Hrynko, Hryhorii [Гринько, Григорій; Hryn'ko, Hryhorii], b 30 November 1890 in Shtepivka, Lebedyn county, Kharkiv gubernia, d 15 March 1938 in Moscow. Soviet Ukrainian political figure. A member of the Borotbists, Hrynko joined the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine in 1919 and soon became a member of the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee (CEC), the Council of People's Commissars, the CEC of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, and the All-Ukrainian Military-Revolutionary Committee (1919–26). He took part in the 1919–20 Comintern-sponsored negotiations between the Borotbists and the CP(B)U concerning the merger of the two parties. During these talks, Hrynko insisted that the Ukrainian SSR should retain economic autonomy, an idea later reiterated by Mykhailo Volobuiev. After the merger, he became the Ukrainian people's commissar of education (1920–2), in which capacity he insisted on Ukrainian cultural distinctness and made his commissariat a central political institution during the Ukrainization period. The so-called Hrynko educational reform, which existed with some changes from 1920 to 1932, created a system of education that was radically different from that instituted in the RSFSR by Anatolii Lunacharsky. The Hrynko system focused on vocational-technical instruction in public education. Higher education was reorganized and geared to meet Ukraine’s dire need for specialists.
Hrynko was also a member of the CP(B)U CEC (1924–7), the head of the Ukrainian State Planning Commission (1922–6), and deputy chairman of the Ukrainian Council of People's Commissars. As deputy chairman of the USSR State Planning Commission (1926–9), he insisted that Ukraine be treated as a national economic entity (see State Planning Committee of the Ukrainian SSR). In 1929 Hrynko served as USSR deputy people's commissar of agriculture, from 1930 to 1937 as USSR people's commissar of finances, and from 1934 to 1937 as a candidate member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and member of the Presidium of the CEC of the USSR. Arrested during the Yezhov terror in 1937, he was executed in 1938 as a ‘fascist spy’ after a show trial.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]