parties appeared; so at that time more than ten parties excited. That was the second step toward the main aim of democracy.

The radical situation that was on the territories of Ukraine forced the head power in Moscow to accept  the Declaration of State Sovereignty. The following day, the parliament of Ukrainian Republic adopted the document, which stated many principal points. Among them were:

the power will be divided between three branches of power (legislative, judicial, executive); all the citizens get  grantees for their rights that are stated in international agreements; all the sources of the country belong to its citizens, the Republic gets its  sovereignty.


On the  17th of March 1991, more that 80% of population of Ukraine voted for getting the membership in the Union of Sovereign Republic on the basis of conglomeration. The interesting fact was about this was that, at the same time, 15% did not vote because they “could accept only total independence”. But the Verhovna Rada (the parliament) decided to postpone the signing of the agreement. On the meeting of the heads of Republics that took place in Moscow, representatives of Ukraine demanded more freedom for their confederation. On the first of December 1991, more than 90% of population of Ukraine voted for the independence of their country. That same day, they chose the first president of the country: Leonid Kravchuk. The next week, the newly elected heads of Russia, Ukraine and Belarusia signed the pact for creating the Commonwealth of Independent States. So on the 24th of August, the Verhovna Rada (the parliament) adopted the act of independence.

 

Independence. How was that?”

 

Everything that is written on the paper does not necessarily occur in actuality. During this 15 years, Ukrainians had to stand censorship, corruption and illegal actions towards “freedom fighters”, and some other features of non-democracy. Two years ago, the Orange Revolution – the protests against the heads of the country-- took place. From that time, new people started to rule the country. But recent elections brought the old parties back to the major government posts. What the life in Ukraine will be like the next year is hard to say, but people have realized the real value of independence and are not going to give it up easily.

 

The 15th anniversary of Independence of Ukraine was a four day holiday.  It started early in the morning when the president, the prime-minister and the heads of the major parties met in St Sophie’s-- the biggest cathedral. After the public prayer, Viktor Yshchenko, the president of the country, greeted it’s citizens and the guests with the Day of Independence. 
On the central street of Kyiv (the capital of Ukraine), a military parade has started. It was not ordinary, because, instead of a demonstration of  tanks, rockets and other military devices the visitors could enjoy music of the military orchestras, with the dances of the 1.5 thousands of soldiers. At the end: several thousands of balloons colored in yellow and blue (colors of the  flag of Ukraine) were let out. In the evening, the most popular national bands kept a concert on the open-air stage in the biggest square of the country– The Maidan (square) of Independence in Kyiv.