March of Ukrainian Nationalists

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Зродились ми великої години
English: We were born in a great hour
Sheet Music - Anthem of the OUN.png
The original sheet music of the anthem.

Anthem of Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists
LyricsOles Babiy [uk], 1929
MusicOmelian Nyzhankivskyi [uk], 1929
Audio sample

The March of Ukrainian Nationalists is a Ukrainian patriotic song that was originally the official anthem of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.[1] The song is also known by its first line "We were born in a great hour" (Ukrainian: Зродились ми великої години). The song, written by Oles Babiy [uk] to music by Omelian Nyzhankivskyi [uk] in 1929, was officially adopted by the leadership of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists in 1932.[2] The song is often referred to as a patriotic song from the times of the uprising,[3] and a Ukrainian folk song.[4] It is still commonly performed today, especially at events honoring the Ukrainian Insurgent Army[5] and by nationalist organizations and party meetings, such as those of VO Svoboda.[6]


Map of the short-lived Ukrainian National Republic as it appeared in 1919, stretching from the San river in present-day Poland to the Kuban region next to the Caucasus mountains in present-day Southern Russia (as referenced in the song).

In 1919 with the end of the Polish–Ukrainian War, which resulted in the takeover of western Ukraine by the Second Polish Republic, many former leaders of the Ukrainian republic were exiled.[7] As Polish persecution of Ukrainians during the interwar period increased, many Ukrainians (particularly the youth, many of whom felt they had no future) lost faith in traditional legal approaches, in their elders, and in the western democracies who were seen as turning their backs on Ukraine. This period of disillusionment coincided with the increase in support for the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). By the beginning of the Second World War, the OUN was estimated to have 20,000 active members and many times that number in sympathizers.[8] The song was written in 1929 during the midst of these political events and adopted by the organization's leadership 3 years later.[2]

The March of the Ukrainian Nationalists is written and performed as a military march and a call to arms. The first verse of the song refers to "the pain of losing Ukraine",[9] referring to the short-lived independence of the Ukrainian National Republic from 1917-1921. The republic was divided up among the Soviet Union and the Second Polish Republic.[10] The song also mentions a popular Ukrainian national motto, "A United Ukrainian state... from the San to the Kavkaz".[11] This is in line with the Ukrainian irredentist concept of having Ukraine's western border start at the San river in modern-day in western Ukraine and southeastern Poland and its eastern border at the Caucasus Mountains (pronounced "Kavkaz" in Ukrainian) in modern-day Southern Russia.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lypovetsky, Sviatoslav (17 February 2009). "Eight Decades of Struggle". The Day. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b Символіка Українських Націоналістів (Symbols of Ukrainian Nationalists) Archived link Article on the website of the Virtual Museum of Ukrainian Phaleristics (in Ukrainian)
  3. ^ List of Uprising Songs on (in Ukrainian)
  4. ^ Зродились ми великої години (We were born in a great hour) Entry at (in Ukrainian)
  5. ^ Святкове співоче дійство «Зродились ми великої години» з нагоди 70-ї річниці створення УПА (Festive singing event "We were born in a great hour" on the 70th anniversary of the creation of UPA) entry at news website (in Ukrainian)
  6. ^ Зродились ми великої години… (We were born in a great hour...) Entry at nationalist news website (in Ukrainian)
  7. ^ Christopher Gilley (2006). A Simple Question of 'Pragmatism'? Sovietophilism in the West Ukrainian Emigration in the 1920s Working Paper: Koszalin Institute of Comparative European Studies pp.6-13
  8. ^ Orest Subtelny. (1988). Ukraine: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp.441-446.
  9. ^ a b Зродились ми великої години (We were born in a great hour) Lyrics at (in Ukrainian) Accessed 22 July 2014
  10. ^ Serhy Yekelchyk, Ukraine: Birth of a Modern Nation, Oxford University Press (2007), ISBN 978-0-19-530546-3
  11. ^ Kyrylo Halushko, Birth of a country. From a land to a state., Family Leisure Club (2015) (in Ukrainian), ISBN 978-617-12-0208-5