Friday, March 9, 2018

Ukrainian Deputy Wants to Make Country’s National Anthem More Upbeat

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 9 – There are many ways a former colony can distance itself from the old metropolitan country: it can change the hierarchy of ethnicities and languages, it can change the alphabet its language is written in, and it can change the history textbooks and holidays which form its new national identity.

            But one of the most important if not always the most recognized ways is to change its national anthem.  In most cases, the countries can come up with an entirely new one; but in some, there is a historical anthem that many have sung while their nation was under the imperial rule of another.

            It is indicative of the nature of Moscow’s threat to the nations around it that the only two countries in the world whose national anthems begin with the assertion that our people and state have not yet died are neighbors of Russia, Poland and Ukraine; and, thus, it is intriguing that one Ukrainian deputy is now pushing for new and more affirmative language.

            Yesterday, Verkhovna Rada deputy Nestor Shufrich said on Kyiv’s NEWSONE channel that the start of Ukraine’s national anthem should be changed to make it more upbeat. Now, it begins “Ukraine has not yet died;” it should begin with the words “Ukraine will be forever” (

                At the same time, Shufrich said he was “categorically opposed” to changing the country’s national colors, blue and yellow, on the Ukrainian flag.  Those evolved “historically [and] out of respect for the first parliament and our history, I consider that this is already impermissible.”

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