End of World War II: What Ukraine looks like on May 9

Status: 09/05/2022 10:51 AM

In Ukraine, people remember the victory over Nazi Germany with mixed feelings. Many of her relatives served in the Red Army for 77 years, but the Russian invasion raises many doubts.

Written by Andrea Beer, ARD Studio Moscow, currently Dnipro / Ukraine

In the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, a tank was erected on a thick pedestal to commemorate a general of the Red Army. A sea of ​​purple tulips blooms in front of him and traffic rushes across the road. The day of the victory of the Soviet Red Army over Nazi Germany on May 9 – Russia kept it.

Victory in World War II is celebrated in Ukraine on May 8th. Events were canceled due to the war. President Volodymyr Zelensky commemorated the victims of World War II in a black and white video in the town of Borodinka. It was destroyed by the Russian army in the first weeks of the war. The words ‘never to be repeated’ – they sound different to us now,’ said Zelensky. “Full of pain and cruelty. With a question mark instead of an exclamation point. You never say never again? In Ukraine, this has been over since February 24.”

“We will not forget”

Neighbors Lauda and Lena see it this way too. “Our grandfathers and grandmothers fought back then and we don’t forget that,” Lina says. “Our loved ones died in this war and we remember and honor them. And in this war now, unfortunately, our people are dying again. Our spouses, our grandparents, our children. And all because one person made the decision to do so.”

“It was a completely different war at the time,” says Lauda. What should have happened again. “Our children and grandchildren should not have known what this is. The most important thing now is to close the sky. Above us and our children.”

‘Ways beyond comprehension’

Day and night weather alert: This has also become bitter everyday life in Dnipro and around May 9, Selinsky warns not to take this seriously. But the siren does not seem to impress anyone here, and Ekaterina calmly lays a fragrant lilac in front of the monument to the tank.

May 9 is still important for brown-haired women who wear glasses. “Because my grandfather had a quarrel. My grandfather was a tank driver, and my grandmother was a nurse,” says Ekaterina. May 9 is a holiday for Ukraine as the world was liberated from Nazism.

“In terms of the current war, no one understands what you’re supposed to achieve — no one really,” she says. “In ways that not everyone understands. Even people who have good relations with Russia are now mostly opposed to it.”

Some fear provocations

At the crossroads, street vendors sell small items. Like belts, vases, or used kitchen utensils. Alexander also spread his tiny width on the ground. A big fat man with a gray beard and a plaid shirt says that many refugees from the East will buy such little things.

He fears pro-Russian provocations around May 9. “Serious work in reconnaissance during World War II,” Alexander says. He does not know what to say about the destruction and the conditions of the past months.

pity on both sides

Dictionaries and an old novel are for sale a few meters away. An old lady in a houndstooth coat and a neon yellow knitted hat is caring. The seller sees that his hour has come. Explains the contents of the book in detail. But she did not catch fire with the 92-year-old Valentina.

Leaning on her crutch, the veteran red warrior’s badge flopped. “I’m a Russian from Leningrad, I suffered from the German siege and later fought,” she says softly. Then she married Ukraine, where she has been living for 60 years. Don’t like the 8th of May instead of the 9th as a day to remember.

“They released a D-Day joke,” Valentina says. “Maybe it was a day, May 9 – and now it’s Memorial Day.” You feel like you are caught between two fires. “I feel sorry for both parties. I am Russian and there is a war with Russia.”

The mother died during the siege

Valentina continues to walk through the house of the tank monument. She says that her father was arrested in 1937 during the “Great Terror”, and the rest of the family was taken to Siberia. Then it was rehabilitated and we were able to go back and get our flat that was empty.

Then the Second World War began. “The Germans killed two of my brothers. My father never recovered. My mother died during the Siege of Leningrad.”

Fear of Putin’s general mobilization

For May 9, spouses Ludmilla and Oleh from Ternopil were worried about what Russian President Vladimir Putin might announce. And they say: “We never know what Putin will do, he has been threatening us for a long time.” For a married couple, May 9 is above all their wedding anniversary. “Then we’ve been married for 37 years. We’re partying despite everything. In terms of politics, we don’t expect anything from May 9.” The frightening announcement of general mobilization did not materialize.

Ukraine: ‘Never again’ End – Mixed feelings 8./9. mayo

Andrea Beer, ARD Moscow, May 9, 2022, 8:53 a.m.

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