Slava Ukraini: How to Say Glory to Ukraine in Ukrainian

Tetiana Fram - 02 March 2023 | 15:49

“Slava Ukraini!” “Heroyam Slava.” The history of the most famous Ukrainian slogan which was born in Kharkiv and became the motto of Ukraine`s resilience.

“Slava Ukraini” (Cyrillic “Слава Україні”) has become the symbol of the Ukrainian struggle against Russian aggression and the imperialist ambitions of the terrorist country. By saying “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes” people express their appreciation of those who fight for Ukrainian freedom, support Ukraine and get a sense of belonging and sharing common values.

Here we talk about the history behind the slogan, what does “Slava Ukraini” mean, and how to translate and pronounce “Slava Ukraini” in English.

The slogan`s origin

The slogan was born in Kharkiv. At first, the full motto sounded “Glory to Ukraine” — “Glory all over the land!”, and was used by Kharkiv students as early as the end of the 19th century.

The first mention of the slogan refers to the Revolutionary Ukrainian Party (RUP). For its members, the words became a way to recognize people who also put effort into Ukrainian autonomy.

The founders of RUP, Kharkiv Institute of Technology students (now Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute)

In September 1916, in Detroit (USA), the working Ukrainian diaspora organized a large gathering of like-minded people, which attracted 1,200 participants. They unfurled the national flag and shouted “Glory to Ukraine! Long live Ukraine!”

1917 Revolution

In 1917, the Ukrainian War of Independence broke out in Kyiv. People replied “Glory! Glory to Ukraine!” to the slogan “Long live the autonomy of Ukraine!” at rallies in different parts of the country.

Later, “Glory to Ukraine!” became the motto of the Ukrainian soldiers fighting in the Ukrainian-Soviet war.

The newspaper “Nova Rada” mentions “Slava Ukraini” shouted during the community gathering on March 15, 1917, in the village of Diivka (now part of Dnipro city)

The slogan became popular in various environments. The Black Cossacks [military formation of the army cavalry in 1918-1920 – ed.] of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UPR) greeted each other with “Glory to Ukraine!”- “Glory to the Cossacks!”

Representatives of the self-proclaimed Kholodny Yar Republic on the territory of the modern Cherkasy region said “Glory to Ukraine!” – “Slava Ukraini!” In 1920, the greeting “Slava Ukraini!” was also officially approved in the UPR Army.

In 1917, Ukrainians from the tsarist guard regiments organized armed demonstrations under blue and yellow flags in the capital of Russia. The inscription on the flag says “Long live the autonomy of Ukraine!”

“Slava Ukraini” and its meaning today

The modern response to “Slava Ukraini” was invented by the Legion of Ukrainian Nationalists in the second half of the 20th century. Only later did the slogan begin to be used in the Bandera`s “Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists” OUN (B). The most resonant “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!” became in the 1930s, during the Lviv and Warsaw trials. 

This slogan was officially approved by OUN in 1941, but the Soviet authorities forbade it as they wanted to suppress the Ukrainian insurgent movement.

Response to Slava Ukraini

The response to “Slava Ukraini” in Ukrainian sounds like “Heroyam Slava” which means “Glory to the heroes”. However, the full version includes the slogan “Glory to the nation! Death to enemies!” and “Ukraine above all!”

This addition appeared during the revival of the slogan in the late 80s and early 90s of the 20th century. The slogans turned up during the protests in Galicia, Zakarpattia, and Kyiv, where people from all over the state gathered to stand for Ukraine’s independence.

Slava Ukraini poster
Saint Javelin charitable initiative poster

What does Slava Ukraini mean in Ukrainian now

Now, the slogan is associated with several notable events in the modern history of Ukraine:

In 2020, the Parliament officially approved “Glory to Ukraine!” as a greeting for the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the National Police.

Since 2022, “Glory to Ukraine” has become the symbol of Ukrainian defense against Russian unprovoked aggression.

How to pronounce Slava Ukraini

Here is an example of “Slava Ukraini“ pronunciation:

Slava Ukraini in memes
Slava Ukraini in meme / Image: 9GAG

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