Yalovy, Mykhailo

Image - Mykhailo Yalovy Image - Mykhailo Yalovy Image - Photographs of Les Kurbas, Mykola Kulish, and Mykhailo Yalovy comemmorating the mass executions of political prisoners by the NKVD in Sandarmokh, RFSSR.

Yalovy, Mykhailo [Яловий, Михайло; Jalovyj, Myxajlo] (pseud: Yuliian Shpol), b 5 June 1895 in Dar-Nadezhda, Kostiantynohrad county, Poltava gubernia, d 3 November 1937 in Sandarmokh, Karelia region, RFSSR. Poet, prose writer, dramatist, and political and cultural leader. A medical student at Kyiv University, Yalovy joined the Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries in 1917 and became active member of the Borotbists in 1918. From 1917 to 1919 he organized local administration in the Kostiantynohrad county where he was elected head of the county zemstvo. In 1918 he assists Vasyl Blakytny with the editing of Borot’ba and in 1919 he becomes editor of the newspapers Selians’ka bidnota and Selianyn i robitnyk. He began to publish his work in 1918, but his serious literary debut took place in 1921 when, together with Mykhailo Semenko and Vasyl Aleshko, he organized the Combat Group of Futurist Poets. He published his work in the journals Shliakhy mystetstva, Chervonyi shliakh, Vsesvit, and Zhyttia i revoliutsiia. Yalovy was a close friend and collaborator of Mykola Khvylovy and one of the founders and the first president of Vaplite. A prolific publicist, Yalovy took active part in the Literary Discussion of 1925–8 and conducted a particularly harsh polemic with Serhii Pylypenko and the representatives of the peasant writers’ union Pluh.

Yalovy wrote the poetry collection Verkhy (The Peaks, 1923), the comedy Katyna liubov, abo Budivel’na propahanda (Katia's Love, or Building Propaganda, 1928), and the novel Zoloti lyseniata (Golden Fox Cubs, 1929). He took part in the work of the All-Ukrainian Orthographic Conference, held from 26 May to 6 June 1927 in Kharkiv, which adopted the new, standardized orthography of the Ukrainian language. In May 1933 Yalovy was arrested, sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment, and dispatched to the labor camps of Siberia. He was resentenced by a special tribunal in 1937 and shot. The arrest of Yalovy marked the beginning of the Pavel Postyshev pogrom against the Ukrainian intelligentsia.

Marko Robert Stech

[This article was updated in 2012.]

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