Council of National Ministers of the Ukrainian National Republic (Rada Narodnykh Ministriv UNR). The executive branch of the Ukrainian National Republic, previously called the General Secretariat of the Central Rada. The council existed from 25 January 1918 (it was established by the Fourth of the Universals of the Central Rada) to Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky’s coup d'état (29 April 1918), and during the government of the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic. The council's composition was determined by agreement among the major parties and was confirmed by the Central Rada. The head of the Central Rada proposed a list of cabinet members, having insured majority support for the list in the Central Rada.

In January 1918 the ministers in the council were the prime minister and minister of domestic affairs Volodymyr Vynnychenko (Ukrainian Social Democratic Workers' party [USDRP]); his deputies Ivan Kraskovsky (Ukrainian Party of Socialists-Federalists [UPSF]), Oleksander Karpynsky, and L. Abramovych; the minister of foreign affairs Oleksander Shulhyn (UPSF); the minister of defense and labor Mykola Porsh (USDRP) and his deputy Oleksander Zhukovsky (Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries [UPSR]); the minister of justice Mykhailo Tkachenko (USDRP); the minister of food supplies Dmytro Koliukh (independent); the minister of communications Vadym Yeshchenko (independent); the minister of postal and telegraph services Mykyta Shapoval (UPSR); the minister of marine affairs Dmytro Antonovych (USDRP); the deputy finance minister Vasyl Mazurenko (USDRP); the minister of education Ivan M. Steshenko (independent social democrat) and his deputy, Petro Kholodny (UPSF); the minister of trade and industry Vsevolod Holubovych (UPSR); the minister of Russian affairs D. Odinets (Russian People's Socialist party); the minister of Jewish affairs Moishe Zilberfarb (United Jewish Socialist Workers' party); the minister of Polish affairs Mieczysław Mickiewicz (Polish Democratic Centrist party); the state controller A. Zolotarev (Jewish Bund); and the state secretary Ivan Mirny (independent).

This cabinet was formed by the coalition of the USDRP, UPSR, UPSF, and the national minorities. A crisis in the USDRP and the UPSR on the issue of non-confidence in Vynnychenko’s government led to Vynnychenko's resignation and the dissolution of the cabinet on 30 January 1918. A new council was composed of the opposition elements in the same parties. The new ministers were the prime minister and minister of foreign affairs V. Holubovych, the minister of defense A. Nemolovsky (UPSR), the minister of domestic affairs Pavlo Khrystiuk (UPSR), the minister of finance Stepan Perepelytsia (UPSR sympathizer), the minister of communications Yevhen Sokovych (UPSR sympathizer), the minister of food supplies Mykola M. Kovalevsky, the minister of education Nykyfor Hryhoriiv (UPSR), the minister of agriculture Arystarkh Ternychenko (UPSR sympathizer), the minister of justice M. Tkachenko, the minister of marine affairs D. Antonovych, and the minister of postal and telegraph services Hryhorii Sydorenko (independent).

In February 1918 Holubovych reshuffled his cabinet in response to the Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and the temporary occupation of Kyiv. The new ministers were the minister of foreign affairs Mykola Liubynsky (UPSR), the minister of defense O. Zhukovsky, the minister of domestic affairs M. Tkachenko, the minister of land affairs Mykola M. Kovalevsky, the minister of justice Serhii Shelukhyn (UPSF), the minister of finance Petro Klymovych (independent), the minister of postal and telegraph services H. Sydorenko, the minister of education Viacheslav Prokopovych (UPSF), the minister of communications Ye. Sokovych, the minister of labor Leonid Mykhailiv (USDRP), the minister of trade and industry Ivan Feshchenko-Chopivsky (UPSF), the minister of food supplies D. Koliukh (independent), the state controller Oleksander Lototsky (UPSF), and the state secretary Pavlo Khrystiuk. Just before Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky's coup, members of the UPSF resigned from the council.

According to the Constitution of the Ukrainian National Republic, adopted on 29 April 1918, the Council of National Ministers was to be the supreme executive power of the republic. It was to be formed by the president of the National Assembly, in consultation with the Council of Elders, and confirmed by the assembly. Members of the council were responsible, individually and collectively, to the assembly. The executive branch of the state under Pavlo Skoropadsky was known as the Council of Ministers (see Hetman government).

The Council of National Ministers was re-established under the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic. The selection and functioning of the council was to conform, in principle, to the Constitution of the Ukrainian National Republic, adopted by the Central Rada. The Labor Congress defined the temporary constitutional status of the council, recognizing it as the executive power of the UNR. The ministers in the council were to be selected by the Directory and were responsible to it when the congress was not in session. The Directory was the supreme legislative power and had supervisory authority over the council. One of the responsibilities of the council was to prepare legislative proposals. In practice, there were frequent conflicts over prerogatives between the two bodies, for the Directory often interfered in political and even administrative affairs.

On 26 December 1918 a new Council of National Ministers was formed. The ministers included the prime minister and minister of foreign affairs Volodymyr Chekhivsky (USDRP); the minister of domestic affairs Oleksander Mytsiuk (UPSR); the minister of land affairs M. Shapoval; the minister of postal and telegraph services I. Shtefan (UPSR); the minister of finance V. Mazurenko; the minister of trade and industry Serhii Ostapenko (UPSR); the minister of food supplies Borys Martos (USDRP); the minister of defense Gen Oleksander Osetsky, succeeded by Gen Oleksander Hrekov; the minister of marine affairs Mykhailo Bilynsky; the minister of communications Pylyp Pylypchuk (National Republican party [NRP]); the minister of education Petro Kholodny, succeeded by Ivan Ohiienko (UPSF); the minister of religious denominations Ivan Lypa (Ukrainian Party of Socialists-Independentists [UPSI]); the minister of justice S. Shelukhyn; the minister of arts D. Antonovych; the minister of national health Borys Matiushenko (USDRP); the minister of labor Leonid Mykhailiv; the minister of Jewish affairs Abraham Revutsky (Poale Zion); the state secretary I. Snizhko, succeeded by Mykhailo Korchynsky (UPSF); the state controller Dmytro Symoniv (UPSI); and the minister of press and propaganda Osyp Nazaruk (UPSR).

The government consisted of a broad coalition of national parties that had formed the Ukrainian National Union and had supported the overthrow of the hetman government. Socialist parties were the dominant force. On 13 February 1919 a new council, without USDRP and UPSR members, was formed in Vinnytsia to pave the way for talks between the Directory and Entente representatives about anti-Bolshevik military support. The ministers included the prime minister S. Ostapenko (former UPSR member), the minister of foreign affairs Kost Matsiievych (UPSF), the minister of domestic affairs H. Chyzhevsky (NRP), the minister of defense Oleksander Shapoval (UPSI), the minister of marine affairs M. Bilynsky, the minister of national economy Ivan Feshchenko-Chopivsky, the minister of finance Mykhailo Kryvetsky (UPSI), the minister of land affairs Yevhen Arkhypenko (NRP), the minister of education I. Ohiienko, the minister of religious affairs I. Lypa, the minister of justice Dmytro Markovych, the minister of national health Ovksentsii Korchak-Chepurkivsky, the minister of communications P. Pylypchuk, the minister of press and information O. Nazaruk, the state secretary M. Korchynsky, and the state controller D. Symoniv. This government consisted of more right-wing and non-partisan professional elements than had previous governments. At the same time Vynnychenko resigned from the Directory, and Symon Petliura, who had left the USDRP, became its head.

The unsuccessful talks with the Entente undermined confidence in Ostapenko’s government among the leftist majority. When the talks collapsed, a new council, consisting of the USDRP, UPSR, and Western Ukrainian Social Democratic party (USDP) members, was formed in Rivne on 9 April 1919. The new ministers were the prime minister and finance minister Borys Martos; the deputy prime minister and justice minister Andrii Livytsky (USDRP); the minister of foreign affairs Volodymyr Temnytsky (USDP); the minister of domestic affairs Isaak Mazepa (USDRP); the minister of defense Hryhorii Syrotenko (UPSR), succeeded by Gen Vsevolod Petriv; the minister of highways Mykola Shadlun (USDRP); the minister of labor Yosyp Bezpalko (Bukovynian USDP); the minister of public health Oleksa Bilous (Galician USDP), succeeded by Dmytro Odryna (UPSR); the minister of land affairs Mykola M. Kovalevsky; the minister of national economy Teofan Cherkasky (UPSR); the minister of postal and telegraph services Ivan Palyvoda (UPSR); the minister of education Antin Krushelnytsky (Ukrainian Radical party in Galicia), succeeded by N. Hryhoriiv; the minister of religious affairs M. Myrovych; the minister of Jewish affairs Pinkhas Krasny (Poale Zion); and the state secretary Ivan Lyzanivsky (UPSR).

In late August 1919 the council was reorganized under the leadership of I. Mazepa, with the following ministerial changes: in charge of national economy, M. Shadlun; of press and propaganda, T. Cherkasky; of communications, Serhii Tymoshenko (USDRP); of religious affairs, I. Ohiienko; and of defence (from November 1919), Gen Volodymyr Salsky.

Mazepa's government was dissolved after the signing of the Treaty of Warsaw with Poland. On 26 May 1920 a new council was formed. The ministers were the prime minister, V. Prokopovych; the deputy prime minister and minister of justice Andrii Livytsky, the minister of foreign affairs Andrii Nikovsky (UPSF), the minister of domestic affairs Oleksander Salikovsky (UPSF), the minister of land affairs Isaak Mazepa, the minister of defense V. Salsky, the minister of national economy Ye. Arkhypenko, the minister of finance Khrystofor Baranovsky (independent), the minister of communications S. Tymoshenko, the minister of education P. Kholodny, the minister of religious affairs I. Ohiienko, the minister of postal and telegraph services Ilarion Kosenko, the minister of health Stanisław Stempowski (Polish minority), and the state secretary I. Onikhimovsky. This was the last government that functioned on Ukrainian territory. The representation of the various parties in it was balanced. It consisted mostly of right-wing social democrats, members of the UPSF, and independents.

At the beginning of 1921 the government of the UNR went into exile. The Council of National Ministers was headed by Viacheslav Prokopovych, Pylyp Pylypchuk, and Andrii Livytsky. After Livytsky became head of the Directory in exile (1926), the cabinet was headed, with few changes until 1939, by Prokopovych. The members of the Government-in-exile of the Ukrainian National Republic lived in the principal émigré centers: Warsaw, Prague, and Paris.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Khrystiuk, P. Zamitky i materiialy do istoriï ukraïns’koï revoliutsiï 1917–1920 rr., vol 2 (Vienna 1921, New York 1969)
Doroshenko, D. Istoriia Ukraïny 1917–1923 rr., vol 1: Doba Tsentral’noï Rady (Uzhhorod 1932, New York 1954)
Pidhainy, O. The Formation of the Ukrainian Republic (Toronto–New York 1966)
Zozulia, Ia. (ed). Velyka Ukraïns’ka revoliutsiia: Kalendar istorychnykh podii za liutyi 1917 roku–berezen’ 1918 roku (New York 1967)
Reshetar Jr, J. The Ukrainian Revolution, 1917–1920: A Study in Nationalism (Princeton 1952, New York 1972)
Hunczak, T. (ed). The Ukraine, 1917–1921: A Study in Revolution (Cambridge, Mass 1977)
Verstiuk, V. (ed.) Ukraïns’ka Tsentral’na Rada: dokumenty i materiialy v dvokh tomakh (Kyiv 1996–7)

Vasyl Markus, Matvii Stakhiv, Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]


Encyclopedia of Ukraine