Ukrainian Insurgent Army

Ukrainian Insurgent Army, poster at Maidan NezalezhnostiThis poster is on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kyiv, produced by the Ukrainian Institute for National Memory. It is one of a series of panels entitled “Soldiers: History of the Ukrainian Army.” This one is Ukrainian Insurgent Army soldier, 1940-1950s. My mother’s first cousin, Teofil Adamovych, served in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and fought the Soviet Russian occupiers of Ukraine until his arrest in 1955.

Translation of poster text: During World War II, most Ukrainians had to fight under the wrong banners and in the interests of others. Only the 100,000 fighters who were in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA) were fighting for an independent Ukraine. Insurgent armed units were formed in 1942 to defend the local population from the occupation Nazi regime and to oppose Soviet partisans. At the end of that year they united into the Ukrainian Insurgent Army . The symbolic date of its creation was October 14, 1942.

The UIA was structured as a regular army. The flexible structure allowed for the effective distribution of human and financial resources, adapting to variable military realities, and to achieving success in military operations.

The sphere of UIA activities was divided into general military districts: UIA-“North”, UIA-“South” and UIA-“West”. Each of them had a regional leader and headquarters, and was divided into territorial military parts.

The main tactical unit of the UIA was “sotnyas”(companies). It comprised three “chotys” (platoons) which were formed by three squads. A squad had 10-12 fighters armed with one mortar, 2-3 automated machine guns and rifles.

The UIA had a functional system of command position designations (squad leader, platoon leader, company commander, kurin’ commander [a kurin’ is approximately a battalion], brigade commander or tactical sector commander, regional commander, Supreme Commander of the UIA).

One of the main problems the UIA high command had to face was a shortage of senior officer staff. Some training schools were opened secretly.

The armament level and military-political situation determined the means of UIA military activities: avoidance of general battles and partisan tactics, raids and sabotage actions. UIA activities were aimed at resolving a few tasks; supply themselves with all the necessary equipment to continue fighting and protect the locals from occupants.

My cousin Teofil in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army

Teofil Adamovych and Maria MelnykAmidst the joy of discovering new family in Lviv region, I am starting to learn about the remarkable life of one cousin who I cannot meet because he is gone from us now. This is my first cousin, once removed, Teofil (Theophilus) Adamovych, along with his wife, Maria Melnyk. He was a man who was a patriot of Ukraine, but who was made to suffer terribly for his noble service, along with his family. Teofil fought in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. This was a disciplined, uniformed armed force, which along with its forerunners fought for Ukraine and against three invasions it suffered in World War II. These were the invasion by the Soviet Union in 1939; by Nazi Germany in 1941; and by the Soviet Union again in 1944. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army continued to fight in the forests and mountains of western Ukraine against the Soviet occupiers long after the Second World War had formally ended.

Ukrainian Insurgent ArmyThe Ukrainian Insurgent Army was the armed branch of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists. It fought a guerrilla war against forces of the occupying Soviet power well into the 1950s before it was ultimately defeated. Cousin Teofil was captured, but was treated not as a combatant but as a criminal by Stalin’s NKVD. He was imprisoned. His parents and brother were dispossessed of their land and property, and were forcibly exiled to Siberia. The occupying Soviet power stole the land that had been in Teofil’s family for at least five generations, and for which he had put his life on the line in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

I am endeavouring to discover more information about the service of Teofil Adamovych in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, about the circumstances of his arrest and incarceration, and about the deportation of his parents and brother to Siberia. This will be a good test of Ukraine’s new Freedom of Information laws, and the openness of the NKVD and KGB archives that have survived the Soviet occupation and the subsequent 23 lost years from nominal independence in 1991 to the true independence springing from Maidan, last year.