The May 9 clashes in Lviv, considered provocations by extremists on both sides of the pro-Russian and pro-Ukraine nationalist divide, may deepen ideological splits. If so, it would be one more tragedy in a nation that desperately needs to unite and find peace with its past.

Although both sides say they tried to avoid conflicts, it doesn’t look that way.

It appears that pro-Russian elements were bent on taunting public displays of Soviet symbols. For many in western Ukraine, tyranny replaced tyranny when the Soviet Union triumphed with its World War II allies over Nazi Germany. In western Ukraine, the red Soviet flag is viewed as a symbol of oppression.

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