Ukraine

 

In 1862, Ukrainian poet and ethnographer Pavlo Chubynskyi wrote a poem “Ще не вмерла Україна” (“Shche ne vmerla Ukrayina”) [Ukraine Is Not Dead Yet] in 1862, which gained a wide popularity among the Ukrainian intelligentsia of the time. It also caught the attention of Mykhailo Verbytskyi, a priest, and was moved to compose music for the poem; it was first performed as a choral work in 1864 in the Ukraine Theatre in Lvov.

Upon the declaration of Ukrainian independence in 1917, a number of patriotic works were used in the capacity of a national anthem, including Chubynskyi’s work, but none of them were officially declared as the national anthem. In 1920, Ukraine was made part of the Soviet Union, and “Shche ne vmerla Ukrayina” and other patriotic works were officially discouraged. During the second world war, the short lived Carpatho-Ukraine Republic (now located in western Ukraine) adopted “Shche ne vmerla Ukrayina” as its anthem. Upon the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine regained its independence and Chubynskyi’s anthem was the most popular choice already in use as an anthem; when independence was declared no lyrics were officially mandated, the lyrics that were in common use at the time differed somewhat from Chubynskyi’s original poem.

The lyrics were made official in 2003 and changed slightly; the most important change was made to the first line (and title), which were interestingly borrowed from the Polish anthem. In the new version, the case ending of the word “Ukraine” was changed, so that rather than saying “Ukraine hasn’t yet died, nor has her glory or freedom,” it now says that it’s Ukraine’s glory and freedom which haven’t perished. Also, the current version of the anthem is limited to the first verse of Chubynskyi’s poem (with the modification to the first line mentioned above) plus the chorus, which was the first half of Chubynskyi’s original chorus; previously, three verses and a chorus were commonly used.

Special thanks to: Ben Cahoon for some of this information and Igor Ryzhikov for correcting some of this information.