virtual museum
Dissident movement in Ukraine



The Kyiv Democratic Club was created in1978 by a student of the Kyiv University Journalism Faculty Serhiy NABOKA, the mathematician Lesya Lokhvytska, the endocrinologist Inna Chernyavska, the translator Leonid Milyavsky and the student Natalka Parkhomenko. They held seminars on philosophy and religion and shared literature.  As Serhiy Naboka put it,  the core of the Club was made up of those who wanted to do something, while on the periphery there were those who might take part, and there were was a third circle who simply found the Club interesting.  In all, there were 40 – 50 people involved at some level in the Club.

In July 1980 the Club activists put together a leaflet calling on people to support a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics over the invasion of Afghanistan. NABOKA wrote an article “The prospects for filling the spiritual vacuum in Soviet society” where he asserted that in the Soviet Union there were no democratic freedoms, and where he called the Soviet state system “Soviet imperialism”. In 1980 the Club drew up a “Manifesto” which stated that a “usurpation of power” had taken place in the USSR and that “all the power of the Soviets had fallen into the hands of the Communist Party”. They attempted to make a hectograph in order to duplicate the Manifesto.

On the evening of 11 January 1981, the day before the Day of Ukrainian Political Prisoners, 5 members of the Kyiv Democratic Club attempted to paste up several copies of a leaflet reading: “Fellow Citizens!  The twelfth of January is the Day of Ukrainian Political Prisoners. Let us support them!”  They were all arrested near the metro station “Bolshevik”.

On 29 June 1981 the Kyiv City Court sentenced S.NABOKA, L. Lokhvytska, I. Chernyavska, and L. Milyavsky under Article 187-1 of the Criminal Code of the UkrSSR (“dissemination of patently false statements defaming the Soviet political and social system”) to three years deprivation of liberty in a normal security penal colony.   All the accused acknowledged the factual side of the charges, but denied anything criminal in their actions, rejected any “repentance” and did not submit cassation appeals. N. Parkhomenko, who had a small child, was expelled from the Komsomol and university.

After their release in 1984, the initiators attempted to create a “Ukrainian Democratic Club”, but it turned out to be controlled by the KGB. In the summer of 1987 they founded the Ukrainsky kulturolohychny klub [The Ukrainian Cultural Studies Club].


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