Vasylkiv, Osyp

Vasylkiv, Osyp [Васильків, Осип; Vasyl'kiv; pseudonym of Осип Крілик; Osyp Krilyk), b 22 July 1898 in Krakovets, Yavoriv county, Galicia, d 11 September 1941 near Orel, RSFSR. Western Ukrainian Communist leader. As a law student at Lviv University he, together with Roman Rozdolsky and Roman Turiansky, was one of the founders and leaders of the ‘Drahomanovite’ (ie, inspired by the ideas of Mykhailo Drahomanov) International Revolutionary Social Democracy. In 1920 he and Rozdolsky organized communist circles among their fellow internees of the Ukrainian Galician Army in Czechoslovakia and established a Committee to Aid the Revolutionary Movement in Eastern Galicia in Prague and the Foreign Committee of the Communist Party of Eastern Galicia (KPSH) in Vienna. After returning to Lviv in late 1920, he became a KPSH CC secretary and a leader of its partisan movement opposed to the Polish occupation of Galicia. From 1921 he was a prominent ‘secessionist’ who advocated a KPSH independent of the Communist Workers’ Party of Poland (KPRP). He was a principal defendant in the Saint George Trial of 39 communists in Lviv. From 1923 he was a secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Western Ukraine (KPZU) and a member of the Central Committee of KPRP. In 1927 he became a KPRP Politburo member and the KPZU representative to the Polish section of the Comintern. Vasylkiv headed the national-communist (see National communism) majority faction in the KPZU (popularly known as the Vasylkivtsi) that supported the policies and views of Oleksander Shumsky. Consequently he was expelled from the Stalinist-dominated Comintern in 1928. In 1932, after emerging from a Polish prison (arrested in 1929), he emigrated with his family to Soviet Ukraine and worked for the Chief Administration of Literary Affairs and Publishing in Kharkiv. In May 1933 he was arrested and sent to a GULAG concentration camp. He perished in 1941 during mass executions of prisoners organized by the NKVD following the start of the German invasion of the USSR.

Roman Senkus

[This article was updated in 2020.]

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