virtual museum
Dissident movement in Ukraine



The Ukrainian National Liberation Front (UNLF) was a youth underground organization. It emerged in September 1968 in Sambir, Lviv region, among a circle of 9th grade school students (Omelyan Bogush, Volodymyr Halko, Oleksandr Ivantso, Ihor Kovalchuk, Yaromyr MYKYTO, Bohdan Petryna, Zoryan POPADYUK, Roman Radon, Yevhen Senkiv and Ihor Vovk). The direct spur was outrage over the occupation of Czechoslovakia by forces of the Warsaw Pact in August 1968, as well as the memory of the 117 Sambir lyceum students tortured to death by the NKVD in 1939, and the execution of 900 prisoners of the Sambir Prison as the Soviet Army prepared for retreat in 1941.  With their chosen name, they wanted to stress that they took their roots from the “Ukrainian National Front” (UNF). The UNLF had a flag, stamp, introduced membership fees, obtained a typewriter, duplicated samizdat literature and leaflets about Jan Palach’s suicide by self-immolation in Prague on 16 January 1969.

In 1970 all the members of the UNLF entered institutes, and the group spread geographically and gained a few dozen members. . They typed out and distributed the works of I. DZIUBA, V. MOROZ, Y. SVERSTYUK, V. CHORNOVIL and others, the bulletins ‘Ukrainsky visnyk’ [‘Ukrainian Herald’ ], ’Khronika tekushchykh sobytiy’ [’Chronicle of Current Events’], the works of Solzhenitsyn and  Milovan Djilas’ “The New class”.  Between November 1972 and February 1973 the UNLF put out two issues of their own socio-political journal “Postup” [“Progress”]. with an analytical article by Hryhory Khvostenko, a chronicle of events and samizdat documents.  The first issue came out in 58 pages, and had five copies.

When in March 1973, for the first time since 1939   evenings in memory of Taras Shevchenko were banned in Lviv, the young men prepared 150 copies of a leaflet which ended with the words “Vstavaite, kaidany porvite!” [“Arise, sundering your chains!” – from Taras Shevchenko’s “Zapovit” – “Testament”] and pasted them on the evening of 27 March around the city. On that same night several dozen students were detained for several days, swiftly expelled from their institutes and conscripted into the army. On 6 August 1973 the leader of the UNLF Z. POPADYUK was sentenced to 7 years labour camp and 5 years exile, and Y. MYKYTO to 5 years imprisonment.  The case of H. Khvostenko was reviewed separately but he was not tried. 29 employees of the Lviv University, including Lubomyra Popadyuk, Z. POPADYUK’s mother, were dismissed. Other institutes also faced repressive measures.


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