ROSOKHACH (CHORTKIV) GROUP
The Rosokhach (Chortkiv) Group was a youth patriotic underground organization with 9 members founded on 5 November 1972 in the village of Rosokhach, the Chortkiv district of the Ternopil region. Its aim was to fight for Ukraine’s independence. The text of the oath of allegiance was written by the Group’s leader Volodymyr MARMUS, and it was sworn during a solemn ceremony (with candles and kneeling before the Cross and image of Mary, Mother of God).
The first members of the organization were Volodymyr SENKIV, Petro VITIV and Petro VYNNYCHUK. On 5 November they ripped down red flags hung for the anniversary of the October Revolution. At the end of October they had used an axe to damage the Monument to the “Soviet Fighter-Liberator”, in retribution for the desecration in the village of the grave of the Sichovi striltsi [fighters from military units striving for a free Ukraine]. On 14 January 1973 the oath was taken by Mykola MARMUS, Mykola SLOBODYAN, Mykola LYSY, Andriy KRAVETS, and on 20 January by Stepan SAPELYAK.
For the 55th anniversary of the proclamation of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR) AND THE 54th anniversary of the “Act of Unification between the UNR and ZUNR [the Western Ukraine People’s Republic], the organization held a protest action in Chortkiv against the arrests of members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia and against the policy of Russification. During the night from 21 to 22 January 1973 they pasted up 19 slogans “:: “Svoboda ukrainskym patriotam” [“Freedom for Ukrainian patriots”], “Hanba polititsi rusyfikatsiyi!” [“The policy of Russification is an outrage!”], “Khai zhyve zrostayuchy ukrainsky patriotism!” [“Long live and flourish Ukrainian patriotism!”] and “Freedom of speech, press, meetings!”, and raised four yellow and blue flags.
The arrests began on 19 February 1973. All, except the still underage P. VITIV, were convicted of forming an anti-Soviet organization (Article 64 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR) and carrying out “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” (Article 62 § 1). They held themselves courageously in captivity.
In 2006 they were awarded the Order of Courage, first grade (S. SAPELYAK in 2005 – “For achievements III grade).