Oborona Ukrainy

Oborona Ukrainy (Оборона України; Defense of Ukraine). A Ukrainian political organization of a radical socialist profile, established in 1920 in the United States of America to assist the political and military struggles for independence in Western Ukraine. Until 1923 it was a small, clandestine organization; then it became a wider, public one with individual branches and an official newspaper, Ukraïns’ka hromada (USA). Its members dominated the leadership of the Ukrainian Workingmen's Association and worked closely with the Ukrainian Radical party in Western Ukraine. The group also fought with Ukrainian-American Communists on ideological matters and their efforts to expand their influence by infiltrating other Ukrainian community groups. Its leading activists included Myroslav Sichynsky, Mykola Tsehlynsky, and Yaroslav Chyzh. During the 1940s some of its leaders, most notably Sichynsky and Volodymyr S. Levytsky, rejected the organization’s program and adopted a pro-Soviet policy. The resulting crisis led to the dissolution of the association after its 1947 convention. Tsehlynsky’s group published the journals Oborona Ukraïny and Oborona for a brief period thereafter and gained the co-operation of new émigrés who belonged to the left wing of the Ukrainian Revolutionary Democratic party, thereby laying the groundwork for the establishment of the Ukrainian Free Society of America in 1949. The faction led by Sichynsky and Levytsky soon dissipated.

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

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