Slava Ukraini

Ukrainian national salute

A protester in New York City on 27 February 2022, holding a sign that reads "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!" The phrase gained worldwide prominence as a result of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Monument of Independence in Kharkiv includes the phrase

"Glory to Ukraine!" (Ukrainian: Слава Україні!, romanized: Sláva Ukrayíni!, IPA: [ˈsɫaʋɐ ʊkrɐˈjinʲi] (listen)) is a Ukrainian national salute, known as a symbol of Ukrainian sovereignty and resistance and as the official salute of the Armed Forces of Ukraine since 2018. It is often accompanied by the response "Glory to the heroes!" (Ukrainian: Героям слава!, romanized: Heróyam sláva!, IPA: [ɦeˈrɔjɐm ˈsɫaʋɐ]).

The phrase first appeared at the beginning of the 20th century in different variations, when it became popular among Ukrainians during the Ukrainian War of Independence from 1917 to 1921.[1] From the 1930s it was used by different Ukrainian groups, as well as Ukrainian diaspora groups and refugee communities in the West during the Cold War. In the Soviet Union the phrase was forbidden and discredited by Soviet and later Russian authorities. The phrase eventually resurfaced in Ukraine during the country's struggle for independence in connection with the fall of the Soviet Union. Its use was revived again during the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and the Russo-Ukrainian War, during which it became a widely popular symbol in Ukraine.

The phrase has gained worldwide attention during the ongoing 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and has subsequently been used in protests in support of Ukraine around the world.[2] It has been used in speeches by Ukrainian politicians like President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as well as numerous foreign leaders. It is also a battle cry for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.


Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko used the phrase in the form "Glory of Ukraine" in a 1860 poem


A similar phrase, "Glory of Ukraine",[nb 1] has been used at least since the time of the prominent patriotic Ukrainian writer Taras Shevchenko. In his poem To Osnovianenko («До Основ'яненка»; 1840, in the version of 1860) Shevchenko wrote:[3]

Our thought, our song
Will not die, will not perish…
Oh there, people, is our glory,
Glory of Ukraine!

In the 1877 drama L'Hetman by the French author Paul Déroulède, the main character, Hetman Frol Gherasz, uses "Glory to Ukraine!" (French: Gloire à l’Ukraine!) as a salute.[4] The events of the drama take place during the Khmelnytsky Uprising,[5] which indicates that the phrase may have been in use in the Cossack Hetmanate.

The first known mention of the slogan "Glory to Ukraine!" with the response "Glory all around the world!" (Ukrainian: По всій землі слава, Po vsiy zemli slava) is in connection with the Ukrainian student community of the late 19th to early 20th centuries in Kharkiv.[1]

Ukrainian War of Independence and World War II

Records of the 15 March 1917 Rada "in support of a democratic and independent Ukraine", from the journal "Nowa Rada". The phrase Glory to Ukraine is underlined.

The phrase "Slava Ukraini!" (Glory to Ukraine!) appeared in military formations during the Ukrainian War of Independence (from 1917 to 1921).[6] It became part of the lexicon of Ukrainian nationalists in the 1920s.[nb 2]

UPA propaganda poster. OUN-UPA's formal greeting is written in Ukrainian on two of the horizontal lines: "Glory to Ukraine—Glory to (her) Heroes"

The modern response "Heroiam slava!" (Glory to the heroes!) appeared in the 1930s among members of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) who started using this slogan to commemorate veterans of 1918 to 1921 Ukrainian-Soviet War and the wider Ukrainian War of Independence.[6] The greeting "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!" became an official slogan of Stepan Bandera's OUN-B in April 1941.[7][6][8]

World War II-era monument in memory of UPA partisans with the inscription "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!", in place of the Janowa Dolina massacre, Bazaltove, Ukraine

Soviet era and late 20th century

In the Soviet Union, the slogan "Slava Ukraini!" was forbidden and discredited via a decades-long propaganda campaign alongside the diaspora Ukrainian nationalists who used it.[9][6] They were dubbed "Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists", "Banderites", and "Nazi henchmen" by Soviet authorities.[9]

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the slogan began to be heard at rallies and demonstrations.[6] After Ukraine declared independence in 1991, the phrase "Glory to Ukraine" became a common patriotic slogan.[citation needed] In 1995, President of the United States Bill Clinton used the phrase in a speech in Kyiv[10] (together with "God bless America").[11]

Russo-Ukrainian War

A debit card from Ukrainian PrivatBank with the phrase and "Glory to the heroes" response

The phrase has undergone a resurgence in recent times, becoming a popular and prominent refrain during the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, and a symbol of democracy and of resistance against Putin's Russia following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[9] Canadian historian Serhy Yekelchyk writes that "the nationalist greeting from the 1940s [...] acquired new meaning on the Maidan", and that "when used by protestors, [the slogan] referred to a hoped-for democratic and pro-Western Ukraine and regarded as heroes those who had fallen in service to their cause."[12] According to political scientist Vyacheslav Likhachev, even variations that had far-right connotations lost that meaning during Euromaidan, for example, nearly every public speech, as well as public greetings began/ended with "Glory to Ukraine – glory to the heroes!" He noted that by the Equality March in 2021, the annual LGBTQ+ event in Kyiv, other variations like "Glory to the nation – death to the enemies!" were chanted by participants spontaneously. They had long become ubiquitous enough to lose any aggressive meaning.[13]

On 9 August 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that "Glory to Ukraine" would be the official greeting of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, replacing "Hello comrades" (Ukrainian: Вітаю товариші, romanized: Vitayu tovaryshi).[14] The greeting was used during the Kyiv Independence Day Parade on 24 August 2018.[15] The Ukrainian parliament approved the President's bill on this (in its first reading) on 6 September and on 4 October 2018.[16] Parliament also made Glory to Ukraine the official greeting of the National Police of Ukraine.[17]

The popularization of the phrase was sometimes controversial abroad. After Croatia's 2018 FIFA World Cup victory, Croatia's assistant coach was fined by the football governing body FIFA after posting a video in which he used the slogan. In response, on 10 July 2018, Ukrainian supporters flooded FIFA's Facebook page with over 158,000 comments, most saying "Glory to Ukraine". Russia alleged that the chant has ultra-nationalist connotations.[18] The Football Federation of Ukraine said in a statement that "'Glory to Ukraine' is a commonly used greeting in Ukraine," and that it "should not be interpreted as an act of aggression or provocation".[19]

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

"Slava Ukraini" sign at an anti-war protest in Washington, DC, 27 February 2022

This phrase became very popular among Ukrainian soldiers and their supporters to boost morale following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[20][21] The slogan has seen worldwide use by protesters in solidarity with Ukraine all over the world, accompanying various demands towards the Russian embassies and the relevant national governments such as excluding Russia from SWIFT and closing airspace over Ukraine.[22]

It has been used in speeches by numerous Ukrainian politicians including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.[23] It has also been used by foreign leaders including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen,[24] former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson,[25] New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern,[26] Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte,[27] Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković,[28] U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi[29] and the UK's Permanent Representative Barbara Woodward in a speech to the UN.[30] It has been used by commentators and media such as The Times.[31]



The Norwegian Armed Forces' official composer Marcus Paus composed the song "Slava Ukraini!," loosely inspired by Ukraine's national anthem. Paus released the work on Facebook[32] on 27 February 2022 and described it as a song of resistance; it was recorded two days later by Lithuanian-Norwegian viola player Povilas Syrrist-Gelgota of the Oslo Philharmonic, and was broadcast shortly afterwards by the Norwegian government broadcaster, NRK.[33][34][35][36][37] Paus said that "the work seems to strike a chord with many people, including those who are in the middle of the battle zone. There is no nobler task for music than to unite and comfort people."[33]

Beyond Europe, the song "Glory to Hong Kong" drew inspiration from the slogan for use in the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests.[38] The Chinese edition of Deutsche Welle named "Glory to Hong Kong" the "anthem" of the Hong Kong protests.[39] Describing the song, Chinese Television System News in Taiwan noted that the song had "peaceful vocals coupled with scenes of bloody conflicts between Hong Kong Police and the people" and that by creating "Glory to Hong Kong", Hongkongers recorded their "history of struggling for democracy and freedom".[40] The connection between Ukraine and Hong Kong was received extremely negatively in mainland China, with Chinese commentators alleging American instigation of the Revolution of Dignity and Ukrainian Neo-Nazis meddling in Hong Kong affairs, going uncensored by the Great Firewall.[41][42]

Commemorative currency

The 2 euro commemorative coin issued by the Bank of Estonia in 2022 features the words "Slava Ukraini" (Glory to Ukraine), which was designed by Daria Titova, a Ukrainian refugee studying at the Estonian Academy of Arts.[43][44]


  1. ^ Ukrainian: Слава України!
  2. ^ In his monumental book Kholodny Yar, Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi writes that he heard this phrase from several insurgents who fought in the Kholodny Yar Ukrainian partisan movement (1918–1923). They routinely greeted each other with the phrase "Slava Ukraini!", and the response had to be "Ukraini slava!" (which also means "Glory to Ukraine" but with the words swapped around as is possible and idiomatic in Ukrainian).[6]


  1. ^ a b Yuriy Yuzych. ""Glory to Ukraine!": Who and when was the slogan created?". Istorychna Pravda. Archived from the original on 25 February 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  2. ^ "'Glory to Ukraine': hundreds of thousands march against Russian invasion". France 24. 27 February 2022. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  3. ^ "До Основ'яненка. Тарас Шевченко. Повне зібрання творів. Том. 1". Archived from the original on 7 February 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  4. ^ Paul Déroulède. L’hetman; drame en cinq actes en vers; acte V, scène XI — Paris: Calmann Lévy, 1877. — P. 148.
  5. ^ Irvine, Demar (1997). Massenet: A Chronicle of His Life and Times. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 91. ISBN 978-1-57467-024-0.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Why Is the International Media Still Repeating Kremlin Propaganda about Ukraine? Archived 20 February 2022 at the Wayback Machine, Atlantic Council (13 July 2018)
    (in Ukrainian) "Glory to Ukraine!" – the story of the slogan of the struggle for independence Archived 24 February 2022 at the Wayback Machine, Radio Free Europe (19 June 2017)
  7. ^ Katchanovski, Ivan (2004). "The Politics of World War II in Contemporary Ukraine". Archived from the original on 25 August 2018.
  8. ^ Rudling, Per Anders (30 September 2017). " interviewed Per Anders Rudling about the roots that gave rise to the Ukrainian far right". Archived from the original on 30 September 2017. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  9. ^ a b c "New 'Glory to Ukraine' army chant invokes nationalist past". Deutsche Welle. 24 August 2018. Archived from the original on 7 September 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  10. ^ Broder, John M. (13 May 1995). "Clinton Lauds Kiev for 'Taking the Hard Road'". Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  11. ^ Jehl, Douglas (13 May 1995). "Thousands Turn Out to Cheer Clinton in Ukraine". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 7 June 2021. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  12. ^ Yekelchyk, Serhy (24 November 2020). Ukraine: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-19-753210-2.
  13. ^ Likhachev, Vyacheslav (1 February 2022). Mörner, Ninna (ed.). "Far Right, Revolution and Symbols in Ukraine". Centre for Baltic and East European Studies. 2021: 177–185. ISBN 978-91-85139-13-2 – via diva.
  14. ^ Poroshenko, Petro. "President: The words "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes!" will be the official greetings of the Armed Forces of our state". PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE Official website. Government of Ukraine. Archived from the original on 22 April 2019. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  15. ^ "Ukraine's Independence Day military parade in Kyiv". The Ukrainian Week. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  16. ^ Ukraine's parliament approves new army, police greeting Archived 9 November 2021 at the Wayback Machine, UNIAN (4 October 2018)
  17. ^ Rada approves salute 'Glory to Ukraine' in Ukrainian army Archived 20 November 2021 at the Wayback Machine, Interfax-Ukraine (4 October 2018)
  18. ^ "World Cup 2018 Gets Political: The Nazi and anti-Russian Roots of 'Glory to Ukraine'". Ha'aretz. 15 July 2018. Archived from the original on 16 October 2021. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Angry Ukraine Fans Deluge FIFA's Facebook Page With Posts". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 July 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  20. ^ Schreck, Carl (7 September 2018). "'Glory To Ukraine!' Is The New National Team's Soccer Slogan A Rallying Cry Or A Fascist Call?". Archived from the original on 8 February 2022. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  21. ^ Stevis-Gridneff, Matina (11 March 2022). "Europe's Trains Take Fighters to Ukraine, and Bring Back Refugees". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 March 2022. 'Slava Ukraini,' he whispered, repeating the rallying cry 'Glory to Ukraine' that's galvanized the country.
  22. ^ Articles, The Times Leading. "The Times view on Ukraine's courage: Slava Ukraini!". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 5 March 2022. Retrieved 27 February 2022.
  23. ^ "'We won't put down weapons': Zelenskyy vows to fight on in Kyiv". Al Jazeera English. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  24. ^ "Speech by President von der Leyen at the European Parliament Plenary on the Russian aggression against Ukraine". European Commission. Archived from the original on 1 March 2022. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  25. ^ "PM statement to the House of Commons on Ukraine: 24 February 2022". Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022. And in that spirit I join you in saying slava Ukraini.
  26. ^ "Russia invasion of Ukraine: 'Slava Ukraini' - NZ Parliament condemns 'bully' Putin". NZ Herald. Archived from the original on 1 March 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  27. ^ "Rutte spreekt Oekraïners toe in videoboodschap: 'Slava Ukraini!'" (in Dutch). RTL Nieuws. 3 March 2022. Archived from the original on 5 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  28. ^ "Danas smo svi Ukrajinci! Slava Ukrajini! O sudbini Kijeva ovisi budućnost Europe!". Archived from the original on 5 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  29. ^ "'Slava Ukraini': Zelenskyy becomes Congress' great unifier". AP News. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  30. ^ "If we do not stand up now, then every nation is at risk: UK statement to the General Assembly on Ukraine". Archived from the original on 1 March 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022. So our message today is simple: We offer our unequivocal support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. We call on President Putin to stop this senseless war. And we urge all fellow Members of the United Nations to speak up for Ukraine and to defend the Charter. Slava Ukraini!
  31. ^ "The Times view on Ukraine's courage: Slava Ukraini!". The Times. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  32. ^ Paus, Marcus. "Slava Ukraini!". Facebook. Archived from the original on 5 March 2022. Retrieved 27 February 2022.
  33. ^ a b "Marcus Paus om sitt nye verk: – Jeg skrev 'Slava Ukraini!' fordi jeg ikke kunne la være" [Marcus Paus on his new work: I wrote 'Slava Ukraini!' because I had to]. Kulturplot. Norwegian News Agency. 4 March 2022. Archived from the original on 5 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  34. ^ "Klassisk vorspiel: Marcus Paus – Slava Ukraini". NRK. 4 March 2022. Archived from the original on 5 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  35. ^ "Marcus Paus: Slava Ukraini!". Norsk Musikforlag. Archived from the original on 5 March 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  36. ^ Syrrist-Gelgota, Povilas. "Marcus Paus "Slava Ukraini" for viola solo". YouTube. Archived from the original on 1 March 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  37. ^ Paus, Marcus. "Slava Ukraini!". Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  38. ^ "Hong Kong Protesters Draw Inspiration from Ukraine's Maidan | Wilson Center". Archived from the original on 3 January 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  39. ^ 香港抗议运动的"主题曲" (in Simplified Chinese). Deutsche Welle. 1 September 2019. Archived from the original on 13 September 2019. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  40. ^ 港人自創"願榮光歸香港" MV撼人心 (in Traditional Chinese). Chinese Television System. 6 September 2019. Archived from the original on 23 September 2019. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  41. ^ "中国香港绝对不能成为下一个乌克兰!" (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 25 February 2022. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  42. ^ "乌克兰"新纳粹"老兵现身香港,还到了港理大" (in Chinese (China)). Archived from the original on 3 December 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  43. ^ "Ukrainian refugee's 'Slava Ukraini' design chosen for new Estonian €2 coin". ERR News. 5 May 2022.
  44. ^ "The two-euro coin for Ukraine will use a design by a student refugee from the war". The Bank of Estonia. 5 May 2022.
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