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The Ukrainian Helsinki Group (Ukrainian: Українська Гельсінська Група) was founded on November 9, 1976 as the “Ukrainian Public Group to Promote the Implementation of the Helsinki Accords on Human Rights” (Ukrainian: Українська громадська група сприяння виконанню гельсінських угод, Ukrayins’ka hromads’ka hrupa spryyannya vykonannyu hel’sins’kykh uhod) to monitor human rights in Ukraine.[1] The group was active until 1981 when all members were jailed.

Ukrainian Helsinki Group
Українська Гельсінська Група
UAHELG.jpg
Formation 9 November 1976; 40 years ago (1976-11-09)
Founder Mykola Rudenko and others
Type Non-profit NGO
Headquarters  Ukraine, Kiev
Fields human rights monitoring
Publication A Chronicle of
Current Events
Parent organization
Helsinki Committee
for Human Rights
Website helsinki.org.ua

The group's goal was to monitor the Soviet Government's compliance with the Helsinki Accords, which ensure human rights. The members of the group based the group's legal viability on the provision in the Helsinki Final Act, Principle VII, which established the rights of individuals to know and act upon their rights and duties.

Contents

DetailsEdit

Since 1977 the Ukrainian Helsinki Group foreign affiliate began its activities with the participation of Petro Hryhorenko, Nadiya Svitlychna, Leonid Plyushch and later Nina Strokata-Karavanska Nadiya Svitlichna began to host the human rights themed radio programs on Svoboda radio.

From the very early days the group endured the repressions of Soviet authorities. In February 1977 the authorities began to arrest members of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, and within two years all the founding members were tried and sentenced to exile or imprisonment for 7 to 10 years.[2]

At the end of 1979, six members of the group were forced to emigrate, while other Ukrainian dissidents were not allowed to do so. Soviet authorities used punitive medicine: some Ukrainian Helsinki Group members (Oksana Meshko, Vasyl Stus, Petro Sichko and his son Vasyl) were threatened with committal. Hanna Mykhailenko, who was a sympathizer of the Group, was detained in a psychiatric hospital in 1980. Bad conditions in Soviet camps and prisons caused the deaths of UHG members Oleksiy Tykhy and Vasyl Stus later on.

In 1982 the Initiative Group for the Defense of Believers and the Church was established, which considered itself a part of the Helsinki movement in Ukraine.[3] Its organizers, Yosyp Terelia and Vasyl Kobryn, were both sentenced in 1985.

Some political prisoners from outside of Ukraine (an Estonian Mart Niklus and a Lithuanian Viktoras Petkus) announced their symbolical membership in the Group in 1983.

By 1983 the Ukrainian Helsinki Group had 37 members, of whom 22 were in prison camps, 5 were in exile, 6 emigrated to the West, 3 were released and were living in Ukraine, 1 (Mykhailo Melnyk) committed suicide.[2]

On July 7, 1988 members of group established and officially registered the Ukrainian Helsinki Association which in 1990 transformed itself into the Ukrainian Republican Party. In 2004, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union was established as association of public human rights organizations.

MembersEdit

By the estimations of Vasyl Ovsyenko, the Group involved 41 persons in total. About 27 of them were sentenced by Soviet authorities to prisons and camps directly for their membership in the association. They spent altogether about 170 years in prisons, mental hospitals and in exile.

UHG abroadEdit

In 1980 for UHG abroad Nadiya Svitlychna became an editor of the "Herald of Repressions in Ukraine" publication.

Arrested membersEdit

By 1982, most members of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group had been arrested:[4]

Name Sentenced on Sentence
Mykola Rudenko 1 July 1977 Seven years in strict regimen camp and five years of internal exile for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda";
Oleksy Tykhy 1 July 1977 Ten years in special regimen camp and five years of internal exile for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda" and illegal possession of firearms (Article 222, Ukrainian Code);
Myroslav Marynovych 29 March 1978 Seven years in strict regimen camp and five years of internal exile for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda";
Mykola Matusevych 29 March 1978 Seven years in strict regimen camp and five years of internal exile for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda";
Levko Lukyanenko 20 July 1978 Ten years in special regimen camp and five years of internal exile for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda";
Oles Berdnyk 24 December 1979 Six years in strict regimen camp and three years of internal exile for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda";
Mykola Horbal 21 January 1980 Five years of camp for "resisting a representative of authority" and attempted rape (Article 117, Ukrainian Code);
Zinovy Krasivsky Arrested on 12 March 1980, and transferred directly into labor camp to serve the eight months in camp and five years of internal exile remaining under a 1967 sentence for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda" and "treason";
Vitaly Kalynychenko 18 May 1980 Ten years in special regimen camp and five years of internal exile for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda";
Vyacheslav Chornovil 6 June 1980 Five years in strict regimen camp for attempted rape (Arrested before completion of previous term of six years camp and three years exile);
Olha Heyko 26 August 1980 Three years general regimen camp for "anti-Soviet slander" (Article 187, Ukrainian Code);
Vasyl Stus 14 October 1980 Ten years in special regimen camp and 5 years of internal exile for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda" (Article 62, Ukrainian Code);
Oksana Meshko 6 January 1981 Six months in strict regimen camp and five years of internal exile for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda";
Ivan Sokulsky 13 January 1981 Five years in prison, five years in camp, plus five years of exile for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda";
Ivan Kandyba 24 July 1981 10 years special regimen camp plus five years exile for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda";
Petro Rozumny Conditionally released from camp early in Fall 1981, but was working on a compulsory labor brigade;
Vasyl Striltsiv October 1981 Six years in camp on unknown charges (In 1979, he was given a two-year term for "violation of internal passport laws");
Yaroslav Lesiv 15 November 1981 Five years of strict regimen camp for "possession of narcotics" (In 1980, he got a two-year term for "possession of narcotics");
Vasyl Sichko 4 January 1982 Three years strict regimen camp for "possession of narcotics" (In 1979, he got a three-year term for "anti-Soviet slander");
Yuri Lytvyn April 1982 Ten years of special regimen camp plus five years of exile for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda" (In 1979, he got three year-term for "resisting a representative of authority");
Petro Sichko June 1982 three years in strict regimen camp for "anti-Soviet slander" (In 1979, he got three-year term for "anti-Soviet slander")

In Mordovia prisonsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ History of dissent in Ukraine, by Yevhen Zakharov, Museum of dissident movement in Ukraine.
  2. ^ a b Zinkevych, Osyp (1993). "Ukrainian Helsinki Group". In Kubiĭovych, Volodymyr; Struk, Danylo. Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Vol. 5. University of Toronto Press. pp. 387–388. ISBN 0802030106. 
  3. ^ Strokata, Nina (9 November 1986). "10th anniversary of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group. The Ukrainian Helsinki Group: 10 years of relentless repressions". The Ukrainian Weekly. LIV (45). 
  4. ^ "Appendix B. Imprisoned members of the Helsinki monitoring groups in the USSR and Lithuania". Implementation of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe: findings and recommendations seven years after Helsinki. Report submitted to the Congress of the United States by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. November 1982 (PDF, immediate download). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. 1982. pp. 250–251. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. 

External linksEdit