Image - The Dilo newspaper (31.08.1939).

Dilo (The Deed). A leading Galician newspaper, the oldest and for many years the only Ukrainian daily. Dilo was published in Lviv from 1880 to 1939. At first it was a semiweekly (1880–2), then a triweekly (1883–7), and finally (from 1888) a daily paper. Its publication was interrupted during Russia's occupation of Galicia (1914–15) and during Poland's control of Lviv after the retreat of the Ukrainian forces (29 November 1918 to 1920). During the first interruption Dilo was published as a weekly for a brief period in Vienna. In 1920–3 its name and editors were changed in order to avoid suppression. In 1920 its name was changed to Ukraïns’ka dumka (Lviv) and Hromads’ka dumka and was edited by Fed Fedortsiv. In 1921 it was called Ukraïns’kyi vistnyk and Hromads'kyi vistnyk. Its editor was Mykhailo Strutynsky. In 1922 (as Svoboda) and 1923 (as Hromads’kyi vistnyk and from September again as Dilo) it was edited by Oleksa Kuzma. After the outbreak of the Second World War on 1 September 1939, three more issues were published. When the Red Army entered Lviv, Dilo was closed down.

The need to shape Galician populism (see Western Ukrainian Populism) into a political force, especially after the defeat in the 1879 elections to the Austrian parliament and failures to reach an understanding with the Old Ruthenians of the Ruthenian Council, gave rise to Dilo. The initiative came from a group of populists led by Volodymyr Barvinsky and Yuliian Romanchuk. The new periodical was called Dilo to contrast it with the Russophile Slovo (Lviv): its purpose was to strive by deed (dilo), not by word (slovo), for a better future for the people. Its first editor was Barvinsky. The paper received significant financial support from the Dilo association, which was established for this purpose by a few dozen members, headed by Rev Stepan Kachala, each of whom contributed 50 guilders.

The first issue of Dilo appeared on 13 January 1880 (NS; 1 January 1889, OS). In a few years the paper justified its title: it became popular and gradually took away the readers of Slovo (Lviv), which ceased publication in 1887. The editors of Dilo were Volodymyr Barvinsky (1880–3); Antin Horbachevsky (1883–4); Ivan Belei (1884–1902), with Kyrylo Kakhnykevych as associate editor until 1901; Volodymyr Okhrymovych (1902), who introduced the phonetic orthography into the paper; Yevhen Levytsky (1902–6); V. Okhrymovych (1907); Lonhyn Tsehelsky (1908); Yaroslav Vesolovsky (1908), with Oleksander Borkovsky as associate editor (1896–1911); Volodymyr Kushnir (1912); Vasyl Paneiko (1912–18), with the actual editing in 1914–15 being done in Vienna by Viacheslav Budzynovsky; Dmytro Levytsky (1923–5); V. Okhrymovych and Fed Fedortsiv (1925–7); and Vasyl Mudry (1927–39), whose work from 1936 was delegated to an editorial board consisting of Ivan Kedryn, Ivan Nimchuk, and Volodymyr Kuzmovych. The longstanding members of the editorial board V. Budzynovsky, Oleksa Kuzma, and Mykhailo Lozynsky often replaced the main editors. The administrators were Demian Hladylovych (who was instrumental in the paper's becoming a daily), Kost Pankivsky, Oleksa Yarema, I. Zarytsky (1893–1907), Rev Demian Lopatynsky (1910–39), and K. Bilynsky (1934–9).

By 1937–9 Dilo had expanded to 10 pages per day and 16 pages on Saturday. The editorial office employed 10 full-time workers. The paper had a wide network of correspondents at home and abroad, as well as experts in various fields of knowledge and culture. Dilo trained many journalists who continued to pursue their profession in the West.

In 1908 Dilo acquired a press. In 1881–1906 Dilo published intermittently the series Biblioteka Naiznamenytshykh Povistei (Library of the Best Short Novels, 74 vols), and in 1936–9 Biblioteka Dila (Library of Dilo, 48 vols). The Dilo association issued weeklies at various times: the literary weekly Nedilia (1911–12), the sports weekly Zmah, the satirical Zyz (1924–33), and the literary-artistic weekly Nazustrich (1934–9).

From its inception Dilo propagated the ideology of the populist camp, then from 1899 the ideology of the National Democratic party, then of the Ukrainian Labor party (1919–23), and from 1925 the program of the Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance. Yet Dilo was not an official organ of these parties. It often criticized the practical policies of party leaders. As a national paper with its own independent viewpoint, Dilo often offered its pages to representatives of various parties. Almost every notable public figure or writer in Western Ukraine contributed to the paper. Dilo played an important role in the national life of Galicia and of the northwestern regions (Volhynia, Podlachia, Polisia, the Kholm region) in the interwar period. It shaped national democratic opinion and, more than any other newspaper, reflected the events that occurred in all Ukrainian territories. It remains one of the best sources of the history of Ukrainian political thought and life.

Barvins'kyi, O. Spomyny z moho zhyttia, 2 vols (Lviv 1913)
Dilo jubilee issues: 1928, no. 10; 1930, no. 9; 1938, no. 9
Zhyvotko, A. Istoriia ukraïns'koï presy (Regensburg 1946)
Kedryn-Rudnyts'kyi, I. ‘Moï shefy-redaktory,' Kalendar ‘Svobody' (Jersey City 1956)

Ivan Kedryn-Rudnytsky

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

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