On the 60th Anniversary of Roman Shukhevych’s Murder

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March 5, 2010 marks the 60th anniversary of the death of one of the outstanding leaders of Ukraine’s liberation movement, Roman Shukhevych (nom de guerre: Taras Chuprynka). 

Born into a family of Ukrainian intellectuals in Lviv on July 7, 1907, Shukhevych evolved into a pivotal military and political leader of his time.  Already exhibiting signs of leadership during his high school years, Shukhevych became a member of the Ukrainian scouting organization, PLAST, founding the Chornomortsi Kurin ( a subgroup within the organization); and then in 1925, he joined the Ukrainian Military Organization.    While studying at the Lviv Polytechnic Institute, from where he graduated with a degree in engineering, he became a member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, a political movement dedicated to the establishment of an independent Ukrainian state.  Under the pseudonym "Dzvin" (Bell) he became a representative of the Ukrainian Executive.

Shukhevych soon rose to greater positions of authority and eventually in 1943 became the Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, where he focused its struggle against Polish and Soviet aggression and imperialism. Under Shukhevych's leadership the evolution of the program for which the OUN fought was further refined. The OUN turned its attention to opposing all forms of totalitarian systems and supporting the right for self determination and the construction of a democratic state in Ukraine.

During the period of German occupation in Ukraine, Shukhevych spent most of his time fighting as a partisan. When Ukraine fell under Soviet occupation, Shekhevych worked to unite the various Ukrainian national forces to fight forUkraine’s independence by organizing a meeting between all the Ukrainian political parties. As a result the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council (UHVR), a political organization that co-ordinated resistance efforts in Soviet-occupied Ukraine, was formed.

For his dedication to the Ukrainian liberation cause, Shukhevych was arrested numerous times, yet upon his release he continued to fight for Ukraine’s independence.

Shukhеvych was killed in combat with special units of the MVD (Russia’s Ministry Internal Affairs) near Lviv on March 5, 1950.  In 2007, Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko posthumously awarded the title “Hero of Ukraine”, the country’s highest honor, to Roman Shukhevych. 

In the history of every nation there are individuals who embody and epitomize the strivings of their people.  Roman Shukhevych was one such hero, sacrificing his life for his country.  To this day, he remains a symbol of the revolutionary struggle for an independent Ukrainian state. The UCCA pays tribute to his legacy and will continue to strive for the principles he fought for – honor, righteousness and a free and independent Ukrainian state that represents its people.

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