Audit Union of Ukrainian Co-operatives

Audit Union of Ukrainian Co-operatives (Ревізійний союз українських кооператив; Reviziinyi soiuz ukrainskykh kooperatyv or RSUK). The major umbrella organization of Ukrainian co-operatives in Galicia under Austria and eventually in all Ukrainian territories under Polish rule. The union, which was known at first as the Provincial Audit Union (Kraiovyi Soiuz Reviziinyi or KSR), was founded in Lviv in 1904 to carry out, as the law required, periodic audits of all co-operative organizations in Galicia.

KSR inherited from the Provincial Credit Union (est 1898) organizational responsibility for all co-operatives. It also broadened its tasks to include the fostering of the growth of co-operative associations, the founding of new co-operatives and the promotion of their economic ties, the improvement of management methods, and the propagation of co-operative ideas among the public. The council of KSR, consisting of twelve elected members, represented the union between annual sessions of the general meeting of the delegates of associated co-operatives, the supreme body of KSR. The day-to-day affairs of the union were managed by the executive board (vydil), which from 1912 was known as the Permanent Executive Committee, and by the director of the union's head office, who was appointed by the executive board. The president of the council in 1904–14 was Kost Levytsky. The vice-president, head of the executive board, and chief theorist of the co-operative movement was Kost Pankivsky. Until 1908 Pankivsky edited the monthly journal of KSR, Ekonomist. He was succeeded by Andrii Zhuk, who had been the editor of the popular monthly of KSR, Samopomich (1909–14). Until 1914 Omelian Saievych served as director of the head office and senior auditor. The first full-time auditors were B. Dutkevych, O. Skrentovych, and M. Pavliuk, and later I. Fylypovych, P. Glodzinsky, I. Sterniuk, and V. Olkhovy. In 1912 KSR represented 557 co-operatives, 339 (61 pecent) of which were credit unions. In 1914 KSR represented 609 co-operatives.

After the First World War the co-operative movement in Galicia was revived. After Polish co-operative legislation was passed in 1920, the movement developed rapidly, owing to the efforts of the major civic organizations and their executive body the Provincial Committee of Co-operatives. The scope of KSR's operations and its importance in the co-operative movement increased as the number of co-operatives grew. In 1928 the union was reorganized and assumed a new name—the Audit Union of Ukrainian Co-operatives. A new statute defined the roles of its key bodies: the general meeting, the council and its presidium, and the three-member board of directors. The general meeting received and approved the reports of the executive bodies, defined new goals and policies, and elected the council of RSUK. The council monitored the implementation of the statutory resolutions of the associated co-operatives and of the resolutions of the general meeting, received audit reports, and issued instructions to various constituent bodies in the organization. The presidium, consisting of a president, two vice-presidents, a secretary, and a treasurer, acted as the day-to-day agency of the council. All important decisions in RSUK were made jointly by the council and the board of directors.Yuliian Pavlykovsky served for many years (1922–44) as president of the council and its presidium. The council and the presidium were advisory bodies to the board of directors, which was elected by the general meeting. Each director was in charge of one of the three main departments of RSUK—financial-administrative, auditing, and organizational.

The financial-administrative department, directed by I. Fylypovych and, from 1943, by R. Levytsky, was responsible for the internal affairs of RSUK, implementing the budget, and administering the union's publications. The audit department, directed by M. Kapusta (1929–44) and his assistants, I. Hrabar and then T. Mysak, was responsible for periodically auditing all co-operatives (at least once every two years). In 1938 there were fifty auditors in this department; in 1943, seventy. Until 1934 the auditors were appointed by the council. Thereafter, in accordance with the new Polish law, auditors had to pass a special examination to be certified by the State Co-operative Council. Usually, auditors had a higher education in economics. Besides examining records, the auditors also worked as organizers and instructors in the co-operatives of their region.

As the co-operative movement grew, special groups of auditors for the different branches of the movement were set up in the auditing department under experienced inspectors. The group for credit co-operatives was headed by Ilarii Olkhovy; for dairy co-operatives, by Oleksander Zybenko; for urban consumer co-operatives, by D. Kvasnytsia; for agricultural marketing co-operatives, by I. Hrabar; and the others, by Z. Petriv and I. Sterniuk.

The organizational department, which was headed by Ostap Lutsky (1929–39) and I. Hrabar (1941–4), was the largest department. It was responsible for organizing new co-operatives and forming district and county unions and provincial economic associations; for co-ordinating their work, their legal incorporation, and legal counsel; for improving management's qualifications; and for increasing membership. Special inspectors chosen from the auditing department formed the central organizational collegium of officers, responsible for organizing the various branches of the co-operative movement. They participated in the conferences of territorial organizational collegiums, in which the representatives of all the branches and levels of the co-operative movement in a given district participated. The organizational department included the following bureaus: co-operative promotion (chief—Zynovii Pelensky); liaison with the co-operative guild of the Union of Ukrainian Women, which was also a member of the International Co-operative Guild (chief—I. Hladka); co-operative training and schooling; and co-operative press (the monthlies Kooperatyvna respublyka and Kooperatyvna rodyna, and the weekly Hospodars'ko-kooperatyvnyi chasopys) and book publishing. RSUK also had a statistical bureau, directed by Andrii Zhuk, and a legal department, directed by Mykhailo Korchynsky and, from 1937, by D. Brechka.

RSUK tried to represent in its organizational network all the Ukrainian territories under Polish rule in 1920–39. As early as 1921 it established close ties with the bureau of Volhynian Co-operatives in Kremenets, and in 1927 it established an inspection office in Lutsk for the northwestern regions. (The key officers of RSUK in Lutsk were L. Kobyliansky, A. Lobachevsky, and Mykhailo Stefanivsky.) New Polish legislation on co-operatives in 1934 restricted the operations of RSUK to the three eastern Galician voivodeships. RSUK thus lost 430 co-operatives. By 1939 RSUK represented 3,455 co-operatives. Of these 2,360 (69 percent) were agricultural marketing co-operatives organized under 27 county and district unions represented by Tsentrosoiuz; 143 were raion dairy unions represented by the central union, the Maslosoiuz Provincial Dairy Union; 115 were larger branches of the Ukrainbank credit co-operatives; 573 were the village Raiffeisen credit co-operatives and other loan associations represented by Tsentrobank; and 194 were urban consumer co-operatives represented by Narodna Torhovlia. The other co-operatives were manufacturing, publishing, construction, health (in Remeniv, Bodnariv, Tsebliv), and women's co-operatives (the latter were part of the Ukrainske Narodnie Mystetstvo co-operative union.)

After the first Soviet occupation of Galicia in 1939, the authorities dissolved RSUK. Under the Nazi occupation (1941–4) the union was restored, but its activities were restricted. Eventually, the auditing departments in Lublin (directed by M. Melnychuk) and in Cracow (directed by I. Fostakivsky) were supervised by RSUK. By 1944 RSUK represented 4,624 co-operatives with their county, district, and central associations. After the postwar Soviet incorporation of Galicia, RSUK ceased to exist.

RSUK was a member of the International Co-operative Alliance, and its representatives took part in international co-operative movement conferences.

Zhuk, A. Ukraïns'ka kooperatsiia v Halychyni (Kyiv-Lviv 1913)
Vytanovych, I. Istoriia ukraïns'koho kooperatyvnoho rukhu (New York 1964)

Illia Vytanovych

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

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