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Tsentralna Rada Governments - Officials

 

 

 

VYNNYCHENKO

Volodymyr Kyrylovych

 

Vynnychenko Volodymyr Kyrylovych was born on July 28, 1880, in the village of Velyky Kut of Yelysavetgrad povit, Kherson province (Kirovograd region) into a peasant family. After finishing primary school he entered Yelysavetgrad gymnasium but could not finish it because of a lack of funds. He passed examinations for gymnasium as an outsider and then entered the Law faculty of Kyiv University. He took part in the work of Revolutionary Ukrainian party (RUP), then USDRP. He carried out agitation and propaganda among the workers of Kyiv and Poltava province. In 1903 he was arrested, expelled from the University and put in one-man cell in the Lukyanivka Prison. He survived through the escape, arrests, penalty battalion, illegal emigration, numerous crossings of frontiers (to bring illegal revolutionary literature) and emigration again. In the beginning of the World War I he came back to Russia and lived under an assumed name, being engaged in literary activity.

On the eve of the February revolution V. K. Vynnychenko was a popular writer and well-known revolutionary with a long record of party membership, one of USDRP leaders. He was elected a deputy head of Tsentralna Rada, headed its central executive body General Secretariat the first national government of Ukraine since June 1917. He was the author of almost all the declarations and legislative acts of Tsentralna Rada of UPR.

V. K. Vynnychenko was one of few politicians who had his own position in extraordinary situations, he had his own vision of the prospects and how to orient oneself to achieve the main purpose the state of Ukrainian people, the renewal of its national consciousness. At the same time he was permanently attacked by his political opponents and first of all, the Ukrainian party of Socialist Revolutionaries who carried on a broad campaign of political compromises against him.

A competent General Secretariat was created through his efforts. V. Vynnychenko persuaded the Provisional Government to give the General Secretariat a status of the highest executive organ in Ukraine. V. Vynnychenko did his best to order relations with the Provisional Government, which had a plan to imprison the Ukrainian leaders and disperse their Tsentralna Rada.

V. K. Vynnychenko stood for the expansion of the General Secretariat power to all the Ukraine provinces, for the cessation of hostilities in Kyiv, disbandment of the officer and voluntary detachments. The Third Universal, written by V. Vynnychenko himself and announced by Mykhailo Hrushevsky at the meeting of the Minor Rada, proclaimed Ukraine to be the Autonomous Peoples Republic.

Late in December 1917, the political situation in Ukraine became more complex. On the one hand the Council of Peoples Commissars (CPS) of the RSFSR declared war on Ukraine and sent their armed forces. On the other hand Ukrainian Socialist Revolutionaries established relations with the left SRs of Russia, who supported Bolsheviks with the aim to capture General Secretariat. Having the biggest fraction in Tsentralna Rada they thought the realization of their plan to be too simple. V. Vynnychenko, whose authority and popularity among politicians and broad strata of people were exceptionally high, served the only obstacle for them.

The Tsentralna Rada, pressed by the external and internal factors, approved the Fourth Universal, according to which the Ukrainian Peoples Republic became an independent, sovereign state of Ukrainian people. The executive organ of power General Secretariat turned into the Council of Peoples Ministers. At that time the Social Democratic fraction accused SRs of making advances to Bolsheviks and called their representatives from the Council of Peoples Ministers. On January 15, 1918, V. Vynnychenko sent his Cabinet resignation to M. Hrushevsky, and on January 18, the Minor Rada had to accept the resignation.

When the Bolshevist army began to attack Ukraine, V. Vynnychenko with his family left for Berdyansk. Under the hetmanate he lived on the farm Knyazha Hora in the Kaniv province, when he had written a play Between Two Forces. In August 1918 he headed The Ukrainian National Union that opposed Skoropadskys hetmanate. He soon became the head of Directoria, suggested an idea to call the Ukrainian Labour Congress, which also elected him to this post. But conflicts with S. Petlyura, who was the member of the Directory and headed the military formations of UPR, resulted in V. Vynnychenkos resignation on February 10, 1919 and his going abroad.

When staying in Vienna, V. Vynnychenko has written a memoir-publicistic work Rebirth of a Nation: The History of Ukrainian Revolution. March 1917 December 1919 in three volumes, which is an important source for studying the then revolutionary process.

Late in 1919 V. Vynnychenko left USDRP and organized the Foreign group of the Ukrainian Communist Party in Vienna. Late in May 1920 he arrived in Moscow and was offered to occupy the post of the deputy chairman of the Council of Peoples Commissars of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic with a portfolio of Peoples Commissar of Foreign Affairs and co-optation to the Central Committee of CP(B)U. The Soviet authorities wanted to use the name of V. Vynnychenko for political purposes. Becoming familiar with the economical and political situation in the state and comprehending that he was invited for tactical reasons V. Vynnychenko rejected the offer and returned to Vienna. There he criticized the national and social policy of RCP(B) and Soviet government, but made no efforts to lead the movement for consolidation of émigré elements for the struggle with the Soviet power.

During German occupation in France V. Vynnychenko was put into a concentration camp for the rejection to cooperate with fascists. At the end of the war he called to disarmament and peaceful coexistence of people all over the world. The literary legacy of Volodymyr Vynnychenko is huge. It impresses not only in terms of the quantity of the written works but by the diversity of genres. His plays were staged not only in Ukrainian theaters but also abroad.

V. Vynnychenko spent his last 25 years in Mujen, a French settlement near Cannes, where he died in 1951.

 

 

 

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