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14 Mai. 2023

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Glory to Ukraine! - the history of the slogan and its significance during the war

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Glory to Ukraine! - the history of the slogan and its significance during the war

Today, the slogan "Glory to Ukraine" is heard in all corners of the world. But not everyone knows that it has a unique and interesting history. Find out more about the origin of the slogan and its meaning before and during the war

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"Glory to Ukraine!" has a rich history spanning over a century and continues to evoke heartfelt feelings among Ukrainians. Those who fought for independence and freedom in Ukraine used it, both during the occupation and independence times.


Glory to Ukraine! and Kharkiv youth


Russian propaganda constantly claims that the slogan is the heritage of the people of Bandera. This is not true, because it arose earlier than the Bandera movement. Historical data show that "Glory of Ukraine!" and the answer "In all the earth glory!" began to be widely used by representatives of the Kharkiv student community at the end of the 19th century.


Afterward, they went on to establish the Revolutionary Ukrainian Party and the Ukrainian National Party, which became the first nationalist group in Ukraine.


Interestingly, at that time people didn’t use the answer "Glory to heroes!". Read on to learn when it appeared.


Popularization of the slogan in the 20th century


The tradition of greeting with this phrase became widespread during the first liberation struggles in 1917-1920. This was a crucial time in Ukraine's history, as it marked the country's initial steps towards independence. Although short-lived, Ukraine proclaimed its independence during this period.


In Kyiv, when the revolution was just beginning, the slogan "Long live the autonomy of Ukraine!" could be heard at rallies and the answer to it "Glory! Glory to Ukraine!".


In 1917, a significant event took place in the village of Diyivka, located in what was then Katerynoslav (now part of Dnipro city). At a meeting of villagers, they proclaimed the slogan "Glory to Ukraine!" in a show of support for the country's struggle for independence. Similarly, in the town of Shostka, party figures stood up and chanted "Glory to Ukraine!" in support of the 3rd Universal. However, the Bolsheviks were the only group to reject the slogan.


In July 1917 "Glory to Ukraine!" sounded from the first ship of the Black Sea Fleet with a yellow-blue flag.

During the war with the Bolsheviks, people went to the battlefield with this slogan. Various groups in different regions used this slogan: from the scouts of Halychyna to the Black Cossacks of the Ukrainian People's Republic and the people of Kholodny Yar. We would like to add that precisely in Kholodny Yar authority built a monument to the slogan.


The slogan became official in 1920, when the commander of the Army of the Ukrainian People's Republic Mykhailo Omelyanovych-Pavlenko approved the greeting "Glory to Ukraine!" by an official order. However, in those days it was necessary to answer "Glory! Glory! Glory!".


During the 1920s and 1930s, the slogan "Glory to Ukraine!" began to fade from use. This was likely since following defeats in Ukraine's struggle for independence, it may have been deemed inappropriate to proclaim "glory". As a result, some leaders began to use the phrase "Long live Ukraine!" instead.


However, it is important to note that the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and its leader, Stepan Bandera, played a significant role in the resurgence of the slogan. During Bandera's trial in Warsaw in 1936, a girl on trial with him shouted "Glory to Ukraine!" in defiance, inspiring subsequent OUN members to use the slogan as a greeting during other trials, even though they knew it would result in punishment.


As time passed, all political parties, even those in conflict with the OUN, began to use the "Glory to Ukraine!" slogan in their speeches. By 1936, it had once again become a national slogan.


In 1941, the Bandera wing of the OUN adopted the full slogan "Glory to Ukraine! - Glory to heroes!". While it was initially used by the OUN, it was later adopted by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which was active in Western Ukraine from 1942 to the 1960s.


After the Soviet Union suppressed the armed resistance of the OUN-UPA, the use of this exclamation was banned for a long time.


The slogan Glory to Ukraine and the encounter with death


This year, we saw a terrible video of our soldier being shot after saying "Glory to Ukraine!". Unfortunately, this is not the first time in history - in the last century, heroic Ukrainians died with the mention of the Motherland on their lips. Historical evidence remains that in Carpathian Ukraine, Ukrainians met death shouting "Glory to Ukraine!".


The first recorded instance of the national slogan being shouted before an execution occurred in Lviv in March 1919. Two Ukrainians were being executed by a military court verdict imposed by the Poles. Just before they were shot, the men shouted "Glory to Ukraine!". A man from Lviv, who later became a lawyer, left a written record of this incident.




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The meaning of the slogan during ‘perestroika’ and independence


The slogan experienced a resurgence in popularity during the 1990s, particularly during the "Revolution on Granite" protests when it was commonly used at rallies and demonstrations. 


It is worth noting that throughout the various historical periods, the slogans "Death to the enemy!" and "Ukraine above all!" were not commonly used in conjunction with "Glory to Ukraine!". These phrases were popularized by the Ukrainian People's Self-Defense, a nationalist political movement that emerged in 1990.


Among our contemporaries, the greeting "Glory to Ukraine - Glory to the Heroes" is persistently associated with the Orange Revolution, the Revolution of Dignity, and the war with Russia.


After independence, namely in 2018, the Verkhovna Rada approved "Glory to Ukraine!" - "Glory to heroes!" as official greetings of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Police. In this way, the authority replaced the old Soviet greeting: "Hello, comrades" and the answer - "We wish you health".


After the start of a full-scale war with Russia, many foreign political figures and celebrities say "Glory to Ukraine!" to show their support for Ukraine and its brave citizens. In particular, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Polish President Andrzej Duda used this phrase. 


The "Glory to Ukraine!" has already become part of our identity. Every time we say these words, we honor our Motherland and every hero who fought and continues to fight for the country's independence. Glory to Ukraine!




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