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Name: Volyn, Polissia, Podillia: UPA and its Rear Line 1944-1946. Documents and Materials
Volume: 8
Editor(s): S. Kokin
O. Vovk
Editorial board: S. Bohunov
R. Pyrih
P.J. Potichnyj
P. Sokhan'
L. Futala
Iu. Shapoval
H. Boryak
V. Lozytsky
Publication Year: 2005
ISBN (Canada): 0-920092-82-9
ISBN (Ukraine): 966-96340-5-9
Pages Count: 1334

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Introduction (short)

The present volume in the new series of Litopys UPA contains documents and materials of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and its rear line services—the structures of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Organization (NVRO)—that relate to the organized armed struggle of the Ukrainian national-liberation movement in Volyn’, Polissia, and Podillia (PZUZ and PSUZ), [1] in 1944-1946, i.e., from the time of the arrival of the Red Army (ChA) and the Soviet administration until the switch to new forms of armed struggle.

The volume contains appeals (addresses), orders, directives, instructions, reports and other documents and materials, the majority of which were inaccessible to researchers after these documents were seized by Soviet special organs, and thus never published. As a result of the rebirth of the Ukrainian state and the democratic changes in our country, archival fonds that were once closed, in particular today’s State Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine, are now being opened, and scholars are now studying their contents.

The present volume is the result of this new scholarly research. Part of the material is a chronological and thematic continuation of the military and administrative documentation published in Volume 2 of the new series of Litopys UPA—Volyn’ and Polissia: UPA and the Rear Line Services, 1943-1944 (Kyiv-Toronto, 1999), and in several volumes of the first series, which were published in Canada and devoted to the UPA’s struggle in Volyn’ and Polissia.

We trust that the documents and materials presented here will shed more light on the inadequately studied period of the Ukrainian national-liberation struggle, and that they will prove useful to all those who have an interest in some of the most dramatic pages of modern Ukrainian history, which still resonate in Ukrainian society today and in the near and far abroad.


There are still quite a few documents left in the archives, which reflect the activity of the national-liberation movement. For this publication the compilers selected materials with the richest content, including some unique documents. In order to emphasize their significance, I will focus briefly on the historiography of the problem and review the recognized source base for the study of the insurgent and underground struggle on the territory of Volyn’, Polissia, and Podillia in 1944-1946.

A characteristic feature of official Soviet historiography was the fact that it did not distinguish the struggle of the OUN and the UPA on this territory in the final phase of World War II and the postwar period from the general context of the “criminal activity of Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists.” [2] At the same time, Ukrainian historiographers abroad studied the activity of the UPA and its rear line services in the northwestern region only in a fragmentary fashion. The works of Mykola Lebed’, Petro Mirchuk, Lew Shankovsky, and Yuriy Tys-Krokhmaliuk should be singled out here. Based on the authors’ participation in the insurgent movement, as well as on documented eyewitness reports and memoirs, these works are the most detailed studies of the activity of the UPA and the OUN in Ukraine. [3]

In his ground-breaking bibliographic survey, Maksym Boiko [4] devotes one of the longest chapters in his book to the activity of armed formations in Volyn’, particularly the UPA. In essence, the author created a universal methodological scheme for future studies on the armed struggle.

The Litopys UPA Publishing House began its work in 1973. By 2004 it had published fifty volumes spanning three series based on archival materials and memoirs. Some of them illustrate the UPA’s activity in the PZUZ. [5]

Until relatively recently many documents were hidden away in special archival holdings. Beginning in the early 1990s, when researchers were finally able to familiarize themselves with the main set of UPA and OUN documents as well as those pertaining to the Soviet party-administrative and special organs, they began conducting more comprehensive research into the national-liberation struggle, and associated events and processes. Among the specialists who were instrumental in the publication of documents and materials on this topic are Ivan Bilas, Volodymyr Serhiichuk, Iurii Shapoval, and others. [6]

A substantial contribution to the scholarly investigation of this subject was made by members of two working groups of historians. The first, headed by Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi (Kyiv), was created in association with the governmental Commission for the Study of the Activity of the OUN and the UPA based at the Institute of History of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences. [7] The other group, headed by Iu. Slyvka (L’viv) studied the deportations of the Ukrainian population. [8] Contemporary views of UPA activity in the Volyn’, Polissia, and Kholm regions are elaborated in collections of scholarly works published by the L’viv-based I. Kryp’iakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences. [9] During the years of Ukraine’s independence several volumes each from the old and new series of Litopys UPA have been published; some of the documents in these publications also relate to the subject of the present volume. [10]

In recent years the volume of work connected with the preparation of monographs has increased. [11] The authors of these works, demonstrating their knowledge of the research subject, pose many new questions, such as: what effect did the use by the Soviet state security organs of bogus units of the UPA (“special fighting units”) have on the liquidation of the clandestine insurgent movement? [12] Individual works examine the tactics of the insurgent army. [13]

Utilizing archival sources, Ukrainian historians also present important statistical data on repressions that were instituted against the population, particularly the families of members of the clandestine insurgent movement. The authors of some works analyze events in certain regions and on the basis of concrete information, research the circumstances behind them. Researchers have investigated the difficult questions of Ukrainian-Polish relations during World War II, particularly the conflict between the UPA and the Armia Krajowa (AK) in Volyn’.[14] These questions have also been discussed at various international seminars. [15]

Thus, scholars have made a definite historiographic contribution to research on this subject. We hope that the present volume will also help to strengthen the source base and facilitate unbiased deliberations of the complex and dramatic events of those times.


The military-administrative structure of the national-liberation movement in the PZUZ and PSUZ was created in 1943, during the Nazi occupation. In the OUN- and UPA-controlled regions of the PZUZ it was divided into the front (the armed struggle of the UPA) and the rear line services (the military-administrative activity of the OUN). In the eastern raions of the PZUZ and in the PSUZ, where the UPA’s hold was weak, the liberation movement operated in clandestine insurgent forms.

In early 1944, when the German-Soviet front was shifting, the insurgent movement on the territories of these lands was organizationally encompassed in the General Okruhas (HOs) of the UPA, which were also known as General Military Okruhas (HVOs). One HVO operated in the PZUZ and one was in the process of being formed in the PSUZ. The general leadership of the insurgent movement within the framework of the HVO was in the hands of the krai commands: UPA-North in the PZUZ and UPA-South in the PSUZ.

At the head of each HVO and the corresponding krai command was a commander, who was in charge of the UPA and its rear line services (the OUN underground). The UPA leadership and supply services operated with the assistance of the military and political headquarters. The military headquarters included departments of operations, intelligence, [16] supplies and materiel, military training, and political instruction. The political headquarters included internal and external political departments. In addition to the military and political headquarters, departments (referentury: sections) of liaison and the Red Cross (ChKh) were subordinated to the HVO’s command.

The rear line services of the UPA HVO (the OUN underground) were under the control of a commandant subordinated to the com- mander of the HVO. The rear line services apparatus was divided into subdepartments (referentury) that were represented at all levels ranging from the HVO to the stanytsia (rural underground): organizational- mobilizational, Security Service, supplies and materiel, organizational- political, auxiliary liaison subsections, and the Red Cross.

Compared to 1943, the organizational-territorial configuration of the UPA’s rear line services in the PZUZ remained unchanged, with several insignificant exceptions. The rank and file cell of the organization was the stanytsia, [17] and several stanytsias combined to form a kushch [18] (2-5 stanytsias). Several kushches (2-5) were combined into a subraion; several pidraions formed a raion; several raions (3-6) comprised a military nadraion; several nadraions formed a military okruha (VO); and several okruhas formed a general military okruha (HVO) or a krai-land (PZUZ, PSUZ).

In early 1944 the territory of the HVO PZUZ was divided into four VOs: “Zahrava,” [19] “Bohun” (“Sich”), [20] “Turiv,” [21] and “Tiutiunnyk.” [22] The clandestine structures of the OUN PSUZ were created according to general organizational models and were divided into okruhas and nadraions. Owing to the fact that the region was not completely encompassed by the organization, lower-level cells were fragmentarily developed.

There were approximately 20,000 active members of the rear line services (members and potential candidates of the OUN and its youth wing) in the PZUZ and PSUZ, while the number of sympathizers was estimated in the tens of thousands.

The organizational structure of the UPA in the PZUZ and PSUZ from 1943 was as follows: the lowest-level combat unit was the squad (consisting on average of 10 people, the equivalent of a regular army unit); 3-4 squads comprised a platoon (subunit: vzvod); 2-3 platoons formed a company (unit: rota); 2-5 companies comprised a battalion; 2-3 bat- talions formed a regiment; and 1-5 regiments comprised a division. In 1944 the structure governing units from squads to companies remained stable, while the higher units, which had to adapt to the changing circumstances of the struggle, were constantly being reorganized and had particular features and names. In 1944-1945 large formations consisting of UPA subunits of varying sizes were called regiments, brigades, and formations. [23] The highest structural formations of the UPA in the PZUZ and PSUZ were UPA-North and UPA-South, respectively.

In the first half of 1944 higher UPA subunits had an offensive structure and command composition. UPA-North consisted of commander “Panas Mosur” (“Omelian Kryms’kyi,” “Okhrim,” Dmytro Kliachkivs’kyi; [24] the chiefs of staff (ShVSh) “Karpovych,” (“Mykola Krem’ianets’kyi, Mykhailo Medvid’), “Klym” (“Dyv,” Borys Bedryk); and political instructor (PVKh) “Zaslavs’kyi” (“Halyna,” Iakiv Busel).

The “Zahrava” group consisted of commanders “Dubovyi” (“Maksym”, Ivan Lytvynchuk), “Dalekyi” (“Iurii,” Stepan Ianyshevs’kyi); chiefs of staff “D. Dmytrechko” (“Hryts,” “Borysten,” Dmytro Korinets’) and “Sviatoslavych” (Volodymyr Rudakov); and political instructor “Zymnyi” (Stepan Kostets’kyi). The regiments were: Baturyns’kyi, commanders “Shakal” (“Shaula,” Adam Rudyk) and “Lebedyn”; Korsuns’kyi, commanders “Laidaka” (Mykyta Skuba) and “Iarok” (Dmytro Kalyniuk); Pryluts’kyi, [25] commanders “Ostryi” (Iaroslav Zhdan) and “Hamaliia” (Anatolii Mon’); Starodubs’kyi, commander “Kuz’ma” (“Kora,” Makar Mel’nyk); Khvastivs’kyi, commanders “Iurii” (“Rubashenko,” Stepan Koval’) and “V. Chornota.”

The “Bohun” group consisted of commander “Roman” (“Enei,” Petro Oliinyk); chief of staff “Hryts’” (“Chernyk,” Dmytro Kazvan); [26] and political instructor “Sereda.” The group was comprised of the following battalions (formations) and their commands: “Balaban,” “Buvalyi” (Andrii Trachuk), “Kozhukh” (“Vyr,” “Doks,” Semen Kotyk), “Dovbenko” (Ivan Zolotniuk), “Kyrei” (“Nedolia,” Stepan Trokhymchuk), [27]” Lykho” (“Dyk,” Oleksandr Kaidash), “Mamai” (Ivan Sallo), “Nepytailo,” “Riv” (“Storchan,” Oleksandr Stepchuk), “Khmara” (Oleksandr Kalynovs’kyi), “Iurko” (Iurii Chuikovs’kyi), “Iasen” (“Iarbei,” Mykola Svystun), et al. [28] Some of the group’s formations operated as separate subunits.

The “Turiv” group consisted of commander “Kaidash” (“Rudyi,” Iurii Stel’mashchuk); chief of staff “Vovchak” (Oleksii Shum); and political instructor “Khmuryi.” The regiments of this group were: I. Bohun regiment (“Bohun”), commanders “Sosenko” (“Klishch,” Porfyrii Antoniuk) and “Ostrizhs’kyi” (“Holobenko,” Oleksii Hromadiuk); “Pyliavtsi,” commander “Lysyi” (“Pavliuk,” Ivan Klymchak); Poltavs’kyi,” commander “Nazar Kryha” (Klymuk). Some of the group’s formations operated as separate subunits.

The “Tiutiunnyk” group consisted of commander “Oleksa Hlid” (“Vereshchaka,” Fedir Vorobets’); chief of staff “Vasyl’ Vechera” (Petro Gudzovatyi); and political instructor “Petro Stepanchenko” (“Orel,” Iefrem Movchan). It included the following formations: “Bazar,” commander “Onyshchenko” (“Pavlo,” Mykola Mel’nyk); “Kruty,” commander “Chornenko” (“Zhuk”); and “Khmel’nyts’kyi,” commander “Kvatyrenko” (“Iurko,” Iakiv Iakovliv). Separate subunits of this group operated in the eastern regions of the VO. [29]

In early 1944 the territory of the PSUZ was transformed into a General

Military Okruha, while the subunits of the “Kodak” group [30] that were operating here, as well as other military formations, were reorganized into UPA-South: [31] commander “Lemish” (“Le,” Vasyl’ Kuk); chief of staff “Poltavchenko” (“Dan’ko,” “Pavchuk,” Oleksandr Danylenko), “Mykola” (“Kropyva,” Vasyl’ Protsiuk), “Honcharenko” (Leonid Stupnyts’kyi); and political instructor “Serhii” (“Bohdan,” Mykhailo Stepaniak).

UPA-South consisted of battalions under the command of “Sabliuk” (Ostap Kachan), “Kruk” (Ivan Klymyshyn), “Bystryi” (Iaroslav Bilyns’kyi), “Nalyvaiko” (Stepan Savchuk), “Maks” (Maksym Skorups’kyi), as well as separate groups and subunits. In April 1944 it was expanded by the inclusion of the “Bohun” group’s formation “Kholodnyi Iar,” in the form of regiments commanded by “Riv” (“Storchan”), “Kozhukh” (“Vyr”), and “Mamai.”

In early 1944 the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in the PZUZ and PSUZ had between 5,000 and 7,000 members. However, if you include local military structures (fighting units, rural self-defense units), this number rises to 15,000-20,000 people, with a high potential for mobilization. In spring 1944, after mobilization was carried out, the number of UPA members in the PZUZ and PSUZ rose to 10,000. However, already in May and early June, as a result of large-scale operations by the Internal Troops (VV) of the NKVD and subunits of the Red Army, the size of UPA units began shrinking rapidly.

The general historical background to the building of the organization and activity of the UPA and its rear line services during the first six months of 1944 was the Second World War, in which the Ukrainian national-liberation movement in all its forms sought to play an active role. In late 1943, when the German-Soviet front was approaching the Right-Bank regions of Ukraine, which were under the insurgents’ control, the UPA intensified its preparations for a struggle against the Soviet government. This preparation took place both among the movement’s cadres and the civilian population.

Organizational work consisted of the regrouping of forces, decentralization, and conspiracy, particularly within UPA units, ensuring supplies and material for survival (setting up hideouts, bunkers, and supply storehouses), etc. Sociopolitical preparations were conducted by means of instructions, educational training courses, assemblies of the population, explanatory work, etc.

At the same time cadres were set up to carry out propagandistic actions among the troops of the advancing Red Army. A large quantity of leaflets (appeals) was printed, and the practice of writing pronational- liberation, anti-Soviet, and anti-German slogans and mottos on walls of buildings was introduced in populated areas.

On its part, the Soviets adopted various measures to destroy the German rear and liquidate the Ukrainian liberation (“nationalisticbandit”) movement. Thus, in early 1944 large formations of communist partisans numbering up to 10,000 troops were put into operation on the territory of the PZUZ. Moving quickly, the partisans conducted intelligence work and engaged in combat with small German units. In forested raions and areas adjacent to forests, they entered almost every village, where they engaged in battles with UPA subunits, liqui dated members of the liberation movement, uncovered and seized storehouses of supplies and material, and removed propagandistic slogans and grafitti.

Minor clashes and large battles between the UPA and communist partisans took place with varying degrees of success in the majority of raions in the PZUZ. Among the larger battles were those fought between “Kora’s” battalion and the subunits of Rivne Formation No. 1 (Commander Vasyl’ Behma); between “Kryha” and “Lysyi’s” battalions and subunits of the Chernihiv Formation (Commander Oleksii Fedorov); and between the “I. Bohun” regiment (Commander “Sosenko”) and the S. A. Kovpak 1st Ukrainian Partisan Division (Commander Petro Vershyhora). The latter battle resulted in the loss in late January 1944 of the insurgent base of the I. Bohun “Sich” regiment in the Svynary forests of Volodymyr-Volyns’kyi.

In January 1944 subunits of the Red Army entered the territory of the PZUZ, which was under the control of the UPA and its rear line services, and this entire territory ended up on the Soviet side of the front. In the winter and early spring of 1944 the line of the German-Soviet front stabilized, crossing the territory of these raions along the Ratne-Kovel’- Torchyn-Kremianets’-Ternopil’ line. Only the western part of Volyn’ oblast remained on the German side of the front. More than 500,000 assorted enemy troops were stationed on the territory of the PZUZ and PSUZ. For the Ukrainian liberation movement this marked the beginning of a new period of activity under Soviet-controlled conditions.

The majority of UPA subunits crossed the front with insignificant losses. For the most part small units crossed over separately: platoons, less often companies raiding in forested areas. In other cases, units disbanded in unforested areas and hid in villages, pretending to be members of resident families or in sites that had been prepared in advance (hideouts, bunkers). On rare occasions UPA soldiers crossed over disguised as Soviet partisans. The temporary demobilization of UPA subunits was the worst consequence of the shifting front. The majority of other foreign national units crossed over to the Soviet side along with the UPA.

As soon as the Soviet administration was in place, the greatest losses inflicted on the UPA were in the sphere of supplies and materiel. Inadequate conspiratorial measures and the efficient activity of the agentura (enemy agent network) system of the state security organs led to the liquidation of nearly 75 percent of organizational-military storehouses (underground storehouses, magazines).

In carrying out the operational instructions of the command, UPA subunits tried not to engage in battles with the advancing Red Army. However, units of the Red Army and Internal Troops of the NKVD, apprised of the anti-Soviet nature of the liberation movement’s activity, instantly set about liquidating it. [32] According to Soviet reports, some of the first large battles between the UPA and the Red Army took place in the Sarny region on 12 and 18 January 1944. Suffering minor losses, subunits of regiments led by “Laidaka” and “Iarema” retreated. [33] However, according to the insurgents’ reports, on 18 January 1944 a company from “Iarema’s” regiment, commanded by “Voron” (Vasyl’ Borozenko), fought a victorious battle with a Soviet military subunit in the Bronnyky forest in the Sarny region. [34]

On the German side of the front the Wehrmacht and the police sought to clear their rear line services of partisans and insurgents. With respect to the UPA, the Germans occasionally tried by means of contacts (negotiations) to neutralize or bring UPA subunits to their side. In point of fact, German-Ukrainian contacts were generally prohibited by the UPA and OUN leadership. However, despite the ban, they continued to take place in the ever-changing circumstances of combat actions. The results of such encounters varied, depending on the status of the participants, and for the most part led to tactical agreements concerning the disposition of troops, exchanges of information and prisoners, and supply of weapons by the Germans.

The Germans’ powerful efforts to subordinate insurgent subunits failed. In the Volodymyr-Volyns’kyi area, the UPA command managed to lead the “I. Bohun” regiment (1,200 men) out of encirclement, but its former commander “Sosenko” (Porfyrii Antoniuk) was executed “for negotiating with the German occupiers.” In other regions during the winter and spring of 1944 two battalions, one led by “Kruk” (Ivan Klymyshyn) and the other by “Moroz” (Hryhorii Kuz’ma) were defeated in battles with German troops, as were several smaller subunits. The chief of staff of the “Turiv” group, Captain “Vovchak” (Oleksii Shum) and the commandant of VO “Bohun,” Second Lieutenant “Ptashka” (Syl’vestr Zatovkaniuk), were both killed in clashes with German units.

In early 1944 the tensions in Ukrainian-Polish relations in the PZUZ became more acute. To a significant degree, this situation was linked to the creation and activity of Polish military-partisan subunits in the Volodymyr-Volyns’kyi and Kovel’ regions, and the Kholm and Hrubeshiv areas of Poland. These subunits had been formed on the basis of the restored 27th Volyn’ Division of the AK and “Peasants’ Battalions” (BKh). The attempts of the 27th Division to acquire “operational space” in Volyn’ encountered armed resistance from the UPA and its rear line services. During spring and summer 1944, battles in the Hrubeshiv region between the UPA and Polish subunits acquired a front-line character. [35] After the Soviet-German front moved from the PZUZ, the Ukrainian-Polish armed conflict in Volyn’ rapidly began to wane. In contrast, this process was becoming exacerbated on the ethnic Ukrainian territories of the Kholm and Hrubeshiv regions in Poland. [36]

With the arrival of the Red Army on the territory of the PZUZ the Soviets began organizing their administrative-party and repressive organs (NKVD, NKGB). In the rear line services of the 1st Ukrainian and 1st Belarusian fronts, the NKVD military counterintelligence department SMERSH and the Internal Troops of the NKVD set about vigorously “cleansing” the region of “hostile elements.”

A spontaneous mobilization of the male population to the Red Army began in some raions near the front-line. [37] In Rivne oblast systematic mobilization began in spring, on 1 March 1944. During the first months of the year, more than 100,000 people were mobilized in Rivne and Volyn’ oblasts. During the mobilization a number of new recruits failed to appear at assembly points. Accordingly, in order to ensure the smooth running of the recruitment process, subunits of the Internal Troops of the NKVD and the Red Army carried out actions similar to roundups. [38] In March-April 1944 the forcible mobilization and a certain degree of resistance from the population were some of the reasons behind the significant increase in the size of UPA units.

The numerical increase in UPA forces in early spring 1944 was accompanied by a corresponding increase in the number of mea- sures adopted by the Soviet organs, which were aimed at their liquidation. As indicated in the draft copy of a report from Ukrainian party boss Khrushchev to Stalin, the secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party(Bolsheviks) [CC AUCP(b)], two brigades of Internal Troops of the NKVD and operational groups of the NKVD and NKGB were dispatched to Rivne and Volyn’ oblasts, while local NKVD and NKGB organs created an “agentura network from among our people, as well as from participants of the ‘UPA’ and ‘UNRA,’” and sent them into “the bands for subversive work.” [39]

Other measures were also planned: the creation in every raion of NKVD detachments made up of Soviet partisans (as of 13 March 1944, 19 detachments totaling 1,581 men had been formed), the arrival of 5 brigades of Internal Troops of the NKVD, the arming of the most active oblast and raion functionaries of the Soviet administration, and the deportation of the families of insurgents to far-flung areas of the USSR, etc. [40]

On its part, the liberation movement sought in many locales to put up stiff resistance to the establishment of the Soviet administration and mobilization into the Red Army: attacks were carried out on raion centers and populated areas; [41] various organs’ institutions were liquidated; in village soviets census lists and army registers were destroyed; an active anti-recruitment campaign was conducted; and attacks on highways were carried out to capture columns of new recruits being transported to assembly points.

In early March 1944 the movement’s leadership, predicting the imminent prospect of shrinking reserves of the male population for expanding the ranks of insurgents’ subunits, launched a countermobilization into the UPA, particularly in the Mizoch area of Rivne oblast during the night of 2-3 March. Among the reasons behind the call-up to the UPA were the wide-scale operational plans to step up insurgent activity in the central, southern, and eastern regions of Ukraine. As a result of the mobilization, the numerical strength of insurgent subunits swiftly increased. The approximate ratio of former UPA members to new recruits frequently stood at 1:5. Poor military preparation and an inadequate supply of weapons and provisions to maintain such subunits led to significant losses, which they were soon to experience.

While crossing the frontline and carrying out the leadership’s instructions, the insurgents tried their utmost to acquire as much weaponry and all kinds of military equipment. According to various eyewitness reports, the insurgents captured a large quantity of light and heavy rifles, means of transportation and communication, cannons, tanks, and even a “Katiusha” rocket launcher and a U-2 plane.

Actions aimed at capturing weapons and materials frequently resembled armed clashes. According to Soviet sources, 154 such clashes (“raids”) were recorded in Rivne oblast in January-February 1944, which resulted in the deaths of 439 Red Army troops. [42] During one of these clashes, on 29 February 1944, the commander of the 1st Ukrainian Front, General Nikolai Vatutin, was fatally wounded. [43]

The increase in the numbers and combat activity of the UPA in the rear of the Red Army led to several large-scale operationalmilitary actions that were carried out by the Internal Troops of the NKVD armed with all types of weapons. Thus, an operation to encircle and comb through a huge swath of the Kremenets’ forests was carried out between 21 and 27 April 1944. [44] The operation was conducted with the aid of “the greatest number of military forces and operational workers,” in particular, 4 rifle brigades, [45] a cavalry regiment, a tank subunit (15 light tanks), and light aircraft. More than 15,000 troops were used in the operation. [46] They surrounded formations of UPA-North and UPA-South, comprising nearly 4,000 troops and newly mobilized recruits, as well as over 1,000 civilians, who for various reasons had left their homes and were hiding in the forests.

During the operation the insurgent subunits were forced to engage in heavy frontal defense combat, with varying degrees of success. [47] Its culmination was a series of battles fought on 24 April in the vicinity of the village of Hurby (Horby). Despite the presence of cavalry, tanks, and artillery, the Internal Troops failed to dislodge the insurgents from their positions and push them out of the forested tract into the open, where the rear of the frontline Red Army troops were waiting in the vicinity of the town of Kremenets’. On the morning of 25 April 1944 UPA subunits, abandoning their camps and hospitals, fought another large battle in the village of Bushcha and in three columns managed to escape the encirclement. The majority of UPA fatalities in the Kremenets’ operation were new recruits, wounded soldiers, and civilians. [48]

During other operations that were carried out in spring-summer 1944 by the Internal Troops of the NKVD, with the assistance of Red Army units, the following units were completely or partially smashed: battalions and companies led by “Bystryi” (Iaroslav Bilyns’kyi), “Bohun” (Anatolii Kostets’kyi), “Burevii” (Petro Bazelyts’kyi), “Kyrei” (Stepan Trokhymchuk), “Lykho” (Oleksandr Polishchuk), “Mazepa” (Ivan Kobyts’), First Lieutenant “Ostryi” (Iaroslav Zhdan), “Khmara” (Oleksandr Kalynovs’kyi), “Chornota,” “Shakal” (Adam Rudyk), Second Lieutenant “Iurko” (Iurii Chuikovs’kyi) and others. Great losses were inflicted on subunits of the “Tiutiunnyk” group (“Bazar” formation) and the “Kholodnyi Iar” formation (battalions led by “Vyr” and “Misha”), which carried out raids in the east.

All this forced the UPA command to launch a partial demobilization and reorganization of larger subunits that would be adapted to new conditions of the struggle on the territory of the PZUZ and PSUZ. Reorganization also affected the UPA’s rear line services (OUN), which was completely transformed into an anti-Soviet underground. As for smaller UPA subunits, they continued to uphold the principles of conspiracy and, constantly maneuvering and avoiding frontal battles with the enemy, managed to strike blows against local Soviet administrative organs, power structures, transport junctions and communications.

Small UPA subunits were linked organizationally to intermediary structures between the army and the rear line services, which were known as Special Designated Divisions (VOPs). As a rule, one VOP was supposed to operate in every underground raion in the form of a platoon (20-40 individuals). In operational terms, VOPs were subordinated to the Military Section and the Security Service. But in contrast to SB fighting units (10-20 individuals), they did not have investigative- punitive functions; instead, they carried out subversive-combat actions. Local subunits were less prepared in the military sense, which meant that they were “unable to fulfill” the tasks placed on them by the UPA command. During combat clashes with the Internal Troops of the NKVD, the VOPs and fighting units could not withstand the very first attack of the enemy and would retreat.

The national-liberation movement’s new encounter with the Soviet (“eastern”) reality in early 1944 compelled some of its most active members in the PZUZ and PSUZ to reconsider the requirements and methods of the liberation struggle in Ukraine and the USSR. A crucial need emerged to introduce changes to the ideological-political principles, organizational forms, and tactics of the struggle (“revolution”). Thus, a decision was passed at the 1st Founding Congress held on 17-18 July 1944 in the vicinity of the village of Derman’ in Mizoch raion, Rivne oblast, to create the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Organization (NVRO). The participants of the congress [49] elected a Central Leadership (“top revolutionary activists”) of the NVRO, comprised of “Lemish” (Vasyl’ Kuk, head), “Zaslavs’kyi” (Iakiv Busel), and “Serhii” (Mykhailo Stepaniak). [50] In August 1944 “Okhrim” (“Klym Savur”, D. Kliachkivs’kyi) was also named to the leadership. [51]

* * *

[1] According to the OUN’s organizational (krai) division of the ethnic Ukrainian lands, Volyn’, Rivne, and Zhytomyr oblasts, the western part of Kyiv oblast in Ukraine, as well as the southern raions of Berestia and Polissia oblasts of Belarus comprised the Northwestern Ukrainian Lands (PZUZ). In 1943 the Southeastern Ukrainian Lands (PSUZ) included the territory of the central, southern, and eastern lands of Ukraine. The main region of the UPA’s activity in the PSUZ was comprised of Kam’ianets’-Podil’s’ky and Vinnytsia oblasts, and the southern part of Kyiv oblast.
[2] V. Bieliaiev and M. Rudnyts’kyi, Pid chuzhymy praporamy (Kyiv, 1956); S. T. Danylenko, Dorohoiu han’by i zrady (Kyiv, 1972); K. Dmytruk, Bezbatchenky (L’viv, 1974); V. P. Cherednychenko, Anatomiia zrady (Kyiv, 1978); A. V. Likholat, Natsionalizm—vrag trudiashchikhsia (Moscow, 1986); V. A. Davydenko, “Ukrains’ka Povstancha Armiia”: shliakh han’by i zlochyniv (Kyiv, 1989).
[3] Mykola Lebed’, Ukrains’ka Povstans’ka Armiia: Ii heneza, rist i dii u vyzvol’nii borot’bi ukrains’koho narodu za Ukrains’ku samostiinu sobornu derzhavu (Presove Biuro UHVR, 1946); Petro Mirchuk, Ukrains’ka Povstans’ka Armiia, 1942-1952 (Munich, 1953); Lev [Lew] Shankovsky, “Ukrains’ka Povstancha Armiia” in Istoriia ukrains’kohoviis’ka (Winnipeg: Ivan Tyktor, 1953); Yurii Tys-Krokhmaliuk, UPA Warfare in Ukraine: Strategical, Tactical and Organizational Problems of Ukrainian Resistance in World War II (New York: Society of Veterans of Ukrainian Insurgent Army of the United States, 1972).
[4] Maksym Boiko, Bibliohrafichnyi ohliad zbroinoi borot’by Volyni (Toronto, 1976).
[5] Litopys Ukrains’koi Povstans’koi Armii, vol. 1 (Toronto, 1976); vol. 2 (Toronto, 1977); vol. 5 (Toronto, 1984).
[6] Ivan Bilas, Represyvno-karal’na systema v Ukraini. 1917-1953, vol. 2 (Kyiv, 1994); Volodymyr Serhiichuk, OUN-UPA v roky viiny. Novi dokumenty i materialy (Kyiv, 1996); see also his Desiat’ buremnykh lit. Zakhidnoukrains’ki zemli u 1944-1953 rr. Novi dokumenty i materialy (Kyiv, 1998); see also his UPA ta radians’ki partyzany (Kyiv, 2001); Iurii Shapoval, OUN i UPA na tereni Pol’shchi (1944-1947) (Kyiv, 2000); Litopys neskorenoi Ukrainy. Dokumenty, materially, spohady, vol. 1 (L’viv, 1993); vol. 2 (1997).
[7] S. I. Zdioruk, L. V. Hrynevych, and O. I. Zdioruk, Pokazhchyk publikatsii pro diial’nist’ OUN ta UPA (1945-1998 rr.) (Kyiv, 1999); Fondy z istorii Ukrains’koi povstans’koi armii v derzhavnykh arkhivoskhovyshchakh Ukrainy. Anotovanyi pokazhchyk fondiv UPA (1942-1946), issue no. 1 (Kyiv, 1999; Fondy z istorii Ukrains’koi povstans’koi armii v derzhavnykh arkhivoskhovyshchakh Ukrainy (1941-1957). Anotovanyi pokazhchyk fondiv partiinykh orhaniv URSR, v iakykh vidbylasia borot’ba z UPA, issue no. 2 (Kyiv, 2000); S. A. Kokin, Anotovanyi pokazhchyk dokumentiv z istorii OUN I UPA u fondakh Derzhavnoho arkhivu SBU (Kyiv, 2000); and his Problema OUN-UPA. Poperednia istorychna dovidka (Kyiv, 2000); Problema OUN-UPA. Zvit robochoi hrupy istorykiv pry Uriadovii komisii z vyvchenniia diial’nosti OUN i UPA. Osnovni tezy z problemy OUN-UPA (istorychnyi vysnovok) (Kyiv, 2004).
[8] Deportatsii. Zakhidni zemli Ukrainy kintsia 30-kh-pochatku 50-kh rr. Dokumenty, materialy, spohady, vol. 1 (1939-1945) (L’viv, 1996); Deportatsii. Zakhidni zemli Ukrainy kintsia 30-kh-pochatku 50-kh rr. Dokumenty, materialy, spohady, vol. 2 (1946-1947) (L’viv, 1998).
[9] Volyn’ i Kholmshchyna 1938-1947. Pol’s’ko-ukrains’ke protystoiannia ta ioho vidlunnia. Doslidzhennia, dokumenty, spohady (L’viv, 2003); Ukrains’ka Povstans’ka Armiia v borot’bi proty totalitarnykh rezhymiv (L’viv, 2004).
[10] Medychna opika v UPA, vol. 23 of Litopys UPA (Toronto-L’viv, 1992); R. Petrenko, Za Ukrainu, za ii voliu, vol. 27 of Litopys UPA (Toronto-L’viv, 1999); M. Savchyn, Tysiacha dorih, vol. 28 of Litopys UPA (Toronto-L’viv, 1995); Medychna opika v UPA, vol. 32, pt. 2, of Litopys UPA (Toronto-L’viv, 2001); Vydannia Holovnoho Komanduvannia UPA, vol. 1, New Series, of Litopys UPA (Kyiv-Toronto, 1995); Volyn’ i Polissia: UPA ta zapillia, 1943-1944, vol. 2, New Series, of Litopys UPA (Kyiv-Toronto, 1999); Borot’ba proty UPA i natsionalistychnoho pidpillia: dyrektyvni dokumenty TsK Kompartii Ukrainy, 1943-1959, vol. 3, New Series, of Litopys UPA (Kyiv-Toronto, 2001).
[11] Volodymyr Kosyk, Ukraina pid chas Druhoi svitovoi viiny. 1938-1945 (Kyiv-Paris-New York-Toronto, 1992); Anatolii V. Kentii, Ukrains’ka Povstans’ka Armiia v 1944-1945 rr. (Kyiv, 1999); see also his Ukrains’ka Povstans’ka Armiia v 1946-1953 rr. (Kyiv, 1999); Iurii Kyrychuk, Narysy z istorii ukrains’koho natsional’no-vyzvol’noho rukhu 40-50 rokiv XX stolittia (L’viv, 2000); Anatolii Rusnachenko, Narod zburenyi (Kyiv, 2002); A. Gogun, Mezhdu Gitlerom i Stalinym. Ukrainskie povstantsy (St. Petersburg, 2004).
[12] Ivan Bilas, Represyvno-karal’na systema v Ukraini. 1917-1953, vol. 1 (Kyiv, 1994).
[13] S. Tkachenko, Povstancheskaia armiia: taktika bor’by (Minsk-Moscow, 2000).
[14] I. I. Iliushyn, OUN-UPA i ukrains’ke pytannia v roky Druhoi svitovoi viiny (v svitli pol’s’kykh dokumentiv) (Kyiv, 2000); see also his Protystoiannia UPA i AK (Armii Kraiovoi) v roky Druhoi svitovoi viiny na tli diial’nosti pol’s’koho pidpillia v Zakhidnii Ukraini (Kyiv, 2001); Iaroslav Tsaruk, Trahediia Volyns’kykh sil 1943-1944 rr. (L’viv, 2003).
[15] Ukraina-Pol’shcha: vazhki pytannia, vols. 1-2 (Warsaw, 1998); vol. 3 (Warsaw, 1998); vol. 4 (Warsaw, 1999); vol. 5 (Warsaw, 2000).
[16] This department was a subunit of the Military Security Service (VSB), which in turn was a part of the Security Service Section (SB).
[17] Depending on the number of members, a stanytsia could also be divided into centers (oseredky), which were units comprised of 3-5 people.
[18] Owing to the fact that not all populated areas were encompassed by the organization, a kushch unit could be lacking, in which case the stanytsia would be subordinated to the subraion.
[19] Encompassing the Luts’k, Kostopil’, and Sarny regions of Ukraine, and the Stolyn and Pins’k regions of Belarus.
[20] Encompassing the Rivne, Zdolbuniv, Dubno, and Kremenets’ regions.
[21] Encompassing the Volodymyr-Volyns’kyi, Horokhiv, and Kovel’ regions of Ukraine, the Berestia and Kobryn’ regions of Belarus, and the Kholm and Pidliashshia regions of Poland.
[22] Encompassing the Korets’ and Hoshcha areas of Rivne oblast, Zhytomyr oblast, and the western part of Kyiv oblast of Ukraine, and the southern raions of Polissia oblast in Belarus.
[23] In April 1944 the formations “Bazar” (the “Tiutiunnyk” group, UPA-North) and “Kholodnyi Iar” (UPA-South) numbered 148 and nearly 2,000 people, respectively.
[24] Between February and August 1944, D. Kliachkivs’kyi was on the German side of the German-Soviet front; during this period Iakiv Busel was the acting commander of UPA-North.
[25] In March 1944 this regiment was transferred to the “Tiutynnyk” group.
[26] After D. Kazvan was wounded in May 1944, the duties of chief of staff were most probably carried out by “Harmash” (probably Hordii Zahoruiko).
[27] In April 1944 this regiment was transferred to the “Tiutiunnyk” group.
[28] In April 1944 the regiments (formation) of the “Bohun” group were probably merged with the “Donbas” and “Kholodnyi Iar” formations. After the battle of Hurby, the first formation, as part of “Dovbenko’s” and “Buvalyi’s” battalions (formation) took part in a raid beyond the river Sluch under the command of “Balaban.” On 23 April 1944 the “Kholodnyi Iar” formation commanded by “Iasen” (M. Svystun), was transferred to UPA-South.
[29] In particular, the southern raions of Zhytomyr oblast were the base of operations of a regiment comprising seven groups (up to 50 people), under the command of “Dorosh” (Petro Kukharchuk), a member of the leadership of VO “Tiutiunnyk.”
[30] It was formed in fall 1943 out of subunits of the “Bohun” group in order to carry out operations on the territory of the Oseredno-skhidni Ukrainians’ki Zemli (OSUZ: Central-Eastern Ukrainian Lands) and Transdnistria.
[31] The distribution list for order no. 2/44 issued by the Supreme Military Headquarters of the UPA (HVSh UPA) includes UPA-South as a separate addressee (Litopys UPA, vol. 1, p. 163).
[32] Attesting to the fact that Soviet troops were aware of the “hostile anti-Soviet activity of the Ukrainian-German nationalists” is a report sent by the head of the political administration of the 1st Ukrainian Front, Major-General S. Shatilov, to the secretary of the CC CP(b)U Nikita Khrushchev. See TsDAHO, fonds 1, list 23, file 930, fols. 11-12.
[33] TsDAHO, fonds 1, list 23, file 930, fol. 16.
[34] Central State Archive of the Highest Organs of State Power and Administration of Ukraine, hereafter TsDAVO, fonds 3833, list 1, file 234, fol. 19.
[35] Taking part on the Ukrainian side was the “I. Bohun” regiment from the “Turiv” group.
[36] In spring 1945 the Kholm okruha active in this area was merged with the Zakerzons’kyi krai (ZUZ).
[37] By mid-February 1944, 10,676 Ukrainians were mobilized in Rivne oblast. See TsDAHO, fonds 1, list 23, file 930, fols. 38-41.
[38] As of 15 April 1944, in Rivne oblast 10,500 people out of a total of 57,677, i.e., one in every five, were mobilized “by forcible means.” See TsDAHO, fonds 1, list 23, file 890, fol. 41.
[39] TsDAHO, fonds 1, list 23, file 703, fol. 13.
[40] Ibid., fols. 17-19.
[41] In January-February 1944 the Soviet organs in Rivne oblast recorded 7 attacks on raion centers and 67 attacks in populated areas, during which 112 and 553 people, respectively, were killed. TsDAHO, fonds 1, list 23, file 930, fol. 68.
[42] TsDAHO, fonds 1, list 23, file 930, fol. 68.
[43] Although it seems paradoxical, an eyewitness who was present during Vatutin’s funeral in Kyiv, reports that the honor guard included former UPA soldiers who had been mobilized into the Red Army in Rivne oblast. See F. Mosiichuk, “55 rokiv tomu…Iak povstantsi UPA khoronyly…radians’koho henerala, komanduiuchoho 1-ym Ukrains’kym frontom Mykolu Vatutina,” Polis’kyi maiak, no. 10 (6859), 3 April 1999.
[44] Vnutrennye voiska v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine, 1941-1945 (Moscow, 1975), p. 627.
[45] Earlier, two brigades arrived from the Northern Caucasus, where they had taken part in deporting the local population accused of collaborating with the German occupiers.
[46] According to insurgents’ reports, Red Army subunits of the 2nd frontline also took part in the operation, and the total number of troops was estimated at 30,000- 35,000.
[47] According to reports prepared by the Internal Troops of the NKVD, 26 combat encounters (battles) took place, some of them lasting for 8-11 hours. See Vnutrennye voiska, p. 628. A vast amount of information on the anti-insurgent struggle, including in the PZUZ, which this author was unable to verify, is contained in the Archive of the Internal Troops of the Ukrainian District, copies of which are located in Kyiv and Toronto, in The Peter J. Potichnyj Collection on Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Ukraine at the University of Toronto. For a description of hideouts and various structures in the struggle against the UPA underground, based on material from the Archive of the Internal Troops, see P. I. Potichnyi [Peter J. Potichnyj], Arkhitektura rezystansu: kryivky i bunkry UPA v svitli radians’kykh dokumentiv, vol. 38 of Litopys UPA (Toronto-L’viv, 2002).
[48] According to Soviet data, the UPA suffered 2,018 casualties and 1,570 were arrested. Among the captured trophies were 1 plane (U2), 7 cannons, 15 grenade launchers, 42 hand-powered machine guns, 31 submachine guns, 298 rifles, 120 wagons, 129 horses, etc. State Archive of the Russian Federation, fonds 9401, file 65, fol. 8.
[49] It is a confirmed fact that the following took part in the work of the congress: V. Kuk (“Lemish”), M. Stepaniak (“Bohdan,” “Dem’ian Nesterovych,” “Serhii”), Ia. Busel (“Zaslavs’kyi,” “Halyna”), Ia. Dudar (“Veres,” “Chavun”), P. Oliinyk (“Roman”), Ie. Basiuk (“Kolomiiets’”), and “Sereda.” The following may also have taken part in the congress: L. Stupnyts’kyi (“Honcharenko”), I. Lytvynchuk (“Maksym”), F. Vorobets’ (“Oleksa Hlid”), M. Svystun (“Iasen”), and P. Matviichuk (“Krylach”).
[50] Stepaniak was wounded and arrested by the NKVD organs on 30 July 1944.
[51] According to Oleksandr Luts’kyi, the leader of the NVRO was “Lemish.” The responsible political leader was “Serhii,” the responsible leader for propaganda was “Halyna,” and the responsible military leader was “Klym Savur.” See S. A. Kokin, Anotovanyi pokazhchyk and his Problema OUN-UPA. Poperednia istorychna dovidka, p. 98.

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