Yevhen Konovalets

Holodomor AvatarYevhen Konovalets (June 14, 1891 – May 23, 1938) was a military commander of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR) army and political leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement. He is best known as the leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) between 1929 and 1938. In the summer of 1914, Konovalets was mobilized into the Austro-Hungarian Army and during the WWI rose to the rank of a second lieutenant. In 1915 he was taken prisoner of war. While in captivity he joined a group of former Galician officers who escaped to Kyiv together and in November 1917, with the Galician-Bucovina Committee organized the Sich Riflemen Halych-Bukovyna Kurin. Two months later Konovalets assumed its command and helped suppress the Communist uprising in Kyiv as well as resisting the Antonov-Ovseenko offensive. In March 1918 his riflemen, together with the Zaporizhia Corps of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the reformed Haydamaky Kish of the Sloboda Ukraine, liberated Kyiv from the Bolsheviks. Konovalets’ military unit was disbanded due to its political views in May 1918 but by 1920 he had set up the Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO) which operated both in Western Ukraine and in exile capable of clandestine activities within the borders of the newly occupying Communist powers-Poland, Bolshevik Russia, Romania, and Czechoslovakia. However, after several acts of resistance his organisation was infiltrated by police and in December 1922 Konovalets had to escape abroad. In 1929 he took part in the first congress of Ukrainian nationalists in Vienna. During the congress it was decided to form the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), and Konovalets was elected as its leader. He actively promoted its influence among Ukrainian emigres throughout Europe and America while establishing contacts with intelligence offices of Lithuania, Germany, Italy, Great Britain and others. Under Konovalets leadership the OUN penetrated deeply into Bolshevik controlled territory. He was assassinated by an NKVD agent in Rotterdam on May 23rd 1938. In 2006, the Lviv city administration announced the future transference of the remains of Yevhen Konovalets, Stepan Bandera and Andriy Melnyk leaders of OUN and UPA to a new area of Lychakivskiy Cemetery specifically dedicated to heroes of the Ukrainian liberation movement. In June 17, 2011 in Vilnius, Lithuania there took place the conference “Yevhen Konovalets: Lithuanian citizen – the Ukrainian patriot. Celebration of 120th birthday” organised by The Lithuanian Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, People’s Liberation Movement Research Centre (Ukraine) and Ukrainian organizations in Lithuania.

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