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January 1 2014 March in honor of Stepan Bandera's 105th birth anniversary gathered a record number of participants in Kyiv

For the eighth time, on January 1, Ukrainian nationalists organized a torchlight procession through the main streets of Kyiv in honor of the 105th anniversary of Stepan Bandera's birth. A record number of participants joined the event - more than twenty thousands of activists. The procession was headed by Svoboda's leader Oleh Tiahnybok, Svoboda's MPs and other opposition parliamentarians.

Ukrainians were holding torches, red/black and national (blue/yellow) flags as well as the party flags of Svoboda. Participants chanted: "Bandera is a hero!", "Ukraine's interests above everything else!" "Glory to Ukraine!" Glory to Heroes!" etc.

According to Andriy Ilyenko (Svoboda), the growing number of participants each year illustrates that the idea of Ukrainian nationalism is moving in the right direction-it has been increasingly supported by Ukrainians all over the country.

The participants stopped at the Kyiv's City Hall for a rally that was preceded by a prayer and a service delivered by the priests of the Ukrainian traditional confessions.

At the beginning of the meeting, MP from the Batkivshchyna faction, head of the "For Ukraine" party Vyacheslav Kyrylenko and Svoboda's Oleh Tiahnybok addressed the public.

The leader of the Ukrainian nationalists Oleh Tiahnybok greeted the participants with the following words: "Brothers and sisters, Ukrainians, banderivtsi! After all, what could be a greater reward for a Ukrainian than to be called a "banderivets"?!

"When a person is trying to choose between bread and freedom of a nation and chooses the former, he/she eventually loses everything, including the bread. If a person picks freedom, he/she will have bread that will not be taken away", - these words were said by Stepan Bandera.

Life of Bandera should serve as an example of how to fight for fairness and Ukraine. Bandera and those who were his allies, the soldiers of the UIA, defended their land and fought, so we can live in the Ukrainian state. This is our land, where we, inspired by Ukrainian heroes, should build a Ukrainian state. Perhaps Maidan, with its Ukrainian spirit, has happened because of the heroes like Bandera and members of UIA, who passed to us that spirit which helps Ukrainians to fight for their rights and the country.

Stepan Bandera proved that he could sacrifice what was valuable to him for Ukraine's independence, honor and dignity. Those who hate Ukraine (and Ukrainians) rage about the fact that so many people wish to remember Bandera. We, however, are proud to be called Banderivtsi and nationalists. "Banderivtsi" are those who are ready to sacrifice their own lives for the future of their children. We know the real history, we know how and for what our predecessors fought. We are proud that the whole nation was called "Bandera". Those who criticize Bandera and his brothers should prove they have done anything remotely equal to what he achieved.

It is also worth noting that Bandera was a great politician. He was willing to take responsibility for his own actions and those he was leading -, unlike many Ukrainian politicians.

We should live up to the ideals which were taught by Stepan Bandera. Whatever the regime, whatever it does to interfere, regardless of its level of fear - we will continue to honor, annually, our heroes. Bandera's slogan "Glory to Ukraine!" will sound all over the country!".

Other MPs present at the rally- Ihor Miroshnychenko (Svoboda), Andriy Mishchenko (Svoboda), Mykhaylo Holovko (Svoboda), member of the Kyiv's Svoboda Evhen Karas, President of the Ukrainian Nationalists' Congress Stepan Bartsyun and the representative of the Ukrainian Cossacks.

Press Service of Svoboda