This Sunday November 21, Ukraine celebrates the Day of Dignity and Freedom. Official holiday was established by a presidential decree signed on November 13, 2014 to succeed the Day of Freedom honoring the Orange Revolution of 2004-2005 and include remembrance of the Ukrainian people’s fight for their right of self-determination on Euromaidan in 2013-2014 known as the Revolution of Dignity.
On November 21, 2013, people rallied for the European integration of Ukraine protesting against an abrupt change of legislative priorities and a broken promise of the Ukrainian government to its people. Days before, president Yanukovych halted the signing of the E.U.-Ukraine Association Agreement. His turn toward authoritarianism, disregard for human rights, and increased corruption was intolerable for Ukrainians. The events unfolded rapidly and dramatically. A peaceful student gathering was attacked by special police forces Berkut and transformed into a massive civil protest. Kyiv downtown flooded with millions of citizens from all parts of Ukraine who stayed there for almost three months demanding resignation of the government. The Revolution of Dignity, in which 106 people had died and 2,000 were wounded, was followed by the Russian military aggression and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.
The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation joins remembering of those who defended Ukraine’s freedom and honoring the courage of people who stood on Maidan fighting for democratic, independent and economically sovereign Ukraine.