The celebration of the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second world war and victory over fascism for many — is quite ambiguous political moment. Europe celebrates this event on may 8, Russia is satisfied with the parade of the 9th (this year it was moved to the autumn because of a pandemic). However, the difference in the dates lie differences in perception and evaluation of the events. We asked the students of the faculty of political Sciences, University of Tartu, representing six different countries, to share their vision of the holiday.
Omar Airoli, North Macedonia
I believe that if we still can’t agree on when to celebrate the 8th or 9th, don’t expect that we will find a compromise and other nuances. Each country may perceive this event as it sees fit. I understand Russian, which is celebrated on 9 may, firstly, because of the time difference, and secondly, because Russia has indeed contributed to the defeat of Nazi Germany and end the Holocaust.
However, the Second world war is not only the Russian war, to the defeat of the Nazis was involved many countries. In addition, we must realize that the end of the war did not bring freedom to all. A number of Central and Eastern European countries such as my native Macedonia, or the country in which I live, Estonia, were under repressive regimes and have been illegally occupied for many years. I can understand why the Estonians and Russians have different views on this event. In my opinion, this long period deprived many countries of Central and Eastern Europe their freedom and other important human rights. It gives me the impression that Estonians consider may 9 the beginning of the 50-year-old victims, because Russia got what they wanted — control in the Baltic region.
Samir Abbasov, Ukraine
I will not celebrate simply because now is a period of the session, and a lot of deadlines. Earlier in the Ukraine in the family, we celebrated — on may to arrange something like a picnic — is sacred! With regards to the red army — it depends on time. In 1943 it was liberating because liberated the country from the Nazis. Occupational they were in 1918, when he came and forcibly eliminated the Ukrainian people’s Republic. Therefore, the attitude to the red army I have a complex.
Boris Varga, Slovakia
For me Red army — still the occupier. Although the initial act of liberation was evaluated in Slovakia, we realized soon that we have just one local oppressor has changed on the other. Whether the victory itself a merit of the Soviet army and is it fair to celebrate with the mention of it? I think that, Yes, historically this is true. They really released a lot of European countries.
Siim Kangur, Estonia
It’s hard to deny that the Soviet Union contributed to the victory in world war II and victory over Nazi Germany. However, I believe that they did it by supporting others. By itself, without a doubt, the USSR would have been defeated in the war, the lease and the delivery of military equipment in the Arctic and other places — that’s what saved them. I think that in our days people, of course, must remember the people who died in the war, about all the terrible things that they do not happen again. But the way it is celebrated today, often reminiscent of the glorification of the army who raped and killed millions of civilians. It is quite normal to remember those who fought with the Nazis and those who died in the war, but no one is without sin.
Mary Haponenko, Ukraine
The may 9 holiday has always had special meaning to me. In my childhood my parents always went to the memorial, where many people gathered, it was joyful and solemn. We laid flowers, and I was always presented with a bouquet veteran.
Now I’m away from home, and circumstances do not allow to spend the day as before. But the feeling of gratitude, pride and light sadness continues to be. On this day, I sing along Leshchenko, watch “go To fight some old people” and mentally say “thank you” to those who fought for our future.
Gadir Mammadov, Russia
9 may have never been a family holiday for me. Since I loved to engage in volunteering activity at the city level, I’m always one way or another participated in the celebration. My attitude to the event — the victory of peace and the Soviet Union over the Nazis — positive with notes of sympathy and respect, but without undue patriotism. For many republics in the Soviet Union, it was a lot of human loss, a huge tragedy. And to celebrate these days seems to be necessary. But, unfortunately, may 9 from holiday, when we should again and again remember that nothing will ever justify the war and any aggression, has become a political tool and the only working strengthened the current Russian regime. Moreover, already quite popular image of Russians, which promises to repeat — this is the final nail in the coffin of heroism (as a manifestation of humanity) and peace, which for me personally is incorporated in the Day.
Estonia is a complicated holiday. For the Russian-speaking population is quite difficult to accept the fact that the winning country, the Soviet Union, could be the occupier. Of course, this can be confirmed by many historical facts. It is always difficult to accept the harsh reality that even heroes-liberators can be debated. And when is the only truly great holiday, and to leave do not want with these images. But I am sure that all parties in these different approaches to may 9, agree that the world does not need another world war that nobody has the right to kill defenseless people and destroy the world in favor of his supposedly the only true ideology.