Ukrainian Free Cossacks

Ukrainian Free Cossacks [Українське вільне козацтво; Ukrainske vilne kozatstvo, or УВК; UVK]. An émigré military and educational society established in Munich in 1923 on the model of the Free Cossack units of Ukraine (see Free Cossacks). The founder and first otaman of the UVK was Ivan Poltavets-Ostrianytsia, who viewed the Cossacks as a paramilitary force. Branches of the organization were established in other European émigré centers. After 1946 the makeup of the group changed as new branches sprang up in the DP camps of Austria and Germany and then in Ukrainian communities overseas. Today the UVK has 39 branches (kurins) in eight countries (palankas). Since 1947 it has published the magazine Ukraïns’ke kozatstvo, which in 1968–80 appeared quarterly. It prints historical and literary materials about the Cossacks and their traditions. The society's other otamans have included I. Virchak-Voloshyn, Gen Mykhailo Omelianovych-Pavlenko, Inokentii Voloshyn, P. Tereshchenko, I. Tsapko (1952–67), V. Diachenko, A. Kushchynsky, P. Korshun-Fedorenko, Mykola O. Kovalsky, and V. Riznyk.

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

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