Shche ne vmerla Ukraina

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Ще не вмерли України ні Слава ні Воля (Transliteration: Šče ne vmerly Ukrajiny ni slava ni Volja)
English: The glory and the freedom of Ukraine has not yet died
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 vmerly Ukrainy ni slava ni volya (Ukrainian: Ще не вмерли України ні слава ні воля The glory and the freedom of Ukraine has not yet died [ˈʃt͡ʃe ne wmɛrˈlɪ ukrɑˈjinɪ ni slɑˈβɑ ni ˈβolʲɑ])[1] is the national anthem of Ukraine. 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).

The song was the national anthem of the Ukrainian Republic, West Ukraine, and Carpatho-Ukraine, and was 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 "For Ukraine" (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 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.
The first recording of the Ukrainian National Anthem «Ще не вмерла Україна», performed by Mykhailo Zazulyak at the Columbia Studio, in the United States (1916)

Creation of the Ukrainian national anthem started in the autumn of 1862 during one of Pavlo Chubynsky's parties. Chubynsky, a prominent ethnographer, folklorist and poet, noticed Serbian students from Kiev University singing a patriotic song, which mentioned Serbian Tsar Dushan and which included the line "срце бије и крв лије за своју слободу"[6][7] as a refrain. He liked that song and upon hearing it vanished quietly into another room only to reappear half an hour later with complete 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 but dating back to 1797 and the Polish Legions, also had an influence on Chubynsky'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: a few months after Chubynsky 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 Shumi Maritsa was the Bulgarian anthem in 1886–1944.

The widespread use of Chubynsky's lyrics among Ukrainophiles was very rapid. On October 20 of the same year that Chubynsky wrote the lyrics, the head gendarm Prince Vasily Dolgorukov gave an order to banish Chubynsky for the "dangerous influence on the minds of commoners"[10] and sent him in exile to Arkhangelsk Governorate.[11]

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

The first recording of "Shche ne vmerla Ukrayiny ni slava ni volya" (spelled "Szcze ne wmerla Ukrainy ni slava ni volya") in Ukrainian was released on a vinyl record by Columbia Phonograph Company during World War I in 1916.[12][13] As a folk song it was performed by a Ukrainian emigrant from Lviv and New York resident Mychajlo Zazulak in 1915.[14]

However, Chubynsky's poem wasn't used as a state anthem until 1917, when it was adopted by the Ukrainian Republic. Still, even in 1917–21, "Shche ne vmerla Ukrayina" was not legislatively adopted as an exclusive state anthem as other anthems were also used at the time.

During the period between 1918 and 1919, Chubynsky's poem was also used as a state anthem of the short-lived West Ukraine.

In 1939, "Shche ne vmerla Ukrayiny i slava i volya" was adopted as the 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, the anthem 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 a text that would state that Ukraine is a country inside the USSR which is "equal among equals, free among the free" and it necessarily had to mention the communist party that lead Ukraine towards communism. This task was accomplished by Pavlo Tychyna, whose version of "Zhyvy, Ukrayino, prekrasna i syl'na" was the official anthem of the Ukrainian SSR from 1949 to 1991. Composer Anton Lebedynez' wrote the music for it. This anthem never became popular among Ukrainians and in Soviet times, 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 parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, and was later instituted in the Ukrainian constitution. However, the lyrics for the anthem were not officially adopted until March 6, 2003, when the Verkhovna Rada passed a law on the state anthem of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Закон "Про Державний гімн України"), proposed by then president Leonid Kuchma.[2] The law proposed Mykhailo Verbytsky's music and Pavlo Chubynsky'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 450, with only 46 MPs opposing. 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 then had only officially consisted of Mykhailo Verbytsky's music, would henceforce also include the modified lyrics of Pavlo Chubynsky.

The popularity of the Ukrainian anthem has become particularly high in the wake of the Orange Revolution protests of 2004 and Euromaidan of 2013. Ukrainian composer Valentyn Sylvestrov, who participated in Ukrainian protests in Kiev, characterised the Ukrainian anthem thus:[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 Verbytsky, 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 a 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 branches are singing.


During the Euromaidan protests, the 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 of Kharkiv created an instrumental rock version of the anthem.[17]


"Shche ne vmerla Ukrainy ni slava ni volya" 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 Chubynsky'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 Chubynsky'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 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 for the national anthem:

The State Anthem of Ukraine is the national anthem set to the music of M. Verbytsky, 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.

Official lyrics[edit]

Official version of lyrics used since 2003

Chubynsky's original lyrics[edit]

The first stanza of Chubynsky's original poem is somewhat similar to the first stanza of national anthems of Poland, Yugoslavia, 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)

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 Archived February 3, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. - 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. ^ "Валентин СИЛЬВЕСТРОВ: "Читайте Шевченка, доки не пізно ..."". Den', 29 December 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[dead link]
  18. ^ Used prior to 2003

External links[edit]

Салтан А. Н. Как Кучма с Медведчуком слова для государственного гимна выбирали [Электронный ресурс]. – Режим доступа к статье: – Заглавие с экрана. – 25.03.16. Салтан Н. М., Салтан О. М. Живи Україно незламна і сильна… Парламентські дебати навколо затвердження тексту Державного гімну України 4 та 6 березня 2003 року // Сіверянський літопис. Всеукраїнський науковий журнал. — 2016. — № 4 (130). — С. 16-36.