Today, on December 4, the International Day of Hugs is celebrated all over the world. In fact, the holiday is quite young, barely older than our country. Opinion selected photos of the greatest hugs of independence, in order to emphasize once again: no matter what happens, the brightest or the toughest moments, our main strength is still unity.

If you imagine the history of Ukraine in hugs, it may seem that this list will include only joyous and bright moments, moments of total happiness and euphoria, but the hugs aren’t only about positive feelings, but also about support in situations when it seems that there’s no way out. The first “official” hugs of modern Ukraine took place on August 21, 1991, the day when the Act of Independence was proclaimed.

The adoption of the Constitution of Ukraine on June 28, 1996, was also celebrated not less emotionally. As in the case with the celebration of independence, everything wasn’t limited only to the hugs. And if in the 91st year Levko Lukianenko, the author of the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, was thrown up on the hands in joy, then in the 96th, the rapporteur on the text of the Constitution of Ukraine Mykhailo Syrota was honoured in the same way.

To hug the Ukrainian flag in space sounds like something incredible, doesn’t it? In this photo Leonid Kandeniuk, the first and so far the last astronaut of independent Ukraine has practically succeeded.

The results and causes of Orange revolution are still arguable, but the hugs were presented even on the agitation advert of the ex-president of Ukraine, Victor Yushchenko.


However, Viktor Yushchenko hugged not only on posters and not only with his children but also with his main rival in the presidential election, a man who considers himself a “legitimate” president, Viktor Yanukovych.

Another example of the incredible euphoria and hugs in Ukraine’s history is the victory of Donetsk Shakhtar in the main European football tournament – the UEFA Cup.

It’s quite easy to imagine the extent of euphoria from the football triumph of the Ukrainian club: even former rivals Yulia Tymoshenko and Rinat Akhmetov dared to hug each other.

However, the hugs of sportsmen, who entered the history of Ukraine and the world, aren’t just about football achievements. The legendary brothers Klichko, one of the main boxers of our time Vasyl Lomachenko and de facto strongest racquet of the world Elina Svitolina – this is all about the victories, in the celebration of which there was a place for the hug.

The victories of our performers replenish the treasury of Ukraine’s historical hugs. For example, the triumph of the Ukrainian singer Jamala at the “Eurovision”, the main song contest of the world.

The Revolution of Dignity has become one of the moments that confirm: hugs aren’t necessarily associated with joy. Defending the true independence of our country and trying to defeat the system, Ukrainians hugged to simply support each other in order to stand in line against the armed “Berkuts” and, finally, just to rest before continuing their struggle.

The fact that we hug not only in moments of joy is evidenced by the photo of Ukrainian political captives Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko, who are brazenly and illegally imprisoned in Russia. A hug is also a sign of invincibility, mutual support, barely noticeable ridicule over the enemy and belief that the truth is on your side.

The joy of approaching something fundamentally different, new, the refusal from the iron borders of the Soviet past – the hugs of Ukrainians symbolized this during the formal introduction of a visa-free regime with the countries of the European Union.

A lot of hugs were captured when first, freed from captivity, Ukrainians returned to the homeland. This is probably the most intimate of all hugs in our selection. Those that were unlikely to get into someone’s cameras. Indeed, sincerity, when it’s true, is the least sideshow.

The hugs aren’t such a rarity for both Ukrainian parliamentarians and even the president. However, if, for example, Petro Poroshenko hugged French President, let’s say, diplomatically and joyously, then the hugs with which MP Serhiy Vlasenko “rewarded” Iryna Gerashchenko, only hint: anything can be done not only with good intentions.

The same is illustrated by Oleg Barna’s and Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s “hugs”. But it’s good that they exist because this one more time stresses: hug sincerely. And let all your hugs be connected with something joyful and bright.

Text by Dmytro Zhuravel

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