Shche ne vmerla Ukraina

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Ще не вмерла Українa
English: Ukraine Has Not Yet Died
Shche ne vmerla Ukraina
Mykhaylo Verbytsky.jpg

National anthem of  Ukraine
Lyrics Pavlo Chubynsky, 1862
Music Mykhailo Verbytsky, 1863
Adopted 15 January 1992 (music)
6 March 2003 (lyrics)
Music sample

Shche ne vmerla Ukraina (Ukrainian: Ще не вмерла Українa, Ukraine Has Not Yet Died)[1] is the national anthem of Ukraine (About this sound instrumental performance ). The anthem's music was officially adopted by Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada on January 15, 1992. The official lyrics were adopted on March 6, 2003 by "the Law on the Anthem of Ukraine"[2] (Ukrainian: Закон про Гімн України) (About this sound instrumental performance , About this sound choral performance ).

The song was first the national anthem of the Ukrainian Republic, West Ukraine, Carpatho-Ukraine, and once again adopted by independent Ukraine following its secession from the Soviet Union. Before its re-adaptation a competition for a national anthem among three patriotic songs took place with one of the other songs being Za Ukrainu by Mykola Voronyi.

The lyrics constitute a slightly modified original first stanza of the patriotic poem written in 1862 by Pavlo Chubynsky, a prominent ethnographer from the region of Ukraine's capital, Kiev.[3] In 1863, Mykhailo Verbytsky, a western Ukrainian composer and a Greek-Catholic priest composed music to accompany Chubynsky's text.[4] The first choral performance of the piece was at the Ukraine Theatre in Lviv, in 1864.[5]


Pavlo Chubynsky, the author of lyrics
Our enemies will vanish/ Like dew in the sun;/ We too shall rule/ In our country. 1917 postcard.

Creation of Ukrainian national anthem started in the autumn of 1862 during one of Pavlo Chubynskyi's parties. Chubynskyi, a prominent ethnographer, folklorist and poet, noticed Serbian students from the Kyiv University singing a patriotic song, which mentioned tzar Dyshan and which included the line "срце бије и крв лије за своју слободу"[6][7] as a refrain. He really liked that song and upon hearing it vanished quietly in another room only to reappear half an hour later with a ready-made lyrics for the song "Shche ne vmerla Ukrayina," and then promptly sang it to the music of the Serbian song.[8]

Some researches believe that the Polish national song Poland Is Not Yet Lost (Polish: Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła), which later became the national anthem of Poland, also had an influence on Chubynskyi's lyrics.[9] At the time, the Polish national song was very popular among East European nations of the former Commonwealth of Poland, that were fighting for their independence: few months after Chubynskyi had written his lyrics, the January Uprising began. Likewise, influenced by the Polish national song, Slovak poet Samo Tomášik wrote the song Hey, Slavs, which later became Yugoslavia's anthem in 1944-2003. Another popular version of this polish song, Bulgarian Noises of Mariza was Bulgarian anthem in 1886-1944.

The widespread use of Chybynskyi's lyrics among ukrainophils was very rapid. On October 20 of the same year that lyrics were written the head gendarm knyaz Vasily Dolgorukov gave an order to banish Chybynskyi for the "dangerous influence on the minds of commons"[10] and sent him in exile to Arkhangelsk Governorate.[11]

The first time Chybynskyi's poem was officially published was in 1863 when it appeared in the 4th issue of Lviv's journal "Meta". Soon after poem became popular in Western Ukraine, it was noticed by Ukrainian clergy. Inspired by Pavlo Chybynskyi's poem, one of them, father Mykhailo Verbytskyi of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, a prominent Ukrainian composer of his times, decided to write music for it.[4] In 1865 Chybynskyi's poem was first published together with Verbytskyi's music sheet. The first choral performance of the piece was in 1864 at the Ukraine Theatre in Lviv.[5]

The first record of "Shche ne vmerla Ukrayina" (as "Szcze ne wmerla Ukraina") in Ruthenian language was released on a vinyl record by Columbia Phonograph Company during the World War I in 1916.[12][13] As a folk song it was performed by Ukrainian emigrant from Lemberg and New York resident Mychajlo Zazulak in 1915.[14]

However, Chybynskyi's poem wasn't used as a state anthem up until 1917. Still, even in 1917-1920 legislatively "Shche ne vmerla Ukrayina" was not adopted as an exclusive state anthem and as a result other anthems were also used at the time. In 1939 "Shche ne vmerla Ukrayina" was adopted as an official state anthem of Carpatho-Ukraine.

Soviet times[edit]

When Ukraine was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1920 and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was formed, it was immediately banned by the Soviet regime. At the dawn of the Soviet Union, when it was decided that each separate Soviet republic could have its own anthem, the poem "Shche ne vmerla Ukrayina" was rejected in order to suppress separatism amongst Ukrainians. Soviet rulers wanted the text that would state that Ukraine is a country inside the USSR that it is "equal among equals, free among the free" and it necessarily had to mention the communist party that leads Ukraine towards communism. This task was accomplished by Pavlo Tychyna, whose version of "Zhyvy, Ukrayino, prekrasna i syl'na" was the official anthem of Ukrainian SSR from 1949 to 1991. Composer Anton Lebedynez' wrote the music for it. Nonetheless, this anthem never became popular among Ukrainians and in Soviet times, instead of the anthem of the Ukrainian SSR, the anthem of the USSR was played during nearly all official events in Ukraine.

Independence times[edit]

A musical score that has Ukrainian text
The official arrangement of the Ukrainian anthem

On January 15, 1992 the music for the State Anthem of Ukraine was adopted by Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada, which was later solidified by the Ukrainian constitution. However, the lyrics for the anthem were not officially adopted up until March 6, 2003 when Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada passed the Law on the State Anthem of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Закон "Про Державний гімн України"), proposed by the then president Leonid Kuchma.[2] The law proposed to pass Mykola Verbytskyi's music and Pavlo Chybynskyi's first verse and refrain of his poem "Shche ne vmerla Ukrayina". However, the first stanza of the anthem was to be changed from "Shche ne vmerla Ukrayina, ni slava ni volia" to "Shche ne vmerla Ukrayiny, i slava i volia".

The law was passed with an overwhelming majority of 334 votes out of the total 450, with only 46 MPs voting against it. Only the members of Socialist Party of Ukraine and Communist Party of Ukraine refrained from the voting. The passing of this law finalized Article 20 of the Constitution of Ukraine. The national anthem that up until that moment had only officially consisted of Mykolo Verbytskyi's music, had henceforce also included the modified lyrics of Pavlo Chybynskyi and was legislatively adopted by the Ukrainian law.

The popularity of Ukrainian anthem has become particularly high in the wake of the mass protests of 2004 (Orange Revolution) and 2013 (Euromaidan). Ukrainian composer Valentyn Syl'vestrov, who participated in Ukrainian protests in Kyiv, characterised Ukrainian anthem in the following way:

(Ukrainian) гімн України — дивовижний. Спочатку він начебто не справляє враження, але це лише на перший погляд. Насправді його створив Михайло Вербицький — церковний композитор середини ХІХ ст. Він жив в Австрійській монархії, мабуть, дуже любив Шуберта, у нього був мелодійний дар — це помітно з його літургій. Він був церковним композитором. І ось цю патріотичну пісню він теж створив як церковний композитор. Це ж алілуя, розспів (наспівує). У гімнах ніде такого немає! Це унікальний твір: це — гімн України, але в ньому є ознаки літургійного початку. У цьому гімні затонула якась пам’ять про літургію, про всеношну. У цьому простому наспіві немов дме вітер, немов гілки дерев співають.[15]
The Ukrainian anthem is amazing. At first it doesn't impress you at all, but that's only at first glance. Indeed, this anthem was created by Mykhailo Verbytskyi - clerical composer of the mid-19th century. He lived under the Austrian monarchy, probably was fond of Schubert, he had an euphonic gift - it's clear from his liturgical compositions. He was a church composer. And this patriotic song, he created as a church composer. This chant is an Halleluiah. No other anthem has this! It's a unique piece: the anthem of Ukraine, which at the same time has all characteristic features of a liturgy's beginning. Some memory of a liturgy, of an all-night-vigil, has drowned in this anthem. It seems as if wind blows in this simple chant, as if tree's branches are singing.


During the Euromaidan protests, the State Anthem of Ukraine became a revolutionary anthem for the protesters. In the early weeks of the protests, protesters would sing the national anthem once an hour, led by singer Ruslana.[16]

On March 25, 2014 Mykyta Rubchenko (Kharkiv) created an instrumental rock version of the anthem.[17]


Shche ne vmerla Ukraina was sung as the de facto national anthem at the inauguration of the first President Leonid Kravchuk on December 5, 1991, but it was not until March 6, 2003 that Chybynskyi's poem officially became a part of Ukrainian national anthem.

On March 6, 2003, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted anthem's official lyrics, opting to use only the first verse and chorus from Chybynskyi's poem, while slightly modifying its first stanza. Instead of stating "Ukraine has not yet died, neither her glory, nor her freedom" (Ukrainian: Ще не вмерла Україна, ні слава, ні воля), the concept of Ukraine perishing as a nation has been removed: the opening line now states "Ukraine's glory has not yet died, nor her glory, nor her freedom" (Ukrainian: Ще не вмерла України, і слава, і воля).[2]

Article 20 of the Constitution of Ukraine (June 28, 1996) designates Verbytsky's music as the theme of the national anthem:

The State Anthem of Ukraine is the national anthem set to the music of M. Verbytskyi, with words that are confirmed by the law adopted by no less than two-thirds of the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Chybynskyi's original lyrics[edit]

The first stanza of Chybynskyi's original poem is somewhat similar to the first stanza of national anthems of the SFR Yugoslavia/Yugoslavia, Poland, and Israel.

Original version published in 1863 (note the archaic orthography)

Draft lyrics[18][edit]

Draft version of lyrics used prior to 2003 (note how the first stanza is different from the official version)

Official lyrics[edit]

Official version of lyrics used since 2003

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Magocsi, Paul Robert (2010). A History of Ukraine: A Land and Its Peoples. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 401. 
  2. ^ a b c (Ukrainian)
  3. ^ "Ukraine - Shche ne Vmerla Ukraina". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  4. ^ a b - Father Mykhailo Verbytsky
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ or "срб се бије и крв лије за своју слободу ..."
  7. ^ Светозар Милетић. Србска песма
  8. ^ Іван Ющук. Іван Франко і національно-визвольна боротьба сербів у 70-их роках XIX ст.
  9. ^ Павло Чубинський писав вірші "під Шевченка"
  10. ^ Russian: за вредное влияние на умы простолюдинов
  11. ^
  12. ^ In the Internet is becoming popular an audio record of the 1916 Ukrainian anthem. 5 Channel. 20 October 2014
  13. ^ The first record of the anthem. youtube
  14. ^ Less known pages out of the life of Mykhailo Zazulyak. Meest Online weekly. November 7, 2013
  15. ^ Марія Семенченко. Валентин СИЛЬВЕСТРОВ: "Читайте Шевченка, доки не пізно ..." // "День", 29 грудня 2013
  16. ^ Євромайдан уночі забарикадувався ялинкою і щогодини співав гімн із Русланою (Ukrainian)
  17. ^ A Kharkiv man recorded a rock version of the Ukrainian anthem. Espreso TV. March 25, 2014
  18. ^ Used prior to 2003

External links[edit]