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Labor Action, 1 August 1949


An Interview with a UPA Detachment Commander –

Russian Underground Fighters Tell of
Continuing Resistance in Ukraine


From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 31, 1 August 1949, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


For the fullest description and discussion of the Ukrainian underground movement behind the Russian borders, see The New International for April 1949. The asterisks in the answer to the first question replace names of towns given in the dispatch as received by Labor Action. – Ed.


MUNICH, Bavaria, June 25 – Or June 23, a new group of fighters of the underground Ukrainian Insurrectionary Army (UPA), composed of about twenty men, crossed the Czechoslovak frontier. This group, like its predecessors who arrived in Western Germany and Austria in 1947 and 1948, went to the West by order of the underground revolutionary center, permanently based in the Russian Ukraine.

Below is the report of an interview between this correspondent and the commander of this group.


QUESTION: When did you arrive in Bavaria and how long were you on the road?

ANSWER: We crossed the Czech-Bavarian frontier on the night of June 22-23. We have been traveling since spring of this year. We crossed Poland near *** and ***, and we crossed the Czech-Polish border near ***. The Polish peasants were eager to help us, and thus we did not have many run-ins with the local police. We crossed Poland near the towns of ***, ***, *** and ***. The Czech population also helped us as much as possible. We had only rare meetings with the local police.

QUESTION: In what region were you active in the spring of this year?

ANSWER: The area of operations from which we have come was Pod-Iyasha, on the Polish-Ukrainian border, along the Curzon Line. During the past winter our group went on raids through Poland. In the spring our commander split up the group and ordered us to make a raid to the west.

Political Raids

QUESTION: Does the fact that you have left the region of the Curzon Line signify that armed resistance in this area has diminished?

ANSWER: As far as we know, the basic forces of the insurrection have moved from the Curzon Line into the Soviet Ukraine. Only small groups remain in these areas, since the whole Ukrainian population has been deported from this area after the cession of the area to Poland according to the treaty of 1945.

QUESTION: What is the condition today of the underground revolutionary movement in the Ukraine itself, in the USSR?

ANSWER: The Ukrainian liberation movement within the borders of the USSR consists of an armed underground and small units of the UPA. The units are constantly on raids whose main aim is political propagandist work. Sometimes it is necessary to undertake such actions as the liquidation of important NKVDists [secret police], in defense of the non military population. Special underground groups which engage in political work among the Ukrainian workers function in the cities and industrial centers especially, among the working masses.

In the spring of this year the Moscow government threw into the field against the UPA new forces composed exclusively of NKVD troops, since Moscow hesitates to send ordinary soldiers on such missions. This action of the government led to a regrouping of our forces in the western forest regions of the Ukraine, but the government’s attempted purge failed.

Legendary Fighters

QUESTION: What are the perspectives of the Ukrainian underground in the USSR?

ANSWER: The fighters of the revolutionary underground are men who have decided to struggle at the risk of their lives for the liberation of the people. The revolutionary activity of the UPA has destroyed the belief in the USSR that the NKVD is all-powerful and has demonstrated the possibility of struggle with the Kremlin apparatus of terror. The heroism and fearlessness of the UPA are legendary throughout the USSR.

The political ideas and social program of the UPA have found wide support and recognition among the toiling masses and oppressed peoples of the USSR. We know that these ideas are attracting workers on an ever-increasing scale, and also the collective farmers and soldiers of the Soviet armies. The best indication of this is their attitude toward us. Our friends recognize that if they should perish, their sacrifices would not have been in vain, for the ideas of the revolution cannot die. This is the source of our strength.

Underground in Satellites

QUESTION: Has the collectivization of the agricultural economy of the western provinces of the Ukraine and Galicia been completed?

ANSWER: The Moscow press has been writing a great deal about collectivization in Galicia and the radio has also carried a great deal on this subject, but in actuality matters are in bad shape with collectivization. The peasantry understands very well that the kolkhoz is the best method the Kremlin has for the exploitation of their labor. Since the village is the source of the most resolute resistance to collectivization and since the Kremlin has not yet succeeded in breaking this resistance, the Stalinists began in 1948 to take the best land and machinery from the Ukrainian peasants and to give it to collective farmers brought in from Central Russia. There are already many such Russian settlements in Galicia.

QUESTION: Is there an underground movement in Poland and Czechoslovakia ?

ANSWER: Almost everywhere we passed in Poland, from conversations with the local population we were able to ascertain that underground organizations are at work. Strong activity of armed Polish underground forces is in evidence north of the river Bug, In the provinces of Bialystok and Warsaw. In Czechoslovakia there is also an underground. In the mountains of Slovakia there are strong partisan units. Economic conditions in Poland and Czechoslovakia are almost the same, as are the moods of the population. The government is conducting collectivization at a slow pace.


If the reader wishes to know what these Ukrainian partisans look like, they are all young men from 20 to 28 years of age, workers, peasants and in some cases students. They are dressed in military uniforms of the Soviet and Polish armies; their clothing has been worn out during the raids. They carry light arms of Russian make.

They appear to be extremely tired, since they have had to travel by night. But their spirit and morale are high, since these people know what they are fighting for. These are the simple soldiers of the revolution who are fighting to replace the deathlike Stalinist dictatorship with a classless society.

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