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The Battle of Kruty (Ukrainian: Бій під Крутами, Biy pid Krutamy) took place on January 29[1] or 30,[2] 1918 (in Soviet historiography January 29, 1918),[2] near Kruty railway station (today the village of Pamiatne, Borzna Raion, Chernihiv Oblast), about 130 kilometres (81 mi) northeast of Kiev, Ukraine, which at the time was part of Nezhinsky Uyezd of Chernigov Governorate.

Battle of Kruty
Part of the Ukrainian–Soviet War (1917–1921)
Battle of Kruty.jpg
Scheme of the Battle of Kruty.
DateJanuary 29[1] or 30,[2] 1918
Result Strategic Ukrainian People's Republic victory, capture of Kiev delayed and enabled the Ukrainian government to conclude the Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.[3]
Ukrainian People's Republic Soviet Russia
Commanders and leaders
Averkiy Honcharenko
Mikhail Muravyov
Pavel Yegorov[2]
Reingold Berzin[2]
Units involved
The Kiev Cadet auxiliary kurin and the company size element of Free Cossacks Group of forces in battle with the counterrevolution in the South of Russia
500 students
2 armored trains[2]
~100 cossacks

1,000 men (strike force)[2]
2,000+ men (reserves)[2]
2 armored trains[2]
artillery battery

Total: 6,000 soldiers
Casualties and losses
less than 260[2]
prisoners 36[2] (later 28 executed[2])
about 300[4]



Order of battleEdit

Ukrainian forces (D. Nosenko)[2]
Russian forces (Mikhail Muravyov)[2]
  • 1st Revolutionary Army (Komdiv Pavel Yegorov) - 1,500
    • Baltic sailors of Remnyov
    • 1st Petrograd Red Guards
      • 1st battalion - Lifanov (wounded)
      • 2nd battalion - Vorobyov
    • 1st Moscow Red Guards - Ye.Lapidus
    • Armored train No.2
  • 2nd Revolutionary Army (Komdiv Reingold Berzin)
    • 436th Novo-Ladoga Regiment
    • 534th Novo-Kiev Regiment
    • detachment of Baltic sailors
    • Lenin armored train

Brief descriptionEdit

As Bolshevik forces of about 4,000 men, commanded by Mikhail Muravyov, advanced toward Kiev, a small Ukrainian unit of 400 soldiers of the Bakhmach garrison (about 300[6][7] of which were students), commanded by initially by Captain F.Tymchenko, withdrew from Bakhmach to a small railroad station Kruty midway towards Nizhyn. The small unit consisted mainly of the Student Battalion (Kurin) of Sich Riflemen, a unit of the Khmelnytsky Cadet School, and a Free Cossacks company. Just before the assault Tymchenko was replaced by D.Nosenko, while Tymchenko left for Nizhyn in attempt to recruit the locally quartered Shevchenko Regiment (800 soldiers) on the Ukrainian side.[2] Nonetheless on January 30, 1918 the regiment sided with the Soviet regime, the news of which forced the Ukrainian garrison of Kruty hastily to withdraw.[2] Over half of the 400 men were killed during the battle, which lasted up to five hours. In the Soviet historiography the battle is mistakenly dated on January 29, 1918[2] and confused with the Plysky rail station skirmish (uk:Плиски (станція)).[2] The Haidamaka Kish of Symon Petlyura (300 soldiers) that rushed to reinforce[2] the Kruty garrison and was delayed[2] due to the Darnytsia railworkers sabotage[2] stopped in close vicinity (rail station Bobryk)[2] and eventually turned back to Kiev due to the Bolshevik's Arsenal Uprising that occurred on the same day.


Eleven of the students were re-buried at Askold's Grave in the centre of Kiev after the return of the Tsentralna Rada to the capital in March 1918. At the funeral the then President of the Ukrainian People's Republic, Mykhailo Hrushevsky, called every one of the 400 students who fought in the battle, heroes. In addition, poet Pavlo Tychyna wrote about the heroic death of the students.

After the fall of the Ukrainian People's Republic the bodies of the students were moved to the Lukyanivske Cemetery in Kiev.

Ukrainian legacyEdit

The true story of the battle was hidden by the Soviet Government. Only recently, a monument was set up to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Kruty at Askold's Grave, and a commemorative hryvnia coin was minted. In 2006, the Kruty Heroes Monument was erected on the site of the historic battle and is remembered each year on or around January 29.

Ukrainian youngsters lost their lives to stop the Bolshevist army of Russian Lieutenant General Nikolai Muravyov from advancing on Kiev.

— Ex-President Viktor Yuschenko at the 91st anniversary of the battle describing the students[8]

Young people, like Spartan soldiers, died for the sake of their motherland in a struggle against foreign aggressors, and it was an example of their sacrifice and selfless love for their native land. Every anniversary of the Heroes of Kruty is not only a day to honor those people who loved our motherland more than their lives. This is also another reminder to our contemporary politicians regarding their responsibility for the fate of their country and people.

— Ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko describing the battle[9]

Near Kruty the Kiev military cadets and students became the forerunners of the Ukrainian political nation. Having different ethnic roots, they as one fought for our Ukrainian State. As the founding of the Ukrainian People's Republic became the base of the Ukrainian statehood, so the heroism of the Kruty's warriors became the beginning and the symbol of liberating struggles of Ukrainians for the liberty in the past 20th century.

— Ex-President Viktor Yuschenko at the 91st anniversary of the battle[10]

Important personalitiesEdit

  • Leonid Butkevych, the youngest soldier who was in the sixth grade
  • Yakiv Ryabokin-Rohoza-Rozanov
  • Volodymyr Shulhyn, a brother of the Ukrainian statesman Oleksander Shulhyn
  • Ivano Hrushetsky, later an Orthodox priest who eventually died in a Soviet prison in August 1940
  • Mytrofan Shvydun, later continued to fight on the "Shooter" and "Free Ukraine" armored trains and in 1941 organized the Lutsk Battalion of OUN[5] (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists)
  • Mykhailo Mykhailyk, later wrote a detailed memoir about the battle
  • Numerous former students of Kruty became the base of the officer corps of the legendary Black Zaporizhians Cavalry Regiment
  • Mykola Kryvopusk and Hnat Martynyuk in 1920-1921 served as personal bodyguards of Symon Petlyura, Martynyuk, after becoming a priest, perished in Volyn in 1943 under unknown circumstances
  • Serhiy Zakhvalsky, eventually became an officer in the Polish Army, however, he was renowned for imprisoning a whole company of the Red Army in 1920, while heading one of the cavalry squads of the Zaliznyak Cavalry Regiment
  • Averkiy Honcharenko, in 1943 became one of the organizers of the SS Halychyna[5] of which he was appointed a commander in 1945
  • Petro Franchuk, one of the members of SS Halychyna

To the memory of the thirtiesEdit

At the Askold Cemetery
They were buried,
The thirty martyrs-Ukrainians,
The glorious young...

At the Askold Cemetery
The Ukrainian bloom! —
By the bloody roadway
For us to follow into the world.

Onto whom has dared to rise
The betrayer's hand?
Sun is blooming, wind is playing
And the Dnieper-river...

Against whom has Cain committed?
O, Lord, punish them!
Over everything they loved
It was their loved land.

They died in the New Testament
With the glory of saints.
At the Askold Cemetery
They were buried.

— Pavlo Tychyna, 1918 (free translation)[11]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The student company consisted of students from the Kiev University, the Ukrainian People's University and the 2nd Kiev Gymnasium of St.Cyril and Methodius.
  2. ^ Former 1st Kiev Konstantinovskoye Military School


  1. ^ a b Battle of Kruty at the Encyclopedia of Ukraine
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Kovalchuk, M. Battle of Kruty: known and known pages. Ukrayinska Pravda (Historic Pravda). 29 January 2015 ([1] original source)]
  3. ^
  4. ^ Михайло Михайлик: День 29 січня 1918 року. — Львів, 1932 (Ukrainian)
  5. ^ a b c Tynchenko, Ya. Life after Kruty. How turned out the fate of participants of January battle. Ukrayinska Pravda (Istorychna Pravda). 28 January 2011
  6. ^ Subtelny, Orest (2000). Ukraine: A History. University of Toronto Press. p. 352. ISBN 0-8020-8390-0.
  7. ^ "History of Ukraine". History of Ukraine (in Ukrainian). Retrieved September 12, 2006.
  8. ^ Events by themes: 91st anniversary of battle near Kruty, UNIAN (29 January 2009)
  9. ^ Yuschenko, Tymoshenko address their compatriots on occasion of Battle of Kruty, Interfax-Ukraine, (29 January 2009)
  10. ^ History of the Battle of Kruty - English, YouTube
  11. ^ Lavrinenko, Yu. Shot Renaissance: Anthology 1917-1933: Poetry-prose-drama-essay. "Prosvita". Kiev, 2001. 794 p.

External linksEdit