I. Raikivskyi, L. Kobuta The Fate of the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party Leaders after Integration of Halychyna into the USSR in Autumn 1939

DOI: 10.20535/2307-5244.53.2021.248479

Public Higher Education Institution «Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University»

The article introduces new and less-known facts and documents of the historical
bibliography concerning the information on the leaders and activists of the
Ukrainian Social Democratic Party (USDP) and their lives after the beginning
of World War II and the introduction of the party-totalitarian regime in Halychyna
in the autumn of 1939. USDP was the legal Ukrainian party, which had
been operating on the territory of Halychyna. It was active between 1899 and
1939 and was trying to combine the national idea with Marxist socialism. Social
democrats of the 1930s fought for the creation of an independent Ukrainian socialist
state, which was supposed to be established in a parliamentary way, they
also were against the Polish occupation of Western Ukraine as well as against
the Stalin regime of Soviet Ukraine. Little attention was paid to the lives of the
leaders of the USDP after Halychyna became a part of the Soviet Union in September
1939, and it has never been a subject of independent research.
On 23 September 1939 on behalf of the party leadership, V. Starosolskyi and
P. Buniak signed a declaration about the dissolution of the party. The USDP
leadership proclaimed this decision in the Soviet style because they wanted to
protect the party members from repression at least in the legal aspect. Still the
Soviet regime introduced harsh restrictions and repressions against activist, not
only those ones, who were explicit opponents to the communist ideology, but also
against people who supported social democratic positions, moderately close
to the communist ones. The majority of the former USDP leaders were arrested
and repressed, for example, V. Starosolsky, the leader of the USDP, and his
wife Daria Starosolska-Shukhevych, who also took an active part in the party
life, P. Buniak, who was the party’s second in command, I. Kushnir, I. Kvasnytsia,
R. Dombchevskyi etc. At the same time some of the activists were lucky enough to
survive and later escape, for instance, L. Hankevych in 1939, A. Chernetskyi and
V. Levynskyi in 1944, and they continued their activity in democratic countries,
despite their senior age. On the contrary, R. Skybinsly escaped the communist
regime in September 1939, but after the war he came back to Soviet Lviv, and
there he had a rather successful career. Generally speaking, social democrats
scattered around the globe, ranging from Odessa to New York, and this proves
that the communist system ruined their previous lives.
Keywords: Ukrainian Social Democratic Party, Halychyna, social-democrat,
activist, leader, repression.

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