Image - Cover of the the Vaplite almanac with the logo of Vaplite. Image - The journal Vaplite (1927). Image - Document regarding the expulsion of Mykola Khvylovy from Vaplite.

Vaplite (full name: Vilna akademiia proletarskoi literatury [Free Academy of Proletarian Literature]). (Photo: Vaplite members in 1926.) A writers' organization which existed in Kharkiv from 1925 to 1928. While accepting the official requirements of the Communist party, Vaplite adopted an independent position on questions of literary policy and supported Mykola Khvylovy in the Literary Discussion of 1925–8. Vaplite proposed to create a new Ukrainian literature based on the writers in its ranks who strived to perfect their work by assimilating the finest masterpieces of Western European culture. Joseph Stalin interpreted that goal as a betrayal of the aims of the Party and accused Khvylovy and Vaplite of working under the slogan Away from Moscow. The association rejected decisively the policy of mass participation in masovism proletarian writers' organizations, which were supported by the Communist party. Khvylovy was the actual leader of Vaplite; its official president was first Mykhailo Yalovy (Yu. Shpol) and then Mykola Kulish, and its secretary was Arkadii Liubchenko. Its members were Mykola Bazhan, Vasyl Vrazhlyvy, Ivan Dniprovsky, Oles Dosvitnii, Hryhorii Epik, P. Ivanov, Maik Yohansen, Oleksander Kopylenko, Hordii Kotsiuba, Mykhailo Maisky, Petro Panch, Ivan Senchenko, Oleksa Slisarenko, Yurii Smolych, Pavlo Tychyna, and Yurii Yanovsky. The association published the almanac Vaplite (1926), devoted mostly to literary problems, and five issues of the journal Vaplite (1927). Vaplite's position on literary issues was supported by the Neoclassicists (Mykola Zerov in particular) and by other Ukrainian writers.

The ideas of Khvylovy and Vaplite came under vehement criticism not only from their literary rivals and key Soviet leaders of Ukraine (eg, Vlas Chubar, Volodymyr Zatonsky, Mykola Skrypnyk, Teodosii Taran, and Andrii Khvylia) but also from the Communist Party of Ukraine. Neither the admission of political ‘errors’ by Khvylovy and others in December 1926 nor the expulsion of Khvylovy, Mykhailo Yalovy, and Oles Dosvitnii from Vaplite in January 1927 could save the organization. Khvylovy's novel Val’dshnepy (The Woodcocks, first part pub in Vaplite, no. 5, 1927) came under particularly severe criticism. The sixth and last issue of Vaplite, containing the continuation of the novel, was confiscated at the printing office and Vaplite was forced to dissolve. Members of the association continued their literary work in association with the journal Literaturnyi iarmarok and in the organization Prolitfront.

Leites, A.; Iashek, M. (eds). Desiat' rokiv ukraïns'koï literatury (1917–1927), vol 2 (Kharkiv 1928)
Hordyns'kyi, Ia. Literaturna krytyka pidsoviets'koï Ukraïny (Lviv 1939)
Luckyj, G.S.N. Literary Politics in the Soviet Ukraine, 1917–1934 (New York 1956)
Luts'kyi, Iurii (ed). Vaplitians'kyi zbirnyk (Oakville, Ont 1977)

Mykola Hlobenko

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

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