Oh, Red Viburnum in the Meadow – Ukraine’s Second Anthem

For the love of Ukraine.

Слава Україні. Героям слава.
Slava Ukraini. Heroyam slava.
Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes.

Слава в калині.  Slava v kalyni.  Glory to the kalyna.

Viburnum opulus, red viburnum, Ukrainian: chervona kalyna

This is an “epic length” post, loaded with inspiring pictures and music videos, factual information, a lot of history, and a lot of love.  Take it as a “time-out for Ukraine” for an afternoon, or a little day to day.  Of course, you should always scroll down if you are bored.  There will be something less boring ahead.  I promise.


Speaking at the 2022 Grammy Awards ceremony by video from a bunker, Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskyy said:

“The war. What is more opposite to music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people. Our children draw swooping rockets, not shooting stars. Over 400 children have been injured and 153 children died. And we’ll never see them drawing. Our parents are happy to wake up in the morning in bomb shelters. But alive. Our loved ones don’t know if we will be together again. The war doesn’t let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence.

“Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals, even to those who can’t hear them. But the music will break through anyway. We defend our freedom to live, to love, to sound on our land. We are fighting Russia, which brings horrible silence with its bombs. The dead silence. Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today to tell our story.

Sunflower, national flower of Ukraine and major crop

“Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on TV. Support us in any way you can. Any — but not silence. And then peace will come. To all our cities the war is destroying — Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Volnovakha, Mariupol and others — they are legends already. But I have a dream of them living and free. Free like you on the Grammy stage.”  — from NY Times April 3, 2022, Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to Grammys audience in a prerecorded video.

“Music will break through anyway … Fill the silence with your music!
Fill it today, to tell our story.”

Click any photo to open it full-screen in another tab/window.

Feb 27, 2022 – Rally in Berlin, Germany against Russian invasion
of Ukraine on Feb 24, 2022.  What’s up in your town?

What do you think?  Is there hope for humanity?
There is Berlin, and there are trees.

Where is love?  In Ukraine’s chervona kalyna (red viburnum) tree “snowball” flowers.  They are blooming now all over much of Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America, variants in some cases, but almost identical.

“Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on TV.  Support us in any way you can.  Any — but not silence.  And then peace will come. “ –Zelenskyy

He said “any way you can … but not silence.”  This is my place, TheBalsamean.com, to not be silent in support of Ukraine.  I begin with what Ukraine says, by its president, and by its website on the war: visit https://war.ukraine.ua/ “… the official website of Ukraine. The information is verified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.”

The war photos here came from there, because they have so many images of inspired Ukrainians confronting war with the best of themselves.  Confronting war itself.  These images of Ukrainians speak from what they are, who they are, and how they are winning: with love.

A woman kisses a man while cooking on a fire outside their house in Bucha.
Since the Russian invasion, there has been no water, gas, or electricity here.
April 2022.  Photo by Vadym Chirda.

Ukrainians’ extraordinary confidence of victory arises from love of each other, of freedom, and of their nation.  It is expressed in Oh, Red Viburnum in the Meadow (Ой у лузі червона калина – Oi u luzi chervona kalyna), their “second anthem,” inspired by their official national plant, a tree, chervona kalyna (червона калина), the red viburnum (or guelder-rose viburnum, Viburnum opulus),

The song originally celebrated the heroism and skill of the Sich Riflemen of the Ukrainian People’s Army from 1917-1921.  I offer a roughly sketched history, intending only to highlight some connections from the current culture back to the Sich and the Cossacks.  The red viburnum song celebrates the Sich Riflemen, and the National Anthem makes direct reference to the Cossack culture.

Residents of Mykolaiv gather water from the river after the Russian rocket interrupted the water supply in the city.   April 22, 2022.  Photo by Kostia Liberov

The Sich Riflemen developed out of the former World War I Austro-Hungarian Army’s Ukrainian Sich Riflemen, or Legion of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen, 1913-1918, before becoming a regular unit of Ukraine’s army.

Commissioning of the first company of the Legion of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen, March 18, 1913.

Modern Ukraine lies partly in what had been Galicia, a region in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Galicia spanned what is now Eastern Poland and Western Ukraine.  Galicia’s largest city is the current Lviv that you hear so much about in news of the Russian war on Ukraine.  Lviv is a gateway for Ukrainian refugees escaping to Poland, where they are welcomed.

Map of Galicia (white) circa 1882.
Click the map for a better view.

The roots of the Sich Riflemen stretch back to before 1894.  A rising national consciousness among Ukrainians in Galicia brought about Ukrainian youth organizations that eventually lead to the formation in 1900 of a sports/firefighting organization, or Sich.

The term sich dates back at least to the 15th Century in the Cossack culture of what is today Central and Eastern Ukraine.

A sich was an administrative and military centre of the Zaporozhian Cossacks. The word sich derives from the Ukrainian verb сікти siktý, “to chop” – with the implication of clearing a forest for an encampment or of building a fortification with the trees that have been chopped down.  [Generally the term came to be synonymous with a fort or the community occupying it.]

The Zaporizhian Sich was the fortified capital of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, [for which the current city of Zaporizhzhia is named] located on the Dnieper River, in the 16th–18th centuries in the area of what is today Ukraine. The Sich Rada [an elected body] was the highest organ of government in the Zaporozhian Host, or army of the Zaporozhian Cossacks.  — Wikipedia article on Sich

Zaporozhian Cossack painting by Konstantin Makovsky, 1884

You’ll begin to sense the origin of the independent spirit and gutsiness of Ukraine as you read this, and get a sense of at least a portion of their pride in their Cossack beginnings.

The youth Sich that formed in 1900 sparked a movement.

[It] rejuvenated the ideas of Cossack Zaporozhian Sich to foster the national patriotism among the young generation. Alongside these organizations, forming all across Galicia, parallel sports/firefighting organizations were also springing up. By 1912, many smaller Sich companies appeared in numerous Ukrainian communities. Along with these youth organizations, a Women’s Organizational Committee was set up to train nurses. The Ukrainian Sich Union coordinated the activities of all local Sich companies and printed its own newspaper, “The Sich News.”  By the start of the First World War there were at least 2000 such organizations in Galicia and Bukovyna. — Wikipedia article on Ukrainian Sick Riflemen [emphases mine]

What is the connection between Ukrainian national pride and the Cossack Zaporozhian Sich (and other Cossack organizations) at the heart of Ukraine culture from the 16th to 18th Centuries?  (Russia destroyed them by 1780 after a history of violating agreements with them.)

17th Century Zaporizhian Cossacks in an 1847 painting.

The Cossack history is far too complex for me to tell here.  I do not have a thorough grasp of it anyway.  Instead, I will highlight some key points, as I see it.

  1.  The Cossacks innovated democratic design in their communities.
  2. They were renowned for horsemanship, military and naval prowess, to the extent that they were recruited by other countries to fight for them.
  3. They had a court system that ensured justice.
  4. They were fiercely independent, sometimes fighting against three bigger forces at the same time.  These foes included all the surrounding empires, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, Polish-Lithuanian, Russian Tsardom. Russian Empire, and even the Mongol Hordes.  At various times in its history, the area known as Ukraine was controlled by each of these empires, but respectful of the Cossacks, often relying on them, when not fighting them!Cossack horseman/soldier.  Date unknown, probably late 19th Century.
  5. I do not see any evidence that they were ever slavers.
  6. There were many siches, in communities something like clans, independently governed, but in agreement that when faced with an enemy, they all joined forces.  Every man was essentially “in the military” for most of his life.  He went about his normal civilian affairs, but mounted and rode when called.
  7. The formations of siches in the 1890s and 1900s distinctly harked back to Zapororizhian Cossack Sich ways for inspiration.  Despite Russia’s final destruction of the Zapororizhian Sich in 1775, the ongoing hunger for independence, freedom, and democracy did not die.  Ukraine declared its independence in 1918 immediately after the fall of the Russian Empire.  The legendary Ukrainian Sich Riflemen fought until 1921.  In 1922 the Soviet Union took over.  Communist Russia’s Stalin committed genocidal abuses of Ukraine.
    1. The Ukrainian War of Independence was a series of conflicts involving many adversaries that lasted from 1917 to 1921 and resulted in the establishment and development of a Ukrainian republic, most of which was later absorbed into the Soviet Union as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of 1922–1991. —Wikipedia article on Ukrainian War of Independence
    2. According to the CIA, “Following the collapse of czarist Russia in 1917, Ukraine achieved a short-lived period of independence (1917-20), but was reconquered and endured a brutal Soviet rule that engineered two forced famines (1921-22 and 1932-33) in which over 8 million died. In World War II, German and Soviet armies were responsible for 7 to 8 million more deaths.”

      Ukrainian Sich Riflemen Coat of Arms
      I welcome corrections to this historical summary, with my apologies.  My objective is only to give a sense of the connections from modern Ukrainian culture to the Sich Riflemen and Cossacks, because they are celebrated in the Red Viburnum song and in the National Anthem.

In the song, the red viburnum is a metaphor
for the life and spirit of Ukraine.

I am American-born of largely Slovenian and German descent.  My mother’s mother was born in Slovenia and most of my great-grandparents on my father’s side came to the US from German stock in Alsace-Lorraine and Berlin.  That is not who I am right now.  Learning and feeling what I have from Ukraine lately, in many ways, I could not be more proud than to say that I am Ukrainian today.

(I get around.  Not long ago I was Australian.  A regular globe trotter.)

There is love. A civil building in Kyiv got hit by Russian troops, 14 March 2022

Everlasting arms of men, women and trees.

Chervona kalyna autumn inspiration.

Soldier departs.  Her love carries him on, and home, whether dead or alive.
There is no soldier or volunteer fighter’s death in vain in Ukraine these days.

Resurgent Strength of Spring. Chervona Kalyna Buds.

If necessary, it will be an interminable INSURGENT strength of kalyna spirit defending their nation.  If it comes to that, the song and the tree will become ever more important to them.

Reaching into yourself and reaching out to them in song, you open a tap into the infinite reservoir of love, as they do for us, there on the front lines of the war for human decency, freedom and democracy.

There is love. Almost 300 volunteers and local utility workers clean up the city of Irpin, devastated by Russian attacks. April 6. From Mayor Oleksandr Markushyn’s Facebook page.

Imagine how they must feel, tugging at the essence of their being, not as individuals, but as townspeople, in concerted effort to survive destruction and then recover their lives, to carry one another’s burdens through the darkest of human crisis?  What does that feel like?

It’s easy for me to say that I am “with them,” these Ukrainian kin of heart, but I catch myself being a fool.  I live in a town of 4,000 people.  If we were Ukrainians, we could be — all of us — starving, fleeing, dying or fighting, and, if with their determination and belief in victory at all cost, fighting to the death.

I live in a county of 40,000.  Same thing.

Tetiana hugs her neighbor before burying her husband. Russian troops killed him in Bucha.  April 26, 2022.  Photo by Emilio Morenatti.

Where is love?  Do we have it?  Can we dig some up?

I live in a state of nineteen million, nearly half the population of Ukraine.  If we were Ukrainians, four million of us would by now, so far, be running for our lives with our children and pets, carrying all we can in a bag, not knowing when we will eat next, or bathe, or sleep, whether running or hiding underground, or we would be fighting, literally wrestling with death.  I’m glad I live so close to Canada.

Four million is half the population of New York City.  They won’t all fit into subway stations.  Sewers, maybe.

Ukrainian kids in Kharkiv.  March 1, 2022.  Photo by Kirill Gonchar.

Art, I suppose, is good for the soul no matter where you are.

I sit here typing.  With coffee.  I’m so Ukrainian, so in touch with them.  Uh-huh.  I have to dig deeper to reach them where they are.  Dig with me.

United Nations published map of Ukraine with cities,
oblasts, roads and waterways. Click to enlarge.

This Balsamean scribblement is about a precious patriotic folk song in Ukraine, one becoming better known worldwide as countless new renditions are being released since the Russian invasion that began February 24, 2022. Ukrainians turn to the song for sustenance.  It is a nourishment for survival.  In honor of them, please invest in learning about it.

This writing is also about the people who create the music, sing the song, and raise the spirits of all, by the spirit of Ukraine, which we do well to study.

It is about a folk tune created long before popularized 100 years ago with lyrics, and now going viral on the Internet.  Sadly, viral because of war.  It is a song about unity in suffering and victory over oppressors.  It is a military march, yet can be sung like a sweet ballad.  It relates the passion of Ukrainian patriotism, and its love of a beautiful tree, the red viburnum, in Ukrainian, chervona kalyna (a.k.a. red guelder rose, Viburnum opulus).

It’s a nature story: the nature of a plant, a people and a nation.

Kalyna berries.

In Ukraine, chervona kalyna represents love, among its many other aesthetic, symbolic, medical and nutritional values. Any surprise in that?

At her website, PathToWellbeing, Ukrainian-born Oksana Verby wrote an article about the medical value of kalyna, and how to use it.

She reports that during her childhood in Ukraine, her mother gave her kalyna tea when she was sick.

Kalyna seeds.  That’s close enough to heart-shaped for me.

Oksana gives me a broader sense of kalyna in culture.

She wrote, “Kalyna has special significance in Ukrainian culture, it is the ethnic and national symbol of Ukraine, which represents beauty, love, motherhood, blood, the immortality of family, fire, national resurgence, womanhood, life, love for the homeland etc. This is an encoding mechanism in Ukrainian ethnic culture, the colour of the ‘nation’s soul’, the core of the Kozak spirit (Kalyna was traditionally planted on the graves of fallen Kozaks) and the symbol of national unity.”

Maybe when I have another few months for pursuing Ukrainophilia, I’ll look into finding examples of all these meanings of kalyna.

At the train station in Lviv, Mykola says goodbye to his little daughter and wife on the evacuation train to Poland.  April 15, 2022.  Photo by Emilio Morenatti

Oksana says, “In ordinary viburnum … flowers, berries, and bark have healing properties.”

Like so many plants’ medicinal uses, the list is long and I’m always skeptical of such broad powers, but Oksana grew up with it and researched it, so I’ll leave it to you whether to follow the exhaustive advice in her article.

She wrote, “This medicinal raw material has a restorative, antiseptic, astringent, hemostatic, choleretic effect; helps to lower blood pressure, stimulates the heart and strengthens blood vessels. Viburnum juice is used for the prevention of cancer and the treatment of certain types of malignant tumours. Infusions and decoctions of berries are used for coughing, colds and flu, hypertension, atherosclerosis, vasospasms, neurosis, diseases of the liver and gastrointestinal tract.

“Outwardly applied viburnum juice used in cosmetic (against acne, age spots and wrinkles), as well as infusion – for skin diseases (eczema, furunculosis and others). Kalyna has an antiseptic drying effect. And if you have oily skin you can wipe face with viburnum juice.

“Viburnum helps get rid of skin flaws – boils, abscesses, eczema.

Kyiv territorial defense.  February 26, 2022.  Photo by Mikhail Palinchak.

“… Kalyna has a rich beneficial composition. The berry belongs to diabetic products, it contains tannins, pectins, essential oils, volatile, organic acids, vitamins C, E, K, A, R. Kalyna is rich in acids – valerianic, folic, ascorbic. Moreover, the content of these acids viburnum 2 times superior to raspberries.

” … Viburnum also contains minerals – potassium, calcium, manganese, zinc, chromium, copper, phosphorus, iodine, iron, etc. The most valuable component of viburnum is the viburnin glycoside, which gives the berries a bitter taste, which also provides healing properties.

“Since old times, healers have used viburnum for medicinal purposes, and its beneficial properties well known in folk medicine.”

Oksana also carefully describes contraindications and risks of medicinal use.

See her article at the link above! Thanks, Oksana.

After the Russian occupation of her city, this woman from Makariv was left with only a barn and a cow. Now the cow helps her to earn money.
Photo April 21 by Artem Halkin.

What is wrong with this picture of a woman?  Whatever it is, I can’t find it.  She’s beautiful to the bone.  Does her face say anything to you?  The first thing that came to my mind was something like, “Yeah, I’m scared.  But I gotta live.  And by god I will!”  Terrific apron.  I haven’t seen anybody wear one in ages.

I found multiple reputable sources saying that kalyna is good for bees and butterflies and that birds love the berries.

There’s the love.

The Native American Ethnobotany Database listed food uses as: Berries raw (bitter), preserves, fresh and dried fruits used as an acid sauce, rabbit snare bait, fruit mashed, made into small cakes and dried for future use, raw or cooked fruit sun or fire dried and stored for future use, dried fruit cakes soaked in warm water and cooked as a sauce or mixed with corn bread.

Various sources say that the berries can be toxic if consumed in large quantity, causing stomach unhappiness.

Kalyna flowers starting out in life.

Not to get freakishly mystical and metaphysical about it, but sometimes when you sit with a tree for a long time during each of its phases through the year (they change about every week in my woods, more in some seasons than others), exploring it in all weather, you may find it getting personal.  You can start to feel its “soul,” or essence.  Or it feels yours and echoes it back to you.

That’s how it is with the ancient people who gave us many modern traditions.  They were nature-centered.  That’s the depth of Ukraine’s relationship with kalyna, and with this song that began as a folk tune long before it got its current lyrics in World War I.

I have a relationship like that with the trees here at Balsamea.  Ukraine’s relationship with kalyna makes sense to me.  But I have no song for Balsamea.

Ukrainian soldiers performed to say goodbye to their comrade Viktor Bidzilia.
May 7.  Photo by Serhii Hudak.

I read somewhere that Ukraine is a “musical country.”  I get it.

A tree. A song.  A nation.

In the meadow a red kalyna has bent down low.
For some reason our glorious Ukraine has been worried so.
And we’ll take that red kalyna and we will raise it up,
And we, our glorious Ukraine, shall, hey – hey, cheer up – and rejoice!
And we’ll take that red kalyna and we will raise it up,
And we, our glorious Ukraine, shall, hey – hey, cheer up – and rejoice!

Kids in Chernihiv made chalk drawings on the walls while Russian troops bombed the ‘Ukraine’ hotel. April 27. Photo by Natalia Azarkina.

(In YouTube, click the little “CC” icon at the bottom of the window.  It will give you English subtitles for this song.  It’s not accurate, but not bad.  Some videos have it, some not.)

Music video below: Ой, у лузі червона калина (Oh, red viburnum in the meadow). Ukrainian patriotic folk song, by Eileen.  Posted March 5, 2022 (YouTube link https://youtu.be/ZztmQsSAqfo)

This is the voice, the performance, and the face that my mind goes to first when I think about the song.

(Chervona Kalyna Lyrics – all videos — click to open a PDF file containing the full lyrics in English and Ukrainian.  You can also download the file.  Artists vary in their choice of verses from the original song.  For instance, some use a verse specifically aimed at Moscow, and some leave out a verse from the original.  One of the artists here only sings the first verse multiple times, for an arranged purpose.  Scroll through the lyrics PDF file to find the version for the video you are watching.  For this one, look for “Eileen.”)

Singer Eileen writes:

“Oi u luzi chervona kalyna” (“Oh, in the meadow a red guelder rose”) is a Ukrainian folk song, the anthem of the Legion of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen.

On the 24th of February, Russia brutally invaded my country, Ukraine. Ukrainian Armed Forces are now bravely fighting for the freedom of our country and each of us.

All earnings from this video will be donated to humanitarian help for Ukrainians suffering from Russia’s Aggression, and also for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Please help Ukraine fight the Russian invasion! Read and share verified information about Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

If you want to help Ukraine financially, you can donate here:
🔹 Largest foundation providing support to the Ukrainian Armed Forces –
– English: https://www.comebackalive.in.ua/
– Ukrainian: https://savelife.in.ua/
🔹 Fundraising Account for Humanitarian Assistance to Ukrainians Affected by Russia’s Aggression – National Bank of Ukraine – https://bank.gov.ua/en/news/all/natsionalniy-bank-vidkriv-rahunok-dlya-gumanitarnoyi-dopomogi-ukrayintsyam-postrajdalim-vid-rosiyskoyi-agresiyi

Pro-Ukrainian protest in Russian-occupied Kherson.  Thousands of people took to the streets March 13, 2022.  They WHAT?!?

***** From the Come Back Alive site:

Russia has invaded Ukraine – the Shield of Europe. As we are protecting the World against the tyranny, it’s high time to demonstrate your support of peace and democracy in Ukraine and around the world.

Why This Matters to You:
– Ukraine is the Shield of Europe. We are convinced that threat to freedom anywhere means threat to freedom all around the world.
– We protect the values shared with Europe and rest of the World. We do everything possible to prevent putinist values spreading around the world even beyond our borders. Our Army is strong and determined but it lacks necessary equipment.
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A flower. A song.  A nation.

Do not bend low, Oh red kalyna, you have a white flower.
Do not worry, glorious Ukraine, you have a free people.
And we’ll take that red kalyna and will raise it up,
And we, our glorious Ukraine, shall, hey – hey, cheer up – and rejoice!
And we’ll take that red kalyna and will raise it up,
And we, our glorious Ukraine, shall, hey – hey, cheer up – and rejoice!

And the fireman said, “Let there be books!”  There, for knowledge, is love.

I understand that it can be hard to really connect with people in a country so far away.  Maybe you don’t even know where they are!  We don’t know them.  It can be hard to really feel strong love for them.  Yes, well, if you have a head or a heart of any kind at all, you will LOVE THESE GUYS in the song below!

Big, tough, seasoned active duty soldiers in an active combat zone, making death itself afraid with their courage and heroism, ferociously beating back the biggest, most evil invading army in the world in almost a century, and singing about a tree.

Or is it a tree?  To them, for over 100 years it has been a symbol of the soul of their nation.  This song means as much or more to them as any nation’s national anthem ever means to any citizen.  Now, during war, even more.

Music video below: Hey hey, rise up! Performed by active-duty Ukrainian Soldiers. English Subs. Premiered Apr 16, 2022, by Lidi Ya Films (YouTube link https://youtu.be/vZbONSSp2Ig)

I swear to you, I have seen/listened to all of these performances — all 24 in my playlist and many more — countless times, and I never tire of them.  Combing repeatedly through more than 100, I settled on 24, and have heard them again and again, trying to decide how to present them.  Okay, so call me a Ukrainophile.

So I have to say, this one in particular is “a trip” in full-screen mode, for the FACES.

A fruit. A song.  A nation.

Russian warship: Snake Island, I, Russian warship, repeat the offer: put down your arms and surrender, or you will be bombed. Have you understood me? Do you copy?
Ukrainian 1 to Ukrainian 2: That’s it, then. Or, do we need to fuck them back off?
Ukrainian 2 to Ukrainian 1: Might as well.
Ukrainian 1: Russian warship, go fuck yourself.

… Originally spoken in Russian, was the last communication made during the February 2022 Russian attack on Snake Island in Ukraine’s territorial waters, by border guard Roman Hrybov to the Russian missile cruiser Moskva. The phrase, and derivatives of the phrase, became widely adopted during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine in protests and demonstrations around the world.

Weeks later, the phrase [Russian warship, go fuck yourself] was commemorated on a postage stamp by Ukrposhta, the Ukrainian postal service. On his release, Hrybov was awarded a medal for his actions. During his captivity, his family applied for a defensive trademark on the slogan. On 13 April 2022, one day after the first issue of the commemorative stamp, the Moskva was critically damaged by an explosion caused by Ukrainian anti-ship missiles and sank the following day.   — Wikipedia article on the topic

The video below contains an audio recording of the dialog.  The music in this one will not be the cup of tea for many, but it is an example of the broad range of genres and styles that the Chervona Kalyna song is made.  It says something about its importance and appeal.

It is an instrumental piece, except for the radio dialog.  Put your dancing shoes on.  Or let it play while you scroll down for the next bits of fun on the same topic.

.Music video below: Русский военный корабль, иди нахуй (Russian warship, fuck you) — an interpretation of the Kalyna song, by Bakun (YouTube link https://youtu.be/n6OT79TGqqA)

Billboard in the besieged Chernihiv with the slogan in Russian.  March 12, 2022.

Helsinki, Finland protesting Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The next version of the song leaves me lost in some strange mix of passions I don’t have words for.  Aside from the rush of the group’s singing sweeping over me, the lead singer’s (Elizaveta) facial expressions and body language make the song “another animal” from what you’ve seen so far.  Watch her from beginning to the final seconds of the video.  She looks defiant, and pleased with herself for it.  She seems to have some of that “Russian warship” attitude.  No wonder.  She is a refugee.  Her family is still back home, after their home was destroyed, so what is “back home?”  You’re going to love her.  You are.

Kalyna red autumn leaves and berries are
symbolic of blood, love, and more.

Some of the scenes in her video are from the Winter 2014 Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity, also known as the Maidan Revolution (my-don).  You want to learn to love Ukrainians?  Learn from them.

Conveniently, I just now realized that I recently posted an account of that revolution, including the 97-minute NetFlix special, free viewing to all, Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.  It will show you how to win a revolution without a war.  Russia’s genocidal war criminal President Putin insisted on making it a war ever since 2014.

Horrible mistake for everyone, and possibly to the collapse of Russia as a nation, eventually.  I hope so.  Let there be a revolution in Russia, to never return to this way they have fallen into, to heal themselves, and turn from these ways forever as did Japan and Germany from World War II.  If the people of Japan and Germany can do it, Russians can at least try.  They would probably get a lot of help.  (This is not to say that my country, the United States, does not also have its particular history of genocidal behaviors and other atrocities, including ones that we have yet to really resolve.)

Ukraine solidarity protest, Berlin Pariser Platz, with lighted Brandenburg Gate, February 24, 2022.  The Russian invasion started early that morning.   That night … to the streets!  There is love, of freedom, of self-rule, of Ukrainians.

Marching forward, our fellow volunteers, into a bloody fray,
For to free, our brother-Ukrainians, from hostile chains.
And we, our brother-Ukrainians, we will then liberate,
And we, our glorious Ukraine, shall, hey – hey, cheer up – and rejoice!
And we, our brother-Ukrainians, we will then liberate,
And we, our glorious Ukraine, shall, hey – hey, cheer up – and rejoice!

Music video below: Ukrainian refugee sings with Lithuanians in support for Ukraine, Apr 12, 2022, by Neringa Rekasiute. (YouTube link https://youtu.be/LIUoFuSuvTM)

This one is short (1:43), just the first verse repeated a few times.

The video producer writes:

Ukrainian refugee Elizaveta sings together with 300 Lithuanians, who answered her call to gather in Vilnius and sing this viral Ukrainian folk song to draw attention to the ongoing war and struggles of Ukrainian people.

This is a call to #standupforUkraine.

Eliza is a 21 year old Ukrainian singer. She had to flee her home country when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and has been living and studying in Lithuania since 2015. When Russia started the war on February 24th, her family’s home was destroyed by Russian occupants for the second time in their life. Eliza’s mother and brother stayed in Ukraine to defend their homeland. Eliza is safe in Lithuania, sending the message for her family and for her country to stay strong.

Help people like Eliza to rebuild their homes in Ukraine.

https://razomforukraine.org  ****

**** Razom for Ukraine:  “Razom means ‘together’ in Ukrainian and serves as a constant reminder of the community that it takes to create, build and do. Razom creates spaces where people meet, partner and work together to unlock the potential of Ukraine. We maintain a relentless focus on the needs on the ground to support Ukraine and on opportunities to amplify voices from Ukraine in conversations in the United States. We operate in Ukraine as Razom Dlia Ukraini (Разом Для України) and we collaborate with organizations and individuals so that we can deliver the highest impact.”

Visit the Razom website for information about their progress in critical humanitarian war relief and recovery, evacuating vulnerable populations, and advocating for Ukraine by educating about policies that strengthen and support Ukraine and its relationship with the United States.

Visit the website.  Learn about them.  It’s one of many ways you can give your love to Ukraine, whether you donate or just learn.  The more you learn, the more you’ll love, and the more your love will motivate action, big or small.

Tell others about it.  That’s a good way to love Ukraine.  Be a viral agent.

A leaf.  A song.  A nation.

Oh in the field of early spring wheat, there’s a golden furrow,
Then began the Ukrainian riflemen to engage the enemy,
And we’ll take that precious early wheat and will gather it,
And we, our glorious Ukraine, shall, hey – hey, cheer up – and rejoice!
And we’ll take that precious early wheat and will gather it,
And we, our glorious Ukraine, shall, hey – hey, cheer up – and rejoice!

10-year-old Emma from Uzhhorod plays the flute
to raise money for the military.
Her father defends Ukraine on the front line. April 18.  Photo by Serhii Hudak.

Doesn’t she look just like a girl you’ve known?  She is one.  She’s your daughter.

“Music will break through anyway.
Fill the silence with your music!
Fill it today, to tell our story.”

Emma fights Russia with music, literally.  What can we do to help her win?

This next Chervona Kalyna “performance” (of a sort) is sacred in a new way.  If you did not have a heart or a head for Ukraine already, you will in two minutes.  (The CC button does not work right.)

Music video below: Ой у лузі червона калина Гамбург Ukrainische Mädchen singen ein ukrainisches Lied in Hamburg, by AM Films Studio, April 10, 2022 (YouTube link https://youtu.be/DWz26iBTVLA)

There’s a woman in there who actually looks almost exactly like one of my nieces.

The video maker writes:

After the rally in support of Ukraine in Hamburg, Germany, people sang, cried and hugged.

Rally in support of Ukraine in Hamburg. Against cruelty in Bucha, the execution of civilians at the railway station in Kramatorsk. Ukrainians in Germany wanted to show how terrible, illogical and unfair it is when they kill innocent people who just lived in their own country. And they were killed for it.: https://youtu.be/xsfntq4HQhY

A food.  A song.  A nation.

When the stormy winds blow forth from the wide steppes,
They will glorify, throughout Ukraine, the Sich riflemen.
And we’ll take the glory of the riflemen preserving it,
And we, our glorious Ukraine, shall, hey – hey, cheer up – and rejoice!
And we’ll take the glory of the riflemen preserving it,
And we, our glorious Ukraine, shall, hey – hey, cheer up – and rejoice!
Thousands of Energodar residents defending the largest nuclear power plant in Europe – Zaporizhzhia NPP.  March 2, 2022.  You mean, like, all the people just went out there to stand their ground against war machines?  What the hell?  Where’s the love?  In each one, of course, but more so: in their unity.

And I bet they did a lot of singing.

Popular artist Marlaine Maas made a special version of Chervona Kalyna that she called a Europe Remix.  It contains one verse each in German, English and French.

You’ll see in the first ten notes why Marlaine is popular, and then see what a gift she gave this song’s new life.

Marlaine posted this to YouTube on March 29, 2022.  See?  New versions are flying out of the creative spirits of people all over the world.  You don’t have to know a word of Ukrainian to sing the song.  You know its meaning.

Having come to love the song and Ukraine, the English part of Marlaine’s piece sliced through me.  I so wish she would do it completely in English.  Talk about going viral.  It would top the charts throughout the English speaking world.

Music video below: Oy U Luzi Chervona Kalyna – Europe Remix, by Marlaine Maas, March 29, 2022 (YouTube link https://youtu.be/Wv5qYSt_BL4)

Marlaine writes:

I was deeply touched by this song and it definitely raised my spirit. Then suddenly I had this idea of making a European version of it, so that many people all over the world would understand the soul of this song and get their spirits lifted,too. All royaties from this song will be used to support Ukraine of course!

Thank you so much for Andriy Khlyvnyuk & The Kiffness – for your creation of this Ukrainian Folk Song (https://youtu.be/lu8m5FA2nL8). You made me cry for hours and were the origin and Inspiration to my rendition. God bless you ❤️

Kalyna berries are persistent.  After a frost, they shrivel like raisins, and may stay on the bush well into winter.

Maybe it’s not the marvelous Marlaine, but there is ONE fully English version, by The Kiffness.  Fortunately, they put the English lyrics on the YouTube page in the text section, so that you can follow the text as you listen.

Ukrainian National Guardsman with paska — traditional Easter cake. April 2022. Photo by Vova Neizvestnyi.  Receiving something like this from home, or from someone in the local village where you are fighting, can be a profound blessing, especially for some soldiers.  It is love.

It is suprising that there are not more fully English versions.  For now, many thanks for taking the initiative and creative effort to make this one!  Let’s get down, get viral!

Music video below: Red Viburnum First full English version Of Ukraine song Full English lyrics, by The Kiffness, April 24, 2022 (YouTube link https://youtu.be/Ho6NFgn2j8Y)

The artists write:

Apologies if we mullered the lyrics a bit but this is the first version, all comments appreciated on improving them, yes it is not a literal translation of the 1914 riflemen but a modern similar version 🙂
Lots more improvements to come.

Inspiration from:
https://youtu.be/qP-7GNoDJ5c  Nathan Evans. #Wellerman #SeaShanty
https://youtu.be/lu8m5FA2nL8  Andriy Khlyvnyuk x The Kiffness
https://youtu.be/ZztmQsSAqfo  Eileen
https://youtu.be/Wv5qYSt_BL4  Marlaine Maas
https://youtu.be/LIUoFuSuvTM  Elizaveta Izmalkova

1914 Ukrainian Sich Riflemens song from WW1:

I’m glad to see that I got my inspiration from the same artists!

People all over Ukraine are rapidly creating new versions of the song, in every genre, including Pink Floyd, in their first new song in 28 years!  I have explored far more than 100 of them.  It was difficult, but I managed to boil it down to just 24 to share with you.  You can find them in my YouTube playlist “Kalyna.”  If you watch all of them, you may come out of it Ukrainian, and unable to resist loving your compatriots, even fighting for them, in ways befitting you.

Ukrainian rescuers saved an owl from a fire caused by Russian shelling, March 2022.  Nature.  Love.  The nature of love.  The love of nature.

A nation’s song, and a song of the people.  Live long their song.  Let no one take it from them, as Putin would definitely do. He would ban it, and severely punish those who sing it. This is not speculation. Russia has done it to Ukraine before, and Putin has made his methods clear.

During the Soviet era, Russia even banned the playing of the famed Ukrainian musical instrument, the bandura.  You’ll see it played by a soldier in the next chernova kalyna video.  I plan to devote a post to the bandura soon, with some amazing music.  For now, I’ll share one of my favorites, where the Ukrainian B&B Project (bandura and button accordion) plays a hot, modern interpretation of a piece from Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  Modern, yet true to the classical.

This is to celebrate the most famous of more than 60 musical instruments brought into the world by Ukraine.  It is a nation of music.  The bandura is Ukraine’s official national instrument.  This video also shows you a few amazing parts of Ukraine’s incredible natural resources.

Welcome to more to love about Ukraine.

Where is the love?  In the courage of these journalists in the city of Irpin.  March 2022.  Photo by Serhii Myhalchuk.

“That ye may know the truth.”

My point is that if we let Russia win, if we do not save Ukraine, Putin will erase their culture.  Russia has done it before, at least three times, if you count Catherine the Great, Stalin, and the enduring Soviet cultural oppression.  Is it any wonder that Ukraine instantly declared independence when the Russian Empire fell?  Is it any wonder that they did the same even before the USSR fell.  In fact, Ukraine’s independence brought down the USSR, because it could not survive without her.  Ukraine declared her independence in August 1991.  I’ll spare you the particulars of that history lesson, but it’s a fact: when the world formally recognized Ukraine’s independent state and its anti-communist democratic government in early December 1991, the USSR simply could not survive, and collapsed a few weeks later.

What manner of love might it take to help Ukraine be the bastion of hope for democracy in Europe; in the world?  Yours.

Long live the song. Help make it go not just viral on the web, but saturate the web with it. Please share it.  Pick one or more versions that you like, and share the YouTube link(s) provided.  Or, share the link to my YouTube Kalyna Playlist.

Leo Soto of Miami arrived in Ukraine and organized a “Wall of Memory” action in Lviv. He printed photos of deceased people and decorated the memorial with artificial flowers. April 27.  Photo by Mykyta Pechenyk.

The playlist has something for everybody.

Seriously, if you were Ukraine, wouldn’t you be grateful for people sharing your song?  Such an important song at this crucial moment in your history?

I know President Zelenskyy is grateful, because you’d be doing what he asked us to do.  Put a smile on his hardened face.

Fall in love with Ukraine. May the power of your love overcome the evil she endures in horrors as I write, as you read, as we sleep on a warm bed, as we drink good water and eat fresh food, as we bathe in hot showers with abundant water and soap, as we choose which color of clean underwear for the day, as we start the coffee maker with unlimited electricity, as we put on put on clean clothes and step out into the sun, from under a roof over strong walls with locked doors, without being shot, bombed, kidnapped, stripped, beaten, tortured or raped. It’s pretty nice. We have it all.

Think about it.  All of those bad things are happening to Ukrainians, every day.

We have it all.

We have nothing, if we have not love for Ukrainians.

Kharkiv subway stations are refuges for many citizens whose homes were destroyed or who are living in heavily shelled areas.  March 22, 2022.  Photo by Wojciech Grzedzinski.

Examine this image.  Yes, it’s a heart-string puller.  But it’s also an example of what families endure when they belong to a civilization that will not surrender in the face of uncivilized aggressors.  They could surrender and go home.  Accept occupation.  Be assimilated.  They won’t.  They can’t.  So everybody adapts, even if they bleed on the chair.

They need our love, as much as we can give them, these victims of the most horrendous of humanity’s evils, on a scale that leaves the word epic impotent.

The inhumanity is reverberating in shock waves through the lives of us all, even the life of the planet, as the war complicates climate change by inestimable degrees in several ways.

This war is killing us. What have we without love for those on the battleground for humanity?

Music video below: from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, “Ой у лузі червона калина” (Oh, Red Viburnum in the Meadow), unknown date.  (YouTube link https://youtu.be/N7pAXDwqj3Q)

I LOVE the portions sung by groups in traditional Ukrainian clothing.  Throughout my exploration of Ukraine’s music, the traditional dress always struck me as more than beautiful.  I can’t explain it.  It carries their soul out into the air, kicked into flight by their song.

… introduced by a soldier on the bandura, followed by uplifting expansion to other instruments and various choirs in traditional Ukrainian attire … all to a snappy beat …

The Department of Public Relations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine writes:

The song of the Sich shooters “Oh, the red viburnum in the meadow” is confidently heard over the world. In Vinnytsia, both military and civilian groups joined the All-Ukrainian flash mob to perform this song. The masterful performance of the song, which became a world hit, was filmed by local volunteers, who created a powerful music video to support the defenders of Ukraine and give confidence to the civilian population.

The shooting lasted for three days, in different locations of our beautiful city. We chose outstanding and picturesque places that are the pride of Vinnytsia, because they are connected with certain historical events known to the people of Vinnytsia. The training of choirs and instrumental groups took a whole week. We wanted the song to sound like a powerful anthem of glory for all defenders of Ukraine, from ancient times to the present day, “said one of the organizers of the flash mob, head of the Center for Military Music Art of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Lt. Col. Mykhailo Hryvas.

The song was performed by:
– vocal and orchestral group of the Center for Military and Musical Arts of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Mykhailo Hryvas;
– Choir of Vinnytsia Regional Philharmonic named after MD Leontovych under the leadership of Honored Worker of Culture of Ukraine Anatoliy Levitsky;
– Folk amateur choir of the Lipovets City House of Culture under the direction of Galina Navrotska;
– Academic Song and Dance Ensemble “Podillya” under the direction of Honored Artist of Ukraine Anatoliy Kondyuk.

Chief Choirmaster: Honored Artist of Ukraine Viktor Volkov.
Video: Andriy Kravchenko, Oleg Smakovsky

The video was filmed under the auspices of the “Time Chose Us” campaign under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, with the assistance of Lipovets Territorial Command Viktor Bychkov. of Culture of Ukraine Terletsky Gennady Alexandrovich.
fragments of the musical accompaniment of the band “Haidamaki” were used in the creation of the video.

I know credits can be boring, but they deserve the space here in my filling of the silence.

They get a lot out of a simple folk song, don’t they?  Obviously, it’s not simply a song.

Your love can help ensure they can keep singing it.  Putin will outlaw it.  Imagine being sent to jail for singing, America the Beautiful?  Imagine if the song track below was banned from the Internet in the United States?  Don’t kid yourself saying it can’t happen.  We elected an insane person for president, and his party in Congress wants him back.  That’s all they want.  It can’t happen?  If we fail Ukraine, we fail ourselves, and vice-versa.  It is one world we live in with Ukraine, containing Putin and Trump at the same time.  Trump is the lunatic who actually suggested to the Secretary of Defense that we fire missiles into Mexico.

By your love, keep Ukraine free to sing her songs as we are free to sing ours.

There are boundless veins of love-ore in the myriad mines of our being. Dig deep for Ukraine.

It will take all of us to save the world. Funny, I think I preached the same thing at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Same program; keep digging.  Together.  Unity is crucial.

It’s not just about saving the world from destruction and evil. It’s about loving it, nurturing it, making it better. We can’t just go back to the way it was before the war. That’s how we got the war.

This work of love is not merely a sentimental notion. Your grasping love for the sake of Ukraine empowers you to be the best you can be for her when the right opportunity comes. That grasp prepares you, conditions you, to notice and to act on opportunity as it arises. That opportunity may be to just say a good word, spread the love. Share a link. Answer a question. Enlighten somebody.

Share a song.

Maybe sing or whistle a Ukrainian folk song based on a flower representing their soul, or sing a song for them, to them, one that supercharges your love for them.

“Music will break through anyway … Fill the silence with your music! Fill it today, to tell our story.”  These are fine words for anyone, immortal words for the president of a country being blown up.

Tell their story.  That’s a loving thing you can do for Ukraine.

Above: A couple in the destroyed city of Mariupol. April 2022.
Photo by Mariupol city council.

Or get rowdy. March. Rally. Recruit. Stand on your roof and sing with a flag. Who knows what ears hear?

You might send loving money to the cause, digging deep for more to send, as if it were to save the world.  It is.

It is our tiny world, the world of 44 million Ukrainians, and the world of a blown up kindergarten building and a maternity hospital, and the world of a pregnant girl raped by multiple soldiers, and the world of a great-great-grandma who surived the Holodomor, and will finish her days in another one.

Hi, Mom.  This is all we’ve got today.

I won’t show them here, the pictures from Bucha, of bodies in the streets, of bodies half buried in mass graves, scattered limbs and faces sticking out from the sand in giant holes in the earth, things you thought only happened in the Holocaust, but are here right now, in color.

I do, however, want to piont out that some grandmas saw it twice, saw it in the flesh, on the ground, and smelled it, too.  Some, three times in their lives, Holodomor, Holocaust and Putin.


We, however, have it all.  We can just turn our eyes from the pictures.  Whew.  Good thing, because after looking at certain ones I was very close to vomiting.  Too close.  I had to take action to prevent it.

The Holodomor (Ukrainian: “to kill by starvation”), also known as the Terror-Famine or the Great Famine, was a famine in Soviet Ukraine from 1932 to 1933 that killed millions of Ukrainians. The Holodomor famine was part of the wider Soviet famine of 1932–1933 which affected the major grain-producing areas of the country. … Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by Ukraine alongside 15 other countries, as a genocide against the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet regime [i.e., Stalin].  — Wikipedia article on Holodomor

Sorry, to make a point, just one image from the Holodomor that is like a trip back to their future in Bucha:

It is happening TODAY, killing not only by starvation, but by bullets, bombs, missiles, and rape-murders.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, an age-ravaged woman, survivor of the Holodomor and of the Holocaust, cried outside of her destroyed house, head in one hand, cane in the other, “I never thought I would see this again.”  I won’t show you the picture.  I see my 90-year-old mother in it.  No point doing that to you.  Don’t want that on my website, in my Balsamea.  Whew.  Dodged a bullet in the silence there.

A woman shows how she wrapped a blanket around her dog.  It was very frightened while Russian troops were shelling in Bucha district.
April 2022.  Photo by Oleh Pereverzev.
Hey, isn’t that the Ukraine flag color on that fence?

I figure she was trying to protect the dog from the noise.  Of course, you know the dog felt the bomb concussions in its whole body even more than she did.

Her blanket was not of fabric, but of love.  We can help her help her dog.

Remember the American song written by George M. Cohan in World War I, “Over There?” It declared, “The yanks are coming,” to help Europe.  Many say we saved Europe.

That was a different world.  Today, there is relatively little separating us from “over there.”  Ukraine is a cause that is not “over there,” but right where you sit, right now, for we are all Ukraine today, sitting here comfortably (or in tears, perhaps) thinking about the atrocities befalling them, seeing that their part in saving the world is played in human-made hell.

“The cause” is to love them.

Join people all over the world learning this song about a viburnum symbolic of Ukraine, as an investment in learning to love Ukraine. Then let your love do its thing, the way it works best in you.  Here’s a sampling of people singing it together around the world:

Your love is a sail raised to wait for the wind to turn it into power to do something, whether a little thing or more. You don’t know what wind there may be, where it may let you go, what it may empower you to do. Raise your little sail and sing.

You don’t know the downstream effects of little acts of love. You never know the good you may have done in the long run. There is no sail too small in this work. Many little sails can drive big changes. That’s usually how the big changes end up coming, anyway. Your little bit matters.

Kalyna berries are persistent.  After a frost, they shrivel like raisins,
and can remain on the bush into winter.

Nature is a good place to start anything. Begin with the company of a tree. In this case, red viburnum (Viburnum opulus). This scribblement is about one of the most important songs in the history of Ukraine. Is it any wonder that such an enduring and important thing would begin with a tree?  Are we of nature or not?

Despite the war, people in Kyiv clean up city parks and lakes on the weekend cleanup day.  April 16, 2022.  Photo by Municipal Enterprise “Pleso.”
I told you they revered nature.

Kalyna is a deciduous shrub native to Europe, northern Africa and central Asia, growing up to 16 ft. tall. It is also known as water elder, European cranberry bush, cramp bark (because the bark is medicine for cramps) and snowball tree. Its American variant is Viburnum trilobum, or highbush cranberry, growing across southeastern Canada, northeastern United States, and throughout the Great Lakes states. They are not related to cranberries.

Kalyna is a beautiful plant, symbolically imbued with the glory and soul of a nation. It is not the national flower of Ukraine. That flower is the sunflower, a major crop of Ukraine. The kalyna tree is the official national plant of Ukraine.

The tree and its foliage, flowers and fruit are patriotic symbols. It inspired a song expressing military pride and heroism, as well as rejoicing in resurgence over pain and suffering, celebrating recovery from dark times to new light, standing together in faith of what can be done, and sharing love for culture, armed forces, national identity and homeland. The song does not say all these things, but the cultural relationship with kalyna gives the song messages written between the bars of music.

Then, there are the singers and musicians.  Look closely.  See and feel their passion.  The song is hymn, anthem, march.  It is celebration.

She used to sweep leaves.  Now she does Russian rocket remnant disposals.  Russian rockets have a high failure rate.  Everybody wants to do SOMETHNG for the cause, and will take on harder work than you’d expect.

The song is a call to unity, the thing that Putin cannot kill.  Unity is the key to winning the war; their unity and our unity with them.

Mentions of the viburnum can be found throughout Ukrainian folklore such as songs, decorative art, Ukrainian embroidery, and poetry.  Its symbolic roots can be traced to the Slavic paganism of millennia ago. According to a legend, kalyna was associated with the birth of the Universe, the so-called Fire Trinity: the Sun, the Moon, and the Star.  Its berries symbolize one’s home and native land, blood, and family roots.  Kalyna is often depicted on Ukrainian embroidery: ritual cloths and shirts. In Slavic paganism kalyna also represents the beauty of a young lady, which rhymes well in the Ukrainian language: ka-ly-na – div-chy-na. The song Chervona Kalyna was the anthem of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army; along with these national liberating movements in 20th century guelder rose was established as a symbol of riflemen honor, and state independence.  —Wikipedia article on Viburnum opulus

It sounds rather … um … Ukrainian, doesn’t it?

In the song, kalyna is synonymous with Ukraine.

Sadly, kalyna is also a revered national symbol in Russia, with some differences in the meanings. These two ancient peoples, Ukraine and Russia, share so much of the good and beautiful things of their neighboring, intertwined cultures and natural resources. The war is a war against that goodness and beauty. The war is the attempted murder of culture.

Catherine tried it. Stalin tried it. They not only did their best to murder and starve Ukrainians out of existence, but they imported Russians to take their places, especially in positions of power and acedemia.  They have been trying to russify Ukraine for centuries.  Ukraine is too fantastic a jewel of natural and cultural resources for profiteeering dictators to resist.

By such offensive russification means, and by the more natural ones like family integration across borders, Russia and Ukraine are integral, like the United States and Canada. Can you imagine Spain deciding one day to slaughter all the Portuguese and call it “Little Spain?” Catherine the Great called Ukraine “Little Russia.”

Ukraine is not Little Russia, and never has been. By the nature of Ukrainians, that would be impossible. They are kin with Russia, brethren, but sovereign. Russia is killing itself by trying to kill Ukraine.  Russia desperately needs Ukraine, as did the USSR, which never could have lived so long without Ukraine, but a dead Ukraine is no good to anybody, nor is a Ukraine made into a Little Russia.

Viburnum opulus (kalina) is also one of the national symbols of Russia.  In Russia the Viburnum fruit is called kalina (калина) and is considered a national symbol. Kalina derived in Russian language from kalit’ or raskalyat’, which means “to make red-hot”. The red fiery color of the berries represents beauty in Russian culture and together with sweet raspberries it symbolises the passionate love of a beautiful maiden, since berries were always an erotic symbol in Russia. The bitter side of the red fruit also symbolizes love separation in Russian folk culture. The name of the Russian song Kalinka is a diminutive of Kalina. Viburnum opulus is also an important symbol of the Russian national ornamental wood painting handicraft style called Khokhloma. —Wikipedia article on Viburnum opulus

May the spirit of kalyna heal these nations and make them family to each other more beloved than before. In the heart of Ukraine, one may see the ability to make this happen. They have done it before. However, it will be a long time before they can overcome this unspeakable genocide executed by Vladimir Putin, leading a nation that he duped and deceived into hating Ukraine.  Big ships take a long time and a lot of space to turn around.

America, do not fail Ukraine.

Ukrainian defenders are heading east, where fighting against Russia continues, March 2022. Photo by Daniel Carde.

The Mykolaiv zoo suffered Russian attacks several times. Some workers stayed in the city to take care of the animals.  March 2022.  Photo by Laurence Geai.

Imagine the horror for an animal that can’t understand what is going on?  These workers stand in the gap.  Speaking of gaps …

Civilians escaping the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, during heavy shelling and bombing.  March 5, 2022.  Photo by Aris Messinis.

People training for Kyiv territorial defense shortly before the Russian invasion.   February 2022.  Photo by Sasha Maslov.

A woman near the town of Irpin saving disabled dogs from becoming victims of Russian weapons..  March 10, 2022.  Photo by Christopher Occhicone.

Does she look Ukrainian, or what?  Human.  Woman.  Dog lover.  Courageous.  Inspired.  Defiant.  Compassionate.  “Russian ship, go fuck yourself.”  The list goes on.  Ukrainian.

Let the song speak further for itself in the remainder of the 24 versions in my YouTube Kalyna Playlist.  There are some interesting ones in there.

An interesting feature of the next video is the phonetic subtitles (if you use the CC feature).  In other words, here you are, finally, a sing-along version!  Have fun.

This crowd just keeps repeating the first verse.  A nice chant-fest.  Unfortunately they only display the phonetic lyrics for the first round.  Still, if you use the attached Chervona Kalyna Lyrics – all videos file, it’s not hard to follow along using the transliterated/romanized text.  If you are trying to learn it, slow down the playing speed under the settings gear in the YouTube video.

Utility workers and volunteers clean up Chernihiv, one of the cities most harmed by Russian attacks.  April 2022.  Photo by Stas Yurchenko.

Help them.

Слава Україні. Героям слава.
Slava Ukraini. Heroyam slava.
Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes.

Слава в калині.  Slava v kalyni.  Glory to the kalyna.