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Ukraine will have its own Victory Day after the capitulation of Russia – historian about the war in Ukraine and May 8

Bombela Vladyslav

Павло Гай-Нижник

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Українознавство Published: Pavlo Hai-Nyzhnyk: Ukraine will have its own Victory Day after the capitulation of Russia – historian about the war in Ukraine and May 8 // ICTV Facts. – 2022. – May 8 [Electronic resource] Access mode: https://fakty.com.ua/en/ukraine/suspilstvo/20220508-v-ukrayiny-bude-svij-den-peremogy-pislya-kapitulyacziyi-rosiyi-istoryk-pro-vijnu-v-ukrayini-ta-8-travnya/

Ukraine has come close to cancelling the Day of Victory over Nazism in World War II on May 9 and, together with the rest of the world, celebrating this memorable date on May 8.

Today is Memorial and Reconciliation Day, during which we commemorate the millions of victims of World War II and the tragic events of those times.

Pavlo Hai-Nyzhnyk, Doctor of Historical Sciences, told ICTV Facts how the mythical May 9 was created and what date Ukraine should celebrate.

Павло Гай-Нижник Павло Гай-Нижник

– In your opinion, what is the importance of celebrating Victory Day over Nazism in World War II on May 8?

– Moving the celebration of Victory Day, the end of World War II in Europe or the victory over Germany to May 8 or 9 does not depend on how convenient or desirable it is for us.

There is a historical fact, and we should be guided by when Germany’s surrender was actually signed. That is, when hostilities ended in Europe.

All normal states, scholars, and ordinary people should take this into account. The surrender (of Germany in World War II – Ed.) was signed on May 8, 1945.

– Russia is even now trying to appropriate its victory over Germany in World War II. Is this a myth?

– The idea of Germany’s capitulation was invented by US President Franklin Roosevelt. Not Stalin or some Russian “outstanding thinkers”.

Roosevelt said this at a conference in Casablanca on January 13, 1943. The European Consultative Commission began drafting the text of this surrender in January 1944. It was called the Conditions of Surrender of Germany.

At the end of July it was approved by the heads of the Allied governments. This draft was sent to the headquarters of the Allied forces, and it was perceived as a binding instruction and recommendation for action in the event of victory in Europe.

That is why on May 4-5 (1945 – Ed.) the question of Germany’s surrender came up at Allied headquarters. They used this document when there were the first contacts with German officials regarding her withdrawal from the war.

This text was finally drafted by a group of American officers from Dwight Eisenhower’s entourage. Its author is Colonel Phillimore of the Third Operations Division.

That is, the myth that the USSR itself won (Germany – Ed.) Is being destroyed, but also forced to surrender.

The first act of surrender was signed at 2.41 Central European Time on May 7. It was signed by Alfred Jodl, Chief of the Operational Division of the Supreme Command of the German Armed Forces, as a representative of the Wehrmacht (German troops).

The surrender was accepted from the Anglo-American side – Lieutenant General of the US Army, Chief of Staff of the Allied Forces Walter Smith, and from the USSR signed a representative of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ivan Suslaparov.

– So where did May 9, this Soviet Victory Day, come from?

– The U.S. and Britain agreed to delay the public announcement of Germany’s surrender so that the Soviets could prepare a ceremony.

Reporters were made to swear that they would report on it in 36 hours – at 3:00 on May 8, 1945…

Павло Гай-Нижник

In the Soviet Union, the capitulation of May 7 was banned. The fact is that Suslaparov signed the act without the permission of dictator Stalin.

For an officer to sign a surrender is a chance to end the war. However, without Stalin’s personal order, it could be delayed, which was necessary for public relations.

After signing on May 7, Suslaparov received a telegram from Stalin stating that he was forbidden to sign it.

The leader of the USSR was outraged, because all the initiative, preparation (capitulation of Germany – Ed.) Was made by the West. He refused to recognize the act and demanded that a new act of capitulation be signed in Berlin in order to do so in the presence of Soviet witnesses and for the act to enter into force thereafter. Stalin demanded this on May 9, but Churchill refused, as did Truman.

For his part, Stalin said that the preliminary treaty could not be dissolved, but neither could it be recognized. So he proposed another surrender as the most important historical act, taken not in the territory of the victors, but where the aggression came from.

The Allies were forced to agree and held a secondary act of signing the surrender in Berlin. It was signed on May 8 at 22.43 Central European Time, and in Moscow at that time it was 00.43.

His text was almost verbatim repeated on May 7. De jure, this act was signed on May 7, de jure confirmed on May 8. And the Soviet people learned about it only on May 9 at 22.00.

– Should May 9 be kept as a specific memorial date? Recent polls show that for many Ukrainians it is still an important day.

– Neither from a factual or legal point of view, nor with respect to Ukrainian realities, May 9 has nothing to do with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.

If May 8 can remain as a day of cessation of war, then May 9 is simply a calendar day.

Another thing is that there are older people who, according to the principle of memory and simple human habit, honor their parents and grandparents on this day.

But this is a matter of personal memory of each person. The Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian state have nothing to do with May 9.

– Another great myth around May 9 is the Great Patriotic War. In your opinion, has it already been eradicated from the minds of Ukrainians?

– Yes. Talking to students, young people, even my generation, we can state that this date (the so-called Great Patriotic War – Ed.) is out of use, out of human consciousness.

Everyone knows that there was the Second World War and there was the German-Soviet war as one of its components. This is not a problem today.

– The Patriotic War is also mentioned in the context of the current war against Russia. But as a patriotic war of Ukraine. Can it be called that?

– There is a widespread opinion, especially among publicists, to call this war a national liberation war, which is completely wrong both from a historical and legal point of view.

National liberation movements and the forces of national liberation wars were enslaved, colonial peoples. That is, when empires collapsed and people were liberated.

Павло Гай-Нижник

The modern Ukrainian state has existed since 1991. We are not a state conquered by Russia, we are not its colony, and we have no reason to wage a national liberation war. We have a state, we have a people, with all the international legal signs of independence.

– Then what can we call this war?

– Our war is defensive, just, nationwide. It is of this nature.

The war of the Russian Federation against us is conquest, aggressive, that is, in violation of international norms of war and is one of the signs of genocide.

From the way she is waging it, I believe that this is a war of a total nature. For the Ukrainian people, it is a civilizational war for life.

At stake is not only the existence of Ukrainian statehood, but also the existence of the Ukrainian nation as such.

If we take a dry name, it is a Russo-Ukrainian war. If we give it a double name, I believe it is a war for life.

– Of course, we believe in the victory of Ukraine in this war. In what case can we establish a Ukrainian victory day?

– The question is what we mean by victory itself. Ukraine’s top leadership today does not have a strategic vision of what we should achieve in this war.

Павло Гай-Нижник

On the one hand, President Volodymyr Zelensky declares the territorial integrity of Ukraine. On the other hand – the withdrawal of Russian troops as of February 23, 2022. This is supposed to end the war. But then there will be no reproduction of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

But then there will be no restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Therefore, we cannot consider such an end to the war even in the long term as victorious, even if a certain act or document is signed.

The second aspect is the liberation of Donbass and Crimea. Is this an act of victory over Russia? I think it would be too early to call it an act of victory.

If there is a legally signed act, it will be a restoration of integrity. If Russia as it is now is not broken up and defeated, this war will not end.

Павло Гай-Нижник

It would have the next phase after a certain lull and start again in two or three or five years. If we associate this with World War II in the European space, it would be if the Allies liberated their territories and stopped at the German border.

This is an example of the fact that Ukraine and its allies must end this war by an act of capitulation of the Russian Federation with accompanying documents on reparations, reorganization of the constitutional and legal-administrative system of the Russian Federation, and an international tribunal on criminals.

The vertical and horizontal organization (of Russia – Ed.) must change, the ideology must be overthrown and condemned along with its leaders, and the entire Russian society must be condemned along with its re-education. We are not fighting Putin or even the Russian Federation, but the entire Russian society.

Then we can call it an act of victory over Russia. Otherwise it will not be.

– How do you see the name of such a commemorative day, if introduced?

– It would be a day of victory in the war for life.

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