Hryhoriv, Nykyfor

Hryhoriv, Nykyfor (Matvii) (Hryhoriiv) [Hryhorijiv or Hryhor'jiv, Matvij], b ca 1885 in Zastavia, Ushytsia county, Podilia gubernia, d 27 July 1919. A Ukrainian revolutionary leader in southern Right-Bank Ukraine. A former tsarist army captain, during the rebellion of the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic against the German army and the Hetman government in 1918 he led an autonomous force of 6,000–8,000 Borotbist and anarchist partisans (see Partisan movement in Ukraine, 1918–22) in the Oleksandriia (now Zaporizhia) and Mykolaiv regions. In January 1919 Hryhoriv rebelled against the Directory after it forbade him to move against the Allied forces. He aligned himself with the Soviet government in Kharkiv, and from February to April his army of 15,000 played a central role in the successful Bolshevik offensive against the White (see Anton Denikin) and Allied forces in Mykolaiv, Kherson, and Odesa. In early May 1919, however, Hryhoriv rejected the Bolshevik order to send his forces against the Romanians to support B. Kun's revolution in Hungary. Instead, he proclaimed himself the otaman of Ukraine and organized an anti-Bolshevik jacquerie that spread throughout Kherson gubernia and Katerynoslav gubernia before being suppressed in late May by the Red Army. Hryhoriv and the remnants of his army then allied themselves with the anarchist army of Nestor Makhno, who had Hryhoriv shot when the latter proposed that their forces take part in Anton Denikin's White offensive against the Bolsheviks.

Adams, A.E. Bolsheviks in the Ukraine: The Second Campaign, 1918–1919 (New Haven and London 1963)
Palij, M. The Anarchism of Nestor Makhno, 1918–1921: An Aspect of the Ukrainian Revolution (Seattle and London 1976)

Roman Senkus

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]

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