Galician army: what Western Ukrainians fought for Denikin

History 05/02/20 Galician army: what Western Ukrainians fought for Denikin

the Civil war in Russia generated a lot of bizarre alliances between forces opposing the Bolsheviks. One of the most surprising was the Alliance of the Western Ukrainians and Russian whites. In 1919, under the control of Denikin crossed the Ukrainian Galician army in which he served, for example, Andrey Bandera, father of the future leader of Ukrainian nationalists, Stepan Bandera.

a Fateful agreement

July 17, 1919, the remnants of the armed forces of Western Ukrainian national Republic, proclaimed after the collapse of Austria-Hungary, crossing the river Zbruch, entered into the Dnieper. From their homeland of Galicia replaced the poles, so they had no choice but to join the troops of the Ukrainian national Republic under the command of Simon Petlyura.

Galician army numbering about 50 thousand people consisted of three corps and the cavalry brigade. ZUNR government is located in Kamianets-Podilskyi. The events in Ukraine, meanwhile, has been developing rapidly. First white embossed Petlura from Kiev, then they themselves began to push the Red Army. The Galicians took little part in the fighting, as they were struck by a typhus epidemic. The continuing failure of Petlyura made Western Ukrainians to seek Alliance with the Armed forces of South Russia. The talks, which began in the autumn of 1919, were not easy. For example, Denikin demanded to expel from the CAA, numerous officers of the Germans, which fueled hostility, as enemies in the First world war. Only in November the commander of the Galician army, General Myron Tarnavsky and a representative of the White movement Yakov Slashchev Satkowski signed the contract. According to this document the CAA under its own name became part VSYUR.

the causes of the Union

Why Western Ukrainians supported the whites? The fact that Russian attitude to them was slightly different than the Petliurists. Geographically ZUNR would notLa fragment of the Russian Empire. Therefore, the white slogan of “United and indivisible Russia” Galicians were not afraid – they were counting on the special status in the future state. Political leader of Western Ukrainians Kost Levitsky, even gave the keynote article in the army newspaper “the Archer”, stating the desired Confederation of Ukraine and Russia.

the Galicians was a positive experience of contact with the Russian military during occupation of the city in 1914-1915. Finally, conservative officers of the ZUNR Denikin attracted more than socialist Petlyura. But, of course, completely overcome the centuries-old alienation of Galicia from Russia suddenly failed. Here’s what he wrote, for example, a participant in the events of 1919, major-General Victor tchernavin:

“When signing the contract, we got acquainted closer with the internal life of the Galician army, for us it turned out that to trust the part of its command structure, which consists of officers of the Galicians and Ukrainians, we can’t. In the vast majority of this part of the officer corps of the Galician army consisted of hostile Russian elements. Come to an agreement with us, these officers only in the absence of the Galicians other way”.

Realizing the acuteness of the national question, white sought not to “tease” the Ukrainians discussions on this topic.

the end of the Galician army

During the retreat of the whites from Ukraine fighters CAA did not follow them. They remained in southern Podolia, where they made an unsuccessful attempt to break through to Romania. In February 1920 thinned to 16 thousand man army surrendered to the Bolsheviks. Within two months she was already as red Ukrainian Galician army, and then finally crumbled. Soldiers and officers, thinking that they will still be better for Poland than in the “land of the victorious proletariat”, fled to the West.

in the end we will add that historians and publicists of the modern Ukrainian regime is extremely hostile to Satkowski agreements, accusing the Galicians in the betrayal of Petlyura. Meanwhile, the experience of the Galician army more than relevant in postmedieval era. This event shows that the Russians can find common language even with the “radical” Western Ukrainians based on common ideals and mutual respect of each other’s interests.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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