In accordance with the Constitution, the Major State Coat of Arms of Ukraine is to be established with the Minor State Coat of Arms of Ukraine and the Coat of Arms of the Cossack Army of Zaporizhia taken into account as its chief elements. The principal element of the Major State Coat of Arms of Ukraine is the trident (the Minor State Emblem), the Symbol of the Princely State of Volodymyr the Great.
From the antiquity revered as a magic sign and a kind of charm, the trident symbolized the division of the Universe into the heavenly, earthy, and one beyond; the combination of the divine, motherly and fatherly, the sacred origin and three natural elements–the air, water and earth. Archeologist encountered the image in the numerous cultural artifacts of the past dated by the 1st century, while the first record of the signs belongs to the 10th century A.D.
While signing a treaty with Byzantium, the ambassadors of the Kyivan Prince Ihor (912 to 945) used the trident in their seals. During the Kyivan Rus, the trident became the symbol of the great princedom with its image found be archeologists in coins, seals, crockery, bricks, as well as wall-paintings. The Kyiv prince Volodymyr Sviatoslavych (980 to 1015) coined money with the image of the Master on one side and trident on the other.
In December 1917, the Ukrainian Central Rada adopted trident as a Symbol of the Ukrainian People’s Republic; since January 22, 1919, in accordance with the Decree on Unification it became part of the regional coat of arms of the Western oblast of the UPR. It remained the principal element of the Pavlo Skoropadsky’s Hetman State, as well as that of the Directoria.
Constitutionally, the all-Ukrainian National Rada first adopted the trident as the State Coat of Arms in May 1920. It also became the State Coat of Arms of the Carpathian Rus in 1939 that declared independence after the Czechoslovak Republic broke up.
Officially discredited in Ukraine under the Soviets, the trident, nevertheless, remained the symbol of the national liberation movement.
The decreed enactment “On the State Coat of Arms of Ukraine” by the Verkhovna Rada on February 19, 1992, the Trident was approved as the Small State Coat of Arms and principal element of the Great State Coat of Arms.
The latter has not yet been approved, although the development of its conception continues to be based on elements that reflect the historical pathway towards the Ukrainian independence. The principal components of the Great State Coat of Arms should become elements of the Coats of Arms of the Cossack Army of Zaporizhia and the Galycia and Volynia Principality: Cossack with a musket and Golden Lion that hold the shield and act as protectors and successors to the State Coat of Arms of the Great Princedom period. The choice of exactly these figures arises from the wish to combine in a single symbol Western and Eastern parts of Ukraine divided historically for too long.