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Dissident movement in Ukraine
Democratic Movement

YUSKEVYCH Artem Vasyliovych

31.07.2019 | Viktor Niytsoo, Estonia

YUSKEVYCH Artem Vasyliovych (alias: Yuriy Mazepa Bakayivskyi, b. 02.02.1931 in the Village of Ratniv, now Lutsk Region, Volyn Oblast—Ϯ27.01.1982, Tallinn, Estonia)

Engineer. One of the organizers of underground organizations "Estonian National Front" and "Democratic Movement of Estonia", author, editor and distributor of samizdat.

In 1945, the Yuskevychs moved from Ukraine to Kazan. In 1950, after finishing high school, he entered the Tallinn Polytechnic Institute. In 1953, he left his studies; he worked as an engineer-technician at several plants in Tallinn. On his own he learned nine languages and made translations. In 1958-1964, he studied at the Tallinn Construction and Mechanical Technical School on a specialty "motor transport". He was a freelance correspondent for Tallinn Russian-language newspapers. In 1964, he joined the CPSU.
Since the late 1960s, he participated in an informal debating group led by Sergei Soldatov. To avoid the fate of the members of the All-Russian Social-Christian Union for the Liberation of the People (VSKhSON), who were arrested in 1967, the association soon became an underground group.
In September 1968, together with S.Soldatov, he wrote a review of the work of Andrei Sakharov "Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom" entitled "To Hope or To Act", and in October 1969 he wrote the framework documents for the "Democratic Movement of the Soviet Union."
In 1971-1972, he participated in the creation of two underground organizations, which evolved from the "Democratic Movement ...": "Estonian National Front" (ENF) and "Democratic Movement of Estonia" (DME). In 1972-1974, on the initiative of Yuskevych and under his leadership the framework DME documents were created, which designed the tactic of the organization, supposed practical steps for the implementation of the course of struggle against the Soviet system. He was the author of the Russian text of the treatise DME: Strategy and Tactics.
He was E-in-C of samizdat Democrat Magazine published in Russian (seven issues were brought out in 1969-1972), participated in the publication of the Eesti Demokraat Magazine (in Estonian, organ of the DME). He published his articles there under different pseudonyms. Under the pseudonym "Yuriy Mazepa-Bakayivskyi" wrote the book Russian Colonialism and National Problem which was translated from Russian into Estonian. In the fall 1972, he participated in the drafting of the Memorandum of the DME and ENF.
On 13.12.1974, he was arrested. The trial of Yuskevych, S.Soldatov, Mati Kiyrend, Kaliu Myatik and A. Varato took place on 21-31.10.1975. He pleaded not guilty and was sentenced by the Supreme Court of the ESSR under art. 68 p. 1 of the Criminal Code of the ESSR ("anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda") to 5 years of imprisonment in the high security camps.
He did his term in Dubravlag (Mordovia, Village of Lyesnoy, ZhKh-385/19) and Perm Oblast. (Vsekhsvyatskaya Station, VS-389/35). He took an active part in actions of resistance of political prisoners, including in the struggle for the status of political prisoner. Despite the disease, he was punished regularly.
After his discharge, he settled in Tallinn under condition of administrative oversight during a year. He worked as a senior engineer at the Special Design Office "Disintegrator". He died of a stroke.
He was buried at the Pärnuma Cemetery, Tallinn.



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