Victory Day is always a big celebration in former states of the Soviet Union and here in Slavyansk, two days before an independence referendum will be held, emotions are running high. This is the stronghold of the anti-government movement and the militia put on a military parade, of sorts, bringing their fighters and armored personnel carriers into Lenin Square.
Under an imposing statute of the founder of the USSR, local veterans proudly display their medals. But, as they remember the losses suffered by the Soviet people, the region is once again on the precipice of war. But it could happen. This is the ‘Russian Spring’, says protest leader Pavel Gubarev as he rallies the crowds to rise up against the authorities in Kiev.Certainly a feeling of victory here but this is a town besieged by the Ukrainian armed forces, the conflict between Ukraine’s east and west is not yet over.