Short URL for this page:
If there were "circulars emanating from the Ukrainian nationalist underground," there must have been an underground. According to the reports in the Soviet press and the statements by Party leaders, many such underground organizations existed in the Ukraine, but absolutely none of them actually existed in the form in which they were alleged to exist. They were all invented; not one of them was real. Their invention may have been based on men who could have created them, but in the form in which they were "uncovered" they were all mythical. It is important to understand the problem, since it helps us to understand the nature of the Soviet regime in the Ukraine. Soviet sources mention the existence of fourteenº such organizations in the years 1930‑37, of which three were "uncovered" before 1932 while the others were liquidated between 1932 and 1937. Soviet publications1 make mention of the following organizations. (The last date following the name of the organization is that of its liquidation.)
1) The Union for the Liberation of the Ukraine (SVU — Spilka vyzvolennya Ukrainy) — 1930;
2) The Union of Ukrainian Youth (SUM — Spilka Ukrainskoi molodi) — 1930;
3) The Ukrainian National Center (UNTs — Ukrainsky natsionalny tsentr) — 1931;
4) The Union of the Kuban and the Ukraine (Soyuz Kubani i Ukrainy) — 1929‑32;
5) The All‑Ukrainian SR Center, or, Organization of the Ukrainian SR's (Vseukrainsky eserivsky tsentr — orhanizatsiya ukrainskikh eseriv) — 1933;
6) The Counter-Revolutionary Sabotage Organization (led by Konar) — 1933;
7) The Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO — Ukrainska viyskova orhanizatsiya) — 1933;
8) The Polish Military Organization (POW — Polska organizacija wojenna) — 1933;
9) The All‑Ukrainian Borotbist Center (Vseukrainsky borotbystsky tsentr) — 1928‑35;
10) The Ukrainian White Guard Terrorist Center (Ukrainsky tsentr bilohvardeytsiv-terorystiv) — 1934;
p86 11) The Terrorist Group of Professor Zerov (Terorystychna hrupa profesora Zerova) — 1935;
12) The Bloc of Ukrainian Nationalist Parties (Blok ukrainskikh natsionalistychnykh partiy) — 1932‑36;
13) The Trotskyite Nationalist Terrorist Bloc (Trotskistsko-natsionalistychny terorystychny blok) — 1935;
14) The Ukrainian Trotskyite Center (Ukrainsky trotskistsky tsentr) — 1936;
15) The National Fascist Organization of the Ukraine (Natsionalistychna fashystivska orhanizatsiya Ukrainy ) — 1935‑37.
The most striking feature of all these "underground" organizations was that their alleged existence was not supported by any documentary evidence. Apart from the two "documents" discussed in the previous chapter, the GPU‑NKVD produced no other evidence.2 The only evidence of the existence of these conspiracies was the charges made by the Soviet authorities and the confessions of the alleged members of these organizations during their trials. Those interested in the validity of confessions obtained at Soviet trials may be referred to the large body of literature which is available on the subject, especially to the study of the Moscow trials edited by John Dewey.3 The conclusion arrived at by most Western students of the problem involved is that the presentation of evidence at the trials had little or no relation to truth, and that the trials were not conducted in accordance with established juridical procedure.
The lack of published documentary evidence bearing on the programs and aims of the liquidated organizations is significant. It is in itself indicative of the fictitious nature of these conspiratorial bodies.
It may be difficult to understand how any government could insist on the existence of fabricated networks of fictional organizations with thousands of alleged members who paid for these accusations with their very lives, and all without any protest from public opinion. If one recalls the famous case of Beyliss4 p87 in tsarist Russia, or the affaire Dreyfus in France, one must concede that, horrible though these false incriminations of innocent people were, they were nevertheless uncovered and rectified, largely through the efforts of the independent press and of the general public both in Russia and in France. The government of autocratic tsarist Russia was responsive to public opinion. But in the Soviet Union the people had no means of expressing their views. The most elementary right of comment on the actions of their government was denied them.
Secure in its absolute and unquestioned authority, the Soviet government could, therefore, perpetrate the worst crimes, organize enormous travesties of justice, and sentence hundreds of thousands of people to death on the basis of fake evidence, without the slightest criticism or opposition from public opinion.
In the great Soviet political trials of the thirties, three main phases may be clearly discerned:
1) Official announcement of the uncovering of a counter-revolutionary plot and organization;
2) Mass arrests of people who are branded in the press as nationalists, Trotskyites, or enemies of the people;
3) Parade of the accused on trial, ready to confess to any crimes.
This pattern alone, as well as the absence of any fair method of investigation, trial, or defense, and the fact that no true documentary evidence was published, deprived such trials of all appearance of justice. It is also noteworthy that of the fourteen "underground" organizations uncovered by the NKVD, only one (The Union for the Liberation of the Ukraine) was given a public trial. The other trials were held in secret. While it would be wrong to assume that forged evidence is less likely to be presented at public than at secret trials, the fact that thirteen "underground organizations" in the Ukraine were disposed of without a public hearing is of some significance.
Our conclusion, therefore, must be that in the form in which they were "uncovered" the "nationalist underground organizations" in the Ukraine were purely mythical, invented by the Soviet authorities for reasons we have discussed earlier.
Does this conclusion mean that there was no resistance to the Soviet regime in the Ukraine? Certainly not. The resistance was widespread and fierce, sometimes flaring up in peasant rebellions, but it was not carried on through underground organizations only. It was a spontaneous resistance by the people against their oppressors and it was not controlled from abroad. No emigre group claimed responsibility for the direction of this resistance.5 No recent refugees (since 1943) from the Soviet Ukraine have declared that in the thirties they received orders from abroad.
Apart from the spontaneous resistance of the Ukrainian people there was also wide-spread and well-organized resistance to Moscow's policy in the Ukraine by Soviet Ukrainian writers, scholars and intellectuals, encouraged in their contribution p88 to independent Ukrainian culture by Ukrainian Communists like Skrypnyk. There is little doubt that it was this resistance which irked the Kremlin most. It was finally destroyed after the participants had been falsely accused of collaboration with foreign interventionists and "underground" organizations.
Having denied the existence of the alleged underground organizations, is it possible to dismiss them entirely? In spite of their unreality, there must have been some purpose in inventing each one of them, as far as the NKVD plans were concerned. We shall attempt, therefore, to analyze them on the basis of their membership and ideology, not in relation to the Ukrainian resistance but to the policy of the Kremlin. Perhaps, after all, the various groups which were liquidated had some significance in this respect.
The Union for the Liberation of the Ukraine. The uncovering of this alleged organization, which was followed by the arrest of prominent Ukrainian scholars and intellectuals, coincided with the beginning of Stalin's supremacy. In April 1929, the Sixteenth Party Conference adopted Stalin's "optimum variant" in the fulfillment of the Five-Year Plan.6 In order to make the realization of this "optimum variant" possible, it was necessary to make certain preparations. The ground was cleared for the introduction of the "optimum variant" by mass arrests of alleged opponents. Apart from "saboteurs," scores of intellectuals were also arrested.
Kharkov, the capital of the Ukraine, witnessed, in 1930, the sensational trial of forty-five persons accused of belonging to the Union for the Liberation of the Ukraine and its affiliate, the Union of Ukrainian Youth.7 The trial lasted from March 9 to April 20.
The defendants were mostly prominent Ukrainian leaders of the pre‑revolutionary and revolutionary periods. They were the former Social-Democrats, Social-Federalists, Social-Revolutionaries and politicians who were not Party members, former leaders of the Ukrainian People's Republic.8 There were some younger men among the group, too, mostly pupils of the older generation. At the time of their arrest the leaders of the group occupied prominent posts in learned institutions and universities. After seeing the collapse of their dreams of an independent Ukraine in 1919, they did not emigrate, but stayed on and devoted themselves to scholarship. All of them were prominent in the cultural life of the p89 Soviet Ukraine. Among them were the well-known scholar and literary historian, Academician Serhiy Yefremov; the historian, Yosyp Hermayze; the literary critic, Andriy Nikovsky; the writer, Lyudmila Starytska-Chernyakhivska; the writer, Mykhaylo Ivchenko; the linguist, Hryhoriy Holoskevych and several other associates of the Academy of Sciences in Kiev. None of them were Marxists, and to charge them merely with having been previously engaged in active support of Ukrainian independence would have been insufficient to discredit them before the public and to impose long-term sentences on them. They were, therefore, accused of being counter-revolutionaries, and of plotting to overthrow the regime. Two students at Kiev University, M. Pavlushkov and B. Matushevsky, were also sentenced for alleged anti-Soviet activities. The main purpose of the trial was to destroy and to discredit the old generation of Ukrainian democrats and to put an end to their influence on Ukrainian youth. But the organization had never existed in terms of the purposes of which it was accused.
The Ukrainian National Center. Like the first group, the Center comprised former active participants in the Ukrainian independence movement, and like the first group, its existence was mythical in terms of the purposes of which it was accused. According to official Soviet accounts and to reminiscences of one of the survivors, the Center was headed by the former chairman of the Central Rada, Prof. Mykhaylo Hrushevsky, while most of the members were former Ukrainian SR's.9
Among the members of the Center were: a professor of law, M. Shrah; the historian, P. Khrystyuk; the former Minister of Communications in the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic and the author of a well-known book on construction, then a professor at Kharkov Construction Engineering Institute and Kharkov Institute of Construction Technology, M. F. Chechel; a former general in the Ukrainian Galician Army, H. Kosak; the former Prime Minister of the Ukrainian People's Republic, V. Holubovych; a professor of law, V. Mazurenko; the director of the publishing co‑operative Knyhospilka, I. Lyzanivsky (they last three were prominent SR's); and D. Koliukh, a Social‑Democrat, formerly Minister of Supply in the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic, then chairman of the union of Ukrainian consumer co‑operatives.
Apart from these men who were the alleged ringleaders of the Center, thousands of other and little-known intellectuals, workers, teachers, and peasants were arrested on the same charges. Neither the accounts by Postyshev and Kosior nor the reminiscences of Buzhansky tell us anything about these unknown rank-and‑file members of the Center, except that they mention that they were numerous. According to Kosior, the Center had its men in the CP(b)U, Mykhaylo Levytsky being one of them.
The reason for destroying the men allegedly implicated in the Center was the same as in the case of the Union for the Liberate of the Ukraine. The new course p90 of Soviet policy, initiated by Stalin, made it imperative to remove all former members of the Ukrainian republican democratic government. The group gathered around Professor Hrushevsky had come back to the Soviet Union in 1924 with their leader. The rulers of the USSR in 1924 (Trotsky, Rykov, Bukharin), as well as the Soviet Ukrainian leaders (Shumsky, Chubar, Zatonsky, Skrypnyk), allowed Hrushevsky and his group into the Soviet Ukraine under the condition that they would occupy themselves with scholarship alone. They were given all necessary facilities to continue their researches and, for their part, Hrushevsky and his colleagues never renounced their right to maintain freedom of thought and criticism within the limitations of the Soviet constitution.10 The contribution made by this group to the development of Soviet Ukrainian culture and scholarship was generally acknowledged and was in line with the cultural policy of the twenties. It was Stalin's new course which called for a radical change in the attitude to them.
The Union of the Kuban and the Ukraine. Although there is no mention of this organization in the Soviet press, post‑war emigre sources provide information to the effect that the Soviet authorities charged that such an organization existed.11 Semen Pidhayny testifies in his reminiscences that in 1933 he was sentenced to eight years in a concentration camp for belonging to it, adding that it was purely "mythical."
Why should the NKVD invent the Union of the Kuban and the Ukraine?
The Kuban region comprises the North-Caucasian territories and borders on the Ukraine. The population of the area was 2.7 million in 1937,12 of whom almost a million were Ukrainians.13 Apart from ethnic ties there are also historical links between the Ukraine and the Kuban. After 1775, the remnants of the Ukrainian Zaporozhian Cossacks were settled in the Kuban.14 Linguistically and culturally the people of the Kuban felt strong bonds with the Ukrainians. During the 1917 Revolution, when in all the Ukrainian border lands (Galicia, Bukovina, Transcarpathia) there was a desire to unite, there was also a powerful Ukrainian p91 movement in the Kuban. After 1923 the Kuban was not included in the Ukrainian SSR and, having been made a province of the RSFSR, it lost direct contact with the Ukraine. However, this did not put a halt to Ukrainian cultural and social life there. During the twenties, the Ukrainians in the Kuban showed signs of significant cultural and educational growth. Many Ukrainian schools were established in the Kuban and a Ukrainian Pedagogical Institute was formed in the provincial capital of Krasnodar, and a Pedagogical Technical School in Poltavskaya. Ukrainian educational institutions in the Kuban were administered by the Ukrainian Commissariat of Education in Kharkov, headed by Skrypnyk. The Resolution of the CP(b)U on the "Results of Ukrainization," issued in 1926, stressed the need for further cultural work among the Ukrainian minority in the RSFSR.15 This referred, above all, to the Kuban.
Stalin's new policy made no provision for furthering the growth of the Ukrainian Kuban. On the contrary, it was sharply opposed to it, having revived the policy of Russification and centralization. The Kuban intelligentsia was to share the fate of the Ukrainian intelligentsia; it was earmarked for destruction as one of the centrifugal forces in the USSR.
The Kremlin's campaign against the Kuban region started in the Ukraine. In December 1929, at the time of the arrests of the Ukrainians accused of participating in the Union for the Liberation of the Ukraine, many Ukrainian students and professors of Kuban descent (Ivan Teliha, Vera Hubaylo, Orel) were also detained. They were not charged with belonging to the Union for Liberation; their case was separate. The arrests of the Ukrainians from the Kuban region continued in the early thirties. Early in 1933 the following prominent Kuban leaders fell victim to the NKVD: the old Bolshevik, Yuriy Sambursky, who was the envoy plenipotentiary of the Ukrainian SSR in Moscow and was responsible for the Ukrainian minorities in the RSFSR; Semen Pidhayny, a young scholar working in one of the museums in Kharkov; most of the professors in the Pedagogical Institute in Krasnodar and the Pedagogical Technical School in Poltavskaya (Ivan Shalya, P. Horetsky, Petro Hrebinnyk, Shchepotev). According to one source, the staff and students of the Pedagogical Technical School were deported, together with the 30,000 inhabitants of the Poltavskaya stanitsa (Cossack settlement) in October 1932.16 Many teachers of the Ukrainian elementary schools in the Kuban perished in the so‑called "Kuban operation" in 1932‑33.17 Russian replaced Ukrainian as the language of school instruction.
p92 The Union of the Kuban and the Ukraine, which, according to one of its alleged members who survived, was fictitious, was created in order to justify the use of terror in implementing Stalin's new policy of Russification and centralization.
The All‑Ukrainian SR Center (Organization of the Ukrainian SR's) — 1933. The uncovering of this organization was first reported by Kosior at the November Plenum. He described it as having been "detected only recently," and mentioned the well-known SR, Pyrkhavka, as one of its members, who apparently revealed the contact between this organization and the emigre group of the Ukrainian Party of Social Revolutionaries in Prague. Although this organization was also mentioned in the speeches of Postyshev, Popov, and Balitsky, no further details were made public. Thus far we have been unable to find any information concerning the SR Center in emigre sources.
The significance which this organization had for the NKVD may be surmised only through a process of deduction. The Ukrainian Social Revolutionaries, led by M. Shapoval and N. Hryhoriiv, had a well organized party headquarters in Prague where they also published their journal Nova Ukraina (The New Ukraine). Although the activities and publications of these SR's provided a strong antidote to Soviet propaganda, they became less effective as the Soviet Ukraine showed evidence of greater cultural achievements. In the twenties a drive against the SR literature was directed by such weighty Soviet Ukrainian publications as the magazines Chervony shlyakh (The Red Path) and Zhyttya i revolyutsiya (Life and Revolution), the publishing houses Rukh (Movement), Knyhospilka (Book-Union) and DVU (the Ukrainian State Publishing House), which for the first time in Ukrainian history issued complete editions of Ukrainian classical literature, the scholarly publications of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, and Hrushevsky's famous journal Ukraina. However, in the early thirties, when nearly all these publications had been either discontinued or radically changed as to content, there was a danger of immeasurably increased success for emigre SR propaganda. It was necessary, therefore to compromise the Ukrainian SR's abroad in the eyes of the Soviet Ukrainian public. This was easily achieved by branding them as spies and interventionists.
Accordingly, Pyrkhavka confessed that "the Prague SR Committee has reported that it is in full agreement with interventionist plans and is working towards that goal together with the Ukrainian Fascists, headed by Konovalets." Moreover, the "underground" Organization of the Ukrainian SR's, he added, had "decided that the local forces were inadequate to overthrow Soviet rule and establish an independent Ukraine. Therefore it adopted an interventionist policy." In this way the emigre SR's were linked with Ukrainian fascists and foreign interventionists, and at the same time it was emphasized that the forces favorable to the idea of establishing an independent Ukraine were insignificant. The SR Center in the Ukraine was created in order to justify the arrests of former SR's and anyone connected with them.
The Ukrainian Military Organization — 1933. Postyshev's charges against the "Ukrainian nationalists," who had allegedly infiltrated the management of the kolkhozes, Ukrainian literature, and the CP(b)U, were made public soon after his arrival in the Ukraine and were embodied in the resolutions of the Plenum of the CP(b)U in Kharkov, in February 1933.18 Soon afterwards the anti-nationalist witchhunt assumed gigantic proportions; the purges that followed we have described earlier. They were now regarded not as mere deviationists, but as counter-revolutionaries and agents of foreign intervention, working secretly for the separation of the Ukraine from the rest of the USSR.
In his speech before the November Plenum, Kosior mentioned that "early in 1933, a Ukrainian Military Organization was uncovered; it was headed by Maksymovych, Shumsky, Bilenky, Solodub and others, and was financed by Polish landlords and German fascists."19 Postyshev confirmed the existence of this mythical organization in his speeches before the Twelfth Congress of the CP(b)U and the Seventeenth Congress of the All‑Union CP(b).
According to Kosior and Postyshev, apart from Maksymovych, Shumsky, Bilenky, and Solodub, the following members of the Ukrainian Military Organization had been apprehended: the historian, Yavorsky; the deputy Commissar of Education and chief of the Propaganda section of the CC CP(b)U, Yuriy Ozersk (pseudonym of Zebnytsky); the sociologist, Professor Lozynsky; the deputy Commissar of Agriculture, Konyk; the economist and former official of the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, I. Petrenko, and his successor, Tur; the author of the novel The Blue Blood, the writer, M. Kozoriz; an active member of the KPZU, O. Bukshovany, who in 1933 was recalled to Kharkov from Berlin and subsequently arrested; Skrypnyk's personal secretary, Esternyuk; and an official of the Commissariat of Education, a former active Communist agent in Czechoslovakia, Badan.
After Skrypnyk's suicide, when news of a "nationalist conspiracy" was publicized widely in the Soviet Ukrainian press, the public was expecting the unmasked nationalists to be secret but confirmed enemies of the Soviet state. How surprised they were when they learned from the proceedings of the November Plenum that these archenemies of the Soviet regime were their own Communist officials and prominent Ukrainian scholars and writers. All of them represented the independent trend in Soviet Ukrainian social and cultural life, which had no place in Stalin's plans. In order to justify the mass extermination of the Ukrainian Communist opposition to Moscow Communist centralism, it was necessary to ask for an indictment on a charge of high treason. It was, therefore, quite logical to the NKVD, although fantastic to the general public, that the underground military organization p94 should be headed by the leaders of the former opposition within the CP(b)U, Shumsky and Maksymovych.
The Polish Military Organization (POW). The activity of this mythical organization is connected primarily with the person of Skarbek, a Ukrainized Pole who occupied several posts in the CP(b)U at different times as chairman of the provincial Trade Union Council, chief of the cultural and propaganda section of the Kiev Provincial Party committee, secretary of the Chernigov provincial Party committee, and secretary of the CP(b)U in the Marchlewski Polish national district.
The Soviet Ukrainian press and Kosior's speech at the November Plenum contain several sharp attacks on Skarbek who was described as the leader of the POW, an organization in the service of Polish landowners and Ukrainian nationalists.
The charges against the POW and the subsequent liquidation of Skarbek and the Polish Communists reveals a little known aspect of the change in the nationality policy in the Ukraine. It would be a mistake to think that the new course was directed only against the Ukrainians; it affected all other non‑Russian nationalities in the USSR and national minorities within the Ukrainian SSR.
Under Skrypnyk's guidance the Soviet Ukrainian policy toward national minorities in the Ukraine had followed a distinctly liberal line. All non‑Ukrainian nationalities had schools and newspapers in their own languages. Special Bulgarian, German, Russian, Moldavian, and Polish national self-governing districts were established in the Soviet Ukraine.20 They continued to flourish until 1933 when on Postyshev's orders they were liquidated. Especially severe was the abolition of the Marchlewski Polish district in the province of Zhytomir as described below. All Polish schools as well as the Polish Pedagogical Institute were closed down. The Polish district ceased to exist.
These measures, consistent as they were with the new Kremlin policy, were also dictated by the fact that after 1933 Poland had come to be regarded by the Soviet government as the springboard of German aggression against the USSR. Postyshev described Poland, together with Germany, as displaying an interest in the Ukraine on the side of international imperialism. Similarly, Kosior painted a dark picture of Poland's designs and "imperialist appetite." The Ukrainian nationalists in Galicia had, according to this version, "completely sold themselves to the Polish landowners"; those of them who visited the Soviet Ukraine did so on Polish intelligence orders. Analyzing the "confession" of Kozoriz, the writer, Kosior described in detail Poland's participation in the imperialist plans against the USSR. According to him, Poland was to receive the right bank Ukraine as a reward for her services to the Western European powers. Kosior, in addition, tried to find support for these charges in the Polish press, primarily in the editorials p95 of the Robotnik, organ of the Polish Socialist Party, and in an article by Leon Wasilewski in the Polish Ukrainian Bulletin in which the latter pleaded for a more tolerant Polish policy toward the Ukrainians.21 The resolutions of the November Plenum lashed out against the "Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists, in the service of Poland."22
The intensified propaganda against Poland was accompanied by a revision of Soviet policy regarding the Polish minority in the Ukraine. It was decided to liquidate the Polish Marchlewski district, which was then viewed as a potential anti-Soviet base for Polish operations. In order to justify the liquidation of this ethnic group, a step no less inhuman than the treatment meted out to the national minorities in Poland, the NKVD invented the Polish Military Organization. Its members were revealed to be all the prominent cultural and social leaders of the Marchlewski district, headed by Skarbek, a devoted Polish Communist.
The Polish Military Organization was accused of having ties with the Ukrainian Military Organization. This fantastic charge was made in order to implant in the public mind the idea of a massive encirclement of the USSR by enemy forces who formed one grand alliance. Poland was represented not only as a hostile power, but as an active participant in aggression against the USSR, through underground channels.
The All‑Ukrainian Borotbist Center (1928‑35). Up to the end of 1933 no open charges of having betrayed the Soviet state for their former political ideals were made by the Party chiefs or the press against the former Ukrainian Borotbists. Many of them, however, were arrested on different charges. By 1933 only a few leading Borotbists were left in the Soviet government. They were: Panas Lyubchenko, Hryhoriy Hrynko, and Andriy Khvylya. The last-named left the party of the Borotbists23 in 1918 and joined the CP(b)U two years before the merger of these two parties.
The first passing reference to the Borotbists as a party of "Ukrainian nationalists" was made by Balitsky, during the Twelfth Congress of the CP(b)U in 1934.24 However, this mention had at that time little bearing on the general picture of Ukrainian counter-revolution as presented by the purgers. The Borotbists were spared an all‑out attack for another two years.
It was in January 1936 that Postyshev, in his lengthy report to the Plenum of the CC CP(b)U branded the former Borotbists as double-dealers and counter-revolutionaries.25 He declared that the former Borotbists, as well as the Ukapists, who merged with the CP(b)U in 1925, "not only failed to dissolve in our Bolshevik p96 melting pot and become Bolsheviks, but they actually came to the CP(b)U keeping intact their own position and continuously conducted counter-revolutionary and perfidious activities aimed at undermining the Party and Soviet rule."26 To illustrate his point, Postyshev read excerpts from some "confessions" by former Borotbists. In one of them, M. Poloz, a member of the CC CP(b)U, and Ukrainian Commissar of Finance, revealed that "our [Borotbist] activity within the Party was guided by the high-flown slogan which became popular at the last Borotbist Congress: We shall merge with the Bolsheviks and submerge them."27 Another prominent former Borotbist, later the rector of Kiev University, Semen Semko, was supposed to have said that the only intention which the Borotbists had in joining the CP(b)U was "to wrench power from the hands of the Bolsheviks."28 Surveying the past of the Borotbist "double-dealers," Postyshev came to the conclusion that, after failing to seize power at the time of Shumsky's deviation (1926‑28), the Borotbists expanded their activities in three directions: 1) surrounding Skrypnyk with their men and thus creating a legal base for their anti-Soviet work; 2) forming an underground Borotbist organization — an illegal base for their activity; 3) strengthening their influence in such organizations as the Union for the Liberation of the Ukraine and the Ukrainian National Center. This, concluded Postyshev, was made clear by the documents seized in the underground Borotbist organization.29
The only "documents" produced by Postyshev were the confessions of the accused Borotbist defendants. The former Borotbists Kost Kotko (Mykola Lyubchenko), the journalist and writer, and Lukashenko corroborated Postyshev's charges of the existence of an underground organization. According to Lukashenko, it was formed in 1926 and included the following ex‑Borotbists: Shumsky, Poloz, Maksymovych, Solodub, Prykhodko, Yalovy, Ozersky, Polotsky, Semko, Kulish, Nikolenko, Chernyak, and Levytsky.
Up to 1930, this Borotbist underground organization aimed at uniting the forces of resistance and maintaining close contact with other illegal groups, like the one headed by Hrushevsky (testimony of Shelest). From 1930 to 1933 the organization prepared itself for an armed uprising against the Soviet government in the Ukraine (testimony of Yalovy). The armed uprising which was being prepared in conjunction with the Ukrainian Military Organization was forestalled by the "uncovering" of the latter.
Therefore, the Borotbist underground organization continued singlehanded to perpetrate acts of terror against Soviet rule. According to Postyshev's account, it was finally uncovered in 1934‑35. Its leadership at that time consisted of Semko, Polotsky, Mykola Lyubchenko, Kudrya, Kovaliv, Kulish and Epik.30
p97 How much truth was there in Postyshev's story of a Borotbist plot? The historical background of the Borotbists31 given by Postyshev is basically true, although somewhat exaggerated. The confessions of Semko and Poloz correspond to historical fact. In merging with the CP(b)U the Borotbists were hoping to retain their original platform — the national independence of the Soviet Ukraine. They made no secret of it, and their attitude was tolerated by the Bolshevik Party and by Lenin32 who needed the co‑operation of the Borotbists to ensue the success of the Soviet government in the Ukraine. The position of the Borotbists was, therefore, not a conspiracy; it was a recognized form of opposition. Similarly, the "deviation" of Shumsky was a movement headed by the Borotbists and their sympathizers. It was not, however, a test of strength between the Bolsheviks and Borotbists, but was an expression of Ukrainian protest against the centralist and Russifying tendencies of the CP(b)U.
It is, however, most unlikely that the ex‑Borotbists would attempt to form an underground organization, though they had had a great deal of experience in underground work during 1917‑19. In 1928 they possessed enough power in the state apparatus of the Ukrainian SSR to exert their pressure on the political, social and cultural development of the country. The charge that the Borotbists were preparing an armed insurrection in 1930‑33 may be rejected outright. Because of their past experience they realized very well that such a venture would be doomed to failure. Nor were the Borotbists implicated in any of the peasant uprisings in 1932‑33.
One question which remains is why the Borotbist Center was first mentioned as being uncovered in 1936? Why was the accusation against the Borotbists not made earlier, let us say in 1933?
In 1933 the Postyshev regime still needed the services of Borotbists like Lyubchenko, Khvylya, Hrynko. Therefore it purged the Borotbists not as Borotbists, but as members of the Military Organization, or simply as enemies of the state and fascists. This was done, in spite of Balitsky's statement in 1934 that a Borotbist conspiracy already existed. By 1936 the reign of terror in the Ukraine had come to an end and the country was an obedient vassal of the Kremlin. There was no longer any need to countenance the domination of the Ukraine by the ideals of Ukrainian patriotism, which men like Lyubchenko, Hrynko and Khvylya had provided from 1933 to 1936. The time was ripe for the destruction of the last vestiges of Ukrainian opposition and those who had supported it. The mythical Borotbist underground was created in order to facilitate the destruction of the last of the Borotbists.
The implication of the Borotbists in the anti-Soviet underground was not in itself sufficient. The Soviet fabricators proceeded to the last chapter of the revised p98 history of Borotbism. In 1938, a leading article in Bilshovyk Ukrainy33 accused the Borotbists of being, from the beginning of their existence (1918), agents of Ukrainian nationalism and foreign imperialism. It described the split in the Ukrainian Party of Social Revolutionaries in 1918 and stated that this led to the creation of the Borotbist Party as "a Jesuit maneuver of the Ukrainian-nationalist counter-revolution."34 In this way the Borotbists, the co‑founders of the Ukrainian SSR, were branded agents of foreign interventionism.
The Soviet perversion of Borotbist history and ideology shows that Borotbism (Ukrainian Communism) was deeply rooted in the Ukraine and that it had continued to represent a vital force in the politics of that country until 1938. It was not destroyed until its adherents had first been liquidated as nationalists and fascists, and then finally as Borotbists — members of the nonexistent underground Borotbist Center.
The Ukrainian White Guard Terrorist Center (December, 1934). On December 18, 1934, the Soviet press carried the following report of the verdict passed by the Military Court on the members of the Ukrainian White Guard Terrorist Center:
From December 13 to 15 the visiting session of the Military Board of the Supreme Court of the USSR in Kiev, presided over by Comrade V. V. Ulrikh, and consisting of Comrades N. M. Rychkov and A. D. Goryachev, examined the cases of 1) A. V. Krushelnytsky, 2) Yu. A. Bachynsky, 3) I. A. Krushelnytsky, 4) T. A. Krushelnytsky, 5) R. F. Skazynsky, 6) M. M. Lebedynets, 7) I. R. Shevchenko,35a 8) A. Yu. Karabut, 9) P. I. Sidorov, 10) V. A. Mysyk, 11) V. I. Levytsky, 12) A. I. Skrypa-Kozlovska, 13) H. M. Kosynka-Strilets, 14) D. N. Falkivsky, 15) M. H. Oksamyt, 16) A. H. Shcherbyna, 17) I. P. Tereshchenko, 18) K. S. Bureviy, 19) L. B. Kovaliv, 20) P. P. Helmer-Didushok, 21) A. F. Vlyzko, 22) A. I. Finitsky, 23) E. K. Dmitriev, 24) A. A. Bohdanovych, 25) P. I. Butuzov, 26) I. M. Butuzov, 27) V. V. Pyatnytsya, 28) Ya. P. Blachenko, 29) H. K. Stupin, 30) D. I. Polevy, 31) I. O. Khoptyar, 32) P. N. Boretsky, 33) L. I. Lukyanov-Svechezarov, 34) H. N. Protsenko, 35) K. I. Pivnenko, 36) S. Ya. Matyash, 37) A. K. Lyashchenko.
All of them were accused of organizing acts of terror against officials of the Soviet government. The Court established that the majority of the accused had arrived in the USSR from Poland, some from Rumania, with the intention of organizing acts of terror on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR. Most of the accused were apprehended with revolvers and hand grenades. Guided by the resolution of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR dated December 1 of this year and articles 54‑8 and 54‑11 of the Penal Code of the Ukrainian SSR, the visiting session of the Military Board of the Supreme Court of the USSR sentenced: 1) R. F. Skazynsky, 2) I. A. Krushelnytsky, 3) T. A. Krushelnytsky, 4) M. M. Lebedynets, 5) I. R. Shevchenko,35b 6) A. Yu. Karabut, 7) P. I. Sidorov, 8) H. M. Kosynka-Strilets, 9) D. N. Falkivsky, 10) M. H. Oksamyt, 11) A. H. p99 Shcherbyna, 12) I. P. Tereshchenko, 13) K. S. Bureviy, 14) A. F. Vlyzko, 15) E. K. Dmitriev, 16) A. A. Bohdanovych, 17) P. I. Butuzov, 18) I. M. Butuzov, 19) V. V. Pyatnytsya, 20) Ya. P. Blachenko, 21) D. I. Polevy, 22) I. O. Khoptyar, 23) P. N. Boretsky, 24) L. I. Lukyanov, 25) K. I. Pivnenko, 26) H. N. Protsenko, 27) S. Ya. Matyash, 28) A. R. Lyashchenko — to be shot.
Their property is to be confiscated.
The sentences have been carried out.
The Military Board of the Supreme Court of the USSR has decided to submit the cases of A. V. Krushelnytsky, Yu. A Bachynsky, V. A. Mysyk, V. I. Levytsky, A. I. Skrypa-Kozlovska, L. B. Kovaliv, P. F. Helmer-Didushok, A. I. Finitsky, and H. K. Stupin for further investigation because of new circumstances.
In order to grasp the significance of this sentence and of the charges contained in it, it is necessary to survey briefly the circumstances which led to this trial.
On December 1, 1934, I. V. Nikolaev, a young engineer, a member of the Party and of the Leningrad District Committee of the All‑Union CP(b), killed S. M. Kirov, the secretary of the Leningrad District Committee and a member of the Politburo of the All‑Union CP(b), in the waiting room of the Committee Headquarters.
The next day, Pravda published the following report of the shooting:
The Central Executive Committee of the All‑Union CP(b) deeply regrets to inform the Party, the working class, the toilers of the USSR and of the entire world that on December 1, in Leningrad there fell, by the treacherous hand of an enemy of the working class, the prominent worker in our Party . . . the secretary of the Central and Leningrad Committees of the All‑Union CP(b), a member of the Politburo of the CC All‑Union CP(b), Comrade Sergei Mironovich Kirov.
The special meeting of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR which was held on the same day adopted the following decisions:
To authorize the judiciary to speed up the investigation of cases pertaining to the preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts.
2) To instruct the tribunals not to stay the execution of the more severe penalties pending an appeal for clemency on behalf of the offenders, since the presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR cannot consider these intercessions.
3) To instruct the organs of the NKVD to execute the more severe sentences for the above mentioned offences immediately after the verdicts have been handed down.36
This was the notorious "law of December 1, 1934," which countenanced the terror conducted by the NKVD in all parts of the country as a reprisal for Kirov's murder. The practical application of this drastic new law affected the Ukraine to such an extent that a detailed discussion of the murder of Kirov is included in an Appendix Note, pages 149‑151.
p100 Official evidence for the existence of the White Guard Terrorist Center in the Ukraine consisted of 1) the published sentence promulgated by the Military Tribunal in Kiev, 2) the 37 victims of the trial, and 3) the "confession" of the poet Vlyzko, as reported in a speech by Postyshev.37
The text of the sentence asserted that the majority of the accused had come to the Ukraine from abroad and that they had been caught red‑handed, in possession of arms. Of the 37 accused, at least 20, according to the verdict, had come from abroad. This may not sound unlikely to one not familiar with the names of the accused. In reality, however, 23 of the defendants were widely known writers, cultural and social workers in the Ukraine (M. M. Lebedynets, R. I. Shevchenko, V. A. Mysyk, V. I. Levytsky, H. M. Kosynka, D. N. Falkivsky, M. H. Oksamyt, A. H. Shcherbyna, I. P. Tereshchenko, K. S. Bureviy, L. B. Kovaliv, A. F. Vlyzko, D. I. Polevy, I. O. Khoptyar, P. N. Boretsky, H. N. Protsenko, K. I. Pivnenko, S. Ya. Matyash, A. K. Lyashchenko, Ya. P. Blachenko, A. Yu. Karabut, A. I. Finitsky, and V. V. Pyatnytsya). With the exception of M. Lebedynets, who was in the Soviet diplomatic service and had therefore travelled abroad quite frequently, and the young deaf-and‑dumb poet Vlyzko, who had paid a short visit to Germany in 1929 or 1930, not one of the remaining accused had travelled abroad.
Only seven of the entire group were Galicians who had come to live in the Soviet Ukraine. Who were they, and under what circumstances had they come to the Soviet Ukraine? P. F. Helmer-Didushok was an old Ukrainian Social-Democrat, who, as an officer of the Austrian army, had been taken prisoner by the Russians before the Revolution. During the Revolution he took an active part in Ukrainian political life. He was a member of the Ukrainian delegation, headed by Professor Hrushevsky, to the Second International. After 1920 he accepted the Soviet regime and remained in the Ukraine. Yu. A. Bachynsky, a journalist and Social-Democrat, was a member of the Ukrainian National Council in Galicia in 1918 and later the Ukrainian envoy in Washington.38 He became a loyal supporter of the Soviet regime and was legally admitted to the Ukraine in the early thirties. A. V. Khrushelnytsky, a writer, formerly Minister of Education in the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic (1919), later lived in Galicia and edited a pro‑Soviet literary journal, Novi shlyakhy (New Paths). Early in the thirties he went over to the Soviet Ukraine, convinced of the bright future of that country. His wife, a daughter, and two sons accompanied him. Both his sons were co‑defendants in the same case as their father and both were executed. R. F. Skazynsky and A. I. Skrypa-Kozlovska were in the same category as the Krushelnytskys.
This survey of the accused shows the falsity of the official charges that the majority of the defendants had crossed the Soviet frontier armed to the teeth, in order to carry out acts of terror.
p101 Finally, there is one valuable piece of evidence which helps to expose the brand of justice meted out to the Ukrainian "White Guard terrorists." It was written by B. Podolyak,39 who met K. I. Pivnenko, one of the accused, in November 1934. At that time, Pivnenko told the author that he had been arrested, together with two other Ukrainians, H. N. Protsenko, and S. Ya. Matyash, earlier in the year, but had subsequently been released on condition that he and his friends would leave the Ukraine. However, Podolyak added, the murder of Kirov had upset the plans made in preparation for the journey east. Shortly after his interview with Pivnenko, the three accused were re‑arrested and executed.
The above evidence suggests that the White Guard Terrorist Center never existed, and that the members of the Ukrainian group were not responsible for the crimes attributed to them. They were innocent persons, victims of Soviet terror.
The Terrorist Group of Professor Zerov. In January 1936, a secret trial was conducted in Kiev. The accused were allegedly members of a "terrorist-nationalist" group headed by the famous Ukrainian literary critic, poet and professor of literature at Kiev University, Mykola Zerov.40 Apart from Zerov, the following Ukrainian writers and intellectuals were included in the group: Pavlo Fylypovych, a poet and literary critic; Ananiy Lebed, a professor of literature; Mykhaylo Dray-Khmara, a poet and literary historian; Marko Vorony, and another professor, a friend of Zerov, whose name was not disclosed (in all probability Professor Viktor Romanovsky).41
Toward the end of the trial the case of Dray-Khmara was taken up by the Special Council of the NKVD, which, on March 28, 1936, sentenced Dray-Khmara to five years forced labor for "counter-revolutionary activity." He served his sentence in the camp in the Kolyma region. The last news of him was received in September 1938.42
The Soviet press made no mention of the trial of the "Zerov group." Postyshev and other Party leaders also kept silent about it. Our only sources therefore are the eyewitness accounts which have appeared in the press since 1943.43
p102 According to Lebed, whom the present author met in a concentration camp, Zerov and his group were accused of espionage (Article 54, Sections 6, 8, and 11 of the Penal Code of the Ukrainian SSR), of terrorist acts against Soviet Ukrainian Party leaders (Postyshev, Petrovsky) and of belonging to an illegal organization.44 In support of the first charge, it was stated that in December 1934, Zerov and his friends had attended a memorial service for the Ukrainian writers who had been executed earlier in the month. Following the requiem, Zerov was supposed to have formed a group devoted to the idea of avenging the deaths of the executed writers.
The members of Zerov's alleged group came from three different, although related, strata: 1) the Neoclassicist poets, whose chief theorist was Zerov. Maksym Rylsky, Mykhaylo Dray-Khmara, Pavlo Fylypovych, and Yuriy Klen belonged to this school of poetry; 2) the so‑called HUKUS, a linguistic circle of graduate students and University lecturers devoted to the study of the Ukrainian language. It was created in 1924 and included Kost Dovhan, Hryhoriy Levchenko and others, and was indirectly supervised by Zerov; 3) the Higher Literary Seminar, presided over by Zerov, who devoted a great deal of time to it. This literary laboratory produced several promising literary scholars. All three circles were founded with the approval of the authorities and were devoted to literature and scholarship alone. It was no secret that neither Zerov nor his students subscribed to Marxian theory. The fact that these groups represented centers of objective, scholarly research, and of pro‑Western orientation in Ukrainian literature and criticism was enough to inspire charges of counter-revolution against them and to destroy some of the most cultured and talented men in the Soviet Ukraine. Their tolerant, liberal and pro‑Western outlook could not be tolerated in the new course set by Stalin.45
The Bloc of Ukrainian National Parties (UKP, the Borotbists, USD, USR, UVO) — 1932‑36. While uncovering various "underground" organizations in the Ukraine the Soviet authorities from time to time made an attempt to link them all up into one big conspiracy. The first hints of the existence of such a "bloc" were contained in speeches by Postyshev and Kosior at the November Plenum. The first concrete charge was made by Balitsky in his review of the "achievement" of his department (NKVD) before the Twelfth Congress of the CP(b)U in 1934. Balitsky disclosed that a "bloc of Ukrainian nationalist parties, UKP's, the Borotbists, the SR's, the SD's, the UV's and others,"46 had been uncovered. During the next few years, hundreds or even thousands of former members of these parties were arrested, but no special amalgamated "bloc" appeared in the trials. It was p103 in January 1936, that Postyshev, in his address before the Plenum of the CP(b)U,47 finally confirmed the existence of such a bloc, embracing all parties and diversionist groups and including Skrypnyk's group within the CP(b)U. Postyshev quoted at length the "confession" made by Professor Demchuk, which declared:
The Ukrainian Military Organization could not have undertaken such wide organizational and political work in the Soviet Ukraine if it had not found suitable conditions there, i.e. powerful support from other counter-revolutionary, nationalist organizations and groups . . .
All these groups, e.g. the former Borotbists, former members of the UKP, USD, USR and UVO created one nationalist bloc.48
According to Postyshev, this bloc was not a mere union of associated partners; it had a directing center to which all the groups were subordinated. The Borotbist representatives in the bloc were Poloz, Solodub, Slipansky, Yalovy, Vrona, Nikolenko; the Ukapists were represented by Richytsky, Avdienko, Drahomyretsky and Kyyanytsya, and the Ukrainian Military Organization by Baran and Levytsky.
The Soviet accounts of the leaders of the bloc varied from time to time. Sometimes it was charged that Hrushevsky's group had the leading role in the bloc (1933), at other times it was the Borotbist group (1936).
What purpose, after all, was served by the invasion of the Bloc of Ukrainian Nationalist Parties? No matter how incredible the charges made against various people accused of participation in underground activities might have been, they had to have about them an air of plausibility. Even if the charges were difficult to believe, they had to be within the limits of the possible. Skrypnyk could be accused of being a nationalist, but he could hardly be accused of being a fascist.
Therefore, a special technique of guilt by association had to be developed. Hence, even if people were not accused of being fascist, they were put on the same level as fascists if their organizations formed a bloc with fascist organizations. The professional NKVD man, Balitsky, must have grasped the usefulness of the idea even in 1934, but it was not until two years later that the Party politicians allowed him to put his plans into practice. This, in our opinion, explains the creation of the Bloc of Ukrainian Nationalist Parties.
The Trotskyite National Terrorist Bloc. It has already been mentioned that in 1935‑36 the NKVD was busy creating a Ukrainian Trotskyite Nationalist Bloc, allegedly headed by Professor Nyrchuk.49 The Soviet press contained only two references to Professor Nyrchuk as one of the founders of the Bloc. The first was the reprimand handed down by the CC CP(b)U on May 8, 1933.50 Nyrchuk was mentioned for the second time in the resolution of the Kiev Party Committee issued in late August 1936, following a speech by Postyshev. It stated that p104 "Ukrainian Trotskyites, headed by Kotsyubynsky, Holubenko, Loginov, Nyrchuk, and others, formed a counter-revolutionary Trotskyite-Zinovievite nationalist bloc."51
There is no evidence to suggest that such a bloc existed in the Ukraine, although this possibility cannot be altogether excluded since certain conditions, favorable to the development of such a body, did certainly exist. As early as 1923, when Trotsky first found himself in opposition to the centralist trends in the Russian CP(b), he grasped the significance of the national problem in the USSR.
From Trotsky's autobiography, published in 1930,52 it is clear that in 1923, during the conflict in Georgia between the Georgian opposition led by Mdivani on the one hand and Stalin and Dzerzhinsky on the other, Trotsky was on the side of the Georgians. He branded Stalin's policy as a "callous and insolent great-power oppression." At the Twelfth Congress of the Russian CP(b) in 1923, Trotsky moved an amendment to Stalin's proposed resolution on the national question. Looking back at this incident in 1930, Trotsky wrote: "I wanted a radical change in the nationality policy . . . in regard to small, weak, and backward peoples."53 Trotsky's later pronouncements on the national question were made in the same tone.54
It was to be expected that Stalin's opponents in the non‑Russian republics of the USSR would automatically become sympathetic to Trotsky. This did actually happen, in many instances. Thus it is known that Khvylovy showed obvious Trotskyite sympathies; many of his closest friends and associates (D. Feldman, Ya. Lifshits, and Victor Serge) were followers of Trotsky.
According to the testimony of Rappoport-Darin quoted by Postyshev, "in 1933‑34 the Trotskyite organization formed a bloc with the organizations of Ukrainian national deviationists. At the end of 1931 Kotsyubynsky55 told me that in all propaganda work we must bear in mind the peculiarities of the Ukraine. In Ukraine, he said, we not only cannot bypass the national question, but we must also clarify our own attitude toward this question."56
p105 There are many other references in the Soviet press to the Trotskyite Nationalist Bloc.57
A report of Postyshev's speech in Pravda on January 14, 1935, mentions the activities of Ukrainian Trotskyites in Kiev and Kharkov universities, the publishing house of the Soviet Ukrainian Encyclopedia,58 and in the Institute of People's Education in Lugansk (Tsykin, Deyneka).59
In December 1934, Pravda reported the unmasking of a Trotskyite bloc in the University of Dnepropetrovsk (Komarovsky, Brokhin, Kaplun, Yahnetynskaya, Karpenko, Davydenko).60 It was further alleged that this group maintained contact with "Vinokur, Chichkevych, Hurevych and others."
Did these groups, allegedly discovered in 1934, have any relation to Professor Nyrchuk and the Trotskyite bloc of 1936? Probably none. Both "underground groups" (1934, 1936) were created for purposes known only to the NKVD. Those accused of being members were tried in camera and received a sentence of three to five years by the verdict of the so‑called Special Counsel (Osoboe Soveshchanie). The subsequent fate of Professor Nyrchuk is unknown. Perhaps his reason failed, or perhaps, having fulfilled his function for the NKVD, he was shot or deported to a concentration camp. To the NKVD this was of minor importance. What was important was that by playing the part of the leader of the Trotskyite bloc, he had helped to destroy many innocent Ukrainian scholars and intellectuals whom the NKVD had been ordered to find guilty.
The Ukrainian Trotskyite Center (1936). The problem of Ukrainian Trotskyism is a topic in itself. There is no doubt that the Trotskyite opposition must have had centers in the Ukraine too. It was strongest during the years 1924‑27. It is also undeniable that Ukrainian Trotskyism had, as Postyshev said, "its own specific character."61 The activity of the Ukrainian Trotskyites began to decline after 1929. It may be assumed that by 1933 there were no more centers of the Trotskyite opposition. Yet it was precisely then that the "Trotskyite underground" became a necessary part of Stalin's plans to terrorize the country. In order to destroy all the former followers of Trotsky it was necessary to apprehend them while they were engaged in a widespread Trotskyite, underground conspiracy. If such an underground conspiracy did not exist, it had to be invented. At first the NKVD invented the Ukrainian Trotskyite Nationalist Bloc which we have already discussed. The liquidation of this bloc was completed by the end of 1936.
Soon afterwards a new Trotskyite organization in the Ukraine was uncovered. The drive against it began as early as 1935, with the arrest of Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bakaev, Yevdokimov, Fedorev and other "Trotskyites." From later pronouncements p106 by Postyshev62 it is clear that the Ukrainian Trotskyites, Yu. Kotsyubynsky, Rappoport-Darin, Naumov, and several others must have been arrested about the same time, in 1935. Thus, although the Ukrainian press carried no reports of these arrests, it may be assumed that the invasion of the "Ukrainian Trotskyite Center" goes back to 1935. When Postyshev, in his 1936 speech, officially mentioned the existence of the Center, thousands of Ukrainian workers, peasants and intellectuals had already been arrested on charges of being Trotskyites.
As the epic of the Ukrainian Trotskyite Nationalist Bloc was nearing its end, allegations of a new organization were emerging, this was the Ukrainian Trotskyite Center, headed by Yuriy Kotsyubynsky. On the horizon in Moscow there rose the first shadows of the big trials. A new wave of arrests, which flooded the Ukraine in 1936, called for a fresh exploit by the NKVD — the revelation of a "Trotskyite Center."
The Ukrainian Trotskyite Center was linked to all three Moscow trials.
During the trial of the so‑called "Trotsky-Zinoviev Terrorist Center" (August 19‑24, 1936), the Ukrainian problem aroused little attention. Apparently the organizers of the trial still found it difficult to establish ties between Zinoviev (who was always violently anti-Ukrainian)63 and the Ukrainian deviationists and Trotskyites. It is also possible that at that time (1936) the nature of the Ukrainian Trotskyite Center was not yet clearly defined. This is especially obvious from Postyshev's speech, and from the text of the sentence passed on Zinoviev and Kamenev. The sentence mentioned that
the prosecution has also established that the Trotsky-Zinoviev Center was at the same time . . . preparing terrorist acts against Comrades Postyshev and Kosior, with the help of the Ukrainian terrorist group, acting under the leadership of the Trotskyite Mukhin. His case has been taken under separate advisement.64
Why was only Mukhin's group mentioned when previous revelations of Ukrainian Trotskyism contained the names of Kotsyubynsky, Loginov, Holubenko, Rappoport-Darin, and others? All these names were disclosed by Postyshev in January 1936, and in the article in Bilshovyk Ukrainy.65 This can only be explained by the assumption that final plans for the invention of the Ukrainian-Trotskyite Center had not been completed.
The attack on the Center did not begin until after the first Moscow trial. Commenting on the trial, the resolution of the Kiev Provincial Party Committee, following the report by Postyshev in August 1936,66 stated that
p107 the Trotskyite and Zinovievite conspirators paid special attention in their counter-revolutionary plans to the Ukraine. They were closely allied with the Ukrainian nationalists and their friends . . . preparing to separate the Ukraine by force from the Soviet Union. Ukrainian Trotskyites, headed by Kotsyubynsky, Holubenko, Loginov, Nyrchuk, and others, organized the counter-revolutionary Trotsky-Zinoviev bloc, planning to assist the bands of German and Polish fascist interventionists to occupy the Ukraine and preparing terrorist acts against the leaders of the Party and Soviet government . . .
The entire Party organization in the Ukraine must draw a stern lesson from the laissez-faire and criminal slackness which had occurred in Dnepropetrovsk where Trotskyite double-dealers worked in the district organization until quite recently; and in Kharkov, where a counter-revolutionary group was active in the steel-casting section of the locomotive factory under the very noses of the City and District Party Committees; in the "Bolshevik" factory in Kiev; in the leather industry; in the Ukraine Leather Trust; as well as in Odessa and the Donbas. The Party must forestall any repetition of similar incidents.
This resolution shows how widespread were the arrests in the Ukraine, conducted in connection with the Trotskyite Center. Trotskyism was no longer limited to university professors and graduate students — it was now infecting workers and managers in the industrial centers of the Ukraine. It also indicates that those who arranged the Moscow trial had decided to link the Ukrainian Trotskyites to the other Trotskyites, stressing the alliance between the former and the Ukrainian nationalists.
The second Moscow trial of the "Anti-Soviet Center" of Pyatakov, Radek, Sokolnikov and others took place January 24‑30, 1937. The chief defendant, Pyatakov, made the following confession:
At that time [1931‑32] I was occupied with re‑establishing the old Trotskyite contacts. I concentrated on the Ukraine. When I talked to Loginov in Berlin, we agreed on the creation of the Ukrainian Trotskyite Center . . .
First of all, we re‑established our Ukrainian ties. These were — Loginov, Holubenko, Kotsyubynsky, Lifshits. We first came to an agreement with Loginov, then with the others, as to the formation of a Ukrainian quartet.67
Later in the trial Pyatakov described how Trotskyite groups had been formed in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, Kiev, the Donbas and in other cities in the Ukraine, which were directly subordinated to the parallel center in Moscow.68
The testimonies of Radek, Pyatakov, and Loginov further stressed the wide activities of the Ukrainian Trotskyites, and branded them as allies of the Ukrainian nationalists. The emphasis of foreign intervention aimed at separation of the Ukraine from Russia was a new note in the Russian trials.
This problem of the separation of the Ukraine and of the dismemberment of the USSR with the help of foreign intervention became the crucial issue of the p108 third Moscow trial (against Bukharin, Rykov, and others) held March 2‑15, 1938. Yet the leading role was reserved not for the Ukrainian Trotskyites, but for the Ukrainian fascists, discussed in the next section. The Ukrainian Trotskyites had to retire to the background.
In conclusion, it is worth glancing at the central figure of alleged Ukrainian Trotskyism, Yuriy Kotsyubynsky. In all probability he was arrested before the trial of Zinoviev. However, Kotsyubynsky did not figure personally in any of the trials. Why was Loginov and not Kotsyubynsky the chief witness to Ukrainian Trotskyism in Pyatakov's trial? There is no answer to this enigma. It is possible, however, to venture an explanation of Kotsyubynsky's absence from all the trials. He was an old Bolshevik with long service in the Party, and in the highest and most responsible position. When he was arrested by the NKVD, which he had helped to create, he must have had no illusions about his end. Is it possible that, realizing his helplessness, he refused to break under the interrogating technique of the NKVD, refused to sign "confessions" or to supply lists of his co‑workers in the "underground"? The fact that in all likelihood he had to be quietly disposed of in the cellars of the NKVD would seem to confirm this view. But the truth of what actually happened to Yuriy Kotsyubynsky will only be known some time in the future.a After the liquidation of the Ukrainian Trotskyite Center, the stage was set for the next victim of the insatiable NKVD — the prime minister of the UkSSR — Panas Lyubchenko.
The National Fascist Organization of the Ukraine (1935‑37). The second half of 1937 saw the final annihilation of the last Borotbists and of the national Communist cadres in the CP(b)U and the Soviet Ukrainian government. The bloody purges of that period were accompanied by disclosure of a new "underground" organization: The National Fascist Organization of the Ukraine. The first news of this organization was published on September 18, 1937, in Pravda.69 A brief report from Kiev read as follows:
The active members of the Kiev organization, devoted to the discussion of the results of the plenum of the CC CP(b)U, met September 15‑16. The secretary of the CP(b)U, Comrade S. Kosior, delivered an address on the band of bourgeois nationalists uncovered in the Ukraine. In the discussion the active members sharply criticized the People's Commissariat of Education, and the work of Comrade Zatonsky . . .
Comrade Zatonsky admitted that he had failed to unmask them. However, he did not say how he had rid the People's Commissariat of Education of bourgeois nationalists. This is understandable — Comrade Zatonsky could not say anything. The meeting unanimously sent its greetings to Comrade Stalin.
This laconic report referred to a most dramatic episode in Soviet Ukrainian history. The last sentence is especially characteristic of the climate of the time. What deep irony it contained! Here were the active Ukrainian Party members p109 assembled in the Ukrainian capital at a time when almost the entire Soviet Ukrainian government and the entire Central Committee (62 members and 40 candidate members) together with its Politburo (11 members and 5 candidate members) had been arrested as the leaders of a "bourgeois nationalist organization," and the others were already doomed. And they unanimously sent their greetings to Stalin.
The Pravda report mentioned neither the composition nor the nature of the new counter-revolutionary organization. It has, unfortunately, proved impossible to obtain the Kiev papers of the relevant period. We do not know, therefore, if a more detailed account of the "bourgeois nationalist band" described by Kosior was ever published. However, even if it was, it could not have been more extensive than the account given by the "leader" of this "secret organization," H. Hrynko, at the trial of Bukharin and Rykov. This report, issued first by the prosecution on the eve of the Bukharin-Rykov trial,70 and virtually confirmed in the Procurator's summary after the trial,71 read as follows:
It has been established in the course of investigation that the "Right-Trotskyite bloc" united in its ranks the underground, anti-Soviet groups of Trotskyites, Right-wingers, Zinovievites, Mensheviks, SR's and bourgeois nationalists of the Ukraine, Belorussia, the Central Asiatic republics, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidzhan and the Maritime Provinces.
What was the alleged purpose of this alleged union of anti-Soviet organizations?
According to the same source, apart from espionage, sabotage, diversion, terror and provoking an enemy attack on the USSR, the aim of this united front was "the separation from the USSR of the Ukraine, Belorussia, Georgia, the Central Asiatic republics, Armenia, Azerbaidzhan and the Maritime Provinces." In such a broad program there was room for the Trotskyites, the Bukharinites, and the bourgeois nationalists. The fact that it was difficult to include in this the Mensheviks, the SR's or the Zinovievites did not deter the NKVD. What was important was that a broad union of all enemies of the Soviet state should be created.
What was the origin of the National Fascist Organization of the Ukraine?
The answer was given at the Rykov-Bukharin trial by the only "representative" and "leader" of this organization, Hryhoriy Hrynko:
I joined the Communist Party as a member of the Borotbists — a Ukrainian nationalist organization. A considerable part of the Borotbist core, Shumsky, Poloz, Blakytny, Lyubchenko, and myself, after joining the CP(b)U, preserved and even increased our bourgeois nationalist positions . . .
The first stage [of our development] was in 1925‑26. This was the so‑called period of Shumskism. Even at that time Shumskism was, in fact, a program of separation of the Ukraine from the USSR . . .
p110 After the rout of this nationalist organization only fragments of it were left. But around 1929, a nationalist organization was revived in Moscow; it consisted of Shumsky, myself, Poloz, Maksymovych, Solodub and several others. This organization adopted an approach to its program and tactics which was different from that used in the first period.
[During the first period] we thought it was imperative that the evolution of the NEP would end in what we hoped for. On the other hand, we saw no power in Europe with which we could ally ourselves in order to take more determined steps forward . . .
The situation changed in the second period. This was the period of the unfolding socialist offensive, when the position of the capitalist elements in the country was seriously undermined; the evolution of the NEP in the direction of capitalism was now out of the question . . .
In that period, the Ukrainian nationalist organization adopted the political attitude of the right, that is of the struggle against industrialization and collectivization . . .
The Ukrainian nationalist organization ordered its members to gather their forces for active struggle, chiefly against collectivization, but also including the organization of uprisings. In that struggle we were already being assisted by some circles of a state hostile to the Soviet Union. These allies helped us. In order to sustain partisan warfare they intensified the transference to the Ukraine of diversionists, Petlyurian emissaries, arms, etc. Liaison was maintained by Konar and Kotsyubynsky . . .
This period ended early in 1933 with the arrest of the entire group. I was the only one not arrested at that time.72
The only survivor of the organization described no activity by this body for the next two years. During that time the NKVD was busy inventing and destroying other "underground" organizations. However, he himself, he testified, had carried on intensive subversive activity, while he was People's Commissioner of Finance of the USSR.
At the end of 1932, in my nationalist work I established treasonous contact with Mr. N. We met in my office where Mr. N. came on matters connected with a German trade concession . . .
During the second half of 1933, Mr. N. told me openly that the German fascists wished to co‑operate with the Ukrainian nationalists on the Ukrainian problem. In reply I agreed to co‑operate with Mr. N. . . . Later, in 1933‑34, I had several meetings with Mr. N. . . . Before he left the USSR, he introduced me to Mr. M. with whom I continued my contacts . . .73
At the beginning of 1935 I learned from Lyubchenko that a national fascist organization had been created in the Ukraine.74
This last information supplied by Hrynko helps to date the beginning of the alleged national fascist organization, which apparently was assured of comprising p111 the remnants of the Borotbists. Its alleged aim was to separate the Ukraine from the USSR, and it hoped to receive help through
military intervention of the forces with which I [Hrynko] was in personal contact. It also tried to contact the Right-Trotskyite bloc and establish relations with military conspirators.75
What was Hrynko's relation to the new organization? According to his testimony, he "agreed to join it [in order] to keep in touch with the Right-Trotskyite center, with governmental circles of some enemy states, and to help Lyubchenko in the expansion of the organization in the Ukraine." Further, he testified that:
At the time I joined this organization , it crystallized as a national fascist organization. Lyubchenko told me about the center of this organization in the Ukraine, which was made up of Lyubchenko, Porayko, and others. He told me that the center was discussing the problem of what character the Party organization and the Ukrainian state should assume. According to Lyubchenko, the organization chose to create a centralized party modelled on the national-socialist party. If successful, the organization foresaw the creation of a bourgeois Ukrainian state modelled on the fascist state.
Further, Hrynko testified that when the Right-Trotskyite center was informed of this intention by the Ukrainian fascists, Lyubchenko and others, it expressed its full approval. The tentacles of this Ukrainian fascist group, he added, reached even farther. With the help of Lyubchenko, it had also penetrated the army and established close liaison with military conspirators — Yakir and Gamarnyk.
How could these Ukrainian fascists' plans be reconciled with the bargain which Trotsky had made (according to Radek's and Rykov's76 testimony) with the foreign interventionists, whereby territorial rights in the Ukraine were to be conceded to them? This difficult problem was happily solved. "Pyatakov and Gamarnyk told me," confessed Hrynko, "that Trotsky had come to an agreement [with the Ukrainian fascists] whereby compensation for the [territorial] loss to the Ukraine would be given in military aid for our struggle against the Soviet government."
The organ of the CP(b)U, Bilshovyk Ukrainy, commented:
The national fascist spies, Lyubchenko, Hrynko, Khvylovy and others, established ties with Yakir, Gamarnyk and Rykov for common action, in order to fulfill the desires of Trotsky and the foreign intelligence services: to destroy the Soviet government in the USSR and to establish a fascist dictatorship.77
p112 It is important to analyze this confusion of accusations, schemes and plots in order to establish some coherence in the official charges, based on the testimony cited above. The following pattern emerges:
1) The origin of the National Fascist Organization of the Ukraine goes back to the earliest history of the Borotbists and their merger with the CP(b)U,
2) Having passed through the phases of Shumskism (1925‑28), participation in the Ukrainian nationalist UVO organization (1929‑33) and individual diversionist action (1933‑35), the remnants of the Borotbists in 1935 created a new organization — the National Fascist Organization of the Ukraine, in alliance with other Ukrainian nationalists.
3) The aim of these organizations was to commit diversionist and terrorist acts, to provoke a war, to help bring about foreign intervention, to separate Ukraine from the USSR, and, finally, to convert the Ukraine into the colony of a capitalist state.
4) These aims were shared by the Right Trotskyite Center with which the Ukrainian organization was associated.
5) According to Soviet sources,78 the National Fascist Organization of the Ukraine was headed by the following: Panas Lyubchenko, head of the Soviet Ukrainian Government, member of the CC and Politburo of the CP(b)U, and co‑author of the new constitution of the UkSSR; I. V. Porayko, member of the CC, CP(b)U; H. F. Hrynko, People's Commissar of Finance of the USSR; V. P. Zatonsky, People's Commissar of Education of the UkSSR, member of the CC and the Politburo of the CP(b)U; Andriy Khvylya, Deputy Commissar of Education and chief of the Arts Section of the People's Council of Commissars of the UkSSR, member of the CC, CP(b)U; M. M. Popov, member of the CC and the Politburo of the CP(b)U and historian; Kileroh, Chief of the Publication and Propaganda Section of the CC, CP(b)U; Yanovsky, director of the Ukrainian State Opera in Kiev.
6) The majority of the members of Soviet Ukrainian government, of the CC, CP(b)U, and several prominent Soviet Ukrainian writers (I. Kulyk, V. Koryak, I. Mykytenko, I. Kyrylenko, B. Kovalenko, P. Kolesnyk and others) who had helped to purge Ukrainian literature in 1932‑33, were also accused of belonging to this organization.
One does not have to search far for the reason for inventing this organization. Its purpose was to provide an excuse for a final purge of all independent Ukrainian p113 Communists, and of all officials of the government and the Party who might oppose the Stalinist regime. The charge on which these men were tried before they were liquidated had to be very serious. Hence the accusation of fascism.
The indictment which was levelled at the accused group was so composed that it left no doubt upon one score: there was no difference between the Borotbists, Ukrainian nationalists, the followers of Skrypnyk, and the fascists.
In 1937, when the centralist course adopted by Stalin had been firmly established, it was possible, indeed imperative, to point to the danger of dismemberment of the USSR, and thus to add a sense of urgency to the instinct for self-preservation of the builders of the new Russian empire. At the same time, the idea of an independent Ukrainian state was to be utterly discredited. Hence the charge that the Ukrainian fascists had "sold their territorial rights" to foreign imperialists before they had even gained control of the territory. To complete this sinister Ukrainian conspiracy, the NKVD provided a link with the archenemy of Stalin — Trotsky. This set the scene for the last big act of terror in the Soviet Ukraine.
We have tried to peer through the smoke screen which Stalinist terrorism laid over the Ukraine in 1930‑38, by analyzing in some detail the nature of the Ukrainian "underground" organizations "uncovered" and liquidated during that time. It is certain that the survey presented here is incomplete. There must have been several other conspiracies, invented and "uncovered" by the NKVD, apart from the "underground" organizations outlined above.
Our examination of all the available evidence has led us to regard all these charges as fabricated and the organizations themselves as largely fictitious, created in order to justify the plans for destroying the leaders of Ukrainian political and cultural life.
However, at the same time, it is obvious that these attempts by the NKVD to invent and to destroy Ukrainian anti-Soviet conspiracies were themselves a reaction to Ukrainian resistance to the Soviet regime. Behind the invention, therefore, there lay hidden the elemental forces of the Ukrainian people and their political and cultural leaders.
It is quite possible that our attempts to straighten out the tangle of the Ukrainian "underground" have not always been successful, and that there may still be some confusion in the reader's mind. The involved, cryptic reports on these matters in Soviet sources may be partly responsible for this failure. Yet only when the methods and objectives of the purges have been analysed and the motives behind them laid bare can we attempt to understand the peak of tragedy reached by the Soviet Ukrainian Republic in the years 1937‑38.
1 See the following newspapers and periodicals for 1930‑39: Pravda, Izvestiya, Visti, Bilshovyk, Bilshovyk Ukrainy, Komunist.
2 At the trial of the Union for the Liberation of the Ukraine (1930) the prosecution produced a letter allegedly written by the prominent Ukrainian emigre, Professor Levko Chykalenko, to the chief defendant, Professor Yefremov. Professor Chykalenko at the time denied in the Ukrainian press (Dilo [Action], Lvov) that he had ever written the letter. We may, therefore, conclude that this letter falls into the same category as the circulars revealed by Popov and Balitsky. A defendant in the trial of the SVU, K. Turkalo, who is now an emigre, reports in his account of the proceedings that the existence of such a letter was admitted by the accused, Academician Yefremov, but denied by another accused, Hermayze. When, during the intermission, Hermayze asked Yefremov why the latter had testified as he did, the answer he received was "That's what I wrote down and now it is too late to deny it" ("Sorok pyat" [The Forty-Five], Novi dni, No. 34, 1952, p5.).
3 The Case of Leon Trotsky; Report of Hearings on the Charges Made Against Him in the Moscow Trials by the Preliminary Commission of Enquiry, New York, Harper Bros., 1937.
4 Beyliss, a Jew, was accused of the ritual killing of a Christian boy, A. Yushchinsky. The trial was held in October 1913 in Kiev. After persistent attempts by the tsarist prosecution to convict Beyliss, the latter was exonerated.
5 The claims made by some Ukrainian Nationalists are discussed later.
6 Short History of the CPSU(b), pp282‑83.
7 Cf. Solovey, op. cit., M. Kovalevsky, Ukraina pid chervonym yarmom (The Ukraine under the Red Yoke), Warsaw, 1936; K. Turkalo, "Sorok pyat," Novi dni, November, December, 1952, and January, February, March, 1953. L. Akhmatov, "Za radyansku literaturu" (For a Soviet Literature), Chervony shlyakh, No. 4, 1930, pp151‑157. M. Skrypnyk, "Kontrrevolyutsiyne shkidnytstvo na kulturnomu fronti" (Counter-Revolutionary Sabotage on the Cultural Front), Chervony shlyakh, No. 4, 1930, pp138‑50. N. Pavlushkova, "Moye slovo pro protses SVU ta SUM'u" (My View of the Trial of SVU and SUM), Novi dni, Nos. 49, 50, 51, 1954; V. I. Hryshko, "Istoriya moyei SVU" (The History of My SVU), Ukrainsky Prometey (The Ukrainian Prometheus), Nos. 7‑28, 1955. Spilka vyzvolennya Ukrainy; stenohrafichny zvit (The Union for the Liberation of the Ukraine: Stenographic Report), Kharkov, 1930.
8 Cf. John S. Reshetar, Jr., op. cit.
9 Postyshev's speech at the Twelfth Congress of the CP(b)U, Visti, January 24, 1934. O. Buzhansky, op. cit.
10 Cf. M. Hrushevsky, "Vidkryty lyst holovi Rady Narodnikh Komisariv Ukrainskoi Sotsyalistychnoi Radyanskoi Respubliky Kh. H. Rakovskomu" (An Open Letter to the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic, Kh. H. Rakovsky), Boritesya-poborete (Fight and You Will Conquer), Vienna, No. 10, 1921, pp1‑8; "Zapyska zakordonnoi delehatsii UPSR dlya providnykiv Rosiyskoi Komunistychnoi Partii pro vidnosyny Ukrainy i Sovetskoi Rosii 19.VI.1920" (A Note by the Foreign Delegation of the UPSR to the Leaders of the Russian Communist Party Concerning Relations between the Ukraine and Soviet Russia, July 19, 1920), Boritesya-poborete, No. 4, 1920, pp59‑63 (the note is signed by M. Hrushevsky and O. Zhukovsky); Mykola Shrah, "Slova i dila sotsyalistiv v natsionalnii spravi" (Words and Deeds of the Socialists Concerning the National Problem), Boritesya-poborete No. 2, 1920, pp18‑49.
11 Semen Pidhayny, op. cit., also his Islands of Death, Toronto, Burns, , 1953.
12 Bolshaya sovetskaya entsiklopedia, XXXV, 1937, p361.
13 Entsiklopediya ukrainoznavstva (The Ukrainian Encyclopedia), Munich, New York, 1949, I.459‑65.
14 Ibid., I, 459‑65.
15 Leytes and Yashek, op. cit., pp293‑303.
16 Fedir Rogiles, "Z nahody 17 richya znyshchennya stanytsi Poltavskoi" (On the Seventeenth Anniversary of the Destruction of the Poltavska Settlement), Vilna Kuban (The Free Kuban), Toronto, No. 2, December 1949; H. Kubanska, Ternystym shlyakhom, spohady (Along a Thorny Path — Recollections), Winnipeg, 1948; D. Solovey, op. cit.
17 Vadim Denisov, "Massovye aktsii KRU i SPU NKVD" (The Mass Actions of the KRU and SPU of the NKVD), Narodnaya Pravda, No. 9‑10, September, 1950, pp29‑30. H. Kubanska, op. cit., p56; Solovey, op. cit., pp227‑28. Pidhayny, Ukrainska inteligentsiya na Solovkakh, pp53, 69.
18 The resolution of the Plenum, Pravda, February 6, 1933.
19 Pravda, December 2, 1933.
20 Cf. Sotsyalistychna Ukraina, Kiev, 1937, pp151, 153; M. Vasylenko, "Polsky natsionalny rayon im. Markhlevskoho" (Polish National Markhlevsky District), Radyanska Ukraina (Soviet Ukraine), 1930, No. 8‑9.
21 Postyshev's speech, Pravda, December 6, 1933.
22 Kosior's speech, Pravda, December 2, 1933; Pravda, November 27, 1933.
23 Cf. Majstrenko, op. cit.
24 Visti, January 21, 1934.
25 P. Postyshev, "Pidsumky perevirky partiynikh dokumentiv u KP(b)U ta zavdannya partiynoi roboty" (Results of the Verification of Party Documents in the CP(b)U and the Tasks of Party Work), Bilshovyk Ukrainy, No. 3, 1936.
26 P. Postyshev, "Pidsumky . . ." op. cit.
27 The author of the slogan was the Borotbist writer, Vasyl Ellan (Blakytny).
28 Postyshev, "Pidsumky . . ." op. cit.
31 Cf. Majstrenko, op. cit.
32 Lenin, Stati i rechi ob Ukraine (Articles and Speeches Concerning the Ukraine), Partizdat TsK KP(b)U, 1936, p334.
33 "Burzhuazni natsionalisty — lyuti vorohy narodu" (The Bourgeois Nationalists — Fierce Enemies of the People), Bilshovyk Ukrainy, No. 7, July, 1938, p43.
35a 35b The initials were transposed; it should read R. I. Shevchenko.
36 Pravda, December 4, 1934.
37 P. Postyshev, "Puti ukrainskoi sovetskoi literatury" (The Paths of Soviet Ukrainian Literature), Pravda, June 10, 1935.
38 Cf. Julian Batschinsky, "Memorandum to the Government of the United States," 1919 (Columbia University Library).
39 B. Podolyak, "Zhertvy hrudnevoi tragedii" (The Victims of the December Tragedy), Moloda Ukraina (Young Ukraine), No. 1‑2, 1953. B. Podolyak is the pseudonym of the present author.
40 Zerov was born in 1890. In Soviet Ukrainian literature he occupied a distinguished place as the leader of the Neoclassicists. He was the author of several volumes of literary criticism, Nove ukrainske pysmenstvo (Modern Ukrainian Literature), 1924, Do dzherel (To the Sources), 1926, and of collections of poetry (Kamena, 1924; Sonnetarium, 1948). Zerov was also an accomplished translator of classical Greek and Roman poetry (Antolohiya rymskoi poezii [An Anthology of Roman Poetry], 1920) as well as of the French Parnassians, and of Russian and Polish poets.
41 Cf. H. Kostiuk, "Ukrainski pysmennyky to vcheni v bilshovytskykh tyurmakh i taborakh" (Ukrainian Writers and Scholars in Bolshevik Prisons and Camps), Krakivski visti (Cracow News), November 14, 1943.
42 Yuriy Klen, Spohady pro neoklasykiv (Reminiscences of the Neoclassicists), Munich, 1947, pp33‑48.
43 H. Kostiuk, op. cit. S. Pidhayny, Ukrainska inteligentsiya na Solovkakh.
44 H. Kostiuk, op. cit.
45 Cf. Petrov, Viktor, "Ukrainska inteligentsiya — zhertva teroru" (The Ukrainian Intelligentsia — Victim of Bolshevik Terror), Ukrainska literaturna hazeta (Ukrainian Literary Gazette), No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 1955; No. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1956.
46 Visti, January 21, 1933.
47 Postyshev, "Pidsumky . . ." Bilshovyk Ukrainy, No. 3, 1936.
50 Visti, May 10, 1933.
51 Pravda, August 23, 1936.
52 Trotsky, Moya zhizn (My Life), Riga, Bereg, 1930.
53 Ibid., p222.
54 Cf. L. Trotsky, "Ob ukrainskom voprose" (On the Ukrainian Question), Byulleten oppozitsii, No. 77‑78, 1939; Nezavisimaya Ukraina i sektantskaya putanitsa" (The Independent Ukraine and the Sectarian Muddle), Byulleten oppozitsii, No. 79‑80, 1939; "Demokraticheskie krepostniki i nezavisimost Ukrainy" (Democratic Slave-Owners and the Independence of the Ukraine), ibid.
55 Yuriy Kotsyubynsky was the son of the well-known Ukrainian novelist, Mykhaylo Kotsyubynsky. He became a member of the Party in 1913 and in 1918 he was a member of the Bolshevik government in the Ukraine. Later, he was Soviet envoy to Poland whence he was recalled in 1931. In that year he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars in the Ukraine and in 1934 he was re‑elected a member of the CC CP(b)U. He was arrested in 1935 and was believed to have been executed without trial.
56 Postyshev, "Pidsumky . . ." Bilshovyk Ukrainy, No. 3, 1936.
57 Pravda, December 14, 1934.
58 Soviet Ukrainian Encyclopedia was a pet project of Skrypnyk, planned as an exhaustive reference work. It never appeared in print, although the first three volumes were ready for publication.
59 Pravda, December 14, 1934.
61 Postyshev, "Pidsumky . . .", op. cit.
63 Cf. Postyshev, "Pidsumky," op. cit. Also Zinoviev's speech at the Presidium of the CC All-Union CP(b) in 1927.
64 Pravda, August 24, 1936.
65 "Nazavzhdy sterty z lytsya zemli fashystkykh ubyvts" (To Wipe the Gang of Fascist Murderers from the Face of the Earth Forever), Bilshovyk Ukrainy, No. 8, 1936.
66 Pravda, August 23, 1936; also Bilshovyk Ukrainy, No. 8, 1936.
67 Pravda, January 24, 1937.
69 "Sobranie aktiva kievskoi partorganizatsii" (A Meeting of the Active Members of the Kiev Party Organization), Pravda, September 18, 1937.
70 Pravda, February 28, 1938.
71 Pravda, March 3, 1938.
72 Pravda, March 4, 1938.
73 Pravda, March 3, 1938.
74 Pravda, March 4, 1938.
76 For Radek's trial: Pravda, January 24, 1937; for Rykov's trial: Pravda, March 5, 1938.
77 "Vyrok vykonano" (The Verdict Has Been Carried Out), Bilshovyk Ukrainy, No. 3, 1938.
78 Apart from the sources mentioned above, the following articles in Pravda contained information about the Ukrainian Nationalist Organization: "Kto khozyainichaet v muzeyakh Ukrainy" (Who is the Boss of the Museums in the Ukraine), Pravda, September 25, 1937; "Kak ochishchali ukrainsky yazyk" (How They Purified the Ukrainian Language), Pravda, October 4, 1937; "Prestupnaya bespechnost Poltavskogo gorkoma" (The Criminal Carelessness of the Poltava City Committee), Pravda, October 10, 1937; "Russko-ukrainsky slovar i yego sostaviteli" (The Russian-Ukrainian Dictionary and Its Compilers), Pravda, December 29, 1937; "Toptanie na meste" (Marking Time), Pravda, January 3, 1938.
a According to recent writers, he was eventually shot without trial in 1936 or 1937. See the article at Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
in the Ukraine
History of Ukraine
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two *asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 27 Jan 23