Wilhelm of Hapsburg: an Austrian Prince wanted to sit on the throne of Ukraine

History 30/01/20 Wilhelm of Hapsburg: an Austrian Prince wanted to sit on the throne of Ukraine

Wilhelm Franz of Austria was born in Croatia, but at age 12 moved with his parents to West Galicia. The family lived in the town of GWEC, the surroundings which he loved to walk, a young Austrian nobleman. To travel in the Hutsul villages, the boy is filled with love of Ukrainian literature, history and everyday life. A desire to ease their hard life the local peasants came to be called Wilhelm it as “the Red Prince”.

In the first world war 18-year-old Habsburg commanded a hundred lancers, which are only Ukrainians and two years later, he is already a member of the Austrian Parliament, promoting the autonomy of the Ukrainian lands. In the spring of 1918, he commanded the Sich Riflemen who were called to their commander Basil and for the love of embroidery gave him the nickname of “Ornament”.

So there was a romantic image of a European nobleman, who spent his childhood in the Carpathian Hutsuls and so soaked love them that his name Wilhelm Habsburg was changed to Basil Ornament. That person saw king of Ukraine.

Austrian project

In August 1914, Russian troops took Lviv, where in the Uniate Cathedral of St. George the gendarmes headed by Colonel Mezentsev, found a hiding place with an interesting document. The paper was a secret Protocol to the agreement between the government of Austria-Hungary and head of the Ukrainian Uniates Andrei Sheptytsky. The document discussed the plan of joining the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian part of Ukraine.

Sheptytsky believed that Ukrainians had to be convinced of the injustice and oppressive nature of the Russian laws. With decrees to separate the Ukrainian Church from the Russian, and the military organization of the future state will be based on the traditions of Zaporizhzhya Cossacks.

At the same time the Hetman had become Austrian Emperor Franz IOSif. Later it was decided Hetman everything to the king and to appoint Wilhelm Franz of Habsburg-Lorraine, whose father was the Emperor’s second cousin.

a document Found and is now kept in the State historical archive of Ukraine (F. 365. op. 1. units HR. 997. L. 60A-60B), however, the Kiev historians continue to argue that Wilhelm Habsburg-Lorraine just loved the Ukrainian people and was not a project of the Austrian intelligence.

Why Basil Ornament did not become a king

Austrians thought of the image of the future king of Ukraine and started to actively promote it. A photo of a handsome young man, dressed in the Carpathian-shirt embroidery and Poltava of the casing, first published in February 1917, “Bulletin of the Union of liberation of Ukraine”. Postcards with images of Vasil Ornament flooded Ukraine, which could not fail to irritate the German intelligence and the puppet Hetman Skoropadsky.

since the Union of Austria-Hungary and Germany the championship was the latter, then the project with the king in embroidery was scrapped. William-Basil sent to Kherson to lead the occupying Austrian troops. Later with the filing of Skoropadsky he was sent to Bukovina.

deciding Not to resist Skoropadsky, the Ornament goes into the service of the Petliura and becomes a Colonel of the UNR. After Petliura ceded Galicia and Volhynia to Poland in exchange for military aid, Wilhelm resigned and went to Europe, where even published a collection of his poems, written in the Ukrainian language. On questions about plans to become the king of Habsburg always protested, and theorist of Ukrainian nationalism Dmytro Dontsov on this issue noted that: “About such things said out loud only after the fact.”

Life in Europe

After you complete the adventure Wilhelm Franz spent 10 years in Paris. About this time in detail wrote Yale University Professor Timothy Snyder, the biographer of “the Ukrainian king.” The scientist studied the archives of the French police, and wrote: “William has always loved men – perhaps still in school, probably in the trenches, and without a doubt, in the case of his Secretary and Valet”.

Life in taverns and brothels demanded money, and according to Snyder, he owed $100 thousand and £2100, which by today’s exchange rate equals one and a half million dollars. When he needed funds, he announced the collection of money for restoration of the Habsburg dynasty. Wilhelm had contact with the leaders of the OUN Konovalets and Melnyk, who viewed Austria as pretender to the throne.

an Adventurer interested in the French police, and at trial, the editor of the newspaper “Dilo” Vladimir Panaka said, “the Archduke did not believe in their Ukrainian future. But he continued to RUB glasses naive people trying to derive material benefit”. For their “Affairs” William received 5 years probation and went to Vienna. After the seizure of Austria by Germany knocked out financial compensation from the German government and bought a paint factory. The Nazis, having to Ukraine their plans, the services of “king” not interested.

In August 1947, the Wilhelm-Basil, as a British spy, was arrested by SMERSH. He was accused of meeting a French spy and Bandera activist Miroslav Prokop. It is believed that because the testimony of the detainee Soviet intelligence officers managed to reach the Ukrainian nationalist leader Yevhen Konovalets. “Ornament” got 25 years in prison and died 25 may 1948 from tuberculosis.

Alexander Brazhnik

© Russian Seven

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