Stetsko, Yaroslav

Image - Yaroslav Stetsko Image - OUN leaders at the grave of Yevhen Konovalets, inluding Yaroslav Stetsko, Stepan Bandera, and Andrii Melnyk. Image - Yaroslav and Slava Stetsko Image - Yaroslav Stetsko

Stetsko, Yaroslav [Стецько, Ярослав; Stec’ko, Jaroslav] (pseuds: Z. Karbovych, E. Orlovsky, S. Osinsky, B. Ozersky, and Y. Pidlesetsky), b 19 January 1912 in Ternopil, d 5 July 1986 in Munich. Political leader and ideologue of the Ukrainian nationalist movement; husband of Slava Stetsko. As a youth he joined the underground Ukrainian Nationalist Youth organization and subsequently the Ukrainian Military Organization and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). In 1932 he was appointed to the OUN executive with responsibility for ideology. The Polish authorities arrested him several times for his activities; in 1936 he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, but he was released under a general amnesty in 1937. He was responsible for the preparations for the Great Assembly of the OUN held in Rome in 1939. He became one of the members of the Revolutionary Leadership of the OUN, which emerged in 1940 and was headed by Stepan Bandera. At the Cracow Great Assembly he was elected Bandera's second-in-command. He participated in the organization of OUN expeditionary groups on the eve of the German-Soviet War. He prepared the Proclamation of Ukrainian statehood, 1941; on 30 June 1941 at the National Assembly in Lviv where the renewal of Ukrainian statehood was officially proclaimed, he was chosen premier of the Ukrainian State Administration. For refusing to annul the proclamation of statehood Stetsko was arrested by the Gestapo on 12 July 1941; he was first taken to Berlin and then incarcerated in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, until the fall of 1944. After his release he settled in Munich.

In 1945 Stetsko was elected to the Leadership of the OUN (Bandera Faction). After the Second World War he was active in the world anticommunist movement. In 1946 he was elected head of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN); he remained president of that organization until his death. In 1946 he was also chosen to head the foreign policy sector of the external units of the OUN. As head of the ABN Stetsko signed an agreement of co-operation with the Chinese Anti-Communist League in Taiwan (1955), which resulted in an ABN mission (1957–60) and later representation (until 1971) in Taipei. He also served on the executive of the World Anti-Communist League (est 1967) and was a founder and life member of the honorary presidium of the European Freedom Council. At the Fourth Great Assembly of the OUN (Bandera faction) in 1968, he was elected head, a position he retained until his death. A number of his works were published posthumously in Ukraïns’ka vyzvol’na kontsepsiia (The Ukrainian Liberation Concept, 1987) and Ukraine and the Subjugated Nations: Their Struggle for National Liberation (1989). He left an account of the events surrounding the Proclamation of Ukrainian statehood, 1941, Trydtsiatoho chervnia 1941 (The 30th of June 1941, 1967).

Bohdan Folusiewicz

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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