virtual museum
Dissident movement in Ukraine



This was the first party-like underground organization in Ukraine in the post-War period which, following the defeat of the OUN-UPA [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists – Ukrainian Resistance Army] turned to non-violent and legal methods for achieving independence. It was created in the Lviv area in 1959 at the suggestion of lawyer Levko LUKYANENKO who spoke of this plan with Stepan Virun and Vasyl Lutskiv. The ultimate goal of the Organization was the secession of Ukraine from the USSR by means of a referendum, and the creation of a sovereign Ukrainian state. By 1961 the Union had only around ten members from different regions of Ukraine who under conditions of strict secrecy attempted to draw up an action plan.

The first organized meeting of the Ukrainian Workers’ and Peasants' Union took place on 6 November 1960 in Lviv at the flat of Ivan KANDYBA, where a draft project of a program for the UWPU, based on Marxism-Leninism was discussed.  It was decided that in first place should be the achieving of democratic rights and freedoms.  Ukraine’s sovereignty was to be gained only through peaceful means. In accordance with this, it was deemed necessary to draw up a new draft program. However at the beginning of 1961 the KGB uncovered the Union and on 21 January 1961, L. LUKYANENKO, I. KANDYBA, S. Virun, V. Lutskiv, Oleksandr Libovych, then later Ivan Kipysh and Josyp Borovnytsky were arrested.

On 20 May 1961 the Lviv Regional Court sentenced them to long terms of imprisonment, and L. LUKYANENKO to death, which was commuted to 15 years imprisonment.

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