Radiosvoboda: Ukraine’s Unity Day marks the anniversary of the unification of eastern and western Ukraine in 1919. It is celebrated on January 22 every year. And to mark the 71st anniversary of the signing of the Act Zluky in 1990, over 450,000 Ukrainians created a human chain (approx. 700 km) long from the capital Kyiv to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on 21 January 1990.
The action was organized by the People’s Rukh of Ukraine, headed by Ivan Drach, and the head of the executive body was former political prisoner Mykhailo Goryn. The preparation of the “Live Chain” began in September 1989, the organizers from different regions met on a monthly basis.
Ivan Drach later made a note about the Live Chain in his diary: “The dissident Valiantyn Moroz gave the idea, the name was given by Oles Gonchar, Dmytro Pavlychko promoted the idea, the organizer – the head of the Secretariat of the Movement Mikhail Goryn”.
The chain began in Ivano-Frankivsk from the Central People’s House (the former residence of the Parliament of the People’ Republic of Ukraine and the place where the Unification Act was adopted), followed by Stryi , Lviv, Ternopil, Rivne, Zhytomyr to Kyiv. The chain started in Ivano-Frankivsk because Ivano-Frankivsk (then Stanislav) was the capital of the Ukrainian People’s Republic in 1919. The “Ukrainian Wave” stretched for about 700 kilometers. According to the official data of the Soviet regime, about 450,000 people took part in the “chain”. According to unofficial estimates – from 1 to 5000000.
After the Live Chain event, worship sessions were held in Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk.
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