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The Urkainian national anthem

The historian Heather Cox Richardson, in her daily post on Facebook, writes this morning:

“The Ukrainian people have done far more than hold off Putin’s horrific attack on their country. Their refusal to permit a corrupt oligarch to take over their homeland and replace their democracy with authoritarianism has inspired the people of democracies around the world.

“The colors of the Ukrainian flag are lighting up buildings across North America and Europe and musical performances are beginning with the Ukrainian anthem. Protesters are marching and holding vigils for Ukraine. The answer of the soldier on Ukraine’s Snake Island to the Russian warship when it demanded that he and his 12 compatriots lay down their weapons became instantly iconic. He answered: ‘Russian warship: Go f**k yourself.’

“That defiance against what seemed initially to be an overwhelming military assault has given Ukraine a psychological edge over the Russians, some of whom seem bewildered at what they are doing in Ukraine. It has also offered hope that the rising authoritarianism in the world is not destined to destroy democracy, that authoritarians are not as strong as they have projected.”

Though the Ukrainian national anthem sounds as though it was written for this very moment in history, its origins are in the 19th Century, and it was banned during the Soviet years: Shche ne vmerla Ukrainy i slava, i volia.

Nay, thou art not dead, Ukraine, see, thy glory’s born again,
And the skies, O brethren, upon us smile once more!
As in Springtime melts the snow, so shall melt away the foe,
And we shall be masters in our own home.

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