Until the very end, Vasyl Vyshyvany considered himself Ukrainian. His dream of a a free and united Ukraine within Europe came true in August, 1991… and the Hapsburg prince who chose Ukraine has finally been memorialized by a country that he loved and fought for all his life.
A bust of Archduke Wilhelm von Habsburg-Lothringen (Vasyl Vyshyvany), colonel of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen (Sichovi Striltsi) and the UNR Army, politician, diplomat, poet and dreamer, was unveiled in Kyiv on May 20, 2021 (Vyshyvanka Day). It is located on Vasyl Vyshyvany Square, 39 Illienka Street (Lukyanivska metro station).
“Slowly but surely, Kyiv’s landscape is changing. A bust of Colonel Petro Bolbochan, colonel of the UNR Army, recently replaced a memorial to Stalin’s henchman Stanislav Kosior. Today, a monument to Wilhelm von Habsburg has been erected on Illienka Street, which recently bore the name of another communist criminal,” wrote journalist Rostyslav Martynyuk on his Facebook page.
The ceremony was attended by public activists, government officials, Ukrainian MPs, representatives of the Austrian Embassy, the brass band of the Heroes of Kruty Military Institute of Telecommunications and Information, the National Guard of Ukraine, and many others.
The monument to Vasyl Vyshyvany was erected not far from the Lukyanivska Prison, where he was transported in 1948 by NKVD officers after being abducted from Vienna. He was tortured in the same prison, and his body was secretly buried somewhere nearby.
During his service as commander of the 13th Galician Ulan Regiment, Vasyl Vyshyvany received an embroidered shirt from the Ukrainian soldiers under his command. The sculptor Mykhailo Horlovy, who created the monument, noted that he carefully reproduced the shirt worn by Vasyl Vyshyvany in the photo published in Vyshyvany’s collection of Ukrainian-language poems Mynayut Dni (The Passing Days).
“For years, our enemies have been destroying the memories of their crimes and of our Heroes. Vasyl Vyshyvany represents an entire era in Ukrainian history. His life exemplifies Ukraine’s long fight against foreign occupiers. By opening and sharing Vyshyvany’s story to our contemporaries, we continue his fight and disseminate more information about this extraordinary person in Ukraine, Austria, Russia and Europe,” noted Oleksandr Yurkov, co-founder of the Musical Battalion NGO.