Serdiuk guard divisions

Serdiuk guard divisions (Serdiutski dyvizii). Volunteer elite military units in the Ukrainian armed forces of 1917–18 (see Army of the Ukrainian National Republic). In November 1917 two serdiuk guard divisions were formed in Kyiv, one under the command of Col Yurii Kapkan and the other under Gen Oleksander Hrekov. Together they numbered 12,000 men. Four of their regiments defended Kyiv against the Bolsheviks in January 1918; the other regiments remained neutral. Toward the end of the month the two divisions were demobilized by the Central Rada, and some of their soldiers volunteered to the Separate Zaporozhian Detachment.

In July 1918 Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky formed a new serdiuk division, consisting mostly of volunteers from the wealthier peasantry in Left-Bank Ukraine. By October the division had 5,000 soldiers and was commanded by Col Klymenko. In the uprising against the Hetman government most of the division changed sides. Some of its men later joined the Siege Corps of Sich Riflemen.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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