Dovbush, Oleksa

Image - Oleksa Novakivsky: Dovbush (1931). Image - Fedir Krychevsky: Dovbush (1931-1932). Image - The Dovbush rock near Yaremche.

Dovbush, Oleksa [Dovbuš] (also known as Dovbushchuk), b 1700 in Pechenizhyn, d 24 August 1745 in Kosmach in the Hutsul region. A Ukrainian Robin Hood, chief of Carpathian opryshoks. He became an outlaw with his brother Ivan and led a band of 30–50 men. Local peasants admired him. What Dovbush took from the landlords, rentiers, usurers, merchants, nobles, and rich Jews, he gave to the poor. His band was active mostly in the Hutsul region and in Pokutia, but sometimes raided Podilia. Stih peak in the Chornohora range was his home base. For several years Polish military expeditions of up to 2,000 men led by the crown hetman J. Potocki sought to capture Dovbush, who was finally betrayed by a fellow opryshok. His legend captured the popular imagination and left a lasting mark in Ukrainian folklore, literature (Ivan Vahylevych, Yurii Fedkovych, Mykhailo Pavlyk, Ivan Franko, Bohdan Ihor Antonych, Volodymyr Gzhytsky, Leonid Pervomaisky), painting (Olena Kulchytska), music (Anatol Kos-Anatolsky's ballet Dovbush's Kerchief), and film (Viktor Ivanov's Oleksa Dovbush). Many sites in the Carpathian Mountains are connected with Dovbush.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Hrabovets’kyi, V. Oleksa Dovbush. (1700–1745) (Lviv 1994)

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]




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