Maistrenko, Ivan

Maistrenko, Ivan or Majstrenko, Iwan [Майстренко, Іван; Majstrenko; pseuds: Babenko, Daleky, Korsun, Radchenko, Hrebinka, Avgur], b 28 August 1899 in Opishnia near Zinkiv, Poltava gubernia, d 18 November 1984 in Munich, West Germany. Political figure and publicist. In 1919–20 he was a leading member of the BorotbistsKobeliaky partisan brigade. In 1920 he entered the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine together with the Borotbists, but he soon quit it to join the independentist Ukrainian Communist party (UKP), was elected to its central committee, and became a UKP activist in the Donets Basin (1920–1). When the UKP was forced to dissolve in 1925, he rejoined the CP(B)U and worked as an editor for the republican papers Selians’ka pravda and Komunist, in the co-operative movement, and as a political lecturer and propagandist. He played an important role in the Ukrainization of Odesa as deputy chief editor of the city paper Chornomors’ka komuna (1929–31). From 1931 he was deputy director of the All-Ukrainian Communist Institute of Journalism in Kharkiv. After being expelled from the Party in 1935, he was arrested in December 1936, and he survived over a year in a Kharkiv prison and three years in Siberian labor camps. In 1942–3, under German rule, he managed the Ukrainian Banduryst Chorus that toured Western Ukraine and entertained Ukrainian Ostarbeiter in Germany. As a postwar refugee in the displaced persons camps in Bavaria he led the left faction of the Ukrainian Revolutionary Democratic party and edited its monthly newspaper Vpered (Munich) (1949–59). He also prepared regular political commentaries and analyses for Radio Liberty and was a professor at and rector (1979–84) of the Ukrainian Technical and Husbandry Institute. Maistrenko wrote numerous articles and brochures (many under the pseud Babenko) on Soviet politics, economics, and society and on Marxist theoretical issues. His most important works are Borot’bism: A Chapter in the History of Ukrainian Communism (1954); books, in Ukrainian, on the nationality policy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1978) and the history of the Communist Party of Ukraine (1979); and his memoirs, Istoriia moho pokolinnia (History of My Generation, 1985).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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