Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries

Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries (Українська партія соціялістів-революціонерів; Ukrainska partiia sotsiialistiv-revoliutsioneriv, or УПСР; UPSR). A national-liberationist revolutionary socialist party that played an important role in Ukraine during the revolutionary period and Ukraine’s struggle for independence (1917–20). Modeling themselves on Russian Socialist Revolutionaries, small, clandestine cells of nationally conscious Ukrainian socialist revolutionaries were active in Simferopol and Odesa from 1905, in Kyiv gubernia, Poltava gubernia, Chernihiv gubernia, Podilia gubernia, Kherson gubernia, and Tavriia gubernia from 1906, and in Kharkiv gubernia from 1907. In 1907 they held a conference and elected a Central Committee headed by Mykola Zalizniak. In 1915 the Kyiv group published five issues of Borot’ba, and in 1916 it issued a draft program. As a national party the UPSR held its founding congress in Kyiv, on 17–18 April 1917. There it adopted resolutions calling for the national and territorial autonomy of Ukraine, convening of a Ukrainian constituent assembly, and socialization of all land; L. Bochkovsky, V. Ihnatiienko, Pavlo Khrystiuk, Mykola M. Kovalevsky, Kuzma Korzh, Levko Kovaliv, Ivan Maievsky, O. Shleichenko, and V. Zalizniak were elected to the Central Committee. At the second UPSR congress (28–31 July 1917) a radical socialist program was adopted, which provided for the transformation of the Russian Empire into a federation of national republics; I. Baziak, Mykola Chechel, D. Isaievych, I. Kovalenko, Kovalevsky (chairman), Korzh, S. Lymar, Ivan Lyzanivsky, Hnat Mykhailychenko, Yuliian Okhrymovych, Mykhailo Panchenko, Petro Plevako, A. Polonsky, Mykhailo Poloz, I. Puhach, Pylyp Pylypchuk, M. Saltan, Oleksander Sevriuk, Mykyta Shapoval, O. Shleichenko, and Mykola Shrah were elected to the permanent Central Committee. At the third congress (3–6 December 1917) the UPSR clarified its position on the need for social revolution in Ukraine and on government by democratic councils (see Rada) of the toiling masses.

In 1917–19 the UPSR was the leading spokesman of the Ukrainian peasantry. In its daily Borot’ba, its biweekly Vil’na spilka, and the co-operative daily Narodnia volia it promoted the slogan All Land to the Toilers without Redemption Payments and thus attracted mass support (by November 1917 it had nearly 75,000 members) and control of the influential Ukrainian Peasant Association. It had the largest caucus in the Central Rada; one of the vice-presidents, Mykola Shrah, was a member. In the General Secretariat of the Central Rada the general chancellor Pavlo Khrystiuk and the secretaries Vsevolod Holubovych, M. Savchenko-Bilsky, Mykola M. Kovalevsky, Mykyta Shapoval, Mykola Stasiuk, Oleksander Zhukovsky, and Oleksander Zarudny were UPSR members; and the Council of National Ministers of the Ukrainian National Republic formed after the declaration of Ukrainian independence in January 1918 included UPSR members, such as Holubovych (the prime minister), Nykyfor Hryhoriiv, Khrystiuk, Kovalevsky, Mykola Liubynsky, A. Nemolovsky, Shapoval, and Zhukovsky. Holubovych and Oleksander Sevriuk headed the delegation of the Ukrainian National Republic that signed the Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, and Liubynsky and Mykhailo Poloz were members.

Under the right-wing 1918 Hetman government many UPSR leaders were arrested, and the party was forced to go underground. At its secret fourth congress near Kyiv on 13–16 May 1918, ideological differences split the UPSR. The internationalist left wing (Vasyl Blakytny [Ellansky], Levko Kovaliv, Panas Liubchenko, Yu. Mazurkevych, Hnat Mykhailychenko, Mykhailo Poloz, Antin Prykhodko, Oleksander Shumsky, Andrii Zalyvchy), which had repudiated the Central Rada and advocated co-operation with the Bolsheviks, gained control of the Central Committee. A few weeks later the Central Committee dissolved the UPSR and formed a new underground revolutionary organization that conducted political terror and organized a separate uprising against the government and the German occupation. The party’s right wing (Mykola Chechel, Vsevolod Holubovych, Pavlo Khrystiuk, Dmytro Odryna, M. Saltan, Oleksander Sevriuk, Mykola Shrah, Arkadii Stepanenko, and Oleksander Zhukovsky) and center (Nykyfor Hryhoriiv, Ivan Lyzanivsky, Mykyta Shapoval, Yuliian Okhrymovych, Oleksander Yanko) rebuilt the UPSR only after the left formed the separate pro-Bolshevik party of Borotbists in March 1919. In the meantime the center played a key role in organizing the Ukrainian National Union that co-ordinated the successful popular rebellion against the German-backed Hetman government, and after the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic took power in December 1918, a few of its members (Oleksander Mytsiuk, Serhii Ostapenko, Shapoval, I. Shtefan) received portfolios in the renewed Council of National Ministers of the Ukrainian National Republic of December 1918 to February 1919. At the January 1919 legislative Labor Congress UPSR delegates constituted the majority and pushed through resolutions on the socialization of land, the nationalization of the railways, sugar refineries, and industrial enterprises, and the transfer of power to collectives of representatives of the toiling masses. UPSR members did not take part in the pro-Entente Council of National Ministers in February to April 1919, and in protest against its policies the UPSR and other socialist parties formed in March the Committee for the Defense of the Republic. In the socialist Council of National Ministers headed by Borys Martos (April to August 1919) and Isaak Mazepa (August 1919 to April 1920), however, UPSR members (Teofan Cherkasky, Hryhoriiv, Mykola M. Kovalevsky, Lyzanivsky, Odryna, Ivan Palyvoda, Leontii Shramchenko) again held portfolios. Many members joined the ranks of the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic and the partisan movement in Ukraine, 1918–22, that fought the Red Army, the ‘White’ Volunteer Army, and Allied expeditionary forces.

From late 1919 on, many UPSR leaders and a small number of members lived as émigrés in Polish-ruled Western Ukraine and in Central Europe, especially in Austria and Czechoslovakia. At the UPSR conference in Tarnów, Poland, a Foreign Committee led by Mykyta Shapoval and consisting of Nykyfor Hryhoriiv, Oleksander Mytsiuk, and H. Hrytsai was elected. The ideologues Shapoval and Hryhoriiv propagated the principle of the ‘dictatorship of a democracy of toilers’ in a sovereign pan-Ukrainian federal republic and elaborated a critique of the USSR as a state-capitalist, colonialist, totalitarian system. In Vienna Mykhailo Hrushevsky, Mykola Chechel, Mykola Shrah, Pavlo Khrystiuk, and D. Isaievych founded the UPSR Foreign Delegation; its organ Boritesia – Poborete promoted the idea of transforming the Ukrainian National Republic into a republic of workers’ and peasants’ councils (see Rada and Soviet) and reaching an accord with Soviet Russia. From February to July 1920 it had a common ‘soviet-revolutionary bloc’ with Volodymyr Vynnychenko’s Foreign Group of the Ukrainian Communist party, with the aim of creating an independent Ukrainian soviet republic. The Foreign Delegation belonged to the Second Socialist International until January 1921, when it withdrew because the International did not support the principles of social revolution.

By January 1921 the émigré UPSR had split into mutually hostile factions: (1) the small Vienna-based Foreign Delegation, which supported recognition of Khristian Rakovsky’s Soviet Ukrainian government; (2) Mykyta Shapoval’s anti-Soviet, revolutionary-socialist UPSR Foreign Committee (renamed the Foreign Organization in 1925) in Prague, which published the irregular organ Vil’na spilka, played a key role in the Ukrainian Civic Committee in Czechoslovakia and Ukrainian Committee in Czechoslovakia, the Ukrainian Institute of Sociology, and the monthly Nova Ukraïna (Prague) and strongly opposed the ‘bourgeois’ Government-in-exile of the Ukrainian National Republic; and (3) the right-wing UPSR Foreign Organizational Committee, headed by Mykola M. Kovalevsky and Mykola Zalizniak in Vienna, which had been purged from the UPSR in 1920 for supporting Symon Petliura. In 1924 the members of the Foreign Delegation returned to Ukraine to help build a Ukrainian state; there, during the Stalinist terror, they were repressed. At the 1927 conference of the Foreign Organization a new provisional program by Shapoval was adopted. After Shapoval’s death in 1932, the remaining factions reunited and established in Prague a common Central Committee, which published the irregular Trudova Ukraïna. Other leading members of the émigré UPSR were M. Balash, Pavlo Bohatsky, Spyrydon Dovhal, D. Isaievych, Karlo Kobersky, Liutsii Kobyliansky, M. Kosenko, V. Liakh, Mykyta Mandryka, Ivan Palyvoda, S. Pilkevych, Stepan Ripetsky, Matvii Stakhiv, F. Sumnevych, B. Zalevsky, and Arkadii Zhyvotko. The interwar Ukrainian Radical party in Western Ukraine and the Oborona Ukrainy organization in North America had close links with the émigré UPSR. After the Second World War the UPSR was reactivated in Western Europe under the leadership of Mykola Yu. Shapoval and Yakiv Zozulia. In 1948 it joined the Ukrainian National Council, and in 1950 it fused with other émigré parties to form the Ukrainian Socialist party.

Hrushevs'kyi, M. ‘Ukraïns'ka partiia sotsiialistiv-revoliutsioneriv,’ Boritesia – Poborete, 1 (1920)
Khrystiuk, P. Zamitky i materiialy do istoriï ukraïns'koï revoliutsiï, 1917–1920 rr. 3 vols (Vienna 1921; repr, New York 1969)
Shapoval, M. ‘Narodnytstvo v ukraïns'komu vyzvol'nomu rusi,’ Vil’na spilka, 3 (1927–9)
Zhyvotko, A. 50 rokiv: Do istoriï Ukraïns'koï partiï sotsiialistiv-revoliutsioneriv (Prague 1936)
Majstrenko, I. Borot'bism: A Chapter in the History of Ukrainian Communism (New York 1954)

Arkadii Zhukovsky

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

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