Sel-Rob

Sel-Rob (Сель-Роб; Ukrainian Peasants’ and Workers’ Socialist Alliance; Українське селянсько-робітниче соціялістичне об’єднання; Ukrainske seliansko-robitnyche sotsiialistychne obiednannia). A mass political party with pro-Soviet leanings, founded on 10 October 1926 in Lviv through a merger of Sel-Soiuz and the People's Will party (PNV). The Communist Party of Western Ukraine (KPZU) was instrumental in the founding of Sel-Rob in that it acted as a mediator in the negotiations. The Central Committee of the new party was based on equal representation from both founding groups: M. Chuchmai, Stepan Makivka, and Serhii Kozytsky from Sel-Soiuz and Kyrylo Valnytsky, Mykhailo Zaiats, and Kuzma Pelekhaty from the PNV. During the merger, the PNV adopted a pro-Ukrainian position (earlier it had been strongly Russophile) and issued a declaration to that effect. The directorate of the KPZU in Sel-Rob was initially represented by P. Kraikivsky. From the middle of 1927 Sel-Rob was involved in the debate among KPZU members which ensued in the wake of the Oleksander Shumsky affair. On 1 September 1927 Sel-Rob was dissolved, with a return to life of both founding parties. The former PNV members now called themselves Sel-Rob Left; former Sel-Soiuz members who supported the Shumsky faction of the KPZU were called Sel-Rob Right. During the election campaign of February 1928 both sides fought bitterly against each other. The right won four seats in Volhynia and Polisia, and the left won three seats.

In May 1928 the Sel-Rob Unity, an apparently neutral organization, was established by Sel-Rob Left members. A substantial percentage of Sel-Rob Right members joined the new party. The Sel-Rob Unity had three official organs, Nashe zhyttia (Kholm) (succeded by Nove zhyttia (Kholm)), Nashe slovo (Lviv), and Sel’-Rob. Among its best-known leaders were Kyrylo Valnytsky, M. Durdella, Stepan Makivka, Kuzma Pelekhaty, and Mykhailo Zaiats. Its influence was greatest in Volhynia. With the passage of time the Sel-Rob Unity became completely dominated by the KPZU and lost whatever slight independence it had had. The party organized peasant strikes and demanded the parcelation of regional and church lands for the benefit of the poorer peasants. During times of open conflict it called for the withholding of taxes. Its greatest influence was in Ukrainian rural co-operatives. Sel-Rob spoke out against any and all criticism relating to life in the USSR, collectivization, and the state of Ukrainian culture. In September 1932 the party was dissolved by the Polish authorities.

Janusz Radziejowski

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




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