Sunday, August 19, 2007

Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists

Every Sunday, for 15 or more years, an amateur choir has met at the statue of Taras Shevchenko in the middle of L'viv to sing Ukrainian national songs. Erik heard them perform on a previous visit to L'viv. We planned to listen to the choir today. This Sunday, however, the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists (CUN) held a rally on the square. The CUN is a controversial organization, and traces its lineage to Stepan Bandera and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (a group founded in the early twentieth century to advocate for Ukrainian statehood through revolution). The rally included a photo display of Ukrainian partisans who fought against Poland and the Soviet Union, and tents for the CUN and Svoboda, a political party contesting the upcoming elections. Svoboda's platform includes: a plan to call for reparations from Russia for the famine of the 1930s, elevation of OUN partisans to the status of heroes, and several measures to ensure that Ukrainian remains the language of official discourse. The party is a minor player in politics; about 200-300 people (mostly elderly) were on the square and fewer showed strong interest in the speeches. This rally was the first of many to be held in the center of town before the September 30 elections.

P.S. We had a busy day, so there are two posts - don't miss the one below!

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