HOROKHIVSKY Levko Fedorovych
author: Vasyl Ovsiyenko
V.Ovsienko: On October 27,1998, in the Republican Christian Party office, in 23, Petro Sahajdachny str., Vahtang Kipiani is filming the interview given by L.Horohivsky to Vasyl’ Ovsienko.
L.Horokhivsky: According to my mother I was born on February 15, 1943, during the war-time. My parents were in Germany. When it was time for me to be born, my mother came from Germany to the village of Nosiv, Pidhaytsy rayon, Ternopil’ oblast’. That is where I was born. I came to this world crippled and the midwife advised my mother to go back to Germany to treat me there. I stayed in a German hospital for 14 months. The doctors proposed leg surgery, but my parents did not agree, so I stayed in the cast till I was 5 years old.
When in 1945 my parents came back from Germany, they did not have their own house and rented one in Saranchuky village, Berezhany rayon. My father was a carpenter. In Germany he worked in carpentry too. The Americans even offered him a job in the US – we happened to be in the zone under American control. My father was a very skilled specialist. But he refused, being duped by the recruiters who promised a lot to the people playing on their patriotic feelings. But when they arrived in Ukraine, they saw with their own eyes what actually was going on.
My mother was often invited to the wedding parties, because she sang beautifully and was a very good cook.
In1947 we moved to Rybnyky village, where I started elementary school at the age of 6. I remember my teacher’s words: “Let him start school at six; he is so tall that other kids will be teasing him”. I was a good student, always elected prefect. By the year 1953 we have built a house at Poutory station, three km from the village and moved there. I went to Saranchuky school.
The pivot moment in my perception of the world occurred when I was in the seventh form and read Jack London’s novel “Martin Eden”. This book thoroughly transformed my life. My mode of thinking changed, I started evaluating everything with grain of salt, although I persisted in my romantic attitude. The problem is, parents were afraid to explain to the kids what was going on around them. At school I was fascinated with history, and when my father became aware of how far I have progressed, he scolded me: “You, communist!” So he had to enlighten me: “You remember, don’t you that forty bodies were drawn out of the river in our village”. The river was called Zolota Lypa and NKVD used it to dispose of the bodies of the Ukrainian intellectuals killed in Berezhany jail before the Germans arrived. The bodies were floating in the river, with gouged eyes, noses and ears cut off. The priest Korduba arranged the burials after the bodies were fetched from the river. It was in 1941. They were buried in the church-yard. At the time I did not believe my father. But when I studied in the 8th or 9th grade the teacher Volodymyr Pylypiv told me the same story (he used to give me books to read), I started thinking about the events and on November 22, 1989 we, the UHG(Ternopil branch) members, organized memorial service in Saranchuky, at the graves of the UPA fighters killed by NKVD.
At the age of 16 I graduated from the secondary school and entered Lviv Polytechnic Institute. I was a freshman when in 1959 my mother died. I found myself in a total alien environment. My fellow students were all graduates of the technical vocational schools as it was a technical institute. Later I understood it was not my vocation. I hesitated, but finally chose the construction department, probably because my dad advised me to go there. People around me were all Russian-speaking. So talking to them I would switch to Russian as well. Although the question kept nagging me all the time: why Ukrainians should be talking in Russian? So when I was 17, I swore to myself to use only Ukrainian language in the Ukrainian territory.
I loved poetry since my secondary school. I was really overwhelmed with Bondarenko recital in Lviv Opera House at the Shevchenko anniversary celebration in 1964. After that I learnt two Shevchenko’s verses by heart (“I do not care” and “Shall I write myself”) and used them to educate my peers. I was aware of what was going on around me. In fact, I was not interested in politics and did not follow political developments. After my graduation I worked first in Rivne oblast’, in 1966–1967, and then moved to Ternopil. In the design institute there I worked as the head of the group, and was even offered the position of the head of the capital construction department at the Ternopil ferro-concrete fittings plant (now “Vatra”). I was 25 at the time. Meanwhile a high official divulged to me that I was under KGB close observation. I, however, ignored the warning.
I can say that considering the time period, I was put in jail just by chance, although I wrote anti-soviet, nationalistic poetry. I never missed an opportunity to openly criticize the regime, the kolkhozes, or the national policy. I loved to refer to history, as I was fascinated with it. At that time I got hold of the book “Internationalism or Russification?” by I.Dzyuba. A group of volunteers started copying it. We made copies and proceeded to distribute the book. Upon hearing my criticism of the soviet mode of life a war veteran Sergeyeva reported on me. I have no doubt it was her doing. These people collaborated with KGB. We stood trial together with my colleague M.Samanchuk. We were sentenced to four years each.
V.Ovsienko: Tell me about your arrest, how it happened.
L.Horokhivsky: We were arrested in 1969, on Sunday of February 2. I was 26 and I lived in a dorm. My friend (Pavlo) and I were going to a party. But suddenly they came and told me to get into black “Volga” car to talk. Two solidly built men sat behind, put me into the car and took me to an office. There I saw a lot of officers, giving me a thorough scrutiny. They were looking at me like wild beasts. I felt as if I were caged by them.
V.Ovsienko: Was it a KGB office?
L.Horokhivsky: Ternopil KGB. Everyone was treating me with contempt, accusing me of something and demanding something from me. I grasped the only thing important to me: “We have been following you for the whole year, and we know about your activities”. Then I was taken to the dungeons, and, once left alone, I started analyzing the events and, specifically their words about following me for a year. The next day, when I was taken for an interrogation I asked: “Look here, if you have been following me for the whole year, why no one ever told me I was doing something wrong? Is KGB’s task just putting people in jail? ” Who told you that?” “You did, yesterday”, I responded. “No one told you that”. They had to imprison me – and they did.
I never repented, but my mate wept at the hearing. He heard his wife sobbing in the court-room, she was three months pregnant at the time. Everyone cried, so it was difficult for him not to. I had hard time too, because I was called to speak after him, but I pulled myself together.
The transportation took about a month, through Kyiv, through Kharkiv…
V.Ovisenko: And what was the date of your trial?
L.Horokhivsky: The hearing took place on September 4, 1969. We were kept in prison for more than six months. When I was allowed to look at my file, I wanted to check who said what, but my investigator won’t let me. My first investigator was Lokha. I do not remember his first name. Later he was replaced, may be, due to his mildness. My next investigator was the same that handled Mykola Horbal’s case - H.Bidyovka. He got promotion after that. He was banging his fist on the table during interrogations: “Aren’t you ashamed to dishonor your parents like this?” I said: “I do not refuse to talk, but I do not recall what you are asking me about”. And he goes: “Aren’t you ashamed to dishonor your parents like this?” And then: “Aren’t you ashamed to dishonor the diploma issued to you by the soviet power?” But I went on stubbornly: “I do not refuse to talk, but I do not remember what you are asking me about, so what shall I say?” He was asking about other people involved in the case. There was no crime involved, but I did not want to contribute to someone’s conviction. Then the investigator said: “You go and ….” And he started swearing. I said: “Good bye then”. But when I was at the door, he ordered: “Stop! Will you talk to us normally?” These were our first conversations. I was driving them mad, but eventually, things sorted themselves out. Reviewing my case I found out that 25 persons had testified against me. 25 among my acquaintances. Bidyovka tore the file out of my hands as he did not want me to read it. But I was entitled to familiarize myself with the case, so I told him: “I have to know what is written here before I sign”. “Just sign it!” He practically forced me to sign it.
We were brought to Mordovia, Zubovo-Polyana rayon, Ozerny settlemenet, ZhKh 385/17-2. There I met V.Leonyuk, who was tried in the Hnatyuk case, who had arrived from Inta. We became friends and used to get together for holidays, Shevchenko’s anniversary and others. Leonyuk wrote a historic novel about Pinsk area, that is where he was from. It is near Berestechko, ancient Ukrainian territories. The colonel Nebaba, who, alongside Bohdan Khemlnitsky, liberated Ukraine, was from the area. In the 30-s Stalin adjoined Bersetechko area to Belarus’. At that camp I also met the human rights activist from Odessa, what’s his name…( О.Riznyk – V.О.) And a lot of people from UPA – Ye.Pryshlyak, who had served the term of 25 years, Fedoruk, O.Bilsky. Oleksa Bilsky was discharged, he lived somewhere in Volyn’ later. M.Samanchuk, my”accomplice”, was in a different zone. We were held in 17-2 for some time, and then, for some reason, were transferred to the zone 3 for one week. There I met M.Bereslavsky.
V.Ovsienko: Was it in Barashevo?
L.Horokhivsky: Right, in Barashevo. We were making some spare auto-parts with Bereslavsky. And in Ozerny we used to sew the working gloves. First I could not meet the norm, but once I managed to exceed it. We had to sew 70 pairs of gloves, and I made a hundred and something. But then I lagged behind again. They called me, and I saw some guys sitting in front of me with red arm-bands (“Internal regulations council”– V.О.) And I was so mad I talked back to them: “Look, who are you to judge me? You were the judges under Poland, under the German rule, under the soviet power – and here you are judging me again? I believe my biography is unlike yours. I work as much as I can”. There was a young lieutenant among them. He offered me the job of the foreman, but I refused, because it felt like they wanted to buy me with some privileges. So I rejected it.
There I met my compatriot in the library. He said: “Don’t you recognize me? In the 50-s I used to be the kolkhoz head in Saranchuky”. And I responded: “No, I don’t. Our kolkhoz head was Lubinsky, and you are Herchanovsky”. “But it’s me!” – he almost shouted. He changed his name after having served in the German police. Once he received an Easter parcel and died right after that.
In the third zone, in Barashevo, I met Mykola Kots. He had been in prison for 12 years. We stayed in touch after our release. He still lives in Dnipropetrovsk. (Passed away on 12.08. 2006. – V.О.). I even visited Dnipropetrovsk once after my release. While in the nineteenth zone I met Ivan Sokulsky (13.07.1940 – 22.06.1992. – V.О.), who was also from Dnipropetrovsk (at the19th I first met Mykola Horbal’ – there we had a broader circle). During my visit to Dnipropetrovsk – and it was my first time there – I was so amazed with the atmosphere and scope of Russification, that I could not help myself – I wrote a poem and sent it to Bereslavsky. Later Bereslavsky advised me not to trust verses like that to the regular mail delivery. Thank God, he said, this one arrived safely. If you are interested I can recite it for you.
V.Ovsienko: Go ahead.
L.Horokhivsky: It was written after my discharge, in 75.
More travels - rather colorful, but tough.
The words are beautiful, but feelings dumb
Due to the instincts grown rott’n and dull,
But still considered natural enough.
You burn with shame you cannot even hide,
And break the thread of your hope vain,
You look for traces of discord inside,
You look for them, but barely can find.
While life brings new events with every day,
Thus urging you to make up your mind.
The helpless tossing causes the unrest,
And further quests and failures and mishaps.
And setting on another useless quest,
You hear echo of forgotten steps
And see the hundreds weeping eyes of fate.
My history, my apprehended life,
A silent prayer, like forgotten mother,
Abandoned in the midst of violent strife,
Reality, disfigured and distorted
Takes place of battles to be won by others.
At the time it was a dangerous poem.
I would like to relay two more episodes. The first dates back to the time when I have served two years of my imprisonment. It was half of my term and I was still at the 17th. I was summoned by KGB major Ponomarenko, who introduced himself as the Supreme Council representative. When I arrived, he said: “Probably, you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. May be you did not deserve to be convicted. Write and appeal and you might be pardoned”. “Look,- I retorted – I would be a fool to reject pardon, but if KGB is so kind, just release me! Why should I write that I am guilty, while what you are saying is that I am not?” He interrupted: “Don’t you be so conceited.” I pulled myself together and said: “No. If I have to write anything at all, it will be a protest against my conviction”. And off I went. Later I was told that he had been removed and suffered a heart attack. May be he was saying things he was not supposed to say. Anyway, I quoted this dialogue in my protest to the prosecutors’ office of the USSR, in Moscow. The answer was: “Your conviction is justified”.
And another story, which happened at the 19th. I had to participate in a hunger strike. Mother of one of the Jews was refused a visit. We kept in touch with the Jews. I cannot say we always saw eye to eye with them, but we used to support each other. I wrote a statement announcing three days’ hunger strike. It was a token protest, because after 7 days they fed you by force. This way we supported some other inmates. Then M.Dyak, M.Yatsyshyn, Yakhman, Azernikov and Mykola Horbal’ transferred me some money from their jail accounts. I loved books and used to buy the new books through “Book by mail” service. And everyone in the zone knew perfectly well I had no money.
Here is one more story. Once everyone went out to work and I stayed behind in the barrack. The guy on duty, a certain Ivanov (by the way, he deserted from Finnish-Russian war in 1939-40 and served as policeman under the German rule), who sported black beard, starting frisking the bed stands. I reprimanded him. He cursed me with foul words…I was young then, came close to him and dared him to repeat what he had just said. He did. Then I hit him lightly, once and again. He ran out shouting: “This banderovets wanted to kill me!”
V.Ovsienko: It was an orderly then, not the keeper.
L.Horokhivsky: An orderly, right. I was sitting down, writing something when that incident happened. We used to copy petitions and poems and then get them outside. We made kind of paper rolls. More than once the guards would peep in, but I was sitting quietly, scribbling something…Slight movement…and off it goes under the card. But after Ivanov had started tumult, the commandant arrived accompanied by two guards. They took me away for 15 days. While sitting there I compiled two poems.
V.Ovsienko: You mean, in the isolation disciplinary cell??
L.Horokhivsky: Correct, in the isolation cell. Here is one of my poems:
I have to spend in cell13 more days …
The time is passing by in fervent flow
As if the life was cruelly thrown away
By will of savage words I do not know.
I felt like I was drunk, without pain
Condemned to serve my pointless term in hell,
Hangover gloom, momentary and vain
Was throbbing in the innards of the cell.
The night is cold and every minute lasts
For hours and the dreams can’t go away,
And naked body throws itself and thrusts,
On naked bunk incapable to stay.
The dawns are bringing new despair with them
Taking the rest of rest off shady walls,
And breaking the unfinished slumber rhythm
I waited for the evenings full of ghosts.
But through the tiny square of window leaf
I could imbibe the freedom from beneath,
Seeping from concrete walls and latrine stench
It would arrive my helpless thirst to quench.
On bread and water light grew dark and grey,
My hungry thoughts would wander lost in rhymes,
And stubborn calm would take its leave at times,
In the despair of my Mordovian days.
You remember that food was provided only once in two days in the disciplinary cells. The cell contained slab latrine and two stumps – on one you can sit, and the other is to put food on – and the plank bed, attached to the wall at six am and opened at 10 pm. It was October. I could stand famine, although I was hungry all the time, but I suffered most from the cold. The window was broken and I woke up at night with nothing for a cover. Sometimes I did push-ups on the floor till I dropped. Having thus warmed up, I went back to bed. And it would happen maybe 20 times per night. I barely survived. I wrote a protest to the prosecutor. I knew I was violating the regime, but I did write it anyway, claiming that neither my temperature, nor my blood pressure was measured, and I might have been sick. When the prosecutor arrived, he checked every corner, but never approached me and just went by. Then I shouted: “Citizen prosecutor!” He entered my cell then and said: “I received your petition. Even if it had been true, the commandant has the right…” “Then there is no point talking to you at all” – I answered. What is the use of such a prosecutor?
I knew that in1972 a large number of Ukrainian intellectuals were tried and convicted. And I was very sorry to be discharged. I just started to enjoy it…My life changed me. I told you before I did not go in for politics, was not interested in it, but my life made me pay attention, so that willy-nilly I had to become interested. Mykola Horbal’ went to Urals with the transport. We said our farewells and I was left behind, because my term was coming to an end. I wanted to meet this new wave of political prisoners. Because Ternopil is, to a large extent, a provincial town. It just happened so that I ended up in prison. My story was typical of the time period and the reprisals’ machine that ruined people’s lives. In retrospect, however, I believe it was great experience and great school for me. As if we graduated from some academies…My 32 notebooks filled out there were not given to me at the time of discharge. But after my request, sent to the prosecutor’s office, I got them back and saw that no one had checked them. After my liberation I could not find any employment for seven or eight months. I tried many places; after all I had technical education, but each and every director of a design company or an institute would say in private: “I would be glad to take you, but you know, I am approaching my retirement…”
Finally I was admitted to “Ukrsilhosptekhproyect”, a local branch of a Kyiv design institute. My understanding was that I was hired with the KGB blessing. That is why my life in Ternopil in certain sense was even worse than in the camps. Because in the camps one had one’s close circle, and here the environment was totally different. First people seemed to be supportive, but then they became afraid of me. Now and then I was summoned to KGB. I wanted to send my protest abroad – the one I have written in the zone and brought with me. A friend of mine made a film copy of it and returned the original to me. But instead of Canada it ended up in KGB. I was called a month later. Stepanyan, the head of the ideology department kept asking me the same question over and over– what I have done with the protest. I understood that the person who did the copy handed it to KGB (I don’t want to give his name here). It was not a big deal, but they tried to make a mountain out of a molehill. The same Stepanyan called me again later and suggested that I write an article about the “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism”, promising me an apartment and rise in salary. I advised him to approach the communists working in our organization – we had more than ten. His answer surprised me: “But they are all dumb”… He was laconic: “We got you”. And, indeed, I was demoted to the lower positions at work. I used to live in the dormitories, having no housing of my own, just moving from one dorm to another. The main goal of KGB was to break me psychologically, so that I would write a repenting statement and make it public. Here is what happened once. I went to Dniprpetrovsk for the second time to help I.Sokulsky (I had some money and wanted to support him) and visited Bereslavsky as well. On my way back I wrote a letter and posted it from Khmelnitsky. For many months they could not fathom who had written it. I was called to KGB on June 21, 1983. H.P.Bidyovka and I.I.Sochenko talked with me on that occasion. Bidyovka, sitting right opposite me, said: “Well, you duped us so cleverly that you might have been our colleague”. And without missing a beat: “Write!” I said I had no obligation to write anything. But he ordered someone already: “Bring the prosecutor”. Finally, on September 7, 1983 the discharged KGB colonel V.M.Kudakov was sent to my institute to deliver a lecture: “The struggle of two ideologies”. He shared his memoirs of how he fought against Bandera supporters. Everyone was so frightened. So he made an enemy of the regime out of me, claimed that the soviet power had given me this and that, while I kept fighting against it. When the director asked if anyone had the questions, I raised my hand. Director, behind the KGB man’s back, signed to me to put it down. Nevertheless, I managed to ask: “Whom are you taking me for?” The KGB presenter was caught unawares: “You’d better ask those…So far I did not call you a bandit”.
I was threatened and terrorized at every instance. For example, I refused to participate in subbotniks and attend lectures on political situation, and also to lay wreaths at the monument. There was one anecdotal occurrence. We had to lay the wreaths at the Soviet Army soldiers’ monument. I did not go. It turned out no one else went either. During the break we were called to the director’s office, but I did not go, contemplating the best possible explanation I could offer. I’ve come up with something. Right after the break I was called to the director’s office by the chief engineer. When I entered the room, I saw the entire leadership of our organization sitting there. Everyone was silent. The director was the first to speak. He asked: “Why didn’t you attend the meeting while everyone else was present?” I was ready for his question, so I answered: “I missed it due to the upset stomach”. He said: “I used to tell stories like that to my first-grade teacher”. And I go like: “Yosyp Vasylyovych, I don’t know what you told your teacher, but if you don’t believe me, you’d better arrange for the expert evaluation”. At that he went mad and started shouting at me: “You are missing political classes! You are ignoring subbotniks! You do not go to the wreaths’ laying!” And I responded: “True, I do not go. But I do not know who causes more harm to the soviet power – I, by not attending, or you, by forcing people to attend…” “Ah-h-h”…that was the end of it. He was fuming and turning green, but he managed to shout at me: “Away, away with you! Get out of here!” Before that I was somewhat worried, but on hearing that I grew absolutely calm and retorted: “How shall I understand that? Is it a private company or what? I feel OK right here”. – “We do not need specialists like you!” – “What kind of specialists do you need?” Then he grew calmer, too. “They must comply”. But I was not finished yet: “It is the informers you need, right?” All those present remained silent.
I related this episode as an illustration of the complexity of the situation. First I was supported, but later they started threatening me with withholding my “thirteenth salary”, crossing me off the list of prospective housing, so people were avoiding me. For the last time I was summoned to KGB in 1984. I did a project outside my institute, to earn some money for the family. The KGB officials used this fact to blackmail me and make me write a repenting statement. They followed me in the streets. But, thank God, I persevered. I kept listening to “Freedom” broadcasting, both in Russian and in Ukrainian, “Voice of America”, too, and they helped me to survive.
V.Ovsienko: Did you share the information?
L.Horokhivsky: I disseminated it by word of mouth, as I had no way of printing it out. Naturally, I debated with my interlocutors, had to persuade them. But an informer (by name of Strilka, if I am not mistaken) happened to be one of my room-mates. He was not very smart…At first I paid him no attention. He did not even graduate from the secondary school, and suddenly we found out that he was granted a diploma, an apartment and a foreman’s position. Once, something went wrong. I was summoned to KGB and right in the hall I saw my room-mate. He looked as if he wanted to fall under the ground - now I knew whom I was sharing my apartment with. He moved out immediately after that. So all the time I was under observation. And those who spied on me without my knowledge might have been a-plenty…
I used to come to Letyache village, in Zalishchyky rayon, Ternopil oblast’, to meet Mykola Horbal’ after his discharge. When Ukrainian Helsinki Group was being created, someone came to see my father in Poutory, but I could not locate that person. I had no contacts. After my liberation I visited a lot of people. But I have come to understand that people were scared due to their own bitter experience. On the one hand, I might have been followed for all they knew and on the other – I might have been one of those informants myself. First I came to see Stepan Bedrylo’s mother in Lviv oblast’. His mom was very scared and asked me never to come again and leave Stepan alone. Then I came to see Leonyuk – I returned him the book he once gave to me. It was the “History of Slavic literatures” written by Pypin and Spasovych. I believe, he married Hasyuk’s sister. Before my release O.Antoniv sent me the New Year and Christmas greetings and invited me to visit Lviv. I have been there many times, and through O.Antoniv, came to know Mykhailo Horyn’, whom I have not met before. I also met many others. But I sensed some tension. Because when I came to see people without a specific aim, just to ask how they were doing, it looked suspicious. The times were tough, and people were trying to do something…Anyway, I might have fantasized it all. I did not engage in anything serious after my discharge, i.e. I did not become a member of UHG. When I visited M.Horbal’ he was already married and planning to leave Ternopil and settle in Kyiv.
The year 1988 was especially hard – there were moments when I saw myself on the verge of depression. The environment…I could not get rid of my internal “ego”, I could not be different from what I used to be. After some discussions and debates I felt absolutely sure that I would be reported to KGB. I had access to information, and so my attitude was just as it is today, but the other people were intimidated. I cannot generalize – may be, it was true only with respect to those who held high offices. Halychchyna natives also wanted to keep their children safe and did not believe anything could be changed within the system. Even the true description of our slave condition (based on the information obtained from “Freedom”) did not sound convincing for my inside circle. They were intellectuals, seemingly close in their mode of thinking, but so hard to convince. Well, naturally, some people understood it all and did not need any persuasion – just like myself.
So when in 1988 V.Chornovil and M.Horyn’ approached me through our Lviv liaison L.I. Ivanyuk with the proposal of setting up the Ternopil branch of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, I agreed and started building it up from the scratch. First I came up with a plan (it was still 1988 and the time for big changes had not come yet) of approaching former political prisoners –I.Hereta and others. I had a list of Ternopil political prisoners, given to me by V.Chornovil ( P.Kukurudza, M.Chubaty, M.nevesely, V.Khalyava, Y.Omelyan, I.Mykolaychuk, V.Rokytsky, I.Hereta). But my plan failed. The typical scenario was their wives sending me packing as soon as I arrived on their porches. People were afraid; I understood and took no offense. But due to my firmness, or may be, stubbornness, I found my UHG candidates. I recall one instance. We went to Terebovlya rayon with my chief advisor and assistant O.Anhelyuk (he was an elderly man and sympathized with the UHG). I wanted to set up a local branch of the UHG there. We came to a man who used to be UPA fighter. He was the head of the Strusiv bandura chapel. He told us he was a painter as well. I listened to him and in the end suggested that he sets up the UHG locally (the year was still1998) I could see he was bewildered.
Several days later he called Anhelyuk by phone to ask me never to come to Terebovlya again. I understood we were followed by KGB. But later, according to Anhelyuk, he became our supporter.
On January 14, 1989 we decided to call the constituent meeting to announce Ternopil organization of the UHG. We were dispersed by the KGB men disguised as militia officers. Then I decided to do it clandestinely, so that only myself and M.Horyn’ would know about it. I invited him for a certain day. The UHG candidates used to convene in my apartment on Wednesdays. So we had a routine meeting in my apartment on January 26. I do not even remember how many times prior to that date I was taken in a car to the prosecutor’s office for the interrogation.
V.Kipiani: Will you please give us the names of the people who founded the UHG in Ternopil. It is very interesting – what the constituent meeting looked like.
L.Horokhivsky: Besides M.Horyn’ and myself the constituent meeting of January 26, 1989 was attended by: L.Drapak (application submitted in Lviv on 9.07., 1988), Y.Hevko (became a member on 30.10. 1988), Y. Tytor (became a member on 5.12. 1988 ), O.Zhmud (became a member on 7.12. 1988), V.Skakun (became a member on 16.12. 1988), V.Marmus (became a member on 21.12. 1988), R.Shkrobut ( 2.01. 1989), Y.Chykurliy (9.01. 1989), Y.Vovk(18.01. 1989). In Kyiv I met V.Marmus, who was from Chortkiv. I told him [about the UHG] and he offered his support immediately. Y.Chirsky, a colleague of mine, submitted his application as early as November 14, 1988, but had to withdraw his application because his family was blackmailed by KGB. L.Drapak wanted to emigrate to the US and came to Chornovil for help. Chornovil advised him to join the UHG (later he emigrated anyway). Y. Zhyznomirsky was also among the first. We had people who now became members of the UCRP. Probably, 50% were people with higher education, while the rest were workers with peasants’ background, who worked in the big plants, or supervisors and foremen, who supported our idea. I think, at the time of GKChP some of them contributed to making an essay about me public. It was found in KGB archives and published. I was depicted as some kind of monster. The other UHG members, especially those whose parents or relatives had been in the OUN, also got their measure of slander there.
V.Ovsienko: And what newspaper was it?
L.Horokhivsky: It was “Ternopil Vechirni” [Ternopil Nightly – Ukr.] newspaper, of December 28, 1991. I still have it somewhere. (Probably,I should have prepared more materials for our conversation). The authors of the article described me as “an adamant nationalist in his convictions”, and, further, as “fanatically committed to the goal”; then they wrote that I forced them to join the UHG despite their maladies. I understood that Y.Hevko, whose wife had cursed me roundly when I came to their house, claiming that her husband was sick, was behind that. So they obviously disseminated that information. May be he did not work for the KGB, but his son studied in the medical institute and was strongly blackmailed by KGB. Hevko and I used to publish our “information bulletins” (the first issue was published on March 26, 1989). Our “information bulletin” № 4 was quoted by a historian in his book…
V.Ovsienko: Anatoliy Rusnachenko.
L.Horokhivsky: Yes, Rusnachenko. (See.: A. Rusnachenko. National-liberation movement in Uraine: mid 1950-s – early 1990-s. — К.: O.Teliha publishing house — 1998. — Pp. 643-644. – V.О.). We edited our “information bulletins”, and then I would go to the post office and by phone divulge the information to “Freedom” station. Once I was summoned when I already worked at combine manufacturing plant. The plant was humongous, several thousand people worked there. I wanted to start the UHG there. But KGB created so many obstacles that I never managed to do it. They made a scarecrow of me.
Once I was summoned to the oblast’ prosecutor’s office. The head of our design department Vuychyk wanted to accompany me. Maybe he knew why they had called me, or maybe he received an order. He took me there in his car and asked me: “May I be present?” I said: ‘Why not?” The then head of KGB O.Shaparenko and oblast’ prosecutor Ivanov sat at the opposite side of the table. The accusation included sever charges: setting up an anti-soviet organization, dissemination of materials about UPA and OUN…I wondered immediately, where I was disseminating these materials. I remember I gave them to only one person. So I knew who it was…Then [they said] I was sending the information abroad…and so on and so forth. I listened to all that and said: “Listen, you can go on crucifying me like that, but I won’t give up the UHG. And I will be sending materials abroad. Do as you please with me”. They stood up – there was silence – and they did not know what to do.
V.Ovsienko: Where did it happen?
L.Horohivsky: It was the oblast’ prosecutor’s office, but the KGB head came there. I asked him: “Am I excused?” He said “Yes”. Ivanov turned all red at hearing that. When I was in the doorway, the KGB man stopped me, saying: “So, we are not enemies, are we?” and offered his hand to shake. “Now, be more accurate and do not make any more mistakes when sending materials abroad”, - he added. He referred to the incorrect spelling of the name of the first secretary of the city party committee Rybin. I was calling to Lviv, and to “Freedom”station from there. After that exchange I knew something must be changing within the system.
On March 24, 1989 the Popular Movement of Ukraine (Rukh) was set up in Ternopil. I was elected to the Rukh council, as I was one of its founders. At that time no other oblast’ had its own branch yet. It was a public organization. I organized the first Greek-Catholic memorial service in Teatralna Square, the central square of Ternopil, on October 15, 1989. I was supported by I.Hel’ from Lviv and by the Greek-Catholic priest V.Dutkevych. His church was not registered yet. I organized the memorial service, but the city executive committee head kept asking me to change the venue: “We will give you another location, near the cemetery”. But I was so stubborn, that even the parishioners asked me to yield. “We’ll go to Teatralna Square”, I insisted. Only Father Vitaly supported me. In the morning we gave the instructions as to who should go where – we did not have many participants yet – and then a car from the prosecutor’s office came to take me away. Hel’ in the meantime took everyone to the Teatralna Square and said:”We will stay here till you set Horohivsky free”. They kept me there till noon, more or less, and then I was in no hurry to get home. A “Volga” car came to pick me up and bring back to the city center. I had to speak about myself at the rally. After that we all went to the cemetery.
Then, on July 30, 1989 I was fined for the first time, and had to pay 250 roubles. M.Savhir paid 200 roubles, Yu.Tyma - 100 roubles, Zheznomyrsky - 80 roubles and B.Lekhnyak - 50 roubles. All those penalized were the UHG members. We carried the banner at the head of the marchers’ formation. We were seven (some more people arrived from Lviv). It was the first banner presented like this in Ternopil, although I made some smaller banners earlier. About two months prior to the event, on May 21, 1989 I brought these flags to the central square. There was a foundation for the future Shevchenko monument. A Rukh member distributed the flags, but some people were afraid to take them. It was too early. But I was told someone had come by night and taken the flags away. The perpetrators were quite obvious. And on September 17, 1989 – the commemoration day for the reprisals’ victims – the authorities classified it as a non-sanctioned rally and had me fined for 1000 roubles.
There were more episodes, very significant and fateful, but I am not sure whether they are of interest. How much do you want me tell?
V.Ovsienko: Tell me about your role in the events which were taking place. You were one of the main organizers of these events in Ternopil, weren’t you? It would be good to recall some dates…
L.Horohivsky: I can tell you about the year 1989. I was one of the “Memorial” founders on April 28, 1989 and was elected to its council, as well as to the Rukh’s council. Then our UHG had grown. I might say by then people were expressing openly the opinions that I would not dare to voice myself, although I never changed. I started observing these people closely, wondering if they had not been some provocateurs, sent by KGB. Just yesterday they avoided me, hid from me and did not want any contacts with me, while today they became the national heroes, because they could freely say what they wanted. It was typical at that time. By the way, we had another characteristic feature in our area. Wrong people joint Rukh. I sensed it because I had experience already, from my practical operation. There was a certain Pyasetsky, he even ran for president. I am not claiming that he worked for KGB; maybe he was just mentally unstable. So when I made a motion to have him withdrawn from the council he stood up and started yelling at me: "I’ll have you arrested by KGB and you will never come out alive!” I kept asking myself: “What kind of movement it is? What kind of council?” The council members – Petruk-Popyk, Levytsky and others earlier approached me to stress their support for his dismissal, but at the meeting they kept silent. I must say that only V.Kolynets supported my motion with respect to Pyasetsky. The next day I saw [council members] conferring with Pyasetsky in whispers. I thought they would have me expelled from Rukh. I saw something morbid in all that.
So I asked M.Horyn’ to come and talk to them. He arrived, he spoke, but I saw it was not helping. And then I made up my mind to take a decisive step, for the history to judge me, as the saying goes. Maybe this decisive step was kind of outrageous: I proposed to call and extraordinary convention. I approached M.Horyn’ once again. The Ternopil Rukh council was composed exclusively of intellectuals, while big industries’ representatives (we had our branches at “Vatra” factory, combine-building plant, textile works, “Orion”) were not represented in the council, although it was expedient. I used this fact to reach my purposes. I wanted to invite Horyn’, but it was V.Mulyava, his deputy, who actually came. It was called “the black council”, because after consultations I managed to convince them to hold the extraordinary convention. Two persons were expelled from Rukh, but we also wanted to elect another head. Naturally, I had no experience in politics. I was just making my first steps. We thought of Maria Kuzemko as the potential head, and made respective decision at our “black council”. M.Kuzemko became very popular then, due to a certain event. On the anniversary of Molotov-Ribbentrop pact we got together, all wearing head-bands as a symbol of protest and improvised a big march. The date was August 23, 1989. The march roused the whole city. It was the biggest march in Ternopil, with about hundred thousand people participating in it… We have a residential area, known as “BAM”. It is a bit isolated from the city center, about 7 km distance. KGB officials were making photos and creating all sorts of obstacles which we managed to overcome. I was hit on the head in the process. We were close to the oblast’ party committee, when we saw three rows of armed men with the shields. There were other people, drunkards and the like… We crashed this live fence. I was in the first row when we approached the party committee building. The bosses, including those in charge of the interior affairs, arrived immediately and started pleading with us: “Don’t go there, there are tanks, even if you break through, anything can happen”. I had the feeling of the moment, so I said: “All right, we won’t go if you agree to comply with our demands”. – “What demands? Tell us and we’ll comply”. Then I asked M.Levytsky (the then Rukh head) and M.Kuzemko, who headed the “Memorial” to come forward. Only M.Kuzemko did. We talked with her, raised her high over the crowd (a lot of people were there!) and she announced that we would formulate our demands right away. We constructed a make-shift podium, and Kuzemko spoke from it.
She gained many points with that. We all spoke up. Probably, I was not well-versed in public speaking at the time, because I was a proverbial “office mouse”, used to working on the projects and designs. I liked to speak publicly, though, and sometimes could give an apt characteristics of the moment, but only speaking from paper. When I got agitated, my mind would clear, and I could be very precise, and that had a great impact. So, she enumerated our demands – to be allowed to publish our own newspaper, to have meetings and rallies freely, to be free of persecution etc. It was a huge step forward. That is why we wanted M.Kuzemko for the organization head. If I had the experience I have today, I might have become the Rukh leader myself. The further events might have taken a totally different turn. So, our extraordinary convention met on December 23, 1989. Nobody hurried to invite me to join the presidium, despite of the fact that I was a candidate to become people’s deputy. The delegates present in the hall nominated me as presidium member. Availing myself of the situation, I took the floor several times and proposed the alternative elections of the head. No one listened to me, but at the end I took firm stand once again…
But let us get back to the convention events. The delegates supported me only because I was given the hardest job in preparations to the convention. I had to go out to rayons setting up the Rukh branches there. For me it was good, because, alongside with the Rukh units I was setting up the UHG units as well. I had one month to fulfill the job. I visited each and every rayon. I cannot boast of establishing UHG branches in all of them, because often people were not ready, but in many rayons both Rukh and UHG centers were started by me, single-handedly, in fact. Rukh leadership, however, was unhappy with me for imposing this convention on them.
When I spoke up at the end of the convention, the Rukh leadership insisted on M.Levytsky becoming the organization head. He was an intellectual, a poet. He loved his liquor too much, and I am sorry for what happened next. People would approach me asking me to do something. Everyone held a grudge against me after that. At the end I took the floor and said: “If you do not hold the alternative elections I give up my responsibilities and leave Rukh.” Now the ruckus started. People supported me. V. Nehoda, who later became Ternopil mayor, was the first to leave, followed by Yu.Morhun. Then I.Drach took the floor to offer the “Solomon decision” – to elect the head not on the alternative basis, but out of four candidates nominated by me. Then I proposed M.Levytsky, H.Petruk-Popyk, M.Kuzemko and (for the first time) B.Boyko. He was recommended to me by B.Ternopilsky. Later I wondered how come he knew Boyko so well. Drach said: “Let us have four co-chairmen”. And everyone voted on that. And then the whole convention started shouting “Horohivsky, Horohivsky!” Had I had the political expertise I have now, I might have used for the future struggle. I was elected the fifth co-chairman of Ternopil Rukh. Although later, when voting started someone (probably, Levchenko?) asked me to remove my name from the list for the benefit of Boyko. I refused to do it, adding that we would discuss it after the elections. These issues needed to be resolved in Kyiv. It turned out I was not the only person he had approached.
The elections to the Supreme Rada were very difficult. I was nominated for candidate from Berezhany electoral district, but when I came to Berezhany on December 21, 1989 I was banned from meeting with my electorate. The meeting had to take place at “Micron” factory. The second secretary of the rayon party committee S. Tokarsky and the factory director ran for elections. The director, however, took his name off the list for Tokarsky’s benefit. After my speech 261 voters voted for me, while the party committee secretary collected only 115 votes. The electoral board, however, (definitely, influenced from the outside), announced that there was no quorum, because people started to leave. They did not want to register me. Then Berezhany support group led by I.Holovatsky proclaimed the violation of the election law and expressed their lack of trust to the district electoral board. They also sent a complaint to the Central Election Commission. On January 24, 1990 a group of people came to the rayon party committee building and started picketing it, but it was not enough. On January 25 and 26 pickets were organized around the oblast’ party committee building. They lasted for two days in a row. The picketers held the slogans “Shame on Ternopil partocracy”, “Ostrozhynsky, resign!” “We demand the registration for Levko Horohivsky”. On the third day, when a lot of people gathered at the site, the first oblast’ committee secretary Ostrozhynsky stepped out and came to me. I have never met him before."Levko – he said, – order these people to go away. You are registered already”. I responded: “It is not to me, but to you that these people came. So talk to them”. We had a loud-speaker, so he had no excuse and addressed the public: “Get dispersed. Horohivsky is registered”. They were unwilling to register V.Kolynets too. But they had to register him alongside with me, due to the active public intervention. These were the developments in Ternopil.
What else did we do? We supported the Greek-Catholic Church as it was more patriotic and took heed of the national interests. At the time a church dissent was organized as a large scope KGB operation to separate the churches and unleash an inter-confessional conflict. If a national dissent failed, they had to go for religion. Now this is a second-rate issue, because the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is the biggest problem. But at that time it was disguised as a Ukrainian church to mislead the believers. Our people went to Moscow, to hold a hunger strike in Arbat Street demanding the registration of the Greek-Catholic Church.
We also held other actions. We collected signatures for the decommissioning of the NPPs (you are aware of the fact, aren’t you?). For the elections to the Supreme Council of the USSR R.Hromyak was nominated as our candidate. We asked him three questions: on the status of the Ukrainian language, on Ukrainian citizenship and on the NPPs. We were expecting a meeting with him, but at the last moment he failed to appear, although he expressed his support in a private conversation with me. When he had a meeting at the combine-building factory, I came to him and understood that he had been already “processed” by KGB. I even felt sorry for him. When he started speaking he was saying things after which I did not want to ask him anything, because it would have looked like I was trying to drown him ultimately. But other people asked him questions. For example, about his attitude to Greek-Catholic Church. He answered it aided the fascists and so on. Then, a question concerning his perception of the blue and yellow banner and other statehood symbols. Well, I do not want to dwell too much on that, after all, we nominated that man, but it was the time when everyone acted as one felt right, according to one’s principles and will, convictions or whatever. Maybe, it was simply conscious tactics. He might have believed that there in the Supreme Council he would have more opportunities to do something for Ukraine. I do not want to boost my own ego at someone else’s expense, humiliating others. The times were like this and that is the end of it.
The developments, meanwhile, took their course. Our organization became one of the largest in oblast’, probably, the second in size after Lviv organization. When the constituent meeting of the Lviv organization was called, I was invited and took part in it. I remember telling M.Horyn’ how difficult it was to find the right people, I was practically all alone when I met Chornovyl and M.Horyn’ and S.Khmara in Lviv. So Horyn’ told me: “Look, Khmara managed to find 40 persons, you’d better follow the suit.” Well, later it turned out these forty people were no good at all. At the time I used to idealize the former political prisoners, but the human nature is erroneous by definition. Everyone should be regarded as mere human, not to be disappointed later. Do not make up idols, if you want to do something. But I am culpable of this flaw; I idealized people and sometimes got carried away. Now you see where it had led us – too many leaders, everyone is eager to rule…
I do not know whether objective or subjective factors led to that and I am ready to forego the fact that during the elections to the Supreme Council, Rukh branch in Ternopil, led by B.Boyko, was very active in supporting O.Ishchenko. I do not claim to have been very active in the Supreme Council myself, although even the most active probably could not have achieved much at the time in terms of the national-democratic progress. Had we had the majority of votes, then probably, we might have done something useful. But anyway I feel I have been mistreated. Although, as I mentioned already, I am willing to forego the fact for the sake of unity- if only we could all really get together.
V.Ovisenko: You did not tell us how you became the Member of Parliament. Will you please describe your activities as a deputy?
L.Horohivsky: When I came to the Supreme Council, the Popular Council was set up. Many people spoke up. Later I understood that some speakers would take the floor just for the sake of showing off, not caring at all about the problems at hand…Anyway we made up the Popular Council. Mind you, “the group 239” was always there – the communists had majority. In order for a decision to be passed in the Supreme Council the minimum of 226 votes was required, and we did not have them. We wanted to devise our own policy, starting with who goes to which committees. I enlisted in the state sovereignty committee. M. M.Horyn’, S.Khmara, M.Kosiv, O.Shevchenko were already there. Prior to July 16, 1990, when the Declaration on the state sovereignty was adopted, the majority of our committee members adhered to the state sovereignty principles. We adopted the Declaration with the language we wanted in it. Then other deputies, holding to the anti-state, anti-Ukrainian positions, were assigned to our committee. But it was too late for them; we have adopted the Declaration on the state sovereignty already. I remember our working on it. I believe we were one of the key committees, because the Union treaty also became our charge. A lot depended on our decision.
I participated in the students’ hunger strike. When in the course of the election campaign people started proclaiming all those revolutionary and radical ideas I told them I’ve been there before. We followed the revolutionary way to bring the empire’s downfall. And now we had to build the state, which is, evidently, much more difficult than destroying. It is easier to hold a machine-gun and to shoot. I can shoot too. I also supported the hunger strike in 1990, alongside with S.Khmara. I also held it for 7 days.
I never shared the radical ideas. After all, they were just words. Or maybe I wanted to avoid the nuisance of the routine job, i.e. traveling around Ukraine within the framework of the election campaign etc. And one had to assess the political situation realistically. I was a radical, not on paper, but in my deeds and actions aimed at promoting the Ukrainian idea, because I could allow myself being radical. For example, L.Lukyanenko had chosen me of all people to write the recommendation for S. Khmara. And I had been depressed for three weeks. I kept asking myself: what shall I write? I had a feeling I had been used in the past. But I overcame my scruples and made a step forward. Remember, we had a closed meeting of the URP leadership. I saw S.Khmara’s faults and could describe them. I was especially upset about him calling Lukyanenko such foul names, such four-letter words in the Supreme Rada, that even the communists were appalled. I prepared the paper in three or four items to be read at the closed meeting of the URP leadership. I still keep the original. S.Khmara and M.Oliynyk, who was his supporter, were present. On hearing my presentation they left immediately. It was a terrible stroke, although not delivered to their backs. I said it openly, but not to make it public. The “radical” wing of our party was taking shape then. The first URP dissent started. All those too revolutionary, too radical measures with respect to one’s comrades-in-arms of yesterday, aimed just at proving one’s superiority, are sure road to perdition. In fact, they are useless, because it was just proclaimed radicalism that appealed to the public. In theory it would be the best thing to have everything changed in one go. But how? It was a utopia, because the necessary mechanism was not there; it was non-existent – we had to re-educate the voters on everyday basis and to set an example by achieving unity. We believe we are the elite, the political party and we dare preaching to the people, while it would be a good thing to start with ourselves.
After the events that followed, especially the failure of the GKChP coup, when the Popular Council got together on the third floor of the Supreme Rada on August 24, 1991, I was first overwhelmed by the idea put forward by a group of deputies – first win over the communists and then declare the independence act. I did not consult anyone, asked no one, but remained firm in my conviction, i.e. if we do not declare independence on August 24, we will never declare it. The moment was right. I understood that even despite the fact that the communists – scared at the moment - would take part in it, the voting is due. There was, however, a group of deputies, S.Khmara, L.Skoryk and Holovaty among them as far as I knew, that believed that the communists were to be overcome. How? – I thought. Where are our forces? How can we do it? At the moment of the GKChP coup I was in an electoral district, so I returned to Kyiv immediately. You were present, so you remember it, too – we conducted a rally. Naturally, after the independence was proclaimed, there were opportunities to curb the communists’ influence and power, but no one had used them. Although the fault can be found with our destiny only…
There were some more fateful events at the time of the first convocation, i.e. 1990-94. I was opposed to Kuchma, who was Prime-Minister. I made a motion for his removal from the office. I used to travel a lot then. I recall that in 1993 I visited almost all the oblasts more than once. M.Horyn’ let me know that some people believed I was doing it to become the party leader. But I traveled because I was interest and because it was needed. For example, I knew that Kuchma had spoken in public in Odessa, in Dnipropetrovsk oblast’, in Donetsk and Kherson oblast’s, planting the ideas that the happiness of Ukraine is linked exclusively to its union with Russia, that without such union independent Ukraine is unfathomable. He was preparing the platform for the presidential elections even then. So, being aware of all these facts I spoke very harshly against him in the Supreme Rada. When I stepped out to make a phone call after my speech, Kuchma approached me laughing and offered me his hand. I could not grasp what it was all about, overwhelmed as I was.
I recall a lot of things – we blocked the tribune, we spoke up. I also made a lot of public speeches and organized a number of “round tables”. In Durdynets’ committee I was his deputy, even prior to the passing of the law on the freedom of conscience. We worked together drafting the law on the restoration of rights of the reprisals’ victims. We also devised the Independence Act. It had to be presented by L.Lukyanenko, but finally was read by Yavorivsky. I witnessed all that – Lukyanenko was charged with the duty to read it. I was learning. It was the school of the highest order for me, I can say, higher than the one I’ve been through in Mordovia. If I could use all the knowledge I’ve acquired in the eight years now…For example, now I have a much better vision of the situation as compared to the parliament members who have just arrived, and have no sense or feeling of how thingsare to be done.
V.Ovsienko: Please tell us, what electoral district you represented at the first convocation.
L.Horohivsky: First time it was Berezhany district for both times – first time No 356, and second time No 358.
I focused my activity in the Supreme Rada around the protection of the voters’ rights. I have no scale of comparison, but I asked other deputies how many letters they processed per month. They told me it was about twelve-fifteen. I dealt with one, and sometimes, two hundred. Probably, others worked as hard as I did, but I treated my duties with great responsibility. I even liked dealing with public. I would go into the field, help if I could. True, I did not have any funding. But at the last stage of the election campaign people had been driven to such despair that the blamed the deputies for everything gone wrong in Ternopil oblast’. Although the real reason was different and I was aware of the fact. I even wanted to approach the Counting Chamber, but I did not want to discredit Rukh, and B.Boyko, the head of the oblast’ state administration was a Rukh member. Had I approached the Counting Chamber with the request to check how the local budget money had been spent, it would have caused a great disaster for Rukh. I did not want it to happen. I would not claim that I had been sorry later, but, probably, it should have been done, because at the eleventh hour I received a Treasury note claiming that Kyiv had paid all the subsidies to Ternopil oblast’ in 1997 (Ternopil oblast’ was 70% subsidized) so that all the salaries at least for the year 1997 could have been paid out. But people did not get their salaries. No one knows where the money went.
There are two negative moments. I heard Yushchenko referring to them. Once he said just what I kept saying, maybe the wording was different. First, the budget is formed in the wrong way, from the top to the bottom, while is should go from the bottom to the top. If, for example, 25 million are collected in taxes and 15 million are taken to Kyiv, and then Kyiv gives 10 million, what is the point of giving back 10 out of 15 million, when only 5 million could have been sent to Kyiv from the very beginning, correct? We could eliminate dependence on Kyiv, we won’t have to go around a-begging. But Kyiv answered that they had in fact paid all their dues to the oblast’. Many times I have talked to the minister of finance, seeking the truth. The second flaw is that both Prime Minister and the head of the oblast’ administration can distribute the budget money at their own discretion. There are no uniform principles of the budget distribution – when money is available it can be allocated for whatever purposes, to purchase combines, for example. When I spoke about it, I was assured of support, but the other candidate had already been nominated, and other canvassers were spreading the rumors that Horohivsky was stealing. People were led to believe lies. Now Ternopil oblast’ is deep down the drain – the industries are not working, people do not get their salaries, and I do not see any way out.
My conclusion is that if in over the years 1990-94 the national idea played its role, now it is about money and revolutionary slogans. The millionaire O.Ishchenko ran for office due to big money, while KUN and Tryzub [Trident – Ukr.] offered revolutionary ideas. Now you can voice any ideas, say whatever you want about anything. How shall I wrap it up?
V.Ovsienko: With a conclusion, probably.
L.Horohivsky: It is a great school of life for me. My story reflects an epoch, after a fashion. Maybe, my vision of the events will help someone to understand better what the soviet power was about and how it had to be opposed…Well, no struggle against it is needed any more. I believe that experience is also knowledge of sorts. Of course we need theoretical background, too, but it is not always applicable in our situation. American Ukrainians come here only to run back, because they cannot implement anything under our circumstances. I reject revolutionary way of development, because it is destructive. What is happening now is an involution. For example, our society is Russified and this Russification continues. I am very sorry and upset to hear our army speaking Russian. On July 16, on the Declaration anniversary I spoke in front of the soldiers. There were a thousand of them. They talked Ukrainian to me, but used Russian talking to each other.
I think you cannot build a state when the army is talking in another country’s language, let alone other principles. I approached the Constitutional Court, using my mandate and collected 51 signatures (The Law on the Constitutional Court requires 45 signatures). I submitted my petition, but they have been keeping it for a year. It refers to the disregard of the state language, i.e. Ukrainian (art.10 of the Constitution of Ukraine) in the educational process, by the Cabinet of Ministers, Presidential Administration and Supreme Rada, and also to the Law on advertising. I sense the process was left to take its own course. The policy of influence, pressure on certain mechanisms, and acceleration of the evolution are expedient, in my belief. If mass media – Russified as they lamentable are - are supposed to educate public, the power should enforce the promotion of the state policy by them. The ways and methods for the evolutionary acceleration should be considered by the political parties as the instrument of the state-building. We are currently a party without parliamentary representation, that is why we are looking for partners to unite with – maybe, around the presidential candidate, or by other means.
V.Ovsienko: Mr. Levko, we touched upon another issue, but never developed the topic. You have one daughter…Let us talk a bit about your family. Have you got siblings? You never mentioned it.
L.Horohivsky: I have two sisters. My sister Hanya, born in 1945, is very good. Our mother passed away in 1959, and father in 1978. Father re-married, so my sister Hanya had to go and live with her aunt, my father’s sister in Zaporizhzhya. There she married a Russian, they set up a Russian family. Another sister was born in 1955, now she lives in Pervomaisk, Mykolaiv oblast’ and has two sons. One of them was admitted the Ternopil Technical University, where I am Doctor honoris causae. I did not mention this fact before, but I am. At least it was good for him to get out of the Russified environment. My sister told me about the closing of the Ukrainian schools there. It is horrible. And it happened in Pervomaysk where Vinhranovsky was born.
I also have a half-brother, born in 1965. He is a school principle in Saranchuky. He was an URP and RCP member. He also had had a rather complicated life-path. First he wanted to enter pedagogical institute (he was a good student) so I advised him to choose the Ukrainian philology for specialty. I am sorry to admit the truth – the Russian language teachers were paid 15% more. So his mother – my step-mother – wanted him to study the Russian philology. They had even some quota for the applicants with rural background in Ternopil oblast’. I talked to him, but I could see that he would rather listen to his mom than to me. So the process was gaining momentum. Once, closer to the end of his studies (and he studied well), he was summoned to the KGB, offered a flat and an officer’s rank in exchange for the information about me. He refused and related the incident to me. And then I understood I had a brother. He rejected Russian language and started teaching Ukrainian and German. So it goes. He is not married yet.
My personal life was not easy at all. Now I have a more pragmatic attitude, but I used to be very romantically-minded and was infatuated very easily. My first infatuation was aimed at my school teacher. I made up a poem, on my way to school, within half an hour. It was my first poem. I was 16 in 1959. I was very open and straightforward into the bargain, and that trait scared away those whom I fancied. On hearing my biography few girls were willing to date me. And I had nothing to offer. Finally, at the age of 37, I got married. My daughter was born in 1982.
V.Ovsienko: What is her name?
L.Horohivsky: Solomia. In the Civil Registry Office they gave us a list of names to choose from. I wanted to name her after my mother, as the mother deserved it. I knew children were named after their relatives, parents, the saints or some outstanding figures. I wanted the name which won’t be Russian. It is not that I do not like Russians (and they wrote about me that I was a fascist, that I taught my daughter to hate everything Russian). I do not hate anyone – I just notice the deep decay of the Ukrainian language, I see how it is being distorted or thoroughly ignored. That is why I am defending it at every step. So I wanted to give her a name which won’t have a corresponding name in Russian. I have chosen five names, I even went to the library, and finally, I’ve made up my mind – Solomia. Maybe, after our Solomia Krushelnitska, who was born not far from Ternopil.
V.Ovsienko: Your daughter is grown-up by now, isn’t she?
L.Horohivsky: Yes, she is 16 already. At the secondary school she had only excellent marks. She also graduated from the school of music. After the 9th form her music teachers tried to persuade her to continue her musical education. I did not want her to go, so I said: “Solomiyka, you are 16 now. I remember how it were to be 16. You study effortlessly, and you do not know yet what you want. May be, you will become interested in something else?” But I did not want to impose any pressure on her – it was up to her to decide. She passed two exams instead of four, with excellent marks. She plays violin and piano. Recently she told me: “Dad, I would like to try Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in 1999”. She is at her second year in the musical college, she learnt English, and wants to take examination for the 11 grades of the secondary school. She still has to study 4 more years in college. They want her to continue in the Conservatoire. That is it about my family.
V.Ovsienko: Thank you.
L.Horohivsky: Maybe, I missed something because there were too many people. But I was sure of myself – I knew I would persevere, due to my strong will; that I would never break down. When my wife was pregnant, the head of the ideology department of the KGB met me in the street, shook my hand and congratulated me with the coming baby. They knew already. I believe they must have respected me, after a fashion.
V.Ovsienko: For your fortitude. .
L.Horohivsky: People they have broken were merely thrown away.
V.Ovsienko: Anyway, your generation had some luck – you managed not only to out-smart them, but also to triumph over them. And now even the Ukrainian state opponents are obliged to build it. We can stop here. It was Levko Horohivsky interviewed on October 27, 1998.
L.Horohivsky: I was baptized Levko, but my birth certificate was issued only in 1959. At school the German language teacher used to write “Lev”. So at school I was Lev. But when I wanted to enter the institute the copy of birth certificate was made, so that I could get passport, and there was no time to change anything. I was 16 then… The certificate said “Leon Teodorovych”. So І’ve been called Levko, and Lev, and Leon, and Leonid. But my Christian name is Levko.
V.Ovsienko: And that is the name under which you are known to and loved by us. Thank you.