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Dissident movement in Ukraine
Ukrainian National Movement

SHOVKOVYI Vasyl-Ivan Vasyliovych

02.08.2019 | Vasyl Ovsiyenko

(b. 7.7.1950, Pechenizhyn Village, now Kolomyya Region, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast)


Founding member of the Association of Ukrainian Youth of Halychyna.


Shovkovyi was born into a peasant family involved in the national liberation movement: his aunt SHOVKOVA Paraska was a UIA liaison officer. After nine grades in Pechenizhyn School, in 1965, he went to the Chernivtsi vocational school majoring in cabinet-making. There he finished the 11th grade of evening school and entered the Industrial Technical College? Evening department, and in the fall 1969 he was called up for military service. He served in the missile troops in the Crimea and Lviv Oblast. Having no residence permit in Chernivtsi, he returned to Pechenizhyn and six months later he got a job at Kolomyya Woodworking Factory.

From his young days he was a radio ham, regularly listened to foreign radio stations, and was keen on weaponry. As a 4-5, he manufactured a homemade gun that was later confiscated during his arrest and incriminated to him as a firearm.

The increasing Russification and arrests of Ukrainian intellectuals, especially in 1972, led his friends and former classmates to believe that the cause of all evils is the colonial status of Ukraine in the USSR. On 31.01.1972 Dmytro HRYNKIV, Roman CHUPREI, Dmytro DEMYDIV, Vasyl Mykhailiuk, Fedir Mykytiuk, and Mykola MOTRIUK gathered in the khata of S. As a result of discussion the participants set up an underground organization “Association of Ukrainian Youth of Halychyna". Boys took the oath of allegiance to Ukraine laying their hands on the knife handle. D.HRYNKIV was appointed the head of the organization. Sh. became the head of security.

The AUYH members considered themselves the heirs of the OUN and set the goal of an independent Ukraine. To achieve this they intended to resort to ideological struggle, though, depending on the circumstances, they did not exclude armed struggle.

The AUYH was organized like UIA combat units: illegal gatherings in the woods, in the mountains; each member had a pseudo (Sh. was "Klym"). S. informed about foreign radio broadcasts. The members read and discussed books on the history of national liberation, collected stories about the OUN, about individual local heroes, recorded the songs of insurgents. The youngsters took interest in weapons and had a nose where that lay handy. So, D.HRYNKIV and M.MOTRIUK stole building guns and Sh. had to remake them to fire with one hand. Sh. and D.HRYNKIV stole a carbine with which Sh. and I.CHUPREY were detained by militia while going to the mountains, and, fortunately, their knapsacks were not searched. At one of the gatherings a combat detachment was created and Sh. was appointed a commander. They excelled in shooting having joined the official paramilitary organization DOSAAF (Volunteer Society for Cooperation with the Army, Aviation, and Fleet) as well as with stolen weapons in glens.

In the fall 1972, the AUYH members laid a wreath with a blue and yellow tape at the Pechenizhyn Monument of Oleksa Dovbush on the anniversary of his death. Each member had to attract new members. Sh. brought Vasyl Kuzenko, worker of Kolomyya Woodworking Plant. However, as soon as the number reached critical amount of 12 (like the number of the disciples of Jesus Christ) the engraver, whom D.HRYNKIV asked to engrave the name of the organization on the blank of the stamp, reported to the KGB. Upon receipt of alarm signals, they convened a meeting intended for the snitcher where they staged the dissolution of the organization. Everyone made a “search” at his place. Charles threw his building pistols into the school cesspool. But already on 14.03.1973, the First Secretary of the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine Dobryk reported to V.Shcherbytskyi about discovery of the organization. The next day, on 15.03, they arrested Sh., D.HRYNKIV, M.MOTRIUK, detained and two days later they arrested R.CHUPREY, then in a month they detained D.DEMYDIV. While searching the apartment of Sh. They found the said homemade gun and many radio components. The film, where the group was photographed with a carbine during range practice in the forest, Sh. hid in his hand and threw it in the KGB restroom and flushed the toilet.

Six weeks they kept Sh. in a solitary cell. Then there was an attempt of terror inside the cell through a criminal, but Sh. vigorously defended himself. For 2-3 months they kept accusing him of "betraying the homeland" (art. 56 of the Criminal Code of the UkrSSR), blackmailing him with death penalty or 15 years of imprisonment. In the middle of the investigation the case was reclassified and they incriminated him with art. 62 p. 1 (“anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda"), 64 (“creating anti-Soviet organization”), 140 p. 2 (“theft”), 222, p. 1 (“manufacturing and possession of weapons”), 223 p. 2 (“theft of weapons”).

The Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast Court in closed session, which lasted three days, announced its verdict on 09.08.1973 (his relatives were admitted to the room during the pronouncement). Head of the organization D.HRYNKIV got 7 years of strict security detention camps and 3 years of exile, Sh. and D.DEMYDIV got 5, M.MOTRIUK and R.CHUPREY 4 years of imprisonment.

He served his sentence in the Perm political camp VS-389/35, Vsesvyatskaya Station. He worked as a turner. He took an active part in all protests, hunger strikes, particularly in the action of denial of citizenship after the Helsinki meeting in 1975, in the long struggle for political prisoner status, during the adoption of Brezhnev Constitution (07.10.1977) in a week-long action of keeping silence.

For two years he kept the camp chronicle: he copied in small drafting print statements to be passed to the outside of the camp. Sometimes he did while seeing his mother. When he got caught at rewriting, he had to eat the document. Later he was guarded, so that he could not write even a letter. But then, in December 1976, his interview with I.KALYNETS was published. The Ukrainian media in the US did it, and then it was broadcast on the radio "Freedom".

Before his release in 1978 he was transported under guard to Ivano-Frankivsk, where the KGB blackmailed him with the said interview. In Pechenizhyn, he was put under administrative surveillance which continued up to three years, although there were no violations, except for one day when the bus was 15 minutes behind schedule.

In 1979, he harbored poet Taras Melnychuk kidnapped from a psychiatric hospital; they were pals since the Urals. He copied and hid his poems. On 8.02.1979 the KGB agents searched his apartment in the case of T.MELNYCHUK. They looked for a knife, but went over papers and books as well.

In November 1983, Sh. was shown by the KGB agents V.MARCHENKO’s statements copied in his hand still in the camp. He did not confess to it.

Sh. worked as a fitter at the utility company plant, then a turner.

In November 1983, he married Anna Kharuk. He has daughters Oksana born in 1985 and Natalka born in 1992.

He participated in the creation of UHU, Ukrainian Association of Political Prisoners and Repressed, RUKH (he headed the organization at his plant), and URP.

On 09.07.1994, by Resolution of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, the sentence was partially canceled for absence of the crime under articles 62 p. 2 and 64 of the Criminal Code of the UkrSSR.

He lives in Pechenizhyn Village.



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