Kruty, Battle of

Image - Stamps commemorating the Battle of Kruty issued by the Undergound Postal Service of Ukraine. Image - A burial of students who perished at the Battle of Kruty (Kyiv, May 1918).

Kruty, Battle of [Бій під Крутами; Bij pid Krutamy]. A battle near Kruty, Nizhyn county, Chernihiv gubernia on 29 January 1918. As a Bolshevik force of about 4,000 men commanded by Mikhail Muravev advanced toward Kyiv, a small contingent of 500 men was hastily organized and sent to the front. It consisted mainly of a company of the Student Kurin of Sich Riflemen (see Student Battalion), a company of the Khmelnytsky Cadet School, and a Haidamaka detachment (see Haidamaka Units of the Army of the UNR). Commanded by Capt Ahapii Honcharenko, this force attempted to block the Bolshevik advance on the capital at Kruty, a railroad station 130 km northeast of Kyiv. In a bitter battle about half of the Ukrainian soldiers were killed, but their resistance delayed Muravev's capture of Kyiv and enabled the Ukrainian government to conclude the Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The battle is commemorated as a symbol of patriotic self-sacrifice and is immortalized in numerous literary and publicistic works.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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