Melenevsky, Mariian

Melenevsky, Mariian [Меленевський, Маріян; Melenevs'kyj, Marijan; pseudonyms: Basok, Ivan Hilka or Hylka, Samoilovych, and others], b 15 July 1878 in Fediukivka, Tarashcha county, Kyiv gubernia, d 20 January 1938 in Moscow. Political activist; scion of a Polonized gentry family in central Ukraine. He graduated from a Kyiv gymnasium (1896) and was expelled from the Agricultural and Forestry Institute in Nova Aleksandriia (Puławy), Lublin gubernia, the same year for participating in student protests. He was one of the first members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia to take an overt Marxist position. He cultivated a social-democratic workers’ group on his father’s estate, funded the Ukrainian Socialist party (Kyiv) and later the Revolutionary Ukrainian party (RUP), edited 12 issues of Selianyn, and spread revolutionary propaganda among rural homesteads and villages. In 1899 he was arrested in Kyiv for participating in student demonstrations, and in 1901 he was exiled for two years to Vologda gubernia. He emigrated to Lviv and continued his activity in the Foreign Committee of the RUP.

After leaving the Revolutionary Ukrainian party in late 1904, Melenevsky founded and led the Ukrainian Social Democratic Spilka; following its collapse he joined the Ukrainian Social Democratic Workers' party and published the article ‘Do roboty cherez iednannia’ (To Work through Unification) in Nash holos (Lviv) (1911, nos 11–12). He was unable to reconcile his ideals of the ‘unity of the international proletariat’ with the idea of a free and independent Ukraine, and at the start of the First World War he joined the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine (SVU). He became a presidium member and represented the SVU in Turkey (1914–15) and on the General Ukrainian Council in Vienna (1915). In 1923, however, after the imposition of Soviet rule in Ukraine, Melenevsky supported the Bolsheviks; he accounted for his action in an article published in Vienna, ‘Kudy ity?’ (Where to Go?) in Nova hromada (Vienna) (vol 1 [1923]). In 1930 he moved to Soviet Ukraine. He was arrested for the first time in 1932. He was rearrested during the Yezhov terror in Moscow in 1937 and executed.

[This article was updated in 2020.]




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