On this day: a bid for independence

a sign “ukraine is leaving the ussr” at the rally in support of the nation_s independence next to ukraine_s verkhovna rada in kyiv on 24 august, 1991.

24th August 1991: Shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, people gather in Kyiv, Ukraine to demonstrate in favour of independence. The sign reads, “Ukraine is leaving the USSR”.

Demonstrations for freedom from Moscow broke out across the USSR in 1991. Some were violently crushed by the Soviet Army, on instructions from the communist government, resulting in civilian deaths.

1992: Ukrainian Champions in Barcelona

The 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona were held from late July to early August. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union the year before, athletes from the former USSR competed under their own flags and national anthems in individual events, and for the Unified Team in group events.

Ukrainian rhythmic gymnasts Alexandra Timochenko and Oksana Skaldina came home with the gold and bronze medals. They are the two fair-haired first place-getters pictured below at the 1991 World Championships.

Alexandra Timochenko (Ukraine), Oksana Kostina and Oksana Oxana Skaldina (Ukraine) (URSS) 1991 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Champions

Under their own flag for the first time, Ukraine’s 1992 female artistic gymnasts also outshone their teammates, with the women winning a further two gold, a silver, and two bronze medals individually, as well as a share in the team gold with their Belarusian, Uzbek and Russian teammates.

Stamp_of_Ukraine_s23 Rhythmic Gymnastics Stamp of Ukraine 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games

Ukrainian stamp from 1992, featuring Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics. X

Despite almost no funding and an ongoing war with Russia, Ukrainian gymnasts continue to win Olympic medals, most recently gold and silver in the men’s competition in 2016. Many gymnasts from the country have moved to compete for other nations in order to access proper training facilities. Following the 2016 Rio Games, the equipment used in the competition was donated to Ukraine’s gymnastics federation.

Soviet stamp of Ukraine

This Soviet stamp featuring Ukraine was issued in 1991, the year the USSR collapsed and Ukraine declared its independence.

Despite heavy restrictions on religion, Christmas was celebrated in various capacities during Soviet years, as this depiction of a wintry Christmas scene in a Ukrainian village shows.

Vintage Christmas decorations from Soviet Ukraine can be found for sale now.



On this day: Gene Tierney dies


American film and stage actress Gene Tierney died on the 6th of November, 1991. Born in 1920, she was days from her seventy-first birthday when she died of emphysema.

Known both for her beauty and her acting ability, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Leave Her to Heaven (1945).

Like too any people of her era, her death was caused by a lifetime of smoking. Unlike many others, the reason she took up smoking was in an attempt to deepen her voice. “I sound like an angry Minnie Mouse,” she claimed as the reason.