Victory in Europe Day is marked on May 8
8 May 1945 – Victory in Europe Day – remains in the memory of all those who witnessed it. The day brought an end to nearly six years of a war that had cost the lives of millions; had destroyed homes, families, and cities; and had brought huge suffering and privations to the populations of entire countries. At the same time, neither the Yalta Agreement nor Victory Day in Europe meant a victory for the countries and nations like Ukraine or the Baltic States who hoped to be liberated not only from Nazism but also from Stalin’s Soviet Union.
For them, the period of repressions of their national identities and cultures, persecution of their national elites had continued and intensified in the post-war years; in short, one occupation was replaced by another. On May 8, 2023, we also mark eight years since Ukraine consciously restructured its commemorative policies to that of the European model and departed from the
Soviet legacy of May 9 as the Day of Victory over Nazism. Ukraine subsequently joined Europe in commemorating all victims of WWII and recognizing the high death toll and magnitude of the atrocities of that war, rather than turning the solemn occasion
into a nationwide celebration as Russia does. In 2015, the slogan “We Remember. We Win” was introduced on a state level to communicate that by addressing the memory gaps and recognizing the manipulations of the Soviet/Russian historiography, Ukrainians reclaim their agency over their own history and remember the Ukrainian losses in WWII – an estimated 8 million people according Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. who died among the civilians and in the Red and the Ukrainian Insurgent Armies. The slogan communicated that, equipped with this memory, Ukrainians would go on to win in the new 21st century war that Russia launched against Ukraine by annexing Crimea in 2014. Today, while Russia is trying to destroy the memory and identity of Ukrainians by killing civilians, routinely shelling Ukrainian towns and cities, and deliberately destroying libraries, books, cultural institutions, the Ukrainian army is strengthened by the memory of all previous generations of Ukrainians who have stood up for our freedom. Today, Ukraine continues its tradition of resistance to Russian oppression that it seeks to put to a final end.