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You're reading: Yanukovych signs decree on new holiday replacing Ukrainian Independence Day

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has signed a decree entitled On the Celebration of Some Dates and Professional Holidays, under which Jan. 11 will be celebrated as the Day of Collegiality and Ukrainian Freedom, the presidential press service reported on Friday.

The decree invalidates other decrees on the celebration of Collegiality Day and on the Freedom Day signed by Ukraine’s ex-president Viktor Yuschenko on Nov. 19, 2005.

Freedom Day was established in 2006 (it was celebrated on Nov. 22 in honor of the Orange Revolution).

The historical moment and the importance of freedom and collegiality necessitate the strengthening of these components of independence in people’s consciousness and in the traditions and history of Ukraine, the press service reported.

For that purpose, celebrations involving Ukraine’s top officials, parliamentarians, representatives of the central and local authorities, religious organizations, the diplomatic corps, and the public will now be conducted in every city, village, and settlement of Ukraine every year on Jan. 22.

Collegiality Day was established in 1999 by a presidential decree to mark the political and historical importance of the unification of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic in 1919 to create a unified collegiate Ukrainian state.

The first time the day of unification of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic was celebrated on Jan. 22, 1990, when people formed human chains between cities.

On Jan. 22, 1919, the Act of Unification of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic was announced on Kyiv’s Sofiyska Square.

Under that document, the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic became part of the Ukrainian People’s Republic as its Western region.

However, a difficult international and domestic situation prevented the unification of the Ukrainian states and their administrative bodies continued acting independently.

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