KARAS Zynoviy Semenovych


author: Vasyl Ovsiyenko

V.V.Ovsiyenko: We are talking with Father Zynoviy Karas in the City of Kolomyya on March 22, 2000.

Father Zynoviy: For a start, I will, as usual, give an account of my biographical data. I was born in my beloved Rohatyn Region, Village of Zhuriv, on March 9, 1929. This ancient town, which has eventually lost its importance with time and looks now like a borough; it has turned out that this borough has even no village rada. Sometime in the past it was a city with a castle surrounded by walls, moats filled with water; there are many remains of glorious past.

However I wanted to speak to you about something else. My parents, of course, were peasants and, to their cost, not poor ones, which occurred to be a poison for our family ever since we were "liberated". But I was born at a very interesting time, on the one hand, on the other hand very tragic time: under Polish occupation in 1929. All that had gone wrong in our land was caused by the Polish occupants. Personally I do not remember it, but there were very fresh accounts about the pacification of 1930, when the Polish administration brought punitive detachments and police forces in Halychyna which tortured our villagers, destroyed our reading rooms, our cultural heritage, cooperatives, etc.

Now, let’s move on. My father was Sich Rifleman. Many people from this cohort of Sich Riflemen were still alive. The gathered, came together, saw a good deal of each other. In our khata they held open conversations without keeping anything back from the children. Today I am grateful to my father for that, because in fact nothing was hidden from us and we knew everything first hand from the old-timers. This probably influenced my education and affected my further destiny. Those events, arrests of the members of OUN, abuse by Polish administration, "Brygidki"[1], "Bereza Kartuska"[2]… those names and concepts came into my life from my early childhood, when our young people came back from those Polish places of detention. These guys were met at the time not like today people meet political prisoners: they were more revered, respected, and actually everyone looked at them as heroes, our people almost adored and loved them. It is characteristic only of contemporary times that people treat political prisoners like something… The Soviet propaganda is to blame that people do not respect and honor political prisoners, as it was way back.

I must say that my generation, the generation of the 20s and 30s, to my mind, is the most tragic in the history of Halychyna. Why? Because of all those events that took place in Halychyna and in Europe we did not received proper training and appropriate education. In support I will say as follows. We went to school in 1936 when we were. We finished three classes−in Ukrainian we pronounced not “klas” according to Soviet norms, but according to Ukrainian pre-war tradition “kliasa”− in 1939 came Bolshevik troops to "liberate" us. Already in a month we found out the hard way the consequences of "liberation": the first arrests set in. Somewhere in the middle of winter the first transport with prisoners started for Siberia. The Poles were the first to go: the Polish settlers whom the Polish administration brought here. On the land once owned by the landlords the Polish settlers began to play the master: they built their homes here. During the first winter of occupation these settlers were taken to Siberia. Our people, our children, my generation were thunderstruck by it, honestly.

But it was not over by a long shot, because then the occupants began to exile our peasants, they began to drive away Ukrainians. They arrested all conscientious Ukrainians, not only intellectuals, but peasants as well. My father belonged among people who were destined to be potential prisoners, though my father was not arrested. Firstly, my father had secondary level education: he graduated from the upper secondary school which meant a lot at the time. He was a penny-wise proprietor, had a good farmstead, a sizable plot of arable land round the khata which was considered very good for Halychyna: sixteen morgs[3] of arable land in addition to wood, hayfield, horses, cattle; there was a lot to put one’s hand to. It is clear that the Soviets immediately declared these people kurkuls[4] and in our daily life the wheels fell off.

We had finished those three classes under Polish rule, but the Soviet authorities made us to go to the third grade again, because they considered the Polish school inadequate. And then there was the fourth grade during the rule of the first Soviets, as we call that period. I would like to explain why I dwell on those years. Those years were at the bottom of our insufficient training and our inadequate education. It cannot be denied that the elementary school had no resources to educate schoolchildren. At school the teacher told us−she was a famous teacher−I now bow to the shadow of Ms. Luszczynska… Although she was a Pole, she truly managed to lay foundations of our knowledge in many disciplines. But in the evening I came home and saw how my parents were packing things or those things had been already packed, because we were waiting that in the morning we would be exiled. They usually came to exile people on the night of Sunday. And on that night of Sunday my family did not sleep. I was the youngest in the family, my elder brothers fled from home, and parents with me and my sister remained and pinned our hopes on God and kept waiting to be exiled in the morning. Such waiting hours occurred once and again to the very end of 1940 and during the first six months of 1941. You cannot imagine what impact it had on our people, especially our children! It was nothing but expectation of repression.

Now let’s proceed to the issue of the arrests. We already knew that people were arrested and they never returned. Despite the fact that the Bolshevik prisons were strictly isolated, the leak of information existed, and we know that people were executed by shooting, we knew that people were put to the rack and horribly tortured. All of it was later confirmed when the first Bolsheviks retreated in confusion and the Germans came and opened the doors of prisons, including Lviv ones. I remember when a man who miraculously survived came to us. He also had to be shot on the last day. They brought eight people tied with barbed wire from one cell and seated them against the wall in a room with dead walls, and in front of them against the second wall they put another eight people tied with barbed wire. And the latter had to watch what they were doing with the former. They Not only abused and beat prisoners, but also cut off certain organs of the body, the officers cut off everything they might. These eight half-witted prisoners watched and waited to be submitted to the same tortures. Then the terrible roar got over to their mind: apparently the bombing was underway. Those monsters that did this bolted and returned no more. The German soldiers led these panic-stricken prisoners out of the cell. In such way this man survived. We heard an awful lot of such stories. People found their way knee-deep in blood in the corridors of Lviv “Brygidki”, looking for their relatives, their parents, sisters, and brothers…

And we took good note of it. The German “liberators” came. 1941, the restoration of the independent Ukrainian state was proclaimed. I remember this because children’s memory stores such events for a long time. I was at that popular assembly when the independent Ukraine was proclaimed.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: Where did it take place?

Father Zynoviy: It took place near the monastery in the Village of Pidmykhailivtsi. I remember even some statements, some phrases: they are engraved on my memory. I remember the speech of the Mother Superior of the nunnery. For some reason, in Halychyna we named Ukrainian letter "в" not “ve” according to the standard but “woo” and she pronounced the abbreviation NKVD as “eNKaWooDe”[5]. It is clear that speaking about the NKVD people used many not too pleasant epithets, and the Mother Superior did the same. While singing the hymn the people raised their hands in a Hitlerite manner, which was considered trendy at the time. I remember how difficult it was to stretch one hand and till the last voice sounded I used my other hand to support this gesture. It was in 1941 and I was 12 years old then. Everything positive and negative accompanying each war has imprinted in my mind. After all, I survived a number of successive occupations−Polish, Bolshevik, German and second Bolshevik−and finally we have our independent Ukrainian state.

I have seen a great deal of blood, many torn bodies, much suffering, and many raids. At the age of fifteen years I first I took up arms, at the age of sixteen years I fired fighting against the Bolsheviks.

I’d like to add a few words into the subject. I had no chance to become a six-grader: after the fifth grade I went at once to the seventh-grade courses. And so I finished seven grades without being educated in a proper way like contemporary children who graduate, say, from the seven-year school.

After seventh grade, I entered the Lviv upper secondary school and went to the third grade. But once again I finished nothing because the Bolshevik front advanced and the school education was wound up. Then the Bolsheviks came and endless raids and endless battles started. I’ve just mentioned that at the age of fifteen years I had to take weapons in hand for the first time. There were two Polish villages Lukawiec nearby−Lukawiec Żuriwsky and Lukawiec Wiszniewski−where many former Polish army detachments concentrated. The retreating German troops and units of szlązaks as we called them--Śląsk Germans or Schlesien Poles--left a lot of weaponry. They lived there in seclusion and cut off from the whole world until they have enough food. We were somehow at odds with them. When they became hungry, they began to attack our hamlets, kill people and take away everything they needed. And then came winter 1944-45. On the one hand, the Bolsheviks conducted endless raids in the daytime. 200-300 soldiers attacked the village, turned upside down all khatas looking for Bandera, of course. And then at nighttime the Poles attacked. Therefore, such teenagers as I took weapon in their hands and were on patrol all night. Such self-defense squads had to repulse enemy attacks. What triggered the first battle in which I was involved? The Bolsheviks attacked Pidmykhailivsky Monastery. It was a convent, which operated there from time immemorial. The monastery contributed to the growth of national consciousness because the nuns of the monastery in the surrounding villages had wardship of the kindergartens. As a kid I was sent to such kindergarten and I was brought up under the guidance of such nun. She did a lot: she taught us to sing songs, recite poems; she formed our nation-mindedness. And, as I said, at home all those conversations were conducted, books and periodicals were read. We had a domestic tradition: in those long winter evenings, when there was no electricity, no radio, and no TV, the whole family got down to do something, while one of us, brothers, was reading a book aloud. So we spent long winter evenings, the whole winter. During winter time a lot of literature was read, for which I am grateful to my father even today; he was an industrious person, I do not remember a single day, when my father was idling. He was Jack of all trades indeed.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: By the way, what was the name of your father and years of birth and death? And of your mother, too.

Father Zynoviy: My father’s full name was Semen Karas. He was born in 1895, and my mother was three years younger; her first name was Yevdokiya, her maiden name was Stefanyshyn. They got married, they brought up four children. I was the youngest in the family. I had two brothers−Nestor and Myroslav−and sister Liubov or Liuba for short.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: Are your parents still alive?

Father Zynoviy: No, they are not: they died with a short interval in 1970. My mother died in September and my father immediately after her in December. My middle brother is dead as well already; I will mention him later on. Well, and my eldest brother, b. 1924, is still alive, my sister, b. 1921, is also alive. Although, you see, we are at advanced age.

My reasoning is a bit inconsequent, but I want to bring out certain points. Today I’ve actually attended your lecture on Vasyl Stus to students, and I somehow remembered, and I wish I’ve told those students, and maybe once I will tell them something of the story I am telling you now. Just certain moments.

Sometime in 1941, already under German occupation, I came across a book Son of Ukraine by Valentyn Zlatopolets. It is not a highly artistic work−it is a remake of Robinson Crusoe−there purely Ukrainian Robinson Crusoe Mykola Lyzohub was put on his mettle and got onto the likely desert island[6]. It was a good reading and I am still under the impression of it. By this I want to emphasize what a lasting effect a book can have on a man. That is why it is so important to try and find proper reading for the young persons, give them a chance to get pleasure in it and find a core of sense that will drop a spark which will give them comfort for the rest of their lives.

The German occupation set in. Despite the fact that Germans, as you know, quelled the attempt to restore an independent Ukrainian state and arrested the Ukrainian government in a body and arrested Stepan Bandera, in our rural regions the life was coasting along in its usual mode. The Germans kept away from the backwoods and could rarely be seen in a village. We had our own Ukrainian administration. The OUN went far and wide in its activities. The young people strained after the OUN; they waited to be called to arms in the struggle for the independent Ukrainian state. This never happened, but the propaganda and Prosvita activities were felt at every turn in Halychyna. All of it produced a powerful effect on us.

Today, sometimes visiting youth weddings and listening to those dancing songs I find myself at the parting of the ways… Other views reigned over our minds. I’ve heard contemporary songs. And I, for one, was singing in the past:


"We’re flesh and blood of nation

brought up in dreading jail,

against deprivation

we’ll fight and never fail.

Death, death, death

To Jewish and Red Commune,

we’ll follow glorious OUN."


Take for example the worst times of raiding parties in 1944-45. We recollected our life in the good old days, Christmas celebration in the past, and instead of our traditional caroling the boys sang, “The red butcher has killed our brethren, forty million’s waiting to fight. Revenge! Revenge!” Such was our underlying sentiment.

But life went on. Despite that struggle, those murders, blood, which we saw, we had to learn the hard way. And in 1945 I entered the Rohatyn Teachers Training College. I graduated from it in 1948, but, again, there was endless struggle, endless sacrifices, and endless corpses… We continually saw the dead bodies of those guys whom they transported to bury. The officials forced us to attend the funerals of Bolsheviks, who had been killed in the battle with our guys; they were committed to earth at Rohatyn cemetery. Alongside with it the officials tried to found a Komsomol organization; that Komsomol organization was set up at the cost of many lives! Instead, they ordered me to quit the lecture hall and go to the principal’s office where they began brainwashing me: they wanted to drag me into Komsomol at any cost. At the time I trembled in the balance and I could be expelled from the teacher training college. I did finish college. I graduated but I didn’t become a Komsomol member. But the scar is still there.

Upon graduation I started working as a teacher in Horodenka Region. There also the officials exerted pressure upon our boys and girls to make them join Komsomol. And again I held out. It is ironic that after three years of my working in Horodenka Region I went back to my native heath. Firstly, I could not stay there because of my confrontation with the regional committee of Komsomol I had to quit the job there. That very year I became a correspondent student of the Stanislaviv Teachers’ Institute and returned to my… Then it was Bukachivsky Region[7]. Okay, they offered me a job and assigned me to a school.

I chipped in the August conference and finally went to get an official order about my putting on the staff of Vasiuchynska School; when I came they asked me: “Are you a member of the Komsomol?”−“No, I am not”. And after that I voluntarily went to apply for membership in the Young Communist League; I was already married and there were no two ways about it. And it dwells in my memory ever since as a striking example of violence to the influence of which, so to speak, I submitted.

At the school I worked for a very short time and even was down with some illness. I decided to leave Ukraine−there were certain attendant circumstances−and go to Kazakhstan and stay with the exiled relatives of my wife. They were exiled to Kazakhstan in 1940 and eventually after Petropavlovsk and Semipalatinsk they finally settled in Kostanay. Therefore we went to Kazakhstan as well.

What else could I tell you? I do not know whether it might be interesting… But I’ll go back a little bit to the time before my departure. After all, my contacts with the Ukrainian underground never ceased. At some point in time, I even got into print in underground magazines. There existed such magazine as Na chatakh, and I began printing there my poems under the pseudonym Perelesnyk. Just before that I first read The Forest Song by Lesia Ukrayinka. It was a book that packs a man-sized punch. I liked at once the very sounding of the word Perelesnyk and I decided to take it for a pseudonym, although I had yet another pseudonym: at the time I was in the volunteer public self-defense squad while which had already fought three battles with Bolsheviks. By the way, in this battle not only our guys participated but also volunteers from nearby villages. Maybe sometime I will tell about it in greater details. I have already written and published articles about it. I then joined the youth OUN, and since that time I was a member of the OUN and never quitted OUN, no one excluded me, though the OUN was defeated and our movement suffered a repulse. But I believe that those members of OUN who managed to survive remain the active members of OUN. I will later renew my membership in OUN.

So, in 1954 I left Ukraine having graduated from the Stanislaviv Teachers’ Institute. There I was treated for a while ... And now what. As far as already know the destiny and certain realities marooned me to join the Komsomol and now in protest at it I decided to enter the seminary. As a correspondence student I entered the Leningrad Theological Seminary.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: When?

Father Zynoviy: In 1954.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: You became a correspondence student?

Father Zynoviy: Right. In 1954, I entered the theological seminary. Living in Kostanay− my wife’s uncle was a senior priest in a Kostanay church−I started working for the church. In summer, in August 1954, in Almaty, Metropolitan Nikolai Mogilevsky ordained me to the priesthood.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: And which church?

Father Zynoviy: The Orthodox Church: the same official Russian Orthodox Church. Since then I started working in Kostanay as a priest. In a very short time my activity attracted attention. Many young people became churchgoers, which did not suit the Bolshevik administration, of course.

Next. In 1954, many our young men and women were released from prisons and labor camps were liberated; they had been arrested as teen lawbreakers and now they were not very old. But they were not allowed to return to Ukraine and were forced to settle in Kazakhstan. Thus in Kazakhstan, particularly in Kostanay, the Ukrainian diaspora was founded. I not only tried to be there; in fact, we did our soul-searching first.

In addition, in accordance with my priestly duties, which I myself sought for, I traveled a lot through the villages of Kostanay Oblast located at 200-300-500 km from Kostanay: it is a wide spread area! In olden times those spaces were populated by multitudes of Ukrainians whom the Father Czar presented with very cheap, almost gratuitous land in Kazakhstan. Our people came from Poltava, from Tavriya Province: there were a lot of Ukrainians. It is the so-called Sityi Klyn[8] in Kazakhstan. I met with those settlers: very nice, sincere people, though their language was already very corrupt. You can just imagine now: a village in the steppe, each house is plainly visible; you can unmistakably drive up to the khata knowing that the Ukrainians live here because the khata or mud hut is always whitewashed, and around the khata at least one bush is planted. At the same time in the areas where Russians, Tatars, Kazakhs lived the houses were whitewashed only in the process of construction and there was neither vegetation, nor fences there. So you could unmistakably drive up to the khata and an old woman or an old man would sure meet you and welcome your arrival in old Ukrainian language though very corrupt, but Ukrainian all the same, as they knew no other languages. Their welcome was very warm and sincere, because they at once heard live, good Ukrainian language. I had a good command of Ukrainian language and now I am able to improvise a well-bred speech.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: I wonder what language you used to recite the office.

Father Zynoviy: Only Russian that is Church Slavonic in Russian pronunciation. And I preached sermons in Russian, which, by the way, I was not very fond of: at first I was not very fond of it, but later I somehow learned to use both spoken and literary variants of Russian. But with Ukrainians I spoke Ukrainian, of course, although it was a usual everyday talk. Though they knew why I came… Time and again they called me and I covered 300 km and more in steppe to get there; I still remember the Village of Volodymyrivka. The village council there tried to drive me away at any price but people would not let do it. I had to baptize there very many children and adults. The forty-year-old mother came and took baptism together with her children. The Soviet rulers let it all slide.

I often visited cemeteries. They showed me where the shot people lay: the Soviet officials shot people there, innocent people, like they did it here in Ukraine. The people there also died of starvation, only perhaps less than in Ukraine. Especially the Kazakhs were dying out because the Ukrainians were in for the agriculture; therefore the Soviet officials were not able to massively kill Ukrainians there, while the Kazakhs were in for cattle breeding only. When their herds were confiscated, they actually found themselves on the verge of extinction and an awful lot of them died of starvation. And besides, there were mass shootings during the so-called Civil War: the Whites shot the Reds, the Reds shot the Whites. The locals showed me where the former and the latter were buried.

Those trips of the Kazakh steppes revealed to me another page of the so-called Soviet reality, which flatly contradicted the stories favored by official publications. Everything I saw in Halychyna, everything I knew about Holodomor… Maybe in Eastern Ukraine the people were not aware of the extent of Holodomor in the 30s, but in Halychyna we did know because the periodicals wrote about this. The CPWU and many people considered that all this is a lie, "the priests’ lie"; such were the words out of everybody’s mouth. But many people were very well aware of this whole truth. And when the Eastern Ukrainians came with that wave of Germans they knew more about it.

So, I say, a kind of purely Ukrainian diaspora emerged in Kostanay. We began to unite and actually created OUN underground organization. As a matter of course, we were tracked down. The KGB officers always trimmed the sails to the wind. Every organization had KGB rats. As far as I know now, there was not even an ordinary shoe shop employing 3-4-5 shoemakers without a KGB informer. They were everywhere you turned. Well, in the city Kostanay I was in the public eye and the KGB sat on my tail. In addition, they sent their agents to rat on me. By the way, I would like to say one more thing. Among those who later witnessed against me, there were no Ukrainians, there were only Russians and, surprisingly, there were Volga Germans, which had been deported to Kazakhstan. And there was no other national. And I rubbed shoulders with Kazakhs and Tatars, and Koreans, there was a great deal of Koreans there. Among those people there happened no informants; for some reason the squealers abounded among the Volga Germans, well, and Russians as well. In short, I was arrested.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: Tell us the date and place of arrest, please.

Father Zynoviy: I was arrested in Kostanay, Kazakhstan, on September 27, 1957. What for was I arrested? Firstly, they accused me, of course, as every Ukrainian, of Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism. Even my conversations with Ukrainians in Ukrainian they treated as a crime. For example, they regarded as an offence singing of Ukrainian songs, for I attended many Ukrainian baptism ceremonies and wedding; the exact wording of the accusation was as follows: “singing of Ukrainian songs”. It was a crime. The more so the protection of the rights of Ukrainians to have their own state, have their own culture. The corruption of Ukrainian language continued. In institutions of higher education the teaching is not conducted in Ukrainian language, more and more schools are transferred to the Russian language; I knew all this because I saw everything, even when I had been in Ukraine, but also the Ukrainians sometimes came here and I went to Ukraine and saw all of it. In 1956, I went to Ukraine: everyone is entitled to a so-called vacation when I could go to my homeland, look and see; in the course of those few years I saw the effects and the detrimental impact that the Soviet government had on Ukrainian culture, Ukrainian language. Knowing it was a crime. They even incriminated me the fact that I corrected someone’s language. If someone used mixed Russian-Ukrainian dialect and I corrected macaronic phrases, they: “And who gave you the right to do this?” To which I replied that it concerns speech habits, it is human culture, just as I had to pay attention to the person who was behaving like a hooligan on the streets and the same was about the language.

In short, they inculpated many things. They accused me of conversations with our people, attempt to unify our people and revealed some old moves in Ukraine. For example, they found out−and that was a fact−that I had given my typewriter to the underground. They added to my case some works of mine, confiscate a whole bunch of publications that I had with me. All seized articles written or published in Ukrainian were sent to the Academy of Sciences in Kyiv. The Academy sent back a review that they were harmful Ukrainian nationalist materials. This review formed the basis of the verdict: I was given ten years of camps under not Ukrainian but Russian article 58-1 through article 17.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: Russian or Kazakh?

Father Zynoviy: The Russian Code was in force there. Article 58-1 through 17 specifies punishment for “complicity in treason against the fatherland”, 58-10 part 2, that is “anti-Soviet propaganda and agitation with the use of national and religious prejudices", 58-11 as "Organization". And I even had an article as follows… What was it… from 1947… “stealing of state property." In fact, it was this way. The church had a fairly big parvis. The adjacent shops of vocational schools demanded to cut off a parcel of that land and transfer it to the possession of a school. They achieved their end, but there was also an iron fencing and yellow acacia planted there. We decided to dig out this acacia and plant it on the church-owned territory. And the officials classified it as “stealing of state property" because the said acacia, according to the decision of the City Council, was now a “state-owned” acacia. The state had not planted it; nevertheless it was now a “state-owned” acacia. So we were not permitted to transplant acacia for it meant “stealing” now. It did not surprise me because I know how our people were transferred to the collective farms: one day he sowed his rye or his wheat in his field, but on the next day this very field was announced the state or collective farm property and a collective farmer could not try and take it away! The people were tried if they went and mowed down a sheaf of their own wheat, which they had sowed. It became a collective farm property and for mowing a man could be given a term. Cutting a long story short, I got those ten years.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: It is important to note which court tried the case and when.

Father Zynoviy: The Kostanay court, on 10 and 11 January 1958. I was arrested on 27 September. The investigation continued for three months. I was mostly kept in solitary confinement. They planted a stool pigeon in my cell: his name was Ivan Sinohach (I remember his name) from the Village of Bochkivtsi, Chernivtsi Oblast. Allegedly, he was a teacher, I think, of physical training, but he signed a contract and went to the virgin lands. There he worked as a driver and transported wheat; he allegedly stole a truck of wheat, for which he was tried. One way or another such was the legend he told me and tried to worm out something from me. He did me no harm, if the truth must be told. However later, as I learned, the domestic offenders beat him in prison as a squealer on me. I really do not have claim on him, because, as a matter of fact, he did me no harm.

Actually, more harm was done be people who surrounded me, our "heartfelt" Christians, but I say, thank God, and it’s truly important for me, I thank God that they were not Ukrainians. Among Ukrainian there were no witnesses against me, there were only Russians and Germans.

Through my imprudence I wrote an appeal hoping for some mitigation. This enabled the jailers to keep me three months more in prison awaiting outcome of that cassation. I stayed in a spacious cell where seventy more or even one hundred prisoners were kept. In fact, I found myself in such a terrible environment which I could not even imagine before. Firstly, the foul language sounded from hell to breakfast. I’m not used to it: never in my whole life had I resorted to filthy language neither before that time nor after. So you may imagine how it affected me.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: That was an element of “the Great Russian culture”.

Father Zynoviy: Right. But there were a lot of all sorts of prisoners. There were truly noble people despite the fact that there were thieves. I vividly remember that there were two brothers, who robbed banks, robbed savings banks, such was their line of action. As they made the dust fly, their booty was awesome. At the same time they were well educated and it was interesting to talk with them. There was a very big group of Chechens and Ingush. I would like to tell about them separately, because current developments in the Caucasus had their origins in those times. I knew Chechens and Ingushes when I had been at large as well. By the way, none of them also gave me away; nobody said a single insulting word about me though all of them were strangers. There were many young people in prison. Usually they were sentenced under article 59: banditry. As a rule they I came up on big loot, they did not squander their talents on trifles. There was among them a teacher; he was the oldest among them, he managed to steal 1000 gold watches from the jewelry store. At the time quite a lot of gold on sale; in Kazakhstan there were a good many gold mines. For three years he kept the loot in hiding and only three years later he began selling these watches and was taken red-handed.

I told these guys about the Caucasian Wars, about conquest of the Caucasus, about their Shamil. They listened like children. And, you know, they never permitted to ​​ hurt me in the cell during those three months, although there were truly awful people: some of them had eight-to-twelve previous convictions for stealing, murder, robbery, and violence.

Three months later, the officials announced me that everything remains in force legal. They only cleaned me under article 58-11, and article 25-10 part two replaced with the first part. Both articles and term remained the same. So I went with them to the camp through the transit prisons as was usual for all of us. By the way, the most frequent and detailed searches were conducted in Novosibirsk prison, like in the story you have told us earlier. At the time I had a big beard and I always carried a pencil stub in my beard. I carried it through all prisons, and only there, in Novosibirsk, they confiscated the pencil. However, they did not put me into the punishment cell because we had to move.

Along the way there formed a group of all sorts of people who fraternized and became closer to one another, until we arrived at our first camp. And then everyone found his own environment.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: And where did you come to?

Father Zynoviy: I came to the six hundred and first zone, to the Town of Tayshet. It was a transit prison, but some people there were working. For some time I did not go to work there but when in early spring the snow began melting they transferred me to the zone no. 019, the so-called DOK or big woodworking enterprise. I got a job at the third box factory. It was a hard physical labor. I was not used to it during my years in prison and just terribly tired of it. Then our guys found me another "clean" job: bucket shop accountant. By the way, I met there Myroslav Symchych for the first time.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: Really? What year was it?

Father Zynoviy: It was in 1958. And then they transferred me back to Tayshet, to the same six hundred and first zone, and I started working at woodworking factory. I operated slotting milling cutter. After a while they started to carry us to build a pioneer camp. Then they transferred us to a collective farm to dig potatoes and collect all sorts of vegetables for winter time. They brought together the youngest convicts; the working conditions were worse than anywhere else. We were told that we would be working seven days a week and that the nonworking days will be on “rainy days” only. We worked for two weeks or so. The working contingent included mostly the young prisoners: there were many students from Leningrad, Jews, Russians, and there even happened to be good people. And once, when we were brought to work, it began to rain. We stopped working and started demanding to be led back, because they promised a day off in the case of rain, especially since we had had no nonworking days before that, nutrition was the worst possible; we had the poor diet despite the fact that we dug potatoes and picked up cabbage in the field.

In short, we were there well beaten, some prisoners were taken to jail; some were returned to the camp. Those who were returned to the camp got dry during the night because we got soaked to the skin. Three days later the ruling was announced: "Three months of the punishment cell with follow-up submission to the punitive sanctions".

As a result I found myself in Vikhorevka which meant still deeper into the taiga[9]. This camp differed from all others by the fact that it had water of very poor quality. The quality of water was so bad that one couldn’t drink it because of very high mineralization and in banya one couldn’t wash off soap. We found an outlet thawing water and drinking thawing water; you can only imagine the taste of that thawing water. But all the same they cooked our meals on that stinking and bitter water. The main victuals for the whole winter included barrels of animal lungs; they cooked lungs to make bouillon for our soup. Those lungs had foul smell and nobody could eat them. The only thing we did in this case: we fished out a few potatoes that were floating in the soup. Bread was our only salvation. However, they did not lead us out to work anymore.

At first I was barracked in the so-called “black India” which was a barrack for former criminals. I do not know whether you experienced anything like this or not, but criminals who lost all their money in gambling were under death threat. Therefore such criminal wrote an anti-Soviet leaflet and glued it to the wall; they grabbed him, sentenced under article 58 and transferred to our camp. And so I found myself in such a barrack. There were solid double level plank beds, smothery smoke, stench, and thick dust.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: And what about foul language?

Father Zynoviy: Well, the obscene language was a custom there. There was only one way to escape from this: you had to stir abroad. And outdoors the temperature was 50 degrees Celsius below zero. And it was there that I let my lungs catch chill. The pulmonary tuberculosis set in. They took me to the hospital and carried out an x-ray: my lungs were affected. But we were lucky enough that at the end of winter we were driven on foot to a completely different camp. I remember that it was camp no. 410, but I do not remember either its name or the name of the village. As contrasted to our former camp, here we had very good water, so that we could break the neck of an illness. We lived there till the early spring. My job was to chop raw wood, build a fire and boil for inmates returning to the barrack from work a cauldron of water. We put several packages of coffee into the boiling water and called this surrogate tea. So my task was to make tea two times daily. Oh, yes and to clean the barrack also.

Fortunately, we did not stay there for long: in spring we got onto the train and the train headed to Mordovia.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: In what year was it?

Father Zynoviy: It was already in 1960. By the way, I remember that in Vikhorevka the jailers gladly announced that Bandera was killed: it happened in 1959, Bandera was killed.

We were brought to Mordovia and they began settling us in various camps. I had a year of punitive term and therefore I had to serve a penalty term. They sent me to the fifth camp, where there were only two barracks.

Yeah, I have to go back a little bit. In Vikhorevka, as I said, I stayed in the "black Indian" barrack with criminals, but not for long. Because, in addition, there was another spacious barrack, which was divided into two sections: Ukrainian section and Lithuanian section. I found myself in the Ukrainian section among truly wonderful our people. There I met Petro Duzhyi, Yevhen Hrytsiak, our Kolomyya… Oh, it has passed completely from my memory! In short, only Ukrainians lived in that barrack, and we lived very friendly, had very good relations despite all these hardships.

Now, let us return to Mordovia. In Mordovia, I spent the whole summer. Tuberculosis… But there was a large working area, we fashioned bricks there, almost by hand. We were digging with our own hands, we were manually loading the skips, manually pushing the skips to the clay mixing machine, were manually cutting the mixture, removing, transporting to the sheds to dry the bricks… I didn’t die from my consumption, perhaps only because our foreman, free lance worker, was a student of a technical secondary school (I think, engineering secondary school) and he had to make two test drawings, and someone put an idea into his head that I could do it. I made ​​him these two test drawings in my spare time, and he made me a so-called dryer. My task was to go out in the morning, open with a stick hatches in those sheds where raw bricks were drying, and from time to time to put round the shed big wooden boards or remove those boards. And then I had a lot of free time, and I walked over the grass cover, in those bushes and literally grazed upon the grass. I ate a lot of plants: I knew very many medicinal properties of plants. There were wild strawberries, there was nettle, there was dandelion, and I just ate it. And also the birch buds. And, you know, perhaps the climate change from Siberian to Mordovian was also beneficial and step-by-step my health improved.

I was kept there until fall of 1960. When I had served my penalty year, I was transferred to the first camp in Mordovia, settlement of Sosnovka. The big seventh camp was nearby. It was a kind of monastery, to which they brought believers of all denominations, which then were persecuted in the Soviet Union. The aim was twofold: “to prevent corrupting influence” of believers on non-believers, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, to bring them together, so that they would start bickering while the officials keeping aloof could rub their hands and be happy with it. And the radio did its bit as well. Every night they let the sawdust out of a political prisoner and ripped into him starting from materials relating to the case. However, they failed to attain their aim despite the fact that the believers really belonged to different confessions and, say, the Jehovah’s Witnesses behaved quite aggressively, they were the most aggressive, I would say. But humans being what they are the inmates, as a rule, lived quite peacefully. Moreover, each one found his own environment, his own people. There was a numerous group of priests, Ukrainian Greek Catholics, Lithuanian Catholics, of course, Poles, there were Moldovan priests, Hungarian, there was even Latvian Pastor Ugo Revans and there were Russian priests. There was one very handsome and very majestic Ukrainian autocephalous priest. Despite the fact that at the time there was no autocephalous church[10], Father Oleksa Yanovetskyy from Lviv was committed to this Church, though he was from Eastern Ukraine. I could give quite a list of all those whom I know and whom I met there. I met there for the first time Metropolitan of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Yosyp Slipyi. There I also met current Kolomyya-Chernivtsi Bishop Pavlo Vasylyk. Since we were the youngest among them−at the time we were about 30 years old and the rest were all older than we−and we made ​​friends, and all the years we lived in a truly amiable relationship. This relationship has remained unchangeable until today; they have stood the test of time. (Bishop Pavlo Vasylyk passed away on 12.12.2004 in the Town of Kolomyya.--V.O.). I can say that today our friendship is warm and solid like it was in the past. By the way, when the Greek Catholic Church was restored and the Kolomyya-Chernivtsi diocese was established, he invited me to work as an E-in-C of the diocesan newspaper Khrystyyanskyi Visnyk. And today I am still the E-in-C of this newspaper.

In short, a new work and a new life got under way there. We stayed there for three years, probably until 1963. When the security rules became stricter, they began to pick out the so-called repeat offenders. Among such offenders was Metropolitan Yosyp Slipyi. He was transferred to the tenth camp in Mordovia. And Vasylyk was also a repeater; he was also taken to a closed prison. You know well what it means: staying behind bars twenty-four hours a day, working behind bars, wearing striated clothes and all the other "charms" of a closed prison. In Kuchino you also had something like that. But now there were fewer people.

At first we manufactured ​​cases for clock radios and something like this and then they brought machine tooling units from some engineering plant in Moscow. This kind of work needed specialists, but among our contingent there were only a few pros. The officials started to bring together fitters and turners from all camps. In short, we were mingled once again. As a result, we had new entrants: Lukyanenko, Horyn brothers, Gel, Moroz, Shumuk, Kosiv and many people who were kept in other camps; the latter belonged to an old contingent and the newest contingent of the Sixtiers and probably even younger ones.

I stayed in the first Sosnovka camp until 1966. In 1966, we were transferred to the eleventh camp, while our former camp was intended for domestic offenders. In the eleventh camp I spent one year, well, and finally freedom was at my door.

What else would I like to recall concerning the first camp? Each of us wrote something as well as there were people who wrote pretty much. The Lithuanians wrote a lot. And there was a need to somehow pass it out of the camp. With the lapse of time I started working at the of the plant storehouse which provided supplies for the whole plant. In fact, I kept the books and was a head manager of the storehouse. The contract drivers who brought certain materials depended on me to some extent. Somewhere along the way he stole something or there occurred a case of short delivery but the driver did not know all the angles. So I was able to use this loophole. For example, if it was necessary to send a free parcel from the camp to Ukraine or Lithuania, I gave him a small prepared parcel and he brought it to Moscow and posted the parcel over there. In this way we sent a lot of written works.

Also, many pieces of writing I managed to hide in the camp. When I became free, I returned to Sosnovka in the first place and the stockkeeper−I will probably not name him, although it is not a secret any more−brought me what I had to carry out and what was hidden in the storehouse. I took it all and carried it out of Mordovia. So, despite all possible restrictive measures, they failed in their desire to totally isolate us; we also managed to post letters. It also happened that boric acid in jars was sent to the camp, but in fact there was pâté. The postal service received such parcel, brought it to my storehouse and I registered it as boric acid. I knew the addressee and what it was, because it was agreed upon in advance that such parcel would be sent.

Thus, in the camp even the guards… No, cannot say anything good about the supervisors, but among contracted service personnel at the plants where we worked there were truly nice people who were very honest: they belonged to all sorts of nationalities, including Mordovians. They did not speak Mordovian and had long lost their national identity, but it all depended on the individual. You could arrange many things with those people; they always tried and understood us, they got the drift and saw for themselves that we were not criminals. They comprehended difference between us and criminals with whom they dealt in other camps. This gave us a chance to survive and not only to survive, but somehow to act, work and have relationships, i.e. with the Catholic Church. And, say, the Roman Catholics or our nationalists had their connections, and these connections could be maintained.

In 1967, I was set free and I went to Kolomyya, where my family had already lived. For Some time I looked for a job. And everywhere I found a mare’s nest and I was not employed. There is a saying “Old friends and old wine are best”. But in Kolomyya my old acquaintances preferred to keep out of scrapes and only a Jew employed me at the workshop for repair of medical equipment. In the camp I graduated from vocational school as an electrician and vocational school as a turner, in short, I was left-handed to no profession. I acceded to all terms. Ukrainians always said to come in a week, two weeks, and then it occurred that the place was already filled. And here I got a job at the medical equipment repair shop and worked there during many years, until the 90s; I also graduated from specialized secondary school in Kharkiv.

My first appearance in public was in 1989. I organized an evening dedicated to Borys Hrinchenko. As I was told later two KGB agents attended that evening: one from Ivano-Frankivsk and another from Kolomyya. I must say that the KGB agents never let me alone: they always shepherded me and I knew about it. I did my best not to make the acquaintance of any person not to leave them holding the bag. But I couldn’t evade socializing all the time as I used to work in hospitals quite a lot. The longest I worked in the Kosiv hospital, for more than 20 years, rendering maintenance service to X-ray, physiotherapy equipment, equipment of operating rooms, labs, it was complex electronic, electrical equipment. I could not escape shadowing. As I learned later, they kept me under observation everywhere. They even used to summon my chiefs to the KGB and give them a good scolding for my attempts to correct the spoken language of paramedics and young nurses; allegedly I had no right to do this. Well, I could not contain myself!

The last search at my place they carried out in 1986. There formed a small group of people in Ivano-Frankivsk and in Kolomyya: everyone wrote something, did something. From time to time, of course, we used to meet together, because it didn’t deserve immediate punishment. They fell like a thunderbolt upon us in 1986 and performed a thorough search, took a bunch of books, tapes, especially at my place. By the way, the KGB agents snatched all my education documents and many photos. For example, I currently have no document certifying that I finished at least the first grade of comprehensive secondary school, they took everything without remainder.

Then again, we all passed through the crucible of the KGB, we experienced all those examinations once more… To say the truth, I spent in the Ivano-Frankivsk KGB only three days. I thought I would have to return to the camps again. And then I realized, especially on the last day, that some slackening of rules had taken place. It was the early times of Gorbachev and it showed me that the KGB machine began malfunctioning. It was the beginning of collapse of the USSR.

In 1989, I say, my first appearance in public took place when I arranged literary evening dedicated to Hrinchenko; I invited also the chorus of medics, in which I sang many years. Then I arranged many such evenings in Kolomyya; there have been dozens of them by now. Since then, I gradually began to publish my articles. My first printed article, the theme of which, by the way, was suggested by the Kolomyya Town Communist Party Committee, was about the Greek Catholic Church. And I did write it.

You know, I will make one more digression… When in 1941 the Bolsheviks were fleeing eastward from the advancing German army r (I myself saw and remember very well the retreat of the Soviet Army: the roadside littered with tanks, guns, vehicles, ammunition because there was no prime movers and fuel supply was exhausted) and during that panic flight the Bolsheviks managed to leave us their agentry, which later joined the OUN, UPA, wormed itself into our structures and caused us a lot of damage. When the Bolshevicks returned in 1944, the agents emerged from the underground, showed their teeth, showed who they are, and gave away everything they could. So, now that the Soviet Union began to crumble… And we know now that all economic political structures in the Soviet Union were full of informants, we know from the Enactment signed by Beria and Zhukov, Deputy Minister of Defense[11], about the expulsion from the territory of Ukraine of all Ukrainians, who stayed at home under German occupation… By the way, the said text of Enactment instructs that per every five Red Army soldiers and five officers there should be one squealer… The likely cobweb entangles both today’s Ukraine and my Kolomyya. There are thousands and thousands of former informants today. The Muscovites understood that they could keep Ukraine in blinkers no more. From the first steps of the movement for creation of Ukrainian Language Society, Moscow realized that it could no longer retain the process, but it could post its own trustful agents in the lead of these organizations. So Moscow infiltrated its agents into the Ukrainian Language Society and restored Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, into all our structures. And these canned agents of Moscow are in their element today.

The new year of 1990 began bringing with it a completely new life. I plunged into my work becoming a Deputy of Town Rada of the first convocation. I published hundreds and hundreds of articles in Kolomyya, delivered hundreds and hundreds of lectures and gave a talk on different subjects. I founded the Club of Christian Intellectuals. Every Sunday, after the office of vespers, I delivered a lecture in the People’s House covering a vast variety of problems. In the first place, I dwelled upon a broad issue: what baptism did we accept from Volodymyr. We had to answer this question. I did my best to answer this question. This subject well deserves more ample treatment. And a lot of questions had to be answered.

Who could answer this? Borys Hrinchenko used to say: who but me? I pulled my slacks up and I tried to do my best, though, as I’ve said already, I still feel a lack of knowledge, because in our time we could not get proper education, which is a routine matter in Europe. They stored our minds with Marxism-Leninism, and it took a lot of class periods, while the students in other countries with other political formations had time for obtaining appropriate knowledge. Many times later, listening, for example, to Beethoven or Grieg, or someone else, I thought about how terribly they had robbed us, because today a child learns about Beethoven being 5-6 years of age and we came to it at a mature age only. For example, we can hardly cal this process "education": in the teachers college we studied Natalka Poltavka by Kotliarevskyi but the book was unavailable for the students and we had to content ourselves with its criticism in our handbook, which we used to do our lessons. One couldn’t call it the study of literature, if you may not read even the primary sources. And The fact of the matter was that in 1944, when the Soviets started those terrible raids here in Halychyna, when hundreds of Bolsheviks were sent to the villages, when the officers found the village Prosvita library−be it Shevchenko, Franko, Lesia−the KGB agents carried everything to a kitchen garden and reduced all books to ashes. Everything was committed to fire! Our store of knowledge consisted of books read in the past or books that somehow escaped destruction. That is how the annihilation of literature looked like. And now the people feel the shortage of knowledge. But the present generation has all the opportunities that we did not have.

So, I say, in 1990 I was absorbed in this Prosvita organization. Today I am a member of the Prosvita and I work mostly for Prosvita. I do quite a lot of work−I’m telling it not for appearances’ sake−but I have been promoting in Kolomyya the most important national holidays: Holiday of Sich Riflemen, Holiday of the Heroes or, the last one, the 50th Anniversary of the Death of Shukhevych. Anybody here can affirm it. I love doing it and I want to do it.

I stood in defense of the Greek Catholic Church and here is why. I think you consider yourself an Orthodox, it looks like it. I believe that the best hyper-model for Ukraine is the Greek Catholic Church, and here is why. We have two major historical enemies: Poland in the West and Muscovy in the East. Suppose anything you please, but I believe that we should seek out anything that distinguishes us from those people rather than unites. Why do we have such a linguistic situation? All because there are similarities with the tarnal Russian language. Meanwhile the Greek Catholic Church sets us apart from the Poles due to different church ritual, and from Muscovites due to the traditional subjection of the church. The Orthodoxy was always dangerous for Ukraine. So, in 1990 the Muscovites understood that they could no more retain power over Ukraine. Therefore they began to move ahead with church legalization. Then Moscow quietly issued a call through its agents−and I am not afraid to say this−addressing those who had graduated from the seminaries in Moscow, Odessa, and any other place, especially in recent times… You may know and if you do not know, you will know now that if a young man wanted to go to the ecclesiastical seminary, he always had to undergo obligatory handling by the relevant agencies and bind himself to accept certain commitments. And we know very well what Bolshevism and Moscow are: give them an inch and they’ll take a yard and therefore one should watch his step with them. There is only one way to defend yourself: give them not an inch, absolutely nothing, otherwise you will be lost. So they issued a call to the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, not even the Russian Orthodox Church. Initially here in Halychyna, emerged a movement for the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. They chose the Orthodoxy, because the way from one Orthodoxy to another Orthodoxy is much shorter than from the Catholic Church to Orthodoxy.

We knew very well that in 1921, having allowed the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church already during the Soviet times, in 1930 they destroyed it completely[12]. I do not know whether it was the only right way, but sometime in 1942, the UPA group of route went to the East and, in particular, began to look for the traces of the said Ukrainian Autocephalous Church. After all, it was a great force, a big church, there were 40 bishops and thousands and thousands of priests; as a result they found two deacons alive, who somehow managed to change their last name, place of residence, work and somehow survived. Everything else was physically exterminated. Therefore, Moscow was very well aware that they had to introduce the autocephaly in Halychyna, and they planned to gain an upper hand later.

Now look at this situation. The situation is such that the Autocephalous Church languishes in poverty, the Kyiv Patriarchate under ecclesiastical guidance of Patriarch Filaret looks much stronger, and the strongest in Ukraine is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which conceals the fact that it is guided by the Moscow Patriarchate. Therefore, in my opinion, the Greek Catholic Church is certainly the best model for Ukraine. It has historically proved that it has preserved, according to its lights, the Ukrainian entity: in Halychyna the Ukrainians have preserved their language and their culture. Many our intellectuals and military leaders come from the families of Ukrainian Christian priests. Indeed, the same priestly background have Bandera, Shukhevych, Konovalets, the Okunevskys, the Babchynskys[13]; a great many families gave for Ukrainian culture, literature, politics numerous prominent figures. No one can deny this fact. If the trend had continued, the nation would have been reborn in spirit, not in quantity only. The last word is hers.

It is difficult to predict future developments in Ukraine. It is desirable that Ukraine becomes a united state. It would be good if healthy national forces, religious forces, political forces unite and set one goal. The enemies may benefit from our political division and confessional separation.

This much is about my beliefs today. I would like to finish with this. I am not Stus, I am not Lytvyn, I am not Ovsiyenko; I am as baked as I am. It is not all I would like to say; maybe my message is a bit clumsy. I just want to say that I am in the 72nd year of my life; I have long outlived Shevchenko, Hrinchenko, Stus, and I have no right to abuse my age, I am at the end of my career. But I thank fate, thank God, and thank Providence for the fact that I never acted against one’s conscience. There were people who sold themselves, but I never was a venal creature, the more so today. There is nothing in this material world, what I would like to have today. I do not want to have anything. I even so many books that I will not have time to read them all; and I do not need material wealth. I would just like to end my life with a clear conscience and a deep faith; no one has it and I, of course, have not, but it’s ideal all the same. I love Ukraine above all, its language. I cannot imagine any other native tongue for myself. I may own up that I am a sinful man; nevertheless I consider Ukrainian language the best and the most melodious. In Ukrainian I can express everything I like, I can feel everything in its words. I love Ukraine best of all. I am a confirmed patriot and I want to die as such. Today I have a grandson who gladdens my heart.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: What is his name?

Father Zynoviy: Volodymyr Harmatiuk. You might have come across him sometime in the past. He graduated from Ivano-Frankivsk University two years ago, with the Master’s Degree, and now he works for the third studio of Ivano-Frankivsk TV.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: When was he born?

Father Zynoviy: He was born in 1975, he is a younger man. He is a single man and works at full capacity. A few days ago I saw several of his reels; I am proud of him indeed and I truly liked what I saw. I told him, for example, about Shukhevych and he was at once hot on the trail and he was on to facts and tracks which I would certainly fail to dig up today. He did this telecast and many others as well.

In conclusion, I would like to tell those young people who listened to you that, dear children, value the time in which you live. There are no prohibitions, no one will exile your parents to Siberia, there is no such reality as dispossession of the kurkuls[14] now, no one will arrest you for your words, there is a great variety of printed matter for you to know everything: there are many books on the history of Ukraine written by different authors and you can get to know it indeed. Do not waste your time and gain knowledge, because later may be too late, in fact, later you will perceive it differently. At my time of life you may read and forget it the day after tomorrow, but the things you read being eighteen years of age you will remember for the rest of your life.

Therefore, young, beautiful Ukrainian youth, savor the moment and use the possibility to the utmost! You have an independent Ukrainian state, where no one will persecute you, because today there are no persecutions anymore. Appreciate it for an independent state is our all. In the independent state you can gradually solve all existential and political issues. The worst situation is occupation, the best situation is independence. In other words, the worst independence is always better than the best occupation. I do not know if it is possible to imagine the best occupation, because the occupation is terrible evil. The best of all is to have your own khata. Therefore appreciate it and contribute to all the healthy forces in Ukraine working for the benefit of Ukraine! Offer resistance to all who scheme against Ukraine and the enemy is still in for crafty designs against our independence! Pay special attention to the dominance of alien books: do not read them, ignore them! Very disappointing is prevalence of sex at every turn in those telecasts and in the literature… A week ago writer Yuri Pilhuk was on a visit here. Do you know him?

V.V.Ovsiyenko: Maybe Yuri Pokalchuk?

Father Zynoviy: Right you are: Pokalchuk, Pokalchuk. He brought his books, brought a collection of his stories. I think he would feel shy before giving these books to his daughter to read because they are terribly vulgar! They are not worth reading. Unfortunate incident occurred here in Kolomyya: literally these days they brought to our paper mill, they say, from Lviv five or six tons (!) of the Encyclopedia of Ukrainian Studies −the first, second, third and fourth volume−as paper for recycling. We yelled at the top of our voices to be heard in Kyiv. I am not sure it may lead to anything.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: Have they stopped it?

Father Zynoviy: As for now I’ve got no idea. Well, even if it does not go under the knife today. But who did it? Is not it a deliberate action? So, young people, offer your resistance to this, at least with your soul, at least understand, where the good is and where evil is, just try to understand it! Try and find your place in life today. I would like our young people to lend their ear to these words.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: Thank you. But I would like to clarify one thing: about your present condition. I understand that currently you are not working as a priest?

Father Zynoviy: No, no. This is a separate page; it is a complicated point at issue. It happens that certain people, whom you may call revolutionaries, dedicate themselves to fighting and mostly die for their cause, and then come other people and make practical use of the available achievements.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: Well, it is logical.

Father Zynoviy: It happened in my case. I dared to oppose the excessive power of Moscow-Agent in our Church. As a result, things just happened and I counted out… By the way, the officials put up a resistance against my Club of Ukrainian Christian Intelligentsia. I worked there for thirteen months. I want to emphasize that for my work for the Church, for my people I receive no remuneration: I would feel offended if it were otherwise! I truly think that I do not want to take to my grave all my store of knowledge. I want to leave it behind and let people use it.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: I thank you, Father Zynoviy, for your cautionary story!

Father Zynoviy: And yet: Long live Ukraine! I never say “Glory to Ukraine”. I will shout "Glory to Ukraine!" when it will be a really deserved glory. Meanwhile in contemporary Ukraine I cannot say "Glory to Ukraine!" I can say, "Live, Ukraine! Live and never be shackled again! Never again fall to your knees! Stick to yourself, Ukraine!” Ukrainians live in this God-granted land since times immemorial, and no one can ever tell us that we had migrated here from some other place, that we had forced someone out or exterminated other nations. We are eternal people on this earth, which had been granted us by God. We have to stay on it. We also never sought to tear out a piece of anybody’s land; we have only one case in history when Svyatoslav went to conquer foreign land. We never were conquerors. And when we are still called bandits, I want to say, that waging war we never brought our troops against the walls of Berlin or Warsaw, or Moscow: we defended ourselves on our own land. In the same manner today they call the Chechen people bandits: it is hypocrisy and mendacity. Be what they may, the Chechens are fighting for their independence in their own land; what for did you invade them? What for have you been killing them for 240 years now? If they do die, all and everybody die, it will be the death of honor. I would like Ukrainians to follow their example.

V.V.Ovsiyenko: God grant! I truly thank you.

We have talked with Father Zynoviy Karas in the Town of Kolomyya on March 22, 2000.


[1] The old jail in Lviv (translator’s note).

[2] Polish concentration camp set up in 1934 (translator’s note).

[3] 1 morg equals 0.56 ha (translator’s note).

[4] A relatively affluent farmer in Ukraine before the WWII (translator’s note).

[5] The spoken language in Halychyna often includes instances of Polish influence. In our case the pronunciation follows the Polish pattern (translator’s note).

[6] The interviewee confuses two different books: 1 - V. Zlatopolets. Son of Ukraine (about the times of Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Pereyaslav Treaty) and 2 - V. Zlatopolets, I. Fediv. Life and Amazing Adventures of Kozak Mykola on the Empty Island. The latter book was reprinted by The Yaroslaviv Val Publishers, Kyiv, in 2007 (translator’s note).

[7] Urban-type settlement Bukachivtsi never was a regional center. In pre-war period it was a gmina center, and after the WWII it became a location of Bukachivtsi Rural Settlement Council. Now it is the center of Bukachivtsi Settlement Rada (translator’s note).

[8] The informal name of the region heavily populated by Ukrainians in South-Western Siberia and Northern Kazakhstan (translator’s note).

[9] See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikhorevka (translator’s note).

[10] The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was established in 1921, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_Autocephalous_Orthodox_Church (translator’s note).

[11] Zhukov was Deputy Minister of the Armed Forces of the USSR (translator’s note).

[12] The legal existence of this Church in the Soviet Ukraine was officially terminated in 1930, although tha last parish was closed down in 1936, see: http://pidruchniki.com/17490110/religiyeznavstvo/ukrayinska_avtokefalna_pravoslavna_tserkva_uapts (translator’s note).

[13] The correct last name might be: Bachynsky (translator’s note).

[14] Kurkuls in Ukraine were a category of relatively affluent farmers in the Bolshevik classification of social strata in early Soviet Union and early Soviet Ukraine. The Ukrainian term "kurkul" is a derivative of Turkish noun korkulu (fearful, dangerous) and verb korkulmak (fear) (translator’s note).

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