Sweden. A country on the eastern side of the Scandinavian Peninsula (2021 pop 10,380,491), with an area of 450,295 sq km. The majority of its inhabitants (90.8 percent) are Swedish, and there is a notable (3.1 percent) Finnish presence. In the early 1990s there were about 2,000 Ukrainians in Sweden.
Although Sweden does not share borders with Ukraine, it has played an important role in the history of Ukraine (particularly in the Princely era and the Cossack period). The initial contacts between the two countries resulted from trade along the Varangian route in the 9th century. The influence of the Varangians contributed to the economic, cultural, and political development of Kyivan Rus’. Eventually, dynastic ties were formed: Yaroslav the Wise married Olof Skötkonung’s daughter Ingigerth, and Mstyslav I Volodymyrovych, who became grand prince in 1125, married Christina, the daughter of the Swedish king Ingi Stenkil.
Swedish-Ukrainian contacts were re-established after a long interruption at the beginning of the 17th century with the rise of the Cossacks as a power. Gustavus II Adolphus (1611–32), one of the Protestant leaders in the Thirty Years’ War, solicited Cossack help against the Poles, and eventually (in 1631) sent his envoys directly to offer them a Swedish protectorate and an alliance against Poland. These overtures were rejected by Hetman Ivan Petrazhytsky-Kulaha and the Cossack council.
Between 1650 and 1653 Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky sought an alliance with Sweden against Poland, but Queen Christina (1632–54) did not wish to embark on a war with Poland. Her successor, Charles X Gustav (1654–60), however, helped set up a broader anti-Polish coalition consisting of Ukraine, Sweden, Transylvania, Brandenburg, Moldavia, and Wallachia. A Ukrainian delegation headed by Hegumen Daniel Oliveberg de Graecani Atheniensis was sent to Stockholm in 1654 for detailed discussion. The following year Charles attacked Poland and quickly took Warsaw and Cracow. Feeling threatened by Sweden’s victory, Muscovy signed a peace agreement with Poland in Vilnius in November 1656, which led to war with Sweden. Khmelnytsky then tried to extend the anti-Polish coalition. That prospect fell apart in the summer of 1657, however, when Charles was forced to transfer his forces and his attention from the Polish to the Danish front after Denmark declared war on Sweden, and Austria came to the aid of Poland.
Hetman Ivan Vyhovsky revived and strengthened ties with Sweden. In October 1657 a Ukrainian-Swedish alliance was concluded in Korsun, according to which the independent Ukrainian Cossack state was to extend to the Vistula River and include the Lithuanian voivodeships of Brest and Smolensk. But this treaty had no practical effect, because Sweden was tied down with the Danish war, and Vyhovsky’s own position was precarious. The hetman soon severed his Swedish connections and tried to come to terms with Poland in the Treaty of Hadiach.
During the Northern War (1700–21) Russia, allied with Denmark and Poland against Sweden, compelled the Cossacks of the Hetman state to take part in the Baltic campaigns. This development set in motion secret negotiations by Hetman Ivan Mazepa with Charles XII of Sweden in 1705 and led to the creation of an anti-Russian coalition in 1708. By October 1708 the Swedish army had entered Ukraine. Otaman Kost Hordiienko brought the Zaporozhian Host into the coalition as well by signing a treaty with Charles XII on 28 March 1709. On 8 July 1709 the joint Swedish-Ukrainian force was defeated at the Battle of Poltava. About 10,000 Swedes were killed and 3,000 captured in the battle. The Swedes retreated and finally capitulated at Perevolochna, while Charles and Mazepa fled to Bendery on Turkish territory with the remnants of their troops. After Mazepa’s death (22 September 1709) Charles concluded a treaty with his successor, Hetman Pylyp Orlyk, promising to help Ukraine in the struggle against Russia. After an unsuccessful attempt to gain control of Right-Bank Ukraine, Orlyk and 24 of his supporters emigrated to Sweden (1715–20). The wife of Andrii Voinarovsky, Anna, lived in Tynnelsö near Stockholm at this time.
In the second half of the 19th and in the early 20th century a number of women and girls from Galicia (Galicierna) worked in Sweden as farm laborers. Some of them stayed there and were assimilated. During the same period academic ties were established. The Kyiv Archeographic Commission sent Nykandr Molchanovsky to Sweden in 1898 to collect documents (published in 1908 in Arkhiv Iugo-Zapadnoi Rossii) in state archives pertaining to Ukrainian history. The Swedish archeologist and honorary member of the Archeological Committee of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences T. Arne wrote about La Tenne culture relics, Roman and Arab coins, Gothic fibulae, and Vikings in Ukraine in La Suède et l’Orient (1914). The Swedish Slavist and writer Alfred Jensen visited Ukraine in 1909 and met Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky, Ivan Franko, Osyp Makovei, and Volodymyr Hnatiuk; translated works by Ivan Kotliarevsky, Taras Shevchenko, and M. Kotsiubynsky into Swedish and German; and wrote articles and a monograph (1916) on Shevchenko. The Finnish writer J. Hemmer translated Shevchenko’s poetry into Swedish (1919). V. von Heidenstam dealt with Ukraine in the late 17th century in his Karolinerna and Mazepa och hans ambassadör.
During the First World War a representation of the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine was set up in neutral Sweden. It cultivated Swedish public opinion and published Lonhyn Tsehelsky’s Ukraïna kolyshnia shveds'ka soiuznytsia (Ukraine, the Former Swedish Ally) in 1915. The Ukrainian Information Bureau, directed by Volodymyr Stepankivsky and Mykola Zalizniak, was opened in Stockholm in 1916. Although Sweden did not recognize the Ukrainian National Republic, a Ukrainian diplomatic mission for Sweden and Norway was established in Stockholm in 1918. It was headed by B. Bazhenov and, in 1919, by Kost Losky. Through Losky’s efforts a book on Ukrainian history, geography, literature, and culture, Ukrainarna (Stockholm 1921), came out in Swedish under the editorship of Alfred Jensen and M. Ehrenpreis. The Swedish economist and sociologist G. Steffen supported Ukrainian independence and wrote a brochure in Swedish and English on Ukraine’s relations with Russia and Poland.
In the interwar period the Finnish historian Herman Gummerus wrote articles about Ukraine in Swedish and a book of recollections about Kyiv, Orostider i Ukraina (1931). As well, the Ukrainian singer Modest Menzinsky (who had performed in the Swedish Royal Opera in 1904–8) moved to Stockholm in 1925, where he sang in the state opera and opened his own school of singing.
During the Second World War the Ukrainian Information Bureau for Finland and Scandinavia (UIFS) was set up in Helsinki by Bohdan Kentrzhynsky. It published a bulletin in Finnish, Swedish, and German and supplied aid to Ukrainian prisoners of war from the Red Army. In 1944 the bureau was moved to Stockholm. Kentrzhynsky later directed the Ukrainian Press Bureau in Stockholm (1949–55); Yu. Borys and B. Zaluha were on the staff. Kentrzhynsky was an associate of the historical association Karolinska Förbundet, which published his works on Swedish-Ukrainian relations and, particularly, on Charles X Gustav (1956), Charles XII (1959), and Ivan Mazepa (1962). Works by well-known Swedish writers, such as August Strindberg, Selma Lagerlöf, and Astrid Lindgren, have been translated into Ukrainian.
Most of the Ukrainian newcomers to Sweden during the interwar period were refugees from the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic who had managed to flee via Finland. Some Ukrainians who had been deported to Karelia during the collectivization drive of 1932–5 escaped across the border in 1944. After the war the Swedish Red Cross sponsored a group of Ukrainian inmates of German concentration camps and Ukrainian ostarbeiter in Germany and Austria. Some refugees from Poland, Karelia, and Bačka ended up in Sweden. In the years immediately following the war there were approximately 2,000 to 2,500 Ukrainians in Sweden. A number of them subsequently emigrated to Canada or the United States. In the early 1990s most Swedish Ukrainians lived in the southern or central cities of Stockholm, Malmö, Göteborg, and Örebro. At one time Lund and Borås were also significant centers. Most Ukrainians worked as laborers, although there were a number of physicians, engineers, and teachers among them. The Ukrainian Orthodox church community was served by Rev H. Matviienko from Hamburg and occasionally by Archbishop Anatolii Dubliansky. The Ukrainian Catholic church community was tended by Bishop Ivan Buchko and Rev Maurice Van de Maele, and later by Bishop Platon Kornyliak.
In 1947 the Ukrainian Hromada in Sweden (Ukrainska Süallskapet, or UHSh) was founded in Stockholm. Its presidents have been V. Fedorchuk (1947–51), V. Butko (1952), K. Harbar (1953–78), and B. Zaluha (after 1979). Since 1954 it has published a quarterly bulletin, Skandynavs'ki visti. UHSh had three local affiliates: the Ukrainian-Swedish Hromada in Örebro (est 1975; president, H. Budiak), the Ukrainian-Swedish Cultural Association in Malmö (president, H. Horyn), and the Ukrainian-Swedish Cultural Alliance in Stockholm (president, B. Zaluha). The Ukrainian Hromada named after Hetman Pylyp Orlyk functioned independently in Stockholm under the leadership of V. Dekhtiar in 1948–61. In the 1950s and 1960s the Ukrainian Academic Club, headed by Yu. Borys and B. Zaluha, was also active in the capital. Bohdan Kentrzhynsky, who for a time published Stokhol'ms'kyi visnyk, was a representative of the Ukrainian National Council for Scandinavia.
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Patritskii, O. Skandinavshchina v davnoi Rusi (Saint Petersburg 1887)
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———. ‘Na skandynavs'komu sektori OUN v druhii svitovii Viini,’ in OUN, 1929–1954 (Paris 1955)
———. Karl X Gustav inför Krisen i Öster, 1654–1655 (Stockholm 1956)
———. Propagandakriget i Ukraina, 1708–1709 (Stockholm 1958)
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[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]