Volodymyr Panteleimonovych Oskilko (Ukrainian: Володимир Пантелеймонович Оскілко; 1892? – 19 June 1926) was a Ukrainian military activist and administrator. He became famous for the historical Oskilko's Affair (see below).
Volodymyr Oskilko as lieutenant of Tsarist Army
Horodok village, Volyn Governorate, Russian Empire
|Died||June 19, 1926 (aged 33–34)|
Horodok village, Wołyń Voivodeship, Poland
|Allegiance|| Russian Empire (1914-1917)|
Ukrainian People's Republic (1917-1919)
|Service/||Russian Imperial Army|
Ukrainian People's Army
|Years of service||1914 - 1919|
|Commands held||Chief of security of Korosten Railways (1918)|
North group of Ukrainian People's Army (1919)
Volodymyr Oskilko was born January 12, 1892 in a village of Horodok, Rovno uyezd, in the Volyn Governorate. At first he finished a gymnasium, later - a teacher's seminary receiving a specialization of a teacher. Oskilko started to work as a village teacher in Zolote near Dubrovytsia (today in Rivne Oblast).
With a start of the World War I, Oskilko was drafted to the Russian Imperial Army. During his service he had a successful career, earning himself a rank of lieutenant colonel. After the February Revolution in 1917 Oskilko was appointed a governorate commissar of the Russian Provisional Government in Tula. By the end of 1917 he returned to his native Volyn in Ukraine, where he participated in the formation of the Ukrainian People's Army. In the beginning of 1918 Oskilko was appointed a commissar of the Central Rada in Rivne. He was a member of the Ukrainian Party of Socialists Sovereigns that was critical of the Central Rada's policies. During the time of Ukrainian State of Pavlo Skoropadsky, Oskilko was appointed a chief of security of the Korosten Railways, an important railway connection in Polissya.
In November 1918 Oskilko led an uprising against the hetman in Volyn. In December he was promoted to colonel of the Ukrainian People's Army. In January 1919 he became a General Khorunzhy (Major General) and a commander of the North group of the Ukrainian People's Army (around 40,000 soldiers). On January 5, 1919 his unit, which was passing through Berdichev, perpetrated a pogrom, killing 23 Jews. Oskilko participated in extinguishing the Bolshevik-led Polissya Uprising that was directed against the Directorate of Ukraine and preventing the advancement of the Polish army into Volyn. During that time Rivne became a temporary capital of Ukraine. Due to the strained situation in the region Oskilko suspected that the Ukrainian government and army became infiltrated by the Russian Cheka that sabotaged the frontlines of the Ukrainian army. He also did not trust Petlyura not because of his suspicions, but rather of his believe that Petlyura was weak in character and an unreliable person who became influenced by generals-deserters.
On April 12, 1919 a new government was formed headed by Borys Martos replacing the Ostapenko's cabinet. Martos proclaimed the creation of a republic of worker's Councils (Soviets) and intention to conclude a peace treaty with the Bolshevik Russia. Such turn of events made a big impact on the political life of Ukraine. On April 20, 1919 numerous socialists parties of Ukraine (sovereigns, federalists, and others) entrusted Volodymyr Oskilko to deliver a memorandum to Petlyura for an immediate resignation of the Martos' government. Oskilko handed over the document to Petlyura in Zdolbuniv, who publicly torn it apart.
At the end of April 1919 Petlyura twice ordered Oskilko to lead his army to the frontlines against the Bolsheviks. Both orders were never executed. Petlyura then fired the Oskilko's chief of staff, Vsevolod Agapiev, however, Oskilko refused to follow that order as well. On April 28 the Chief Otaman sent him the last order to surrender the command to general Zhelikhovski.
On April 29, 1919 Oskilko led a coup-d'etat in Rivne supported by members of the Ukrainian Party of Socialists Sovereigns and the Ukrainian People-Republican Party. The participants of the putsch were requesting the appointment of Yevhen Petrushevych as the provisional president of Ukraine until the convocation of Constituent Assembly, transfer of all command to general Omelianovych-Pavlenko and dismiss Symon Petlyura with Andriy Makarenko from organization of military affairs, organization of a coalition government from the members of both Ukrainian republics. Oskilko also sent his representative to Poland with an intent to conduct peace talks.
Oskilko reentered politics in late 1922 as an agent of the Polish government in Volhynia, during which time he tried to break up a Jewish-Ukrainian coalition in the Polish parliamentary elections of that year. His campaign was criticized for its usage of antisemitic tropes.
Oskilko was assassinated in Rivne in 1926.