Union of Welfare

Union of Welfare (Russian: Союз благоденствия; Soiuz blagodenstviia). A clandestine political organization which arose out of the Union of Salvation at the beginning of 1818 in Saint Petersburg. Its goal was to abolish serfdom and absolutism and to transform the Russian Empire into a constitutional monarchy or (from 1820) a centralized republic. The union was headed by a central executive to which local executives were subordinate. In Ukraine there was a local branch in Tulchyn, and branches were to be set up in Poltava and Odesa. The union had about 2,000 members. Among its Russian members were M. Orlov, N. Turgenev, Pavel Pestel, N. and A. Muravev, Prince S. Trubetskoi, Prince S. Volkonsky, and M. Lunin. Some members were Ukrainians by descent or were closely linked with Ukraine, among them Sergei Muravev-Apostol and Matvei Muravev-Apostol, S. Krasnokutsky, Vasyl Lukashevych, O. Yakubovych, Oleksander Myklashevsky, Semen and Oleksa Kapnist, P. Horlenko, Arkadii Rodzianko, Lev and Vasilii Perovsky, N. Fylypovych, V. Davydov, and Mikhail Novikov. After January 1821 the union was replaced by the two main Decembrist organizations (see Decembrist movement), the Southern Society and the Northern Society.

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

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