25 March 2022

Invasion and Resistance – Borotbism, Revolutionary Socialism in the Ukrainian Revolution 1917-1921

Christopher Ford

Ukraine has been the victim of invasion several times during the tragic history of that country. On each of those occasions invasion has been accompanied by movements of resistance and a radicalisation amongst the populace. One such movement was the Borotbists, who were the radical left of the Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries during the revolution of 1917-1921. They went on to form the Ukrainian Communist Party (Borotbists) and seek membership of the Third International and played a leading role during the national and cultural revival of Ukraine in the 1920s.

Published below are three rare texts of the Borotbists, the Platform of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries (1918), Draft Decree on Encouraging the Development of Culture of the Ukrainian People (1920), and Memorandum of the Ukrainian Communist Party (Borotbisty) to the Executive Committee of the Third Communist International, (1920).


With the overthrow of the autocracy in 1917 the Ukrainian Revolution soon differentiated itself from the wider Russian Revolution, setting as its task the achievement of national emancipation through the creation of a Ukrainian Republic.

This period was one of unprecedented self-organisation and mobilisation of the masses, the Ukrainian movement comprised a bloc of the middle class, peasantry, workers and the revolutionary-democratic intellectuals, centred in the Ukrainian Central Rada [Council]. The Rada was a mass assembly consisting of councils of peasants’, soldiers’ and workers’ deputies, it included all the socialist parties, Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish and Polish.1

This movement transformed the situation from one where officially within the Russian Empire Ukraine did not exist, to one in which, by July 1917, the Russian Provisional Government was forced to recognise the Rada as a ‘higher organ for conducting Ukrainian national affairs’.2 In historical terms, the Rada represented for Ukraine what the Easter Rising and First Dáil did for the Irish Republic.

The leaders and parties at the forefront of the Ukrainian movement were exclusively socialist, ranging from the moderate Ukrainian Party of Socialist-Federalists to the Marxist Ukrainian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party (USDRP), to the mass Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries (UPSR). The autonomous government of Ukraine, the General Secretariat and ‘Mala Rada’, were not exclusively Ukrainian, but included Mensheviks, Bundists and Russian SRs.

The UPSR was the largest political party and central to repeated mobilisations of the peasantry in 1917 and during the civil war. It played a key role in the agrarian revolution, millions of rural workers and peasants enrolled in the Ukrainian Peasants’ Union (Spilka) organised by the UPSR.

The Rada faced burning questions of ending the war, the agrarian revolution and the drive to workers’ control, encapsulated in the slogan ‘land for the peasants and factories for the workers’. By late 1917, leadership of the Rada began to lag behind the pace and aspirations of the popular movement from below.3 Relations strained between those moderate and centrist elements and the radicalised rank and file of the movement.

After the October Revolution, a new Ukrainian People’s Republic was proclaimed with widespread support, the conjuncture also saw increasing support for a more radical turn. This was reflected in growth of the left currents in both the Ukrainian Social-Democrats and Ukrainian Socialist-Revolutionaries – an aspect downplayed by both Stalinist and nationalist historiography.

But, whilst in Russia this radicalisation saw the different strands of the popular movement coalesce in the Bolshevik-Left SR leadership in the soviets, which caught up with the changed mood, in Ukraine the chief characteristic of the situation was one of fragmentation. The overwhelmingly Ukrainian peasantry did not automatically find allies and leaders in the urban working class which also contained a large Russian and Russified element.4

Those wishing to give the emerging socialist revolution a Ukrainian character and form were unsuccessful in the vortex of the winter of 1917-1918. The Bolshevik organisations in Ukraine were unprepared for the anti-colonial dimension of the revolution. In his later analysis of the Russian Constituent Assembly elections, Lenin emphasised that it was the Ukrainian socialists who had not only secured large votes in the army but that, in Ukraine as a whole, “the Ukrainian Socialist-Revolutionaries and socialists polled a majority”, concluding that “to ignore the importance of the national question in Ukraine … is a great and dangerous mistake.”5

The results illustrated the popular base of the Ukrainian movement, illustrating that frustration with the Rada did not automatically translate into a rejection of the Ukrainian cause itself. Whilst some historians point to the lower vote for the Bolsheviks in Ukraine, it is important to recognise just who was elected.

Of the 120 deputies elected from Ukraine, the UPSR formed a faction of 81 deputies in the Russian Constituent Assembly.6 In their ranks, it was the radical left-current, the “Internationalist” group which linked national emancipation to the world revolution who predominated. After the dissolution of the All-Russia Constituent Assembly, these Left UPSR deputies returned to Kyiv and sought to replace the General Secretariat with a new government with the left-wing of the USDRP, and seek peace with the Bolsheviks. Their plan was discovered and six UPSR leaders arrested and the UPSR Left excluded from the Rada.7

None of this this strengthened the position of the Rada, which was facing an existential crisis. Soviet power was established in one town after another. To see this solely as a Russian ‘invasion’ is an erroneous portrayal. Local Red Guards, workers’ militias and Ukrainian soldiers actively carried through uprisings of the local population.

In Kharkiv, the delegates from a third of the soviets in Ukraine ‘assumed full state power in the Ukrainian People’s Republic’ and declared a rival government, the People’s Secretariat. It was largely Bolsheviks allied with the USDRP (Left) who had split from their party.

The People’s Secretariat, having proclaimed itself the government of the Ukrainian republic, soon discovered this was not a view shared by Russia or its emissaries. The views harboured by some leading Bolsheviks towards Ukraine are revealed in a telegram sent by Stalin the Peoples Commissar for Nationalities: ‘Enough playing at a government and republic. It’s time to drop that game; enough is enough’.8

Russia deployed to Ukraine a ten thousand strong force under the command of Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko. The commander of soviet forces that advanced on Kyiv was the Russian Chauvinist N.A. Muravyov, who refused to accept the authority of the Peoples Secretariat which he viewed as guilty of ‘narrow nationalism’. Antonov recorded that Muravyov adopted ‘the tone of a conqueror, and entered into a sharp conflict with the local soviet and roused all the Ukrainians against him.’9

As Kyiv was poised to fall, on 17 January a new government was formed there dominated by the centre-right of the Ukrainian Socialist Revolutionaries. Lured by the appeal of the Germans, the delegation representing the Rada signed a separate peace treaty at Brest Litovsk on 27 January 1918. There was a price for the 200,000 German and Austrian troops driving the Bolsheviks out of Ukraine, and it was measured in grain and raw materials.

The Germans soon deposed rival governments claiming authority of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, first the People’s Secretariat, then their hosts of the Rada, who they saw as unreliable ‘left opportunists’. The Germans installed the Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky an aristocratic landlord and former Tsarist officer who established an authoritarian ‘Ukrainian State’ – the Hetmanate.10

The Hetmanate set about reversing the gains of the revolution, with the occupying Austro-German forces granted “a free hand in trade and raw materials procurement,” they set about extracting all they could by force of arms from the countryside.11 The retrogression that gripped Ukraine in 1918 was soon met by a wave of resistance as insurgency spread across the countryside in May and a workers’ strike wave that broke out in July. During 1918, this popular resistance to the occupation would cost the German Imperial Army 20,000 dead.

The experience of the first year of the revolution in Ukraine saw significant developments in the main Ukrainian parties – it reflected the fact that, in the eyes of many workers and peasants, an alternative articulation of national emancipation was now necessary. A diverse current took shape within the Bolsheviks, the Ukrainian Socialist Revolutionaries and Social-Democrats, that that stood on a soviet platform and sought to realise it within an ‘independent Ukrainian socialist republic’.

In mid-May 1918, at the Fourth Congress of the UPSR, the Internationalists achieved a control over the entire party, which now split. Named after the party’s paperBorotba [Struggle], the Internationalists, the left wing, adopted the name “Borotbisty.”

In the period of the second Soviet Government in Ukraine, (February – August 1919, led by Khristian Rakovsky, the Borotbists would also play a leading role, a number taking positions in the government of the new Ukrainian SSR. Following the fall of that government in in August 1919, they re-launched as the Ukrainian Communist Party (Borotbisty).

During the period of the White Russian Army’s occupation of Ukraine under Denikin, the Borotbists played a leading role in the resistance. Mykhailo Hrushevsky former leader of the Central Rada wrote in 1920 of the Borotbisty that when ‘they led an uprising under the slogan of a Ukrainian Republic that would be independent yet Soviet and friendly toward the Bolsheviks and Soviet Russia, the masses flocked to their banner….’12

The Ukrainian Communist Party (Borot’bisty), fought for an independent Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic allied through federation with the Russian Soviet Republic. It sought membership as an independent party in the Third (Communist) International.

In the spring of 1920, the Borotbisty merged, with the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine. Providing the latter with many outstanding leaders, figures such asOleksander Shumsky, they would play a prominent role during the period of Ukrainisation, the national and cultural renaissance of the 1920s in Soviet Ukraine. Their influence lasted until the onset of the Stalinist terror in in Ukraine.

These texts are republished with permission from the leading work in English language on the subject: Ivan Maistrenko, Borotbism: A Chapter in the History of the Ukrainian Revolution, Edited by Christopher Ford, 2019.

Platform of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries:

The Present State of Affairs and Party Tactics

(approved by Central Committee on June 3, 1918)13

I.In appraising the present state of affairs, the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries affirms the following:

1. The Revolution in the Ukraine is today deep in crisis and
decay. The bourgeoisie (the landowners and industrial-capitalists) in the Ukraine, united with petty bourgeois circles (the kulak-proprietors) and supported by the international bourgeoisie (German, Russian, Polish, and other) and relying on the forces of German imperialism, led a counterrevolutionary offensive which ended in the so-called coup in April of this year.

2. The counter-revolution, with the proxies of the international bourgeoisie the Hetman and his government, brought to naught all the gains of a year of the Ukrainian revolution. The great conquest of the national movement in Ukraine – the Ukrainian People’s Republic with national-personal autonomy – has been destroyed. Having abolished all political and civil liberties, won by the revolution and having destroyed all organisations of the toiling people, the reactionaries have established a monarchist state, that has trampled all socio-economic reforms, above all the greatest of them – the socialisation of land and labour legislation.

II. Considering the breadth and character that the revolutionary movement in Ukraine assumed, which is more significant than a year of the masses’ revolutionary education, on the one hand and, on the other, considering the inevitability of a revolutionary resolution of the burden of the universal storm by international democracy, The Central Committee of the UPSR considers the present reaction in Ukraine as a temporary decline of the revolution, the reasons of which are:

1. The absence of strong organisations at the centre and, mainly, locally, which alone might provide the support for the revolutionary movement and, at the right moment, repel the counter-revolution;

2. The one-sided national policy of the Ukrainian Central Rada, from which Ukrainian democracy from the very beginning demanded answers to a whole series of social questions, whose concretisation and complete resolution could alone provide the basis for uniting all Ukrainian toiling people around their leading organs and, conversely, the delay of which, together with an exclusively national policy, elicited distrust in the masses and a Bolshevik movement as a reaction to the prevailing situation;

3. The destructive Bolshevik attack of Ukraine, which broke and demoralised the working classes of society, which, with its misunderstanding of the national question and its centralism produced chauvinism in the popular masses, created the basis for national separatism and sovereignty and their pact with German military force, which in liquidating the attack, inevitably also destroyed or liquidated the organisations of revolutionary democracy in Ukraine;

4. The flexible and uncertain internal policy of the Mala Rada and its government, the Council of People’s Ministers, which wavered between the petty bourgeois and labouring classes of society, allowing the accelerated organisation of reaction, distancing itself more and more from revolutionary democracy and not giving it the opportunity to organise itself, under the considerable influence and pressure that the international and especially the German imperialist bourgeoisie exerted on the Ukrainian government:

5. The impermissible and criminal, from the point of view of international socialism, union of the Ukrainian government with the German military discredited the Central Rada in the eyes of much of the labouring classes, compromised the very idea of the national liberation movement and the Ukrainian socialist parties, demoralised Ukrainian democracy, objectively led to the liquidation of all the revolution’s gains, opened a wide field in Ukraine for the activity of international reaction, which, in the person of the German bourgeoisie, supported by the bayonets of the Austro-German army in Ukraine and taking advantage of the absence of the [Ukrainian Peoples] Republic’s military force and the lack of strong democratic organisations, openly assisted the bourgeoisie in its struggle against land reform and other social reforms, pursuing its own aims, namely:

a) the transformation of Ukraine into its colony;

b) taking back all concessions, made in the Brest treaty under the pressure of military circumstances on the eastern front and from a desire to take quick advantage of the political circumstances in Russia to weaken its imperialist rival;

c) the creation in Ukraine of a fictitious autonomous government that would obediently carry out all instructions from Berlin toward political and social levelling with the metropolis; dissatisfaction with the liberal-democratic policy of the Ukrainian Central Rada and a fear that the convening of the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly might change this policy in the direction of revolutionary democracy;

d) a desire to prevent revolutionary actions of the German working classes, to cover them with the military, ‘liberating’ and economic victories of the German state, in order to keep them firmly in the grip of the imperialist, militarist bourgeoisie;

6. The absence of support for the revolutionary movement in Ukraine on the part of international democracy, which, disunited since the war and the destruction of the Second International, was unable to give a proper, organised reply to the united actions of the black international against the red.

III. Noting that the revolutionary movement in Ukraine was forced to deviate and enter this phase of decline by the unsound policy of the revolution’s previous administrative organs, by the destruction of democratic organisations, and mainly by the direct intervention in the course of events by previously outside agents, by the lack of international democratic organisations, separated by artificial state borders and by war, and by the lack of solidarity actions on their part, the Central Committee of the UPSR thinks that the struggle of working people with the present reaction for their national and socio-economic liberation can be fully successful only when that struggle is based on class-conscious and politically-conscious democratic organisations in Ukraine and is carried on in full contact with democrats of other countries, especially of the Central European states, with which Ukraine is linked historically – when the democrats of those states support the revolutionary movement in Ukraine with a readiness to wage an open struggle with their own bourgeoisies.

The Ukrainian revolution, being not only a political-national, but a profoundly social revolution, which, from the very beginning, strove to transform itself into an international revolution, and took up as its political slogan an unlimited federation of republics (which, in the case of Ukraine, was to realise by means of a resolution of the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly), was forced by unfavourable circumstances to remain within a national framework and was thereby nearly finished. Now, the introduction into it of an element of internationalism pushes it inexorably onto this path, the path of renewing the struggle to realise its slogans – to build a socialist international, to liquidate the universal war into which the Ukrainian state is now being drawn, to convene the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly, the struggle for land and freedom, for federation.

Defending the party’s old position, and realising that the slogan of independence as an end in itself is only a weapon in the hands of the reactionary bourgeoisie, the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries believes that the aspirations to have a state, necessarily connected with imperialist tendencies, weaken the class struggle of the workers and inevitably comes into conflict with it. Therefore, the independence of the state cannot be the necessary slogan of the toiling people in its struggle, but only a tactical means of attaining world-wide federation.


1. On the basis of all the above, the Central Committee of the USPR will, in the revolutionary struggle for the liberation of the Ukrainian toiling people, co-ordinate its actions with the actions of international revolutionary democracy, entering into the closest relations especially with the socialist parties of Germany, Austro-Hungary, Great Russia, Poland and other neighbouring states, unswervingly maintain class tactics, based on the revolutionary organisations of the toiling people of Ukraine, without which no struggle or uprising can have any positive results and which will be strong only when they are organised under common slogans, realisable by a single tactic.

2. In view of the fact that an imperialist, enlightened despotism can also be a threat to the revolution, if the German bureaucracy makes calculated political and even social concessions to Ukrainian democracy in its eastern policy in order to mitigate the revolutionary energy of the toiling masses, the Central Committee of the UPSR opposes such compromises, is uncompromising toward the reactionary bourgeois Hetmanate government and, with the present policy, opposes all opportunism and the entry of democratic elements into the Hetmanate government.

3. Considering the fact that the premature actions of individual villages and townships result only in their defeat at the hands of reactionary military forces and their loss of faith in the revolution, disorganise and demoralise the masses, cause a useless and even harmful waste of revolutionary forces, the Central Committee of the UPSR deter the peasantry from such unorganised actions.

4. Standing for international socialism and the common interests of the workers of all nations and countries and not recognising as a method of class struggle the path of war and the creation of military fronts, which inevitably disunites and destroys the forces of democracy itself, and condemning the armed invasion of Ukraine by the (Moscow) Bolsheviks, the Ukrainian Party of Socialist-Revolutionaries will struggle against demagogic slogans, calculated only to inflame national antagonisms, slogans that call exclusively for a military uprising and armed struggle against the German army in Ukraine, and will appeal for a struggle on the domestic class front.

5. Because the Austro-Germans cannot long be maintained in a series of punitive expeditions and repressions of popular revolutions, because the loss of its imperialist illusions will inevitably bring rebellion within it, and with it rebellion within the Central Powers themselves, the Ukrainian Party of Socialist-Revolutionaries will carry on propaganda and organisation toward this end among the foreign troops in Ukraine.

6. Aiming at a revolution that will guarantee all the demands of the Ukrainian toiling people, the UPSRwill, on the one hand, carry on continual and active agitation and fight to disorganise reaction, its government, its military and political-social support centrally and locally, gathering together partisan units that will actively defend the idea of socialising the land, will guard freedom, not allowing imperialist reaction to obscure class consciousness with apparent benefits (those indicated); on the other hand, it will, at the same time, carry on propaganda, preparations and organisation of revolutionary centres of peasants and workers (land committees, factory and railroad committees, councils of workers and peasants deputies, revolutionary committees) in order to seize power overthrow the reactionary government and seize power for democracy with the slogan of a revolutionary uprising with continuous and simultaneous solidarity action locally and at the centre together with an organised strike.

7. Taking into consideration the fact, as long as the socialist parties figure only as an organised minority and until international socialist democracy creates a single organised unit, a complete social revolution cannot be carried out, there cannot be a socialist revolution and the dictatorship of toiling democracy in separate countries, the Central Committee of the UPSR considers that the transfer of power to the toiling masses as represented by the councils of workers’ and peasants’ deputies is possible only for in brief periods of revolutionary ferment – insofar as the revolution is created by the toiling people and supported by its organisations, insofar as the gains of the revolutionary movement are safe and reaction is not victorious, – at the same time, the transfer of formal power to local self-governments, elected on the basis of a five-member formula must be prepared and to the parliament at the centre, the first of which must be the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly.

8. Cognisant of the fact that the ground for revolutionary work and mood among the toiling masses are favourable, and that realising that the slogan of the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly is today the slogan that revolutionises the masses, the Central Committee of the UPSR considers it necessary for the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly to convene and open as soon as possible, to express its attitude toward the contemporary events, to address a challenge and protest to democrats of the whole world, a call to revolutionary struggle against international reaction and the Hetmanate government, an appeal for the unity of all Ukrainian democrats in their struggle for land and freedom.


Draft Decree on Encouraging the Development of Culture of the Ukrainian People14

Explanatory Note to the Decree

In the course of the development of the world revolution, the Soviet government of Ukraine has become, by force of circumstances, a source of supply for Soviet Russia and the bridge which links the latter with the outbreaks [i.e., centres] of European revolution. To strike at this bridge and destroy it is the aim of counterrevolution. Estab­lishment of this bridge has more and more become an [urgent] necessity for the motive forces of the all-Russian [Rossiiskaya] Revolution.

Hence the intermittence and complexity of the development of the revolution in Ukraine; hence its involvement by attendant factors, external forces and blows. During the fierce reaction of the Hetmanate and the time of the mighty surge of the proletarian revolution, leadership was in the hands of external forces, in large measure alien to the basic conditions of life of the Ukrainian people and to the natural course of their revolutionary development.

This circumstance, this constant pressure of external forces, entangles manifestations of the social struggle with those of the national struggle, disproportionately aggravates the manner in which the already complex national question is raised and gives vitality to the nationalist movement originating among the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois intelligentsia.

At the same time, the proposition which conditions us to regard Ukraine merely as a convenient ground for the development and manoeuvring of the military forces of the socialist revolution, on the one hand, does not provide an opportunity to exhaust and enrol in the struggle all reserves of the local social forces and, on the other hand, impedes a formulation, in all its fullness, of the question – of limitless importance -concerning the development of the culture of the Ukrainian people.

Constrained by centuries of national and social oppression, without schools in their native language, deprived of an intelligentsia, and reduced to inertia resulting from the Russification of all state and public institutions throughout the land, the Ukrainian proletariat and peasantry are faced either with the nationalist tendencies of the bourgeois intelligentsia or with the actual domination of the Great Russian language and culture in all the vast apparatus of the Soviet government in Ukraine.

The one threatens, through the nationalist poison, to obscure the purity of the class consciousness of the working masses; the other does not provide or create the conditions for the natural development of national forms of culture and their use as an important weapon in the struggle for international unification of the toiling masses.

Formal recognition of the equal rights of languages and cultures, a policy of neutrality [in these matters], offers no solution to these socio-political and cultural conflicts.

The century-old process of systematic and planned “Russification” [obrusitelstvo] brought about a state of affairs in which the Ukrainian nation, once literate almost to a man [sic], by 1898 had a literate population of only 13.5 per cent; the cities were transformed from centres for the crystallisation of cultural attainment into coercive seats of an alien culture; the school became, as Ushinski15 aptly remarked, the only place in the village where the spoken language was not understood. The entire state technical apparatus, all leaders and agents of the government for decades were trained automatically and without exception to eliminate all Ukrainian forces from administrative life. There developed a serious inertia which is reflected with rare eloquence in the figures for the ratio of the [total] population to the secondary schools in Ukraine: Ukrainians, 77.1 per cent16 of the population, have 121 schools; Russians, 12.6 per cent of the population, have 950 schools; in other words, the quota of secondary schools for the entire native population is 10.8 per cent, while the quota for the Russian population is 84.7 per cent.

Text of the Decree

The victorious movement and lasting success of the communist revolution, which is paving the way for the construction of new social relationships and which is enrolling in this construction vast masses of the proletariat and peasantry, depend in large measure on the fullness, clarity, firmness, and sharpness of the class consciousness among these masses of revolutionary builders, on the constancy of their consciousness in the face of enormous ideological dangers resulting from the social system which is being overthrown.

The clarity and constancy of class consciousness, its depth and strength, are directly linked with the general cultural level of the working class, with the degree to which the working class, as a whole and among its individual members, is enrolled in active and independent creative work in the culture of mankind. But the growth of culture, especially at its outset, is unthinkable outside of national forms, outside the natural and free development of the national element of a given people; therefore, the paths of the Communist International lie not on the plane of disregard and oppression of national forms, particularly among backward nationalities, but in the necessity of raising their cultural development to the level of the more progressive nationalities and of merging them at the heights of international unity of all toilers.

Whoever sincerely desires the growth of consciousness and international unification of the working masses can only want and strive for the most rapid development of the national forms of culture among those peoples who, like the Ukrainian people, have been held in a state of national stagnation and oppression by the harsh rule of capitalist society.

In the extraordinarily complex circumstances of the development of the socialist revolution in Ukraine, special attention must be devoted to projecting a true policy with regard to the development of national cultures, in order thereby to disarm those social groups who, through their naive or Jesuitical guardianship of national culture, conceal social aims which are alien and hostile to the working class and who regard the development of national forms not as a road to international unification of the toilers, but as a means of realising their own imperialist desires.

On these grounds, in supplementing and elaborating upon the corresponding articles [of the Constitution] of the Provisional Workers’ and Peasants’ Government, the Central Executive Committee directs the People’s Commissariat of Education, as the organ responsible for cultural and educational work in the Republic, systematically and in a planned manner to pursue a policy of encouraging in every way the development of Ukrainian culture in all branches of national life. It is therefore essential:

1. In education outside the schools, as the most important field of educational activity, during the trying period of the socialist revolution, to carry on systematic work in widening the limits and deepening the basis of class consciousness, utilising for this purpose all facts and impulses flowing from the national element which is native and close to the people.

2. In social education (the pre-school and school system) for the
Ukrainian population in schools and other educational institutions,
to carry on instruction in the native Ukrainian language.

Note 1. For the non-Ukrainian population, schools will be founded with instruction in the language of that nationality for which the school is opened.

Note 2. Determination of the language of instruction in educational institutions will be made by the People’s Commissariat of Education through its organs.

3.         In the realisation of this task, to organize on a broad basis the training of a suitable cadre of professionals [rabotniki] and the publication of appropriate literature and teaching materials.

4.         In the organisation of higher institutions of learning, tirelessly to pursue the constantly growing need and demand for the suitably trained Ukrainian professional in all walks of life, the professional able with his creative initiative to enter this life and enrich the spontaneous growth of national culture.

5.         Into the unplanned and chaotic growth of the Ukrainian book market, to bring organisation and system, which will lead to the broad development and dissemination of both original works of Ukrainian national literature and translated literature in all problems and branches of learning.

6.         In the field of art, to develop, discover and record the results of all branches of national art work in national forms, by organising appropriate institutions and [taking] proper steps.

* * *

The pamphlet in which the above draft decree was published also presented the following commentary relative to the decree:17

People’s Commissar of Education Comrade Shumsky presented the above draft decree for consideration to the Commissariat’s managing board, which took it up on 2 August 1919. As a contribution to the history of attempts to solve the so-called “national problem,” it is worthwhile to recall the debates which arose in the board in connection with this draft decree. The basic idea of the decree was that the aspirations of backward nations for rebirth is not a regressive phenomenon as it has been regarded by orthodox Marxists and representatives of the [Russian] C[ommunist] P[arty] in Ukraine. Because of this, up to our own day, many unsuccessful steps have been taken in education policy, all of one stamp – fear of expressing one’s mind on the “national problem.” And the problem is still being set aside somewhere. But we have at last decided to place this problem on the agenda and give it a communist base. From the capitalist system we have inherited a national oppression, which has provoked a series of aspirations for creative work. Yet, not only are we failing to satisfy these aspirations; we are turning them into weapons in the hands of our enemies. We must control these aspirations and give them a class character. On the basis of all this, Comrade Shumsky regarded as imperative the immediate publication of a decree, by which the Central Executive Committee would order the People’s Commissariat of Education systematically and in a planned manner to pursue a policy which would most contribute to an all-round development of the culture of the Ukrainian people in all branches of national life.

During the board’s discussion of the draft, there were heated debates which, in the main, came to the conclusion that publication of the decree, in the opinion of its opponents, was quite unnecessary. On the contrary [they thought], the draft might inflame the passions of the nationalists at a time when it would be more appropriate to pour cold water over their heads. Practically speaking, why should the Central Executive Committee issue orders to the People’s Commissariat of Education, as if all were not well there? The publication of a decree covering the defence of one national culture [they believed] would be useless since the problem of the culture of other nationalities had not been raised. Solution of the language problem, which by the decree was to be entrusted to the organ of the People’s Commissariat of Education (note 2, point 2 of the decree), was, in the opinion of its opponents (members of the board – Comrades Hopner, Demba, Dehtyarev, Nazarov, and Deputy People’s Commissar [of Education] Salko), a matter only for the local proletariat through [the channels of] soviet deputies and executive committees.

In reply, Comrade Shumsky again affirmed that the decree aimed at eliminating the political factor from the “national problem,” making it purely an issue of culture, and that therefore there was no danger here of arousing passions. With regard to Ukrainian culture, hidden sabotage had often been observed, but this would be impossible after publication of such a decree, because it would then be sabotage against the government. The language problem could not be left to the village or local executive committee; as teachers, we must oppose this and not follow such a “democratic” path. The decree aimed at raising the cultural level of the masses and increasing the number of class professionals, but this would remain impossible as long as teachers were labelled “Petlyurists.”

We would never remove the [label] so long as we expressed no clear opinion on the problem of national culture and so long as numerous cadres of teachers remained unorganised and unused. Comrade Shumsky considered the decree perfectly acceptable in principle and in practice and regarded it as a great mistake of the Communist Party, which is in power, that up to this time it had not issued such a decree. Such a decree would establish the equal rights of cultures in practice, not on paper, would eliminate the hegemony of Russian culture and would provide broad opportunities for the development of Ukrainian culture. Such was the point of view of the Communists-Borotbisty.

Comrade Shumsky’s ideas were supported by board members Comrades Hrynko and Mizernytsky. Members of the Commission of Fifty under the Central Executive Committee, who also regarded publication of the decree as imperative, participated in the discussion of the draft. They cited several examples of how disregard for Ukrainian culture by local authorities had harmed the general political work of the [Ukrainian] Soviet Republic.

Comrade Beskrovnyi, a member of the Commission recently returned from a trip to the provinces, expressed the belief that the bemoaning which could be sensed in the draft decree had foundation in fact, especially in Right Bank [Ukraine].

Upon conclusion of the debates the board voted against the decree five (Communists-Bolsheviks) to three (Communists-Borotbisty).

Thus deprived of an opportunity to offer the draft to the Central Executive Committee on behalf of the Commissariat of Education, Comrade Shumsky introduced it on 7 August on his own behalf, as People’s Commissar of Education.

The draft was to be examined in the Central Executive Committee, but the military events of August 1919 made this impossible. It could not be placed on the agenda of the meeting of the Central Executive Committee before the Soviet government’s evacuation from Kyiv.


Memorandum of the Ukrainian Communist Party (Borotbisty) to the Executive Committee of the Third Communist International18

In the course of the development of the world revolution, the Soviet government of Ukraine has become, by force of circumstances, a source of supply for Soviet Russia, which is hated by the entire capitalist world,,and more importantly, the bridge which links it with the approaching dawn of the European revolution.

To strike at this source, this bridge, and to destroy it—this is the aim of the Russian and world-wide counterrevolution.

To endeavour again and again to re-build it—this is the urgent necessity for the motive forces of the all-Russian [Rosiyska] Revolution.

Hence the intermittence and extraordinary complexity of the revolutionary movement in Ukraine; hence its involvement, fraught with consequences, by attendant factors and external forces and blows.

During the fierce reaction of the Hetmanate and, at the time, of both outbreaks of the proletarian revolution, leadership was in the hands of external forces, in large measure alien to the basic conditions of life of the Ukrainian people and to the natural course of their revolutionary movement.

This circumstance, this constant pressure of external forces, greatly entangles the already extraordinarily complex interrelations of socio-economic and national-political phenomena in Ukraine; it conditions us to regard Ukraine rather as the object now of reactionary blows, now of revolutionary counteractions, than as the subject of a genuine and organic revolutionary development, and thereby does not provide an opportunity to exhaust, enrol in the struggle and utilise all reserves of the local social forces capableof fighting for a communist reorganisation of society.

Moreover, this constant pressure of external forces, in large measure remote from a true understanding of the interrelations of local socio-economic and national-political phenomena, not only has impeded the course of class differentiation, not only has ignored or neutralised those socio-economic categories which, by duty, should be active on the side of the Soviet government; through a series of numerous tactical errors, inevitable in the circumstances, it has driven them into the camp of active counterrevolution.

The serious, though doubtless temporary, failure of the attempt, for a second time, to organise a Soviet government in Ukraine was due largely to these circumstances; therefore, a precise and profoundly realistic study of this experience is the most urgent task of those who claim leadership of the communist revolutionin Ukraine and, in turn, of those who issue the general directives of the responsible leaders of the Third International.

A study of this experience [and] an analysis and appraisal of the tactical considerations which it has prompted [are] easiest of all to conduct along two lines, the socio-economic and the national-political, which are, to be sure, quite inseparable in the single stream of life.


In the socio-economic sphere, Ukraine represents at once a peculiar and largely independent national-economic organism with a specific economic life and a rather complex system of social relations.

In Ukraine, which is an agricultural country not only at present but in the perspective of the further growth of its productive forces, the proletariat makes up no more than 15 per cent of the total toiling population in the process of socio-economic development; its ranks are divided on the one hand into an industrial proletariat, which is in large measure organised (by the very nature ofits life), and, on the other hand, into an agricultural proletariat, which is widely scattered and little organised. The next social force in order of natural affinity for the aims of the socialist revolution in Ukraine is the scattered, semi-proletarianised poor peasantry, which forms about 30 per cent of the total population. Next comes the fairly compact mass of the so-called middle peasantry, of considerable importance in the total agricultural production of Ukraine, with the deep-rooted psychology of the proprietor and landowner. This class represents 45 per cent of thetotal population.

This ratio of the toiling social elements in Ukraine lends a peculiar, specifically agrarian colour to the whole development of the socialist revolution and is the inevitable result of the economic structure of Ukraine, where the major part of all industry is connected with the land and engaged in the processing of agricul­tural products. The mass production of raw materials – primarilyagricultural, with a minimum of processing – is the dominant characteristic of the economy of Ukraine. Thus, only a very insignificant part of the Ukrainian proletariat is concentrated in great industrial centres such as the Donets-Kryvyi Rih area, the northern part of Chernihiv Province and several large cities. The overwhelming majority of the proletarian forces is employed and scattered throughout various types of enterprises connected withthe, processing of agricultural products and, to a rather large extent, borders unconsciously on the next social category, the village semi-proletariat. This latter group (the village semi-proletariat) obtains the main share of its livelihood not from its own individual farms (in complete shell-like isolation), but from its labour on large intricately organised estates, on which the division ofIabour is highly developed and which are being transformed into real agricultural factories. Here, the semi-proletarian elements of the village feel the profoundly organising influence of a developed capitalistic enterprise and a large labour collective.

In addition, it is noteworthy that, on the one hand, the isolation of the urban industrial proletariat and, on the other hand, the unawareness of the transition of the agricultural proletariat and semi-proletariat of the village are strengthened to a significant degree by the peculiar and enduring national, cultural and customary mode of rural life, which is quite different from the tenor of life of the thin stratum of the Russified, urban industrial proletariat.

In the purely agrarian region of Ukraine, which, in contrast to Great Russia, did not experience the commune system, the economic differentiation of the village is well-advanced; in turn, the only remaining task is the ideological clarification and organisational consolidation of this differentiation.

In this process, of special significance is the fact that the average size of land allotment per person throughout the entire Ukraine amounts to only 1.75 desyatins (Kyiv Province, 1.2; Podol’ye Province, 1.2; Volyn’ Province, 1.7; Chernihiv Province, 2.0; Poltava Province, 1.5; Kharkiv Province, 2.9; Katerynoslav Province, and Kherson Province, 2.3). Therefore, with respect to the amount of land owned, that category which we call the middle peasantry is very close to the poor peasantry and maintains itself, on a par with the middle peasantry only by virtue of the relatively high level of agricultural cultivation.

Thus, in Ukraine, the proletarian forces, which are the natural agents of the communist revolution, represent about 45 per cent [of the totallocal population], including the village semi-proletariat which is under the collective organisational arrangement in large agricultural enterprises. Only these forces, consonant with the economic structure of the country, have a grouping and concentration different from that in the majority of European countries, particularly in Great Russia.

From the outset of the revolutionary movement, this fact has set before the leading groups of the proletariat the challenging and extraordinarily complex task of the immediate enrolment of the village proletariat and semi-proletariat in active communist work. The complete disregard of this task is the basic cause of the latest defeat of the Soviet government in Ukraine.

The organised consolidation of communist achievements in Ukraine which are being accomplished through the violence of the Revolution (probably unlike [the situation] anywhere else) will be possible only if there is no turning away from this task, and if the leading forces of the communist revolution exert all their efforts toward its execution. However, the fulfilment of this task can be envisaged only if the leadership over this process is in the hands of those communist forces which are organically linked with the sum total of the socio-economic conditions and the potentialities of Ukraine.

Only with the enrolment of all local communist forces in creative work is it possible to conceive of the establishment of a proletarian state apparatus, which is alive to complex reality and which is, through the correct basic communist line, capable of embodying all the necessary latitude which was so brilliantly elaborated upon by the leader [i.e., Lenin] of the Russian faction of international communism at the Eighth Congress of the [Russian Communist]Party.


Along with all the socio-economic complexity of the situation, the aggravation of national-political conditions adds further complication. The complexity and acuteness of these and similar conditions have had, at times, a highly pernicious influence on the development of the proletarian revolution, which has depended far more upon the constant (persistent) intrusion, in the course of this development, of external forces, alien to the sum total of local conditions.

Consonant with the peculiar socio-economic structure, there has developed in the course of history an extraordinarily enduring, national cultural setting which is original in its very foundations.

An independent language, with all its imagery and fancy which help in understanding the world, the richly developed and strikingly characteristic song, the customs and folkways which are peculiar and sharply different from those of Great Russia and which reflect precisely the nature of economic conditions – in short the totality of the national cultural experience proved capable of withstanding century-long oppression by the Russifying landowning and bourgeois state machine. During this oppression, the totality of the cultural-national experience, in its own way, was preserved compact and alive only in the social depths, in the Ukrainian proletariat, in the heart of the Ukrainian proletariat and semi-proletariat, in the heart of those social groups which are the bearers of the communist revolution.

Powerless to break the constancy of the cultural-national feeling of the Ukrainian proletariat and peasantry, the state machine succeeded in checking this cultural growth, and transformed the cities from centres for the crystallisation of cultural attainment in the country into culturally-isolated islands and coercive seats of an alien culture, artificially implanted and therefore parasitic.

There developed a serious national-political inertia which is reflected rather sharply even in the figures for the ratio of the [total] population to the secondary schools in Ukraine: Ukrainians, 71.119 per cent of the population, have 121 schools; Great Russians, 12.6 per cent of the population, 950 schools; that is, thequota of secondary schools for the entire native population is 10.8 per cent, while the quota for the thin stratum of the Great Russian population is 84.7 per cent. In other words, the nationalities and the schools are in inverse ratio.

It follows that, prior to the socialist revolution in Ukraine conditions were such that the Ukrainian proletariat and semi-proletariat, which are now the motive forces of the communist revolution, were faced either with the nationalist tendencies of the Ukrainian bourgeoisie and bourgeois intelligentsia or with the actual domination of the Great Russian language and culture and with the inertia resulting from Russification in the entire governmental apparatus in Ukraine. The one threatens and frequently succeeds in obscuring the purity of the class consciousness of the working masses through the nationalist opiate; the other does not provide or create the conditions for the growth of the extraordinarily enduring forms of culture which are peculiar to the Ukrainian proletariat and semi-proletariat and for their use as a powerful factor in the struggle for international unity of the working class.

The government which attempts to control the course of the proletarian revolution in Ukraine and sets as its task the enrolment of ever broader ranks of the proletarian and semi-proletarian masses in communist construction is, in this sense, a pledge of success; in connection with the development of national forms of culture, such a government should adopt a strong position, a policy commensurate with all the complexity of the socio-political situation in Ukraine and with the importance of cultural-educational work, unthinkable when based on the previous standards of alien national forms. During the communist revolution, the national question is a question of tactics. However, simply to take into account the persistence of the national cultural experience of the Ukrainian proletariat and semi-proletariat is sufficient to [compel us to] search for suitably easier ways of drawing them into the orbit of international communism not on the plane of hopeless and perilous attempts of further de-nationalisation, but in the large perspective of the natural, organic survival of national forms and their victory at the heights of international unity of the working class of all countries and nations. Therefore, in the sphere of national culture, a broad and planned policy of encouraging the development of proletarian culture in national forms, which are native and close to the Ukrainian proletariat and peasantry, will be not an impediment but an active factor in the communist revolution.

This policy, incontestably imperative in view of the growth of the cultural level of the toiling masses of Ukraine without which the development of their class consciousness would be impossible, is likewise dictated by the pressing need to disarm counterrevolutionary enemies, who so obtrusively and at times so successfully attempt to substitute the national struggle for the social task of the working class. In this sense, it is extremely significant that the national slogan, which was raised by all the anti-Soviet uprisings, was successful in just those insurgent regions (Kyiv, Poltava and Chernihiv Provinces) where the poor peasants participated, while, conversely, the slogan scarcely figured in the purely kulak uprisings of Kherson Province.

It is altogether natural that the carrying out of this tactical line, perhaps to a greater degree than in the field of socio-economic phenomena, demands the establishment of a proletarian governmental apparatus which is extremely sensitive to the phenomena of local reality and which is capable of avoiding both a relapse into the old inertia resulting from Russification and the mistakes on the side of Ukrainian chauvinism. But the establishment of such an apparatus without the fullest enrolment in this work of all local forces and those close to them would be a hopeless task.

The striking peculiarity of the socio-economic and national-cultural structure of Ukraine clearly raises the political side of the question concerning the necessity of establishing Ukraine as a separate Soviet Republic, as an independent member of the growing world-wide federation of Soviet Republics. The sum total of the specific conditions and peculiarities of the construction of economic life and the grouping of social forces which determines the course and themes for the development of the social revolution must, with inevitable finality, find its state-political achievement in all spheres of life, for only under such conditions is there a possibility for the maximum use of all the real forces and conditions of the country in the interests of the dictatorship of the proletariat as the best planned organisation for the growth of the productive forces. Each tactical mistake in this sphere, every interference or pressure by an outside forcediscordant with local conditions, complicates the work of further differentiation, [and] interrupts the ideological clarification and the organisational consolidation of already defined class groups – in other words, temporarily substitutes the national for the social struggle.

IV [sic]

A simple analysis of the socio-economic structure and the national-political situation in Ukraine clearly reveals all the peculiarity of the grouping and development of the local motive forces of the revolution in general and of the proletarian forcesin particular. These peculiarities determine the unique lot of Ukrainian socio-political parties.

In the pre-revolutionary period, the comparatively weak concentration of the village proletariat and semi-proletariat, the low and artificially maintained level of cultural development, together with the exploitation of their forces by the centralising state machine inevitably impeded the organisational-ideological, consolidation of the spontaneous revolutionary impulses of the proletarian and semi-proletarian masses and caused the increassing penetration of active revolutionary elements into Russian revolutionary parties.

The inevitable development of Ukrainian socialist parties and appearance on the scene of active leadership over the revolutionary movement was delayed. Despite all of this, from the outset of the all-Russian Revolution, the leadership over this movement in Ukraine speedily passed into the hands of Ukrainian parties, and the period of conciliatory socialism transpired under the badge not of Russian but of Ukrainian SRs and SDs, mirroring all the specific peculiarities of the local socio-economic structure and the ideological climate.

A similar delay, caused by the peculiar nature of the grouping and development of the motive forces of the proletarian revolution in Ukraine and by the whole international situation seriously reflected therein, has occurred with the growth of the Ukrainian Communist Party as the centre for the enrolment of the local social forces which are bringing about the communistrevolution.

The disunity of the agricultural and the small urban proletariat, the proximity of a large part of the latter to the Great Russian proletariat, the alien – in large-measure occupational – character of the establishment of Soviet government in Ukraine for asecond time with all its inevitable tactical errors, and, finally, the dangerous period of bourgeois-landowner reaction failed to create favourable conditions for the enrolment of large numbers of the Ukrainian proletariat and semi-proletariat in active communist construction.

Moreover, these conditions in large part extinguished the enormous charges of potential and actual revolutionary energy contained in the circles of the village proletariat and semi-proletariat. These very circumstances retarded the already complex and difficult process of the formation and organisational-ideological crystallisation of the communist party, which isgrowing organically out of the sum total of socio-economic and cultural conditions of Ukraine.

Nevertheless, from the outset of the proletarian revolution in Russia, the tendency to create a local communist party has been quite clear, and the centre of its crystallisation plainly in evidence. Furthermore, with the prolonged interruption in the development of the revolution in Ukraine, at all major junctures of this development the organisational-ideological centre of the Ukrainian Communist Party has appeared with ever increasing activity as a section of international communism and has fought in the ranks of the Third International for the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The peculiarity of the socio-economic structure of Ukraine is also evident from the fact that the organisational nucleus of the Ukrainian Communist Party, which, after a certain inevitable delay, is now linked organically with the masses of the agricultural proletariat (the overwhelming majority of Ukrainian proletarian forces), was formed within the ranks of the disintegrating party of Ukrainian SRs. This party’s sphere of interest was theagricultural proletariat and semi-proletariat until the outbreak of the communist revolution.

A second creative force of the Ukrainian Communist Party again consonant with the peculiar nature of the socio-economic groupings and the national cultural peculiarities of Ukraine is the “Left Independent” wing of the Ukrainian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party.

The reason for the existence of this “wing” lies, on the one hand, in the persistence of the national cultural experience among a certain (firm) section of the Ukrainian proletariat, including the industrial proletariat, and, on the other hand, in the disregard on the part of all-Russian revolutionary Social Democracy for the acuteness and complexity of the national question in Ukraine.

This protracted crystallisation of communist forces, growing organically out of the whole mass of the socio-economic structure and national-cultural conditions of Ukraine, a process which, by the end of the second proletarian revolution in Ukraine, had reached a measure of finality in the formation of the Ukrainian Communist Party (Borotbisty), clearly outlines both the perspectives of the further development of the communist revolution and the nature of the relations between the two communist centres of Ukraine.

The natural delay on the part of the overwhelming majority of the Ukrainian proletariat and semi-proletariat in entering organised participation in the communist revolution and communist construction, the historically formed bond between a large number of an important segment of the urban industrial proletariat of Ukraine and the Great Russian proletariat, the urgent need to broaden the basis of the revolution during the extremely difficult struggle against world counterrevolution, at the same time, the old inertia – not easily overcome – of the centralising state machine have created the historically inevitable characteristics of the largely occupation type construction of the Soviet government in Ukraine and at the same time, the historically inevitable, temporary organisation of the Russian Communist Party in Ukraine, which, in fact, has been and is the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine.

These historically inevitable characteristics of the enrolment of Ukraine, under occupation, in the orbit of the communist revolution and the occupation-type construction of its Soviet government have hastened and at the same time profoundly complicated the development of the communist revolution in Ukraine and the communist centre, which is growing organically out of the totality of the socio-economic and cultural national structure of Ukraine.

However, this process has been going on in silence; the broad ranks of the Ukrainian proletariat and semi-proletariat are drawing their own conclusions based on the experience of the revolution which has developed through the establishment of the Ukrainian Communist Party (Borotbisty), the organically emerging centre for the enrolment and organisational-ideological unification of communist forces of Ukraine.

To what extent this centre is inevitably the organic consequence of the sum total of the peculiarities of the socio-economic structure of Ukraine is evident from the fact that, having emerged from the ranks of the nationalist Ukrainian socialist parties, it has become at the same time the centre which is uniting and more and more is enrolling wide proletarian circles of all nationalities living in the territory of Ukraine. This proves that the distinction – artificially created by tsarism – between the industrial and agricultural proletariat of Ukraine is rapidly disappearing. This very tendency serves as the pledge that in the further course of the communist revolution the mighty surge toward active creative work by the broadest proletarian and semi-proletarian masses of Ukraine will lead inevitably to the fusion of all proletarian forces into a single type, cultural in its deepest foundations and determined by the totality of the development of the productive forces of Ukraine, which will display a certain internal unity with all the variety of their social peculiarities.

The international situation and the extreme intensity of the struggle between world revolution and world counterrevolution demand both the speediest entry of the Ukrainian proletarians into the ranks of active fighters for the communist revolution and the speediest reconstruction of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic.

This reconstruction, consonant with all the experience of the past period of the revolution, should and will be undertaken by the single Ukrainian communist centre which in the course of the development of the revolution has grown out of the total conglomeration of the socio-economic and cultural-national forces, condi­tions and potentialities of Ukraine.

Kyiv, 28 August 1919

C[entral] C[ommittee] of theUkrainian Communist Party (Borotbisty).


  • 1. Goldelman, Solomon, Jewish National Autonomy in Ukraine 1917-1920, Chicago, 1968, Moses, Silberfarb, The Jewish Ministry and Jewish National Autonomy in Ukraine 1918/19, New York, 1993.
  • 2. ‘Declaration of the Provisional Government’, ‘The Kerensky Provisional Government and the Ukrainian Central Rada’, Walter Dushnyk, Ukrainian Quarterly, Summer 1967, Vol XXIII, No.2, New York. p. 25
  • 3. Raya Dunayevskaya identified a similar problem in the anti-colonial revolutions after 1945: ‘The greatest obstacle to the further development of these national liberation movements comes from the intellectual bureaucracy which has emerged to ‘lead’ them. In the same manner the greatest obstacle in the way of the working class overcoming capitalism comes from the Labor bureaucracy that leads it’, Raya Dunayevskaya, Nationalism, Communism, Marxist Humanism and the Afro-Asian Revolutions. Cambridge, 1961, p. 15.
  • 4. These problems of the revolution were highlighted in the writings of the leading Ukrainian Bolsheviks Vasyl Shakhray and Serhii Mazlakh and in a series of books in 1918-1919. See: Vasyl Skorovstansky, [Shakhrai]. Revoliutsiia na Ukraine, 2nd ed. Saratov, 1918, and Shakhray i Maslakh. Do khvyli: Shcho diiet’sia na Ukraý¨ni i z Ukrainoiu, Saratov, 1919. The latter is also in an English edition, Vasyl Shakhrai, and Serhii Maslakh. On the Current Situation in the Ukraine, ed. PeterJ. Potichnyj, (University of Michigan Press, 1970.) This became key texts of the pro- independence currents of Ukrainian communism during the revolution.
  • 5.
  • 6. Radkey, Oliver, The Elections to the Russian Constituent Assembly of 1917, Harvard, 1950, p. 21
  • 7. Vynnychenko also tried in vain to convince his USDRP comrades to take over completely and form a Ukrainian radical left government. V, Vynnycneko, Vidrodzhennia Natsii, Kiev-Vienna, 1920, Tom. II, pp. 220-22.
  • 8. Medvedev, Roy, Let History Judge, New York, 1972, p.16.
  • 9. Borys, Jurij, The Sovietization of Ukraine, 1917–1923, Edmonton, 1980. p. 190
  • 10. On 9 March 1918, Colonel von Stolzenberg told his High Command: ‘It is very doubtful whether this government, composed as it is exclusively of left opportunists, will be able to establish a firm authority’ Oleh, Fedyshyn, Germany’s Drive to the East and the Ukrainian Revolution, 1917–1918, New Brunswick, 1971, p. 96.
  • 11. In a telegram from German Ambassador to Ukraine, Baron Mumm, to the German Foreign Office, dated 30 April 1918, Ibid, Fedyshyn, p. 84.
  • 12. Mace, James, Communism and the Dilemmas of National Liberation, National Communism in Soviet Ukraine, 1918-1933, Harvard, 1983, p. 59.
  • 13. “Platforma Tsentral’noho Komitetu Ukrai’ns’koi’ Parttii ‘Sotsiyalistiv- Revolyutsioneriv (rozuminnya suchasnoho mentu i taktyka partii’),” Borotba, No. 1, August 1918, reprinted in Khrystyuk, op. cit,. Vol. IV, pp. 91-94. Italics in the original.
  • 14. “Proyekt dekreta o sodeistvii razvitiyu kul’tury ukrainskovo naroda,” in K razreshetiiyu natsional’novo voprosa [Toward a Solution of the National Question], 2nd enlarged ed., Kyiv, Borotba, 1920, pp. 15-20.
  • 15. Probably Konstantin D Ushinski (1824-1970), a prominent Russian educator. – Ed.
  • 16. Cf figure of 71.1 per cent in Appendix 5.
  • 17. Ibid, pp.118-119.
  • 18. Memorandum Ukrainkoi Komunistychnoi Partii (Borotbystiv) do Vykonavchoho Komitetu III-bo Komunistychnoho Internatsionalu, Kyiv, Borotba, 1920, pp. 7-22.
  • 19. Cf figure of 77.1 per cent in Appendix 4, p. 348