Galician Socialist Soviet Republic

Galician Socialist Soviet Republic (Галицька Соціялістична Радянська Республіка; Halytska Sotsiialistychna Radianska Respublika). Short-lived state set up during the Polish-Soviet War in Soviet-occupied Galicia. The Galician SSR was proclaimed on 15 July 1920 as the Red Army approached the eastern border of Galicia. On 1 August a Galician Revolutionary Committee was established in Ternopil as the provisional government of the new state and set about reconstructing the political, social, and economic system in the territory under its control. It declared the church-state separation and began expropriating large landholdings, nationalizing factories and businesses, and dissolving the ‘bourgeois’ legal system. It imposed monetary levies on the wealthy and food requisitions on the peasants. The expropriated estates and church lands were not distributed among poor, landless peasants, but were to be turned over to state farms. The committee further prohibited private trade between town and country. Public order was maintained by the Cheka.

At its height the Galician SSR encompassed 14 complete counties and parts of several other counties in eastern Galicia. Its western boundary ran from the Dnister River northwest along the RohatynBibrka line, passing east of Lviv and west of Kaminka-Strumylova and Sokal, and then continuing along the Buh River. Its territory covered 18,000 sq km, or about a third of Galicia’s area, and its population was approximately 1,800,000. The government maintained itself in Ternopil for approximately 50 days.

Young Galicians who initially volunteered for the Red Army quickly discovered that neither it nor the new state was Ukrainian. The committee that officially formed the government, and its communist officials, received their orders from Moscow. Hence, Galician Ukrainians regarded the regime as a foreign one.

By the end of September Soviet forces were expelled from Galicia by Polish and UNR Army units. This marked the end of the Galician SSR, which was an artificial Bolshevik creation.

Kul'chyts'kyi, Volodymyr. Halyts'ka Sotsialistychna Radians'ka Respublika u 1920 r. (Lviv 1965)
Tyshchyk, Borys. Halyts'ka Sotsialistychna Radians'ka Respublika (1920 r.) (Lviv 1970)
Veryha, Vasyl'. Halyts'ka Sotsiialistychna Soviets'ka Respublika (1920 r.) (New York–Toronto–Paris–Melbourne 1986)

Vasyl Veryha

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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