Huge crowds of Ukrainian people gathered on the streets of Kyiv on Tuesday night, breaking into a song that was previously banned under the Soviet regime. The swarm of people chanted the anthem of the Sich Riflemen, a song titled ‘Oh the Red Viburnum in the Meadow’ in the city’s main square. The song has been considered to characterise Ukraine’s drive for independence and was banned while the country was under Soviet rule. In a symbolic act of resistance against the Russian invasion, the crowd performed the melody against a backdrop of destroyed Russian weapons, captured by Ukrainian forces and now displayed in the capital city.
A video of the crowd was posted to social media by Ukraine World, a media account operated by non-profit organisation Internews.
A caption accompanying the clip read: “Oh the red viburnum bent down in the meadow sounds live against the backdrop of broken and burnt Russian military equipment.”
The display comes on the eve of Ukraine’s Independence Day on Wednesday which, coincidentally, will mark exactly six months since Russian forces invaded the country.
Russia launched its own patriotic display on Monday as the nation celebrated National Flag Day.
The celebrations involved the unfurling of the largest national flag in Russia across the steps of Moscow’s Victory Museum.
Vladimir Putin made a speech to mark the occasion, he said: “The Russian flag, like the unfading red Banner of Victory, serves to educate the younger generation about the values of patriotism, citizenship and responsibility for the future of the Motherland.”
The Kremlin leader also announced a new bid to build patriotism among younger generations as he added: “From the 1st September of this year, in all schools of the country, the school week will begin with a solemn ceremony of raising the flag and singing the anthem.”