Ukrainian Communist party

Ukrainian Communist party (Ukrainska komunistychna partiia, or Ukapisty). A Communist group of no more than 250 members who in 1920–4 supported Soviet rule but opposed Russian domination of Ukraine through the CP(B)U. Its most prominent leaders were Yurii Mazurenko, Mykhailo Tkachenko, and Andrii Richytsky.

In January 1919, at the Sixth Congress of the Ukrainian Social Democratic Workers' party, a group called the nezalezhnyky [see Ukrainian Social Democratic Workers' party (Independentists)] walked out and began to function as a separate party with its own press organ, Chervonyi prapor. It adopted an ideology of national communism, favoring a Soviet regime in Ukraine but rejecting both the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic and the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine. In June 1919 it formed a revolutionary committee under the protection of Otaman Danylo Zeleny, who had revolted against the Bolshevik regime. In August the group split: its left faction joined the Borotbists, and the majority co-operated in military matters with the Directory for a short period.

On 22–25 January 1920 the group held the founding convention of the Ukrainian Communist party in Kyiv and appealed unsuccessfully to the Comintern for recognition as the legitimate representative of the Ukrainian proletariat. In the next few months it attracted Communists who opposed Russian domination. Yurii Lapchynsky joined the Ukapisty after his Federalist Opposition within the CP(B)U was defeated, and a number of former Borotbists went over to the Ukapisty when their group merged with the CP(B)U.

In 1919 Volodymyr Vynnychenko organized an émigré branch of the Ukapisty in Vienna. In the summer of 1920 he visited Moscow and Kharkiv, ostensibly representing the Ukapisty, and was named Ukrainian Soviet deputy premier, but he soon realized that the Bolsheviks would not give him any real power. Vynnychenko left Ukraine and ended his association with the Ukapisty.

Thereafter the Ukapisty were tolerated as a legal but impotent opposition which objected to the economic exploitation of Soviet Ukraine by Russia. In 1921 Yurii Mazurenko and Matvii Yavorsky, both members of the party's Central Committee, left to join the CP(B)U. In 1923 a so-called Left Faction was formed with CP(B)U encouragement to subvert the Ukrainian Communist party from within, but it was expelled from the party. In August 1924 the Ukapisty again applied for admission to the Comintern, and the Left Faction was drawn into the discussions in order to discredit the Ukapisty. In December the Comintern Executive Committee ordered both the party and the faction to dissolve. They complied in January 1925. Their members were admitted into the CP(B)U, where they helped carry out the Ukrainization policy. The leading Ukapisty members were appointed to high posts in Ukraine. Eventually most of them were charged with Ukrainian nationalism and executed by the NKVD.

Memorandum Ukraïns’koï komunistychnoï partiï Kongresovi III Komunistychnoho Internatsionalu (Kyiv 1920)
Prohrama Ukraïns’koï komunistychnoï partiï (Vienna–Kyiv 1920)
Halahan, M. ‘Likvidatsiia u.k.p.,’ Nova Ukraïna, 1925, no. 1
Kak i pochemu Ispolkom Kominterna raspustil UKP (Kharkiv 1925)
Popov, M. Narys istoriï Komunistychnoï partiï (bil’shovykiv) Ukraïny (Kharkiv 1928)
Dokumenty ukraïns’koho komunizmu (New York 1962)
Mace, J. Communism and the Dilemmas of National Liberation: National Communism in Soviet Ukraine, 1918–1933 (Cambridge, Mass 1983)
Maistrenko, I. Istoriia moho pokolinnia (Edmonton 1985)

James Mace

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

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