Prokopovych, Viacheslav

Prokopovych, Viacheslav [Прокопович, В’ячеслав; Prokopovyč, V'jačeslav] (pseud: С. Волох; S. Volokh), b 10 June 1881 in Kyiv, d 7 June 1942 in Besancourt, near Paris. Political leader, pedagogue, publicist, and historian. After graduating in history and philology from Kyiv University (studying under Volodymyr Antonovych), he taught history at Kyiv state gymnasium. He was released for ‘Ukrainophilism,’ taught briefly at a private gymnasium, and then served as a librarian in the Kyiv City Museum of Antiquities and Art. From 1905 he was active in the Ukrainian Radical Democratic party and from 1908 in the Society of Ukrainian Progressives (TUP). He edited the pedagogical journal Svitlo (Kyiv) and published articles in the Ukrainian press, particularly in Rada (Kyiv). A member of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Party of Socialists-Federalists, he became a representative to the Central Rada in 1917 and then a member of its executive council. He served as minister of education in the cabinet of Vsevolod Holubovych’s UNR government (January–April 1918), and under the Hetman government he worked in the offices of the Kyiv gubernial zemstvo. After the arrest of Symon Petliura, he became the head of the All-Ukrainian Union of Zemstvos. He remained in Kyiv until May 1920. In May–October 1920 he was the head of the Council of National Ministers of the Ukrainian National Republic, and in early 1921 he was the minister of education in a cabinet led by Andrii Livytsky. He emigrated to Poland and stayed in internment camps in Tarnów, Kalisz, and Szczepiórno. He arrived in Paris in 1924, and worked closely with Petliura. After the latter’s death, he once again headed the Council of National Ministers of the Government-in-exile of the Ukrainian National Republic (1926–39). In October 1939–May 1940, he was the head of the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic and deputy to the supreme otaman of the Ukrainian National Republic in Paris. Pokopovych edited and wrote for the weekly Tryzub in Paris in 1925–9 and was one of the initiators (and a director) of the Petliura Ukrainian Library in that city.

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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