Rada (Рада). The Ukrainian term (equivalent to council) for a representative state governing body or the leading body of a party, organization, or institution. The term has been used since the medieval period: it was applied to the Boyar Council in Kyivan Rus’ and the Council of Lords in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Cossack host and state had radas: the Sich Council, the General Military Council, and the Council of Officers.
The representative national congress of the people of Galicia in 1848 was called the Supreme Ruthenian Council, and the political representation of Ukrainians in Austria in 1914 was known as the Supreme Ukrainian Council. After the Revolution of 1917 the highest representative bodies and government agencies in Ukraine were the Central Rada and the Ukrainian National Rada.
All-Ukrainian councils of peasants', workers', and soldiers' deputies were formed in Kyiv in 1917 to represent certain segments of the population, and in December 1917 they convened the All-Ukrainian Congress of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies. The Peasant Association–Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries bloc set up its own radas in volosti, counties, and villages in 1918–19 as organs of local government. In Transcarpathia in 1918–19 local people's radas and the Central Ruthenian People's Council were formed to decide the fate of the region. A similar body, the American Ruthenian National Council, was organized by émigrés in the United States.
In the civic and legal context a rada is a representative body. Some examples include the National Council of Ukrainian Women, the Ukrainian National Council (émigré political center), and the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council. The State Popular Council and the Council of the Republic were conceived in 1920–1 as advisory bodies of the Ukrainian National Republic government, which was run by the Council of National Ministers of the Ukrainian National Republic.
In 1917–18 the Bolsheviks used the abbreviated form Rada instead of Central Rada in their official documents and press. They called their own regime and its governing organs Soviet at first. Only in 1919 did they begin to use the Ukrainian term rada and its adjective radianskyi for their ruling organs. They applied the adjectives radivskyi and radivtsi to the Central Rada. Since 1920 the Ukrainian term rada has been generally accepted as the name for soviets at every level. On 6 January 1919 Soviet Ukraine adopted the official name of the Ukrainska Sotsialistychna Radianska Respublika. Yet in other languages the term was commonly translated from the Russian as, for example, Soviet Ukraine or L'Ukraine soviétique. In Western Ukraine (before 1945) and among Ukrainians abroad the terms Soviet and sovietskyi were preferred to rada and radianskyi in identifying Soviet Ukrainian institutions, because they imply the non-Ukrainian origin of the institutions.
Oleksander Ohloblyn, Matvii Stakhiv
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]
Encyclopedia of Ukraine