Stepanenko, Arkadii

Stepanenko, Arkadii [Степаненко, Аркадій], b 1889 in Hlobyne, Kremenchuk county, Poltava gubernia, d 5 September 1938 in Kyiv. Political activist and member of the Central Rada. He was a member of the Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries (UPSR) and of the Central Committee of the Peasant Association. As early as June 1917 he called on the Central Rada to secede from Russia and create an independent Ukrainian state. In December 1917 he was elected president of the All-Ukrainian Congress of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies, and at the beginning of 1918, vice-president of the Central Rada. He signed the bill introducing the new (Gregorian) calendar (25 February 1918). When the UPSR split into factions in May 1918, Stepanenko sided with the right wing and then the center. At the Labor Congress in January 1919 he demanded the abdication of the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic and the formation of local labor councils. On 28 January he was elected to the Central Committee of the UPSR, and he acted as its representative in the Directory’s government. In March 1919 he became vice-chairman of the Committee for the Defense of the Republic, and in August he joined Isaac Mazepa’s cabinet as minister of land affairs. In 1920 he tried to reach an understanding with the Soviet regime. He was arrested during the Yezhov terror and executed.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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