Sokal border

Sokal border [Сокальський кордон; Sokalskyi kordon]. An administrative division separating the Ukrainian territories of interwar Poland. Its name was derived from the town of Sokal, on the Buh River. The division line ran along the former Austro-Russian border and the dividing line between the Lviv and Ternopil voivodeships and Volhynia voivodeship. It effectively isolated Volhynia and other Ukrainian areas in the interwar Polish state from eastern Galicia. In that respect the Sokal border was regarded as a symbol of the desire of the Polish government to keep Ukrainians regionally fragmented (and thus limit their potential for co-ordinated political, cultural, and economic action). The Sokal border came into existence because of the signing of a Polish-Vatican concordat (1925) which restricted the jurisdiction of Ukrainian Catholic bishops to eastern Galicia, and which supported (particularly after 1928) the Ukrainization of the Orthodox church in Volhynia, the abolition by the Polish government of major Ukrainian co-operatives and popular-education societies (the Prosvita societies, the Audit Union of Ukrainian Co-operatives, and the like) north of the border (so that the area of their activities was restricted largely to Galicia), and the sanctioning by the Polish administration of the creation of regional Ukrainian political and economic organizations in Volhynia (such as the Volhynian Ukrainian Alliance). The main architect of the Sokal border was the Volhynia voivode, Henryk Józewski. Its existence exacerbated the regional differences (political, social, and religious) in Ukrainian society in interwar Poland. The impact of the Sokal border began to lessen over time as a result of increased economic integration (through the building of railway lines connecting the regions directly) and the activities of illegal Ukrainian organizations, such as the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Communist Party of Western Ukraine.

Andrzej Zięba

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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