Popovych, Oksana

Image - Oksana Popovych

Popovych, Oksana [Попович, Оксана; Popovyč], b 2 February 1926 in Zhukiv, Tovmach county, Galicia, 22 May 2004 in Ivano-Frankivsk. Freedom fighter, dissident, human rights activist, and political prisoner. She was incarcerated in labor camps in the Soviet Arctic in 1944–54 for her participation in the resistance in Western Ukraine during the Second World War as member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. After her release she organized aid to Ukrainian political prisoners and was active in the Ukrainian human rights movement. She was rearrested in October 1974, and in February 1975 she became the first woman prisoner of conscience tried by the Soviet authorities during International Women’s Year. Despite the fact that she was handicapped as a result of her previous imprisonment, she was sentenced to eight years in labor camps in the Mordovian ASSR and five years’ exile. In the camps she vigorously protested against her treatment and that of other political prisoners, and in February 1979 she joined the Ukrainian Helsinki Group. She was released from Siberian exile in 1987.

[This article was updated in 2020.]

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