24 August 2008

Ukraine's 17th Anniversary of Independence

Even though I am in Lviv, the first time for independence day, I found myself watching the live coverage of the Independence Day parade in Kyiv on T.V. on this news channel called "24". This year, after a seven year hiatus, Ukraine brought back the military parade down Khreschatyk. Yuriy Yekhanurov, Minister of Defense, standing in the back seat of his Zil convertible addressed each of the military units assembled in parade dress stretching from maidan to TSUM. He then returned to Maidan, dismounted the Zil and walked down a red carpet to the podium where President Yushchenko. They exchanged some unamplified words, presumably a quick report about the state of the military from the Minister of Defense to the President, followed by a hand shake. He then took a place next to the President and the parade started. Each branch marched by to the music of the military orchestra. The orchestra was playing a marching medley which oddly included the phantom of the opera theme. Tanks and other mechanized units followed the marching troops. After the armored vehicles helicopters, then jets, and finally an escorted bomber flew overhead to the cheers of the crowd. In his speech Yushchenko mentioned that Ukraine is on the path to "Euro-atlantic" integration, carefully avoiding the term "North-atlantic". Yulia was not shown in any of the coverage. I wonder where she is celebrating?