On Saturday, 21 November, Ukraine marks the Day of Dignity and Freedom. The day of remembrance was established in accordance with the presidential decree in 2014 in honour of the commencement of the 2004 Orange Revolution and the 2013 Revolution of Dignity. On this day, all participants in those historical events are commemorated; the memory of people who gave their lives for democratic transformations of Ukraine is honoured.

On 21 November 2004, representatives of the opposition democratic forces began setting a stage on the Independence Square in Kyiv. The second round of presidential elections was scheduled, during which Ukrainians had to choose between pro-Russian incumbent Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and the candidate from the united pro-Ukrainian and pro-Western opposition Viktor Yushchenko.

And on 21 November 2013, the Government of Mykola Azarov, appointed by then-president Yanukovych, officially suspended preparations for the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. That decision was met with the outcry of millions of Ukrainians.

On the occasion of the Day of Dignity and Freedom, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Ukrainians.

“Today, we must not only remember the landmarks of our history but also learn important lessons from them. For people, revolution is the path to the desired change. For politicians, it is the path to desired positions. So, we have to jointly continue the difficult construction of a genuinely new Ukraine every day, without listening to old politicians. [We have to continue building] a free and decent [Ukraine], where the law will always be in the first place, not surnames or past merits,” the Head of State said.

From 2005 to 2011, the Day of Dignity and Freedom was marked as Freedom Day, but it was actually abolished during Yanukovych’s presidency. In 2014, the fifth President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko restored the official status of the holiday.

Bohdan Marusyak

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