In this third volume of the Ukrainian series of «Litopys UPA,» we present instructional materials of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CC CPU), which shed light on the battle of the Soviet regime against UPA units and the OUN underground during the period from 1943 until the end of the 1950s.
The documents in this collection are arranged in chronological order. The earliest document, dated July 1943, consists of fragments of the CC CP(b)U Politburo resolution «Concerning the status and development of the partisan movement in Ukraine.» The resolution instructs all partisan detachments to activate their battle against Ukrainian nationalists and particularly, intensify their propaganda activity and infiltrate nationalist organizations.
The documents from 1944 fall into three groups. The first includes an appeal “To the Population of the Western Oblasts” and an appeal «To the Participants of the So-called «UPA» and «UNRA.» In the first appeal, inhabitants of the western oblasts are called upon to support the Soviet regime, and in the second, all participants of nationalist armed formations who voluntarily switch to the government side are promised «total amnesty.» The appeals are based on the concepts of traditional Communist propaganda.
The second group consists of CC CP(b)U documents that set out the main directions of official Soviet policy in this region. The documents focus primarily on organizational, political and propaganda work among the western Ukrainian populace. One of the documents is a fragment of Nikita Khrushchev’s speech to the CC CP(b)U Plenum on November 23, 1944, in which Khrushchev describes his participation in interrogation of an arrested UPA battalion leader.
The third group consists of documents devoted to organizational matters. One of these documents, a letter from the People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs of the USSR, L. Beria, to the Secretary of the CC CP(b)U, Khrushchev, emphasizes the need to intensify the work of agents and speed up hearings of cases of arrested underground participants. The Organizational Office resolution «Concerning increased recruitment of People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (Narodnyi Komisariat Vnutrisnikh Sprav-NKVD) and People’s Commissariat of State Security (Narodnyi Komisariat Derzhavnoi Bezpeky-NKGB) personnel to work in the western oblasts of Ukraine» mentions the decision to transfer over 1,500 workers from other oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR for permanent work in the western oblasts. Other documents include a series of CC Politburo resolutions about transferring Kovpak’s partisan division and several hundred officers from the partisan movement’s Ukrainian headquarters to the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs of the USSR, to be used for rapid elimination of nationalist bands; and the CC Politburo resolution «Concerning the distribution of weapons to party and Soviet administration activists working in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR.»
In 1946, we see another «Appeal to the Population of the Western Oblasts of Soviet Ukraine.» This appeal was tied in to the «elections» scheduled for February 1946. Again, participants of the anti-Soviet struggle were told that «The Soviet government will forgive everyone who sincerely repents of his crimes and works honestly.»
Several of the 1946 documents deal with the preparation and conduct of elections in the western oblasts of Ukraine and provide some information about the country’s general situation.
A few documents are concerned with «extermination battalions» in western Ukraine. They criticize the battalions’ activities, noting that they often avoid encounters with the insurgents and in some cases, even switch to their side. Interesting information about their effectiveness in combat is contained in the «Letter to CC CP(b)U Secretary N. Khrushchev from the deputy commander of the regional school for non-commissioned officers of the NKVD border force, Major N.S. Bitiukov concerning inadequate political-propagandist preparations for the elections in the Stanyslaviv, Drohobych and Lviv oblasts.»
As in the previous years, in 1946, the representatives of the new regime in the western oblasts of Ukraine behaved extremely abusively towards the local population, which is shown by the materials discussing violations of «Soviet legality.» For example, the CC CP(b)U Organizational Office resolution «Concerning shortcomings in the work of MVD and MGB organs, the courts and the prosecutor’s office in the battle with violations of Soviet legality in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR,» dated July 24, 1946, notes that during only five months in 1946, 965 such violations were identified. The resolution mentions self-sanctioned executions of local inhabitants by MVD and MGB operational personnel. Among those shot were former underground members who had turned themselves in.
Also notable are two CC CP(b)U Politburo resolutions Ð «Concerning the status of the battle with the remnants of the Ukrainian-German nationalists in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR,» dated October 4, 1946, and «Concerning the status of the battle with the remnants of the Ukrainian-German nationalist bands in the Stanyslaviv oblast,» dated December 21, 1946, which contain various interesting statistics, such as the number of insurgent detachments, their membership, the number of Soviet agents, etc.
There are 23 documents from 1947, including two Politburo resolutions that examine the progress of the battle against insurgent detachments.
In April 1947, the CC CP(b)U Politburo passed a resolution repeating its instruction to CP(b)U oblast committees in western Ukraine, the Ministry of State Security and state security oblast directorates to completely eliminate all «surviving bandit groups and OUN leadership centres within one-and-a-half to two months.» In this connection, CP(b)U oblast committee first secretaries in the western oblasts and the Minister of State Security were to report daily to the CC about the progress of the battle against the insurgents and the OUN underground.
The 1947 documents include two notable informational items: «Information from the CC CP(b)U Deputy Secretary A. Stoiantsev about the progress of the battle with the OUN and UPA in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR from May 1 to 25, 1947» and the «Report on the work of the Lviv, Stanyslaviv, Drohobych, Ternopil, Rivne, Volyn and Chernivtsi oblast party organizations for the implementation of the resolution of the CC CP(b)U and the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR dated June 20, 1947, particularly with regard to the elimination of banditism and the progress of the collectivization of agriculture.» These two documents take the form of reports and present a variety of statistics. Thus, the «Report. . .», which was prepared for CC CP(b)U Secretary L. Kaganovich, states that during the period from July 20 to October 20, 1947, that is, three months, «10, 660 bandits and OUN members were eliminated.» There are also some resolutions on the registration and use of the property of families of participants of the anti-Soviet struggle who were being deported from western Ukraine to Siberia and Kazakhstan, as well as four informational items about insurgent attacks on Soviet officials, heads of collective farms and local Komsomol and Soviet administration activists.
Of the documents for this year, the one which examines the battle against insurgents in greatest detail is the Politburo resolution dated June 1, 1948, «Concerning the improvement of mass political work, continued development of collective farm building and elimination of the remnants of Ukrainian-German nationalist bands in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR.» This resolution provides some facts about the armed struggle in the region. For example, in the Kremenets raion of the Ternopil oblast, during the first quarter of the year, 13 local activists were killed. On June 1, 1948, the Politburo passed another resolution «Concerning measures to safeguard witnesses who testify to judicial bodies from reprisals by Ukrainian-German nationalist bands.» The document notes that «over the last year in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR, bandits have killed 195 former witnesses who were active in revealing the crimes of the bandits to judicial organs.»
A number of documents from this year also deal with the problem of violations of «socialist legality and Soviet law and order.» On January 28, 1948, the Politburo passed a special resolution on this matter. And a May 15, 1948, report cites specific examples of «shortcomings» in the work of MGB organs, the military prosecutor’s office and the MVD forces military tribunal in the Ternopil oblast. Thus, the head of the Kenny raion MGB division executed a local inhabitant without trial. This document also admits that in operational investigations, MGB personnel resorted to falsification.
Among the documents from 1949 we again find materials about «violations of legality» by MGB and MVD personnel and party and government officials in relation to the inhabitants of the western oblasts of Ukraine. An indication of the methods used by the state security organs in their battle against the Ukrainian underground can be obtained from the «Report of the military prosecutor of the Ukrainian region MVD forces, H. Kosharskyi, concerning the facts of gross violation of Soviet legality in the activities of the so-called MGB special groups,» dated February 15, 1949. The methods referred to included provocations and brutal tortures of local inhabitants. Even the Soviet prosecutor was forced to admit that: «... the acts of the so-called MGB special groups have an undeniable bandit-like, anti-Soviet character.»
In February 1949. the CC Politburo passed a resolution «Concerning the placement of district police supervisors on every village council in the western and Transcarpathian oblasts.» According to this document, district militiamen were to head groups for the protection of public security in order to «increase their effectiveness in battle with the remnants of the Ukrainian-German nationalists...»
A number of documents from 1949 deal with holding open trials of participants of the anti-Soviet struggle. On December 28, the Politburo passed a resolution «Concerning order N 312 of the Minister of State Security of the Ukrainian SSR «Concerning the waiving of penalties against participants of the remnants of destroyed Ukrainian nationalist bands in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR who voluntarily surrender to Soviet government organs.»
It was resolved that «this order should be widely publicized.»
There are 22 documents from 1950. At a meeting in January 1950, the Politburo discussed the work of the Ternopil CP(b)U oblast committee. The stenographic record of the meeting provides the following information: over a period of 11 months in 1949, 99 cases of «banditism» were recorded in the oblast. During this same period, 119 Soviet officials committed gross violations of «socialist legality.» The 1950 documents include another interesting stenographic record of a March 22, 1950 meeting of the Politburo, at which there was discussion «Concerning measures for intensification of the battle with the remnants of the OUN underground in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR.» CC Secretary D. Korotchenko proposed the following measures: «We need to conduct open trials and hand down severe sentences. Some of the bandits must be sentenced to death.»
The report by the CC CP(b)U inspection commission «Concerning the work of the CP(b)U Stanyslaviv oblast committee, dated June 29, 1950, notes that among the instructors and students of the Stanyslaviv medical and pedagogical institute, there are 73 former nationalists who had actively resisted Soviet rule in the past. The fact that in 1950 insurgents were attacking representatives of the new regime is shown by the report «Concerning the status of mass political and cultural-educational work in the Dobromyl raion of the Drohobych oblast.» And the «Report of the head of the military tribunal of the Carpathian military region, A. Murashyn, concerning the use of improper methods in the operational investigative work of MGB organs» mentions provocations that were regularly being committed by MGB operational personnel against arrested OUN members.
A Politburo resolution dated August 23, 1950, focuses on «improvement of the work of groups for the protection of public order» and stresses the need to «use these groups for active combat against Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists.»
There are 11 documents from 1951, four of which deal with the problem of violations of «socialist legality.» This matter became the subject of a special Politburo resolution – «Concerning the facts regarding gross violations of socialist legality by individual workers of the Bolekhiv raion and Kolomyia city MGB units in the Stanyslaviv oblast,» dated August 14, 1951. During this meeting, the Politburo examined the «Report on the results of the verification of M. IarchivÕs declaration regarding violations of socialist legality by MGB personnel in the Stanyslaviv oblast.» In the report, commission members found that «Violations of Soviet legality took place in the form of illegal searches, arrests, illegal use of weapons, rapes, killings and hooliganism.» In December 1951, the Politburo passed another resolution «Concerning gross violations of Soviet legality in the work of the Transcarpathian oblast MGB directorate,» which again cites facts related to illegal arrests and falsification of evidence.
There are three documents dealing with the issue of holding open trials. One of these is a Politburo resolution dated October 5, 1951, «Concerning the conduct of open trials of participants of the Ukrainian bourgeois nationalist bands.» This document provides a good depiction of the Soviet judicial system.
Among the 1952 documents, one of the most notable is the «Report of the administrative division on the progress of the battle with the remnants of the OUN underground bands in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR,» dated April 20, which is rich in information about the course of events in western Ukraine. The report provides statistics on the armed battle against OUN members, information about the underground network operating at the time, analysis of the shortcomings of MGB activities, specific examples of failures in operations against insurgent groups and facts concerning violations of Soviet law. In this report, as well as in the «Report of the Minister of National Security of the Ukrainian SSR, M. Kovalchuk, on the discovery of nationalist youth organizations,» dated April 23, 1952, there is mention of underground organizations not only in the western oblasts, but also in the neighbouring Kamianets-Podilskyi, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia and even eastern oblasts.
Yet another very informative document from this year is the «Report on the status and measures for intensifying the battle with remnants of OUN underground bands in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR,» dated April 23, 1952.
In addition to statistical information for the previous year, the report discusses planned measures «for the ultimate elimination of armed banditism in the western and Transcarpathian oblasts.» The first point in this plan called for «Decisive action for the immediate discovery and elimination of the members of the so-called OUN central «leadership» – Kuk, Halasa and Okhrymovych.»
On the basis of the above reports, the Politburo passed a special resolution on May 9, 1952, «Concerning continued intensification of the battle for the ultimate destruction of the remnants of Ukrainian bourgeois nationalist bands in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR.» Two documents from this year – the Politburo resolution «Concerning serious shortcomings and mistakes in the work of the CC CP(b)U Lviv city committee office and former city committee secretary, comrade Kostenko» and the Politburo resolution «Concerning the unsatisfactory state of educational work in the Zolotnyky high school in the Ternopil oblast» – discuss anti-Soviet activities by students.
There are also some documents dealing with new facts related to violations of «socialist legality» and three items on the circumstances of M. Matviieiko’s escape.
The documents for 1953 begin with materials concerning violations of «socialist legality.» They include the «Report of the CC CP(b)U special committee on violations of socialist legality by the personnel of MGB organs,» dated January 16, 1953, and the Bureau resolution «Concerning the facts on violations of socialist legality by certain personnel of MGB organs of the Drohobych and Lviv oblasts,» dated January 22, 1953.
In early June 1953, the western Ukrainian situation was examined by the CC Plenum. In the Plenum’s resolution «Concerning the CC CPSU resolution dated May 26, 1953 on «The issue of the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR» and Comrade L. P. Beria’s report to the CC CPSU Presidium» certain aspects of previous Soviet government policy in the western oblasts of Ukraine were criticized. In particular, the resolution called «senseless» the mass repressions against civilians, the imposition of the Russian language in state institutions and educational establishments and other. The battle against the Ukrainian underground was the subject of two documents – the report of the head of the CC CPU administrative and commercial-financial division, Nikitchenko, «On the progress of the battle against the remnants of armed bands and the OUN underground in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR,» which was prepared no later than December 15, 1953, and the CC CPU Presidium resolution «Concerning the status of the elimination of the remnants of armed Ukrainian nationalist bands in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR,» dated December 15, 1953.
The first of these documents notes that «as of November 26, 1953, according Ukrainian SSR MVD data, there continue to operate in the western oblasts 106 bandits and an underground composed of the remnants of 15 OUN ‘leaderships,’ which consist of 16 members of these «leaderships» and 24 bandits who guard them, as well as 32 underground nationalist organizations and groups consisting of 164 members, who have been discovered by MVD organs.» It is difficult to say how complete these data are, because the CC Presidium states that «The Ministry, oblast directorates and raion MVD divisions in the western oblasts have no information about their links to the underground and its support.»
The XVIII Congress of the Communist Party of Ukraine took place in 1954. We publish here a fragment of the report of the XVIII Congress CC, which mentions the essential need to continue waging the battle against Ukrainian nationalists.
Five documents from 1954 again discuss violations of «socialist legality» by MVD personnel in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR. One of the most common violations was the falsification of evidence on the basis of which innocent people were accused of anti-state activity. For example, the report by the military prosecutor of the Carpathian region, A. Labutiev, states that MVD operational personnel in the Lviv and Ternopil oblasts were creating fictional «anti-soviet nationalist youth organizations.»
The materials from 1954 also mention a failed operation intended to «eliminate the so-called central OUN leadership member, «Lemish» (V. Kuk). Two documents deal with the trial of Vasyl Okhrymovych, which took place in the military tribunal of the Kyiv military region.
In the spring of 1955, the CC examined the report by administrative division head M. Kuznietsov «On the status and measures for improving the work of the organs of the Committee on State Security in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR.» This document informs about the anti-Soviet forces operating at the time, stating that «on the territory of the western oblasts ... there still operate 11 bands, consisting of 32 bandits, and 17 bandits act individually.» On April 11, 1955, the Politburo passed a resolution on this subject, in which it stated that «The chief task of KGB organs in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR is to intensify efforts against the agents of foreign intelligence services and nationalist centres operating abroad, completely eliminate as rapidly as possible the remnants of the Ukrainian bourgeois nationalist underground and counter any attempts by hostile elements to create new nationalist and other anti-Soviet groups.»
Most of the documents from 1956-57 deal with the return from places of imprisonment and special settlement of former UPA and OUN participants. In accordance with CC decisions, former prisoners were transferred from the western oblasts to eastern and southern Ukraine, while the leading activists were permanently banned from the Ukrainian SSR.
The last document presented here is dated November 24, 1959. It is a fragment of a CC CP(b)U Politburo resolution «Concerning the status and measures for intensifying the work of Ukrainian SSR state security organs.» The resolutions instructs the KGB in Ukraine «To significantly improve the work against Ukrainian bourgeois nationalist centres abroad, by undermining the nationalist - migr - community ideologically and organizationally and compromising its leaders...»