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About Ukraine

The Ukrainian Government is characterized as a constitutional republic that has a presidential-parliamentary form of leadership. The country acquired its independence on August 24, 1991.

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The National Symbols of Ukraine

Ukraine’s coat of arms (Ukrainian: Державний Герб України) is usually called the Tryzub (Ukrainian: Тризуб, “trident”). It possesses the same colours present in the flag of Ukraine. The coat of arms is a blue shield that has a yellow trident. The coat of arms is present in the seal of the Ukrainian president.

On February 19, 1992, the country formalised the adoption of the small state symbol. Ivan Turetskyi, Andriy Grechylo, and Olexiy Kokhan were the designers of the Ukrainian coat of arms. There are constitutional provisions that deal with the establishment of a great coat of arms. However, such kind of symbol has not yet been officially established.

The Ukrainian National Flag

The flag of Ukraine is a banner comprised of two horizontal bars that have equal sizes. The blue bar is situated above the yellow horizontal bar. The flag’s colours represent the Kyivan State even prior to the baptism of the Rus. The established symbol ceased to be applied during the reign of Tartar yoke of Baty-khan. It got utilised later in the blazonry of towns in Ukraine and in church ritual designs. The towns situated in Kyiv region and many other places in Ukraine usually possess coats of arms, which had sky blue and yellow colours. Beginning in the seventeenth century, yellow paint and blue cloth were used in the company and regimental banners of Cossacks. The banners have saints, stars, cross and weapons as designs.

The development of the national attributes progressed until the 20th century. Central Rada authorised the use of the yellow-blue flag as Ukraine’s national symbol on March 1918. During the rule of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky, the arrangement of colours has been reversed making the Ukrainian flag blue-yellow. On January 28, 1992, the blue-yellow flag became the official Banner of Independent Ukraine as decreed by Verkhovna Rada.

History

The trident symbol found in Ukraine’s present coat of arms has a very long history that exceeds a millennium. The seals possessed by Rurik dynasty were the earliest discovered historical and archaeological artefacts that exhibited the said symbol.  The silver and gold coins issued during the reign of Prince Vladimir the Great (980-1015) have been stamped with the tryzub or trident. The prince may have acquired the trident symbol from Sviatoslav I Igorevich and other ancestors. The dynastic symbol got transferred to the prince’s sons Sviatopolk I who ruled from 1015 to 1019 and Yaroslav the Wise who reigned from 1019 to 1054.

The tiles of Dormition Cathedral, which is located in Volodymyr-Volynskyi, and the bricks of Church of the Tithes, which is situated in Kiev possessed the tryzub. The trident symbol was also discovered in several other churches and palaces. The symbol was also present in several historical seals, documents, rings, medallions, ceramics and weaponries. Given its widespread utilisation, the symbol attained numerous variations throughout its extensive history. Despite the immense diversity, the tryzub retained its fundamental structure.

Interpretation

Historians cannot declare with absolute certainty what the tryzub truly signified. However, a large number of experts concur that the trident symbol most likely represents a stylised falcon. In Slavic mythology, the stylised falcon refers to Pershoboh or the primary deity. For Christians, a descending falcon is a representation of the Holy Spirit.  The latter explanation apparently has greater sense given that the tryzub emerged during the time when Christianisation was actively happening in the places where the symbol has been discovered. The trident symbol closely matches modern portrayals of the descending falcon. In the earliest seat of the Kievan Rurik dynasty, in Old Ladoga, there were illustrations of a soaring falcon that has a cross on top of its head. Olaf Guthfrithsson’s coins also had symbols of a falcon that has a cross near it. For several hundred years, falconry has been considered by Europeans as a royal sport. The Norwegian falcon or Gyrfalcon has been perceived as a royal bird. It has been stated in The Tale of Igor’s Campaign, which was a very early Ukrainian epic that has been written during the twelfth century.  Because the prominent rulers during the Middle Ages considered gyrfalcon as an immensely valuable hunting bird, it became Iceland’s traditional symbol. Iceland is historically called the land of the Vikings. Each year, the government of Denmark designated a ship to obtain gyrfalcons from Iceland. During 1903 to 1919, the coat of arms of Iceland portrayed a white gyrfalcon that was located on a blue field. Such symbol was shown in the royal flag of Iceland. One of the most significant presidential recognitions in Iceland is called the Order of the Falcon. The symbol was also present in Iceland’s old five krona banknote. Because of the fact that it was extremely challenging to capture gyrfalcons, the birds were specially designated to be used by nobles and kings. Gyrfalcons were rarely observed to be held by ordinary people. At present, a gyrfalcon approximate costs $30,000 to $50,000.

The descending trident symbol depicts the gyrfalcon’s predation stance when it lands on its target. The Ukrainian trident’s interwoven spiral appearance looks the same as the Jelling style, which referred to a Scandinavian animal art that was popular in the tenth century. Starting from the eleventh century, the symbol’s utilisation within Ukraine has been overtaken by the usage of saint images especially that of St. Michael and St. George. The saints were perceived as the guardians of the most prominent families at the time. Cultural or heraldic images of Cossack or Galician nature later became the most widely used symbols.

The trident got recognised as Ukraine’s national symbol in 1917 when the well-known historian Mykhailo Hrushevsky suggested its usage as the country’s symbol. Other images that had substantial relevance to the country were also suggested together with the trident. The Central Rada formally adopted the symbol as Ukrainian People’s Republic coat of arms on March 22, 1918.

Great Coat of Arms

Ukraine’s constitution promotes the country’s adoption of a Great Coat of Arms. However, the country never formalised the adoption of the Great Coat of Arms. In the mentioned symbol, a lion and a Cossack support the shield found in the small coat of arms. The lion is situated in the left side, and it originated from Galician Coat of Arms. On the other hand, the Cossack is located in the right side. It is dressed in traditional clothing, and it is armed with a musket. Wheat and viburnum are situated in the lowermost portion of the Great Coat of Arms while Vladimir the Great’s crown is situated above it. The crown represents the sovereignty of the country.

Two-thirds of the Ukrainian Parliament or Verkhovna Rada must support the formal adoption of the Great Coat of Arms for it to be truly considered a national symbol of Ukraine.

Government of Ukraine, The State Coat of Arms…

In adherence to the Constitution, Ukraine’s Major State Coat of Arms must be founded while incorporating the country’s Minor State Coat of Arms and that of Zaporizhia’s Cossack Army. The trident, which is the Minor State Emblem and the emblem of Volodymyr the Great, is the most important element of the country’s Major State Coat of Arms.

During the ancient times, the trident was viewed as a magical symbol that represented the Universe’s separation into the earthly realm, heavenly realm and a realm beyond the others. The trident manifested the merger of the sacred origin, the divine, and the motherly and fatherly. The symbol was also viewed as the union of the natural elements water, earth and air. Archaeologists discovered the image in many historical artefacts that existed as early as the first century. The earliest encountered record of the signs emerged during the tenth century.

Kyivan Prince Ihor’s ambassadors had tridents in the seals made when formalising an agreement with Byzantium. The prince ruled from 912 to 945. The trident acted as the emblem of the mighty princedom during the time of the Kyivan Rus. Researchers encountered the symbol in wall-paints, seals, coins and bricks. Prince Volodymyr Sviatoslavych of Kiev issued money that has the trident on a side and Master’s image on the opposite side.

The Central Rada formally made the trident the Ukrainian People’s Republic’s official symbol in December 1917. Starting from January 22, 1919 and as compliance to the Decree of Unification, the trident became a component of the regional coat of arms of UPR’s western oblast. The symbol retained its relevance as a vital element of the Directoria and Hetman State.

The all-Ukrainian National Rada was the earliest authoritative entity to constitutionally adopt the trident as the state’s coat of arms. The adoption happened in May 1920. The symbol also became Carpathian Rus’s State Coat of Arms in 1939.

The Soviets downgraded the trident from becoming a Ukrainian symbol during the existence of the USSR. The symbol was widely used by Ukrainians who fought for national liberation.

Verkhovna Rada’s decree “On the State Coat of Arms of Ukraine” was implemented on February 1992. The decree officially acknowledged the trident or the tryzub as Ukraine’s Small State Coat of Arms. The decree also stated that the trident must become a major component of the country’s Great State Coat of Arms.

The Great State Coat of Arms is still waiting its approval. The proposed appearance of the unapproved symbol has been derived from elements that immensely contributed to the attainment of the country’s independence. The coats of arms possessed by Zaporizhia’s Cossack Army, Galycia, and Volynia Principality must reflect in Ukraine’s Great State Coat of Arms. The unofficially recognised coat of arms has been conceptualised to have a golden lion and a Cossack holding a musket that support the shield and serve as state guardians. The mentioned elements represent the succession of the State Coat of Arms that was made during the time of Great Princedom. The proposed coat of arms possesses representations of eastern and western Ukrainian territories. The presence of such representations in the same coat of arms signifies the unity of two parts that have been previously separated for an excessively lengthy duration.