UKRAINIAN NATIONAL FRONT (UNF)
The Ukrainian National Front (UNF) was an underground organization created at the initiative of D. KVETSKO and supported by former political prisoner Zenoviy KRASIVSKY, with the two becoming the effective leaders of the organization.
There were around 150 people in UNF in different regions of Ukraine. There were groups in the ivano-Frankivsk region (D. KVETSKO, L. Yusyp, B. Ravlyuk, M. Dyak, V. Kulynyn), a group in the Lviv region (Z. KRASIVSKY, M. Melen, H. Prokopovych), in Lviv (I. Hubka, S. Korolchuk, I. Mohytych, S. Vardynets, B. Krysa), groups in the Rivne region, the Luhansk region (M. Kachur) and in the Kirovohrad region (Y. LESIV), and isolated members in other regions who did not usually know about each other’s existence. Thanks to this strict conspiracy, the UNF survived for three years.
The UNF’s main objective was to achieve Ukrainian independence. It declared itself to be the successor to the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and recognized only a revolutionary road to attaining their aims. At the same time its ideologue D. KVETSKO included in the program documents of the UNF the ideas of “people’s socialism”, close to that of western European social democracy. Unlike the Shestydesyatnyky who were largely concerned with cultural issues, the UNF concentrated on political problems. It was effectively the first national-democratic party which raised the ideas of the OUN to the level of the 1960s and thus drew together a generation of fighters for Ukraine’s freedom. UNF members circulated several hundred of their own brochures and leaflets in various regions of Ukraine. They were first prepared in the flats of KRASIVSKY and M. Melen, then later in a hide-out set up by D. KVETSKO and D. Yusyp near the Lyuta Hill, not far from Sloboda-Bolekhivska. They also circulated propaganda literature from the OUN from 1947-1948, which Yusyp had found. This included: “Who are Bandera-supporters and what are they fighting for?”, “The Information Bureau of the UHVP [the “Ukrainian Central Liberation Council”], leaflets, appeals to Ukrainian teachers, children, rural people with calls to fight the occupiers. The documents were left in crowded areas, in educational institutions, and thrown into the post boxes of dozens of populated areas, even placed in floating packages and sent down the river. The most active and daring were the district officer of the Dolynsky District Police Station M. Dyak, cadet M. Fediv, Y. LESIV and V. Kylynyn.
In April 1966 the UNF both circulated and sent to the XXIII Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union the “UNF Memorandum”, in which the political demands of the organization were set out, and a protest expressed over the repression of the Ukrainian intelligentsia. It was, in particular, stressed that the modern national liberation movement was not inspired from abroad, but was the direct consequence of the policy of Russificiation. The demand was put to return to Ukraine in the first instance all those forcibly deported. During the early hours of 19 April, M. Dyak circulated in Kyiv the “UNF Declaration” to coincide with a press conference for foreign journalists on the traditional theme “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists – hirelings of foreign intelligence services (linked with the arrests of the Shestydesyatnyky in 1965).
In 1967 the UNF was uncovered by the State Security Service. On 20 March 1967 in the Kirovohrad region Yaroslav LESIV was arrested, a day later D. KVETSKO was summoned and arrested. On the same day Hryhory Prokopovych was arrested; on 22 March – M. Dyak, 23 March – Myroslav Melen; 24 March – Z. KRASIVSKY; 27 March – Ivan Hubka; on 11 April – S. Korolchuk and on 26 May – V. Kulynyn. All were charged with State Treason (Article 56 § 1 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR), for which there were in fact no grounds, and with creating an anti-Soviet organization (Article 64), Dyak was also charged with illegal possession of a weapon (Article 222 § 1).
Since most of those arrested denied any organizational activities, only 8 individuals at several trials were sentenced to long periods of deprivation of liberty. Most of the members were never discovered by the KGB. This is confirmed by the activities of the “Ukrainian National Front – 2” (Mykola Krainyk) and the youth organization the “Ukrainian National Liberation Front” (Z. POPADYUK, Y. Mykytko).