Kandyba, Ivan

Image - Levko Lukianenko and Ivan Kandyba

Kandyba, Ivan [Кандиба, Іван], b 7 June 1930 in Stulno, Volodava county, Lublin voivodeship, d 8 November 2002 in Lviv. Lawyer, political dissident, and politician. Kandyba was a founding member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group (UHG) and was active in radical nationalist politics in Ukraine after the 1991 Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence.

In 1945 Kandyba’s family was deported from Poland to Ukraine; after living briefly in Mykolaiv oblast the family settled in Rivne oblast. Kandyba was a student in the Faculty of Law, Lviv University, from 1949 to 1953, and then worked in various legal capacities in several locations in Lviv oblast. Kandyba met Levko Lukianenko in April 1960, in Hlyniany, and soon afterwards they agreed to establish a clandestine organization called the Ukrainian Workers’ and Peasants’ Union (UWPU). Lukianenko and Kandyba met with a small group of UWPU sympathizers on 6 November 1960 to discuss a draft political program which was quite radical in some respects, e.g., it defended the right of secession of Ukraine from the Soviet Union.

On 20 January 1961 Kandyba was the first member of the UWPU to be arrested, just before the planned second meeting of this organization. On 24 May 1961 the members of the UWPU were sentenced to varying terms of imprisonment by the Lviv oblast court; Kandyba was sentenced to 15 years in a strict-regime penal labor camp in accordance with Articles 56-1 and 64 of the Criminal Code (CC) of the Ukrainian SSR. Kandyba served his sentence in full in Mordovian and Perm penal labor camps for political prisoners, and during this period he was further punished, for continuing his protest and political activities in these camps, to two separate terms of detention (a total of 4 years) in Moscow’s Vladimir prison.

On 20 January 1976 Kandyba was released from imprisonment. He lived and worked as a manual laborer in Pustomyty, Lviv oblast, after he was refused permission to live in Lviv. In November 1976 Kandyba became a founding member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, and although under constant surveillance he was active in preparing and circulating UHG documents. Kandyba was the last of the founding members of the UHG to be arrested, on 24 March 1981. On 24 July 1981 the Lviv oblast court sentenced Kandyba, in accordance with Article 62-1 of the CC of the Ukrainian SSR, to 10 years’ imprisonment and 5 years’ exile as an especially dangerous recidivist. Kandyba served his sentence in Perm special-regime penal labor camps where, together with other prisoners, he continued his protest activities. On 5 September 1988 Kandyba was pardoned in accordance with a decree of the Presidum of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and he was released from a Lviv prison, to which he had been transferred earlier, on 9 September 1988.

Like many other former political prisoners Kandyba joined the successor of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, the Ukrainian Helsinki Association (UHA). Unhappy, however, with what they considered to be the overly moderate positions of this and other political groupings, on 8 April 1990 Kandyba and several other former political prisoners founded the radical nationalist All-Ukrainian Association ‘State Independence of Ukraine.’ Kandyba played a leading role in this association, which he hoped would be a precursor to a revitalized Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) in Ukraine, and he also edited the association’s often xenophobic organ Neskorena natsiia. But Kandyba’s plans were rejected by most of his colleagues, and he went on to play a leading role in a new political party, ‘OUN in Ukraine.’ Over time, however, this as well as other organizations which professed to continue the traditions of the OUN of the interwar and the Second World War periods became increasingly marginalized and did not function as effective political parties.

One of Kandyba’s longer statements, written in January 1979 and addressed to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, is available in English under the title Russian Unlawfulness in Ukraine: The Life of a Martyr (1980).

Maistrenko, Ivan (comp.). Ukraïns'ki iurysty pid sudom KHB (Munich 1968)

Ivan Jaworsky

[This article was written in 2021.]

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