Glory To Ukraine!
Click to play the State Anthem of Ukraine*

Like many things Ukrainian, the State Anthem of Ukraine has an interesting and fairly long history. It begins in the autumn of 1862, when a Ukrainian poet and ethnologist, Pavlo Chubynsky, was inspired by hearing a hymn sung by students at a party in a Kyiv apartment. He spontaneously wrote down the words to a poem, part of which became the lyrics of the State Anthem.

Image©2022 ABS Pavlo Chubynsky, color version of autolithograph (CC 0) in Wikipedia article
Pavlo Chubynsky

It was a perilous time to write a poem about freedom and independence. The people who lived in the areas that became modern Poland, modern Lithuania, and modern Ukraine sought independence from the Russian Empire, and the Imperial government was alert to anything that might lead to rebellion. Soon after writing Shche ne vmerla Ukraina (Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished), Chubynsky was banished to the far northern province of Archangelsk for his “dangerous influence on the minds of commoners”.

But if the Imperial government hoped that, by isolating Chubynsky, they could negate the effects of his poem, they were too late. The poem was published by a Ukrainian nationalist journal in 1863 (although it was attributed to another author!). In the same year, it inspired a prominent composer, Mykhailo Verbytsky, to set it to music. It became popular in western Ukraine, and its first choral performance was in 1864 at the Ukraine Theater in Lviv.

Image©2022 ABS Mykhailo Verbytsky,  color version of autolithograph (CC 0) in Wikipedia article
Mykhailo Verbytsky

After its publication with Verbytsky’s sheet music in 1865, there was little chance of the stirring anthem being forgotten. The first recording of the anthem was in 1916, when Columbia Phonograph Company released it as a gramophone record. You can hear this first recording by using the link (Links section, foot of this page) to the Wikipedia article about the State Anthem. The recording is on the right side of the page just below the two sidebar tables of information.

Use As A State Anthem

Shche ne vmerla Ukraina was used as a national anthem for the first time in 1917 during the three years of the short-lived Ukrainian People’s Republic, although it was only one of several anthems used. It was suppressed during the Soviet period, for fear that its use would encourage separatist movements. After Ukraine gained its independence (again) with the breakup of the Soviet Union, it was officially adopted in January, 1992 by Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, as the national anthem — but only Verbytsky’s music, not the words of Chubynsky’s poem.

Image©2016 President of Ukraine official website Petro Poroshenko on Day of Constitution of Ukraine 2016-06-28
Verkhovna Rada in session

It wasn’t until March, 2003 that the words of Chubynsky’s poem (but only the first verse and the chorus) were officially adopted by the Verkhovna Rada as the anthem’s lyrics, with slight changes to the first stanza. You can compare the words of the official version, an unofficial version, and Chubyntsky’s original poem in the Wikimedia article State Anthem Of Ukraine.

*The lyrics displayed as the anthem plays are an English translation of the official lyrics adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in 2003.

Image ©2022 ABS Ukraine flag colors lineLinksImage ©2022 ABS Ukraine flag colors line

Article: State Anthem of Ukraine. Click here. Text of the article is licensed (CC BY-SA 3.0) Informative article including the official and unofficial lyrics plus Chubyntsky’s original poem in both Ukrainian and in English translation. Also on this page: several recordings of the anthem, including the first recording of it and a choral version. Via

Article: Pavlo Chubynsky Click here.Text of the article is licensed (CC BY-SA 3.0) Very short biography, with links to other related articles. Via

Article: Mykhailo Verbytsky Click here. Text of the article is licensed (CC BY-SA 3.0) Medium length biography with a list of the types and number of his compositions. Via

Article: Ukrainian People’s Republic Click here. Text of the article is licensed (CC BY-SA 3.0) This socialist republic only lasted 3 years. It used Shche ne vmerla Ukraina as its national anthem, the first such usage of this anthem. Via

Description page for Ukrainian national anthem 1916 recording File: Ukrainian_national_anthem_1916_(complete).ogg Click here. (Public domain in U.S. and in Ukraine) This page has a Vorbis-Ogg file and an mp3 version for download. Via Wikimedia Commons.

National anthem of Ukraine Click here. This page has two instrumental recordings, the Veryovka Chorus version, a MIDI version, an ink drawing of the composer (Mykhaylo Verbytsky) (downloadable, public domain), and the musical score (downloadable, (CC BY-SA 3.0)). Clicking the recordings takes you to their description/download pages, with the licenses (all public domain) and sources. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Image ©2022 ABS Ukraine flag colors lineSourcesImage ©2022 ABS Ukraine flag colors line

Wikipedia article: State Anthem of Ukraine. Text licensed (CC BY-SA 3.0) Most of the information in this post came from this article. Via

File: Pavlo Chubynskyi.jpg by (unknown) (Public Domain) (Late 19th century) Pavlo Chubynsky, Ukrainian poet, the author of “Sche ne vmerla Ukrayina”. Autolitograf. Via Wikimedia Commons.

File: Mykhaylo Verbytsky.jpg by T. Meyerhoffer (Public Domain) (circa 1870) Mykhailo Verbytsky, Ukrainian composer. Autolithograph, from about 1870, when the notes and music for the Ukrainian national anthem were first printed. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Note: These two files were ink drawings; I colored them in PhotoShop®.

Frame for Verbytsky drawing. Image by Gordon Johnson (CC 0) from Pixabay. A delicate, intricate thin-line ink drawing, curly feather or foliage accents. I backed it with a solid blue-gray, and that combined with beveling makes it look like a silver metallic frame.

Frame for Chubynsky drawing. Image by mr1313 (CC 0) from Pixabay. Appears to be reddish-brown rope with blue accents.

File:Petro Poroshenko on Day of Constitution of Ukraine 2016-06-28 16.jpg by (CC BY-4.0 Int) 6-28-16 Participation of Petro Poroshenko in festivities on occasion of Day of Constitution of Ukraine 2016-06-28. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Anthem movie with approximately timed lyrics

ukraine-g5ec075409_640.jpg Image by jorono (CC 0) from Pixabay. Ukraine flag on a dark sky. I wanted the relatively dark background so that the text for the lyrics would show up in contrast. Via Wikimedia Commons. If this is “structured text”, it would be (CC 0), if “unstructured text” it is (CC BY-SA 3.0). I’m guessing that “structured” refers to the table with the author, source, description, etc., and that this text is (CC BY-SA 3.0). I used the link to the English timed text.

I loaded the flag graphic into PhotoShop®, converting it to a video layer. I loaded the State Anthem mp3 file as the audio track, and stretched the flag image to match the length of the anthem. Using video layers, I added the text at appropriate points in the audio file, guided in part by the timed text. However, I realized that the text translation was not from the official version adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in March 2003. Therefore, I went back and substituted the slightly different wording of the English translation from the official version.This was rendered to a 1GB QuickTime® movie, and that converted to a much smaller (12.3MB) .m4v format in iSkysoft Video Converter Ultimate®.

November 7th, 2022 at 8:02 am


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