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Labor Action, 6 February 1950



Ukraine Partisans Organize
‘Commando’ Political Rallies

(December 1949)


From Labor Action, Vol. 14 No. 6, 6 February 1950, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


WESTERN ZONE, Germany, December 1949 – Since the last news in Labor Action about the activities of the Ukrainian revolutionary underground fighters behind the frontiers of Russia [see issue of August 1, 1949 – Ed.] more information has been received.

During the night of August 20, 1949, two more military units of the Ukrainian Revolutionary Army (UPA) crossed the Czech-German frontier, after a defensive battle in which one of their soldiers was killed and several wounded.

These two units had been sent from the Ukraine charged by the underground staff with the special task of strengthening connections with Ukrainian refugees from Russia. In the course of three to four weeks, they crossed the whole of Poland and Czechoslovakia.

The September issue of Vpered carried an interview with the commanders of these newly arrived detachments. (Vpered is the paper published by socialist Ukrainian refugee groups in close connection with the UPA.) Following are the highlights of the interview.

Question: Where is the UPA operating in Russia right now?

Answer: “The operation areas of the UPA cannot be considered to be only those where armed resistance exists. The armed resistance of the military detachments of the UPA exists mostly in the Ukrainian Carpathians. But the armed-political underground network exists all over the Ukraine, mostly in cities and larger towns like Odessa, Kryvyi Rig, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkov and the Donetz coalfields.

“In addition, I can assure you that the activities of the UPA are well known all ovei- Russia; in this way our underground movement is able to strengthen the passive resistance of all the Russian workers and peasants to the Kremlin. The close connections of the UPA with other national undergrounds (the Byelourussian, for instance) serves greatly to lighten our struggle against Russian imperialism and its social exploitation of the toiling masses.”

Politics as the Weapon

Question: What are the tactics and main tasks of the UPA today?

Answer: “The headquarters and political staff of the UPA nowadays mostly concern themselves with the political-propagandist struggle. This struggle is carried out by small, fast-moving detachments of the UPA; these are assigned to given territories, together with a base of operations, and are always on the move in their raids.

“The chief task of such a raiding group is propagandist action; this is carried out through short meetings with workers and peasants, and through the circulation of leaflets, papers and magazines published by the underground. In this way the revolutionary fighters of the UPA prepare the toiling masses of the people for the revolutionary struggle against Stalinism.

“Besides, on occasion, such raiding detachments have the task of destroying the police-terrorist groups of the enemy, the release of prisoners and deportees, as well as sabotage activities; for instance, breaking into provision warehouses and distributing the food seized to the hungry population, workers and veterans, is very popular.”

Further information about the activities of the UPA behind the Iron Curtain has been reported recently by several European broadcasting stations. Radio Vienna broadcast a report of the great battles near Lviv (Western Ukraine) between the Ukrainian partisans and military units of the Russian police; it stated that this report had been confirmed by Western diplomatic circles in Moscow.

For the Third Camp

Another report has been received from Stockholm describing the activities of the raiding detachments of the UPA in Eastern Prussia, where the Ukrainian population from the so-called Curzon line was deported by Polish Stalinist authorities.

The latest report came from Radio Vienna and Munich; according to it a new detachment of 15 UPA signalmen is making its way through Czechoslovakia in order to reach Western Austria. The commander of this detachment has been killed; two of its soldiers committed suicide by throwing grenades under themselves, in order not to be taken by pursuing Czech police. The rest of the detachment has been dispersed. Radio Berlin reported on the day of Stalin’s birthday celebration that among the Russian soldiers in the Eastern zone of Germany many leaflets were circulating, calling on them “to struggle against Stalinism and Russian imperialism” and demanding “freedom for the workers.”

More information on the ideology and program of the movement is contained in a new issue, No. 10 (46), of the central theoretical organ of the Ukrainian underground revolutionary movement, the periodical Idea and Action. This number was recently received from the Ukraine and reprinted in emigration.

In the international resolutions adopted by the last political conference of the underground movement, we see that the UPA stands uncompromisingly “against all the imperialists and imperialist blocs of nations in the world.” Besides Russian imperialism, American imperialism is especially emphasized. Furthermore, “the movement stands for the uncompromising independence of the Ukrainian nation as well as of other national republics of the USSR. Any form of national federation with Russia is rejected.”

In the national resolutions, we see that the movement stands “for the new revolution in the USSR. The new revolution will be national as well as social. Social revolution will be directed against the class of bolshevist magnates [the movement’s term for the Russian) bureaucracy – Ed.] for the construction of a new classless society based on all the political freedoms and real people’s democracy, economically based on the socialization of the means of production, with the planning and distribution of the common national wealth controlled by the toiling people. Any restoration of capitalism is excluded.”

The best proof of the correctness of this program in the situation which now exists behind the Russian frontiers, is the broad support given to the heroic struggle of the UPA by the Ukrainian and other sections of the Russian masses.

Moscow Acts Out a Comedy

The Stalinist “magnates” are really feeling uneasy about the mood of their subjects. This is especially visible in the Ukraine, and it can be attributed to the activities of the Ukrainian underground. Some of the latest political actions of the Kremlin clearly support this thesis.

Recently, on direct order of the Kremlin, the Ukrainian “Soviet Socialist Republic” acquired a new “national flag” and a “national hymn.” Up to now, all the national flags of the sixteen “Soviet republics” have been red; there is now an exception, the “independent” Ukraine. The new flag presented to the Ukraine by the Kremlin is red and blue. (The real national colors of the Ukraine are blue and yellow.) Similarly with the new national hymn: there has up to now been a single hymn for the whole Russian empire (“Soviet Union”) but now the Ukraine has its “own” which proclaims in song that the “independent Ukraine is eternally united with Great Russia.”

It is easy to understand this comedy which the Kremlin is playing with its Ukrainian flag and hymn. It is calculated to make an impression on the uninformed world outside and on backward elements of the Ukrainian population, to prove to them that a “really independent” Ukraine exists in the USSR and that the’ Ukrainian struggle for independence is a “simple reactionary bluff.”

But despite these Kremlin efforts, new developments continue to make clear that all is not in order for Stalin in the Ukraine. On the day after Stalin’s “Christmas,” the Kremlin suddenly dismissed the real Russian governor of the Ukraine, the general secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party, M.S. Khrushchov. This is the second time during the post-war period that a Russian governor has been fired from his post; the first was L.M. Kaganovich in 1947. Kaganovich’s fate at this time is unknown. There are rumors that he has been arrested and deported to Siberia. If this is true, it is possible that Khrushchov will follow him.

In addition, there are reports of a great new purge going on now (it would be the third in the post-war period) among the Ukrainian CP members and in the administrative apparatus. The Kremlin is feeling uneasy indeed.

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