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Our duty is to help people in eastern Ukraine discover their roots

Our duty is to help people in eastern Ukraine discover their roots
Article by: Liliya Matviiv
Translated by: Christine Chraibi

Students meet with Shukhevych’s couriers at UPA headquarters in Lviv

The national youth organization Student Brotherhood recently held an ‘Open history lesson: East and West together’ at the Shukhevych Memorial Museum on Bilohorshcha Street in Lviv. The meeting was attended by student activists and volunteers from Sloviansk and Kramatorsk helping ATO personnel within the framework of the project ‘Volunteering and Social Activism’.


Uliana Kovalchuk, a board member of the Student Brotherhood, told ZAXID.NET that, in the past month, project participants have been conducting educational classes and action events in Donetsk oblast to debunk Soviet myths. She said that more than one thousand high school students from the liberated cities of Donbas have created their own civic centers in schools, and have begun distributing educational materials and organizing street events to eliminate the ‘DNR legacy’.

A commander who loved life

On October 14, the Day of Defender of Ukraine, activists arrived in Lviv to meet witnesses of the fight for independence. They got acquainted with Daria Husiak and Olha Ilkiv, couriers for the UPA Commander-in-Chief, Roman Shukhevych. Uliana points out that these two women are shining examples of the struggle for civil dignity.

The two elderly ladies guided the students through Shukhevych’s headquarters and shared their memories.

“It was a time when we suffered heavy losses.” says Daria Husiak “The commander was worried. He was usually cheerful and very active; everyone wanted to be with him. But, those were difficult times… he was extremely downcast.”

She added that the soldiers followed military discipline not just through orders, but they also felt an inner pull to act this way before their commander-in-chief.

Daria Husiak explained that she did not visit Roman Shukhevych very often so as not to arouse suspicion. She was picked up only twice. After, the commander summoned her. “He wanted to look into my eyes. He asked two or three questions, and understood everything. He didn’t need anything else.” said Daria.

Daria Husiak

Myths need to be debunked

Vlad Krupko, a 10-grade student from Kramatorsk asked her what Shukhevych thought of eastern Ukrainians.

“You won’t marry anyone else, only a guy from the East. That’s what he used to tell me…” says Daria Husiak jokingly. She added that after the 1946-1947 Holodomor, the commander tried to help in any way he could.

“He never let anyone leave bare-handed even though he was aware that there might be enemy agents among the ‘starving people’.” she said.

Daria Husiak believes that, given the terror that prevailed at the time, it is no surprise that people in the eastern part of Ukraine refused to acknowledge the Ukrainian language. “At the time, we did not suffer as much under the Bolshevik yoke as they did. It is our duty to help them discover their roots.” said Daria.

Dmytro, a senior from Dobropillya, agreed with her. He told ZAXID.NET that this was not his first time in Lviv. “I have relatives near Zolochiv. I visited them and sometimes travelled to Lviv to tour the city. I believe that people from the East should have more contact with people from western Ukraine to debunk myths about enemy banderites.” he added.

Olha Ilkiv presented the students with her books of memoirs and poems while Daria Husiak invited them to come back and visit her.

Olha Ilkiv
Translated by: Christine Chraibi
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