The inspirer of the Ukrainian insurgents

Ukrainian land for centuries gave birth to majestic figures. Our history knows not only princes and hetmans, but also ordinary warriors, who also worked their own destiny and the fate of the whole country. Today we remember one of the pantheon of those to whom the descendants of Volodymyr the Great, Ivan Mazepa and Stepan Bandera owe their existence on the map of Europe, to the faithful son of Ukraine — Yuri Gorodianyn-Lisovskyi. In the interwar period, he became known to the public as Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi.

All conscious life a native of the Poltava region was Don Quixote of his time, putting his soul and body on the altar of Ukrainian statehood. Quite often, his desperate character of the rebel (insurgent), Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi, hid behind a stylish suit and playful look. He was a member of the First World War and this combat experience was useful to the young Army of the Ukrainian People's Republic. In 1918-1920 he served as a colonel at the commander-in-chief Symon Petliura. The Soviet occupation forced Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi to go underground — in the area of Kholodnyi Yar (now it's the Cherkasy region of Ukraine), he organized numerous insurgent groups that resisted the Bolsheviks.

In the interwar period, his life was also full of adventures: espionage and sabotage; prisons and mental hospitals; few shoots. Subsequently, there was a war for the Carpathian Ukraine against the Hungarian invaders in the spring of 1939, a short migration to Finland and work for the German “Abwehr”. And meanwhile — writing, bohemian life in Lviv, love adventures, artistic environments. Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi is rightly considered to be contemporaries the legislator of the standard of the new Ukrainian national resistance. He was able to demonstrate that a descendant of free Cossack is able to combine the traditions of their ancestors and a stylish jacket with a fashionable hat, where a revolver was always erected next to the sword.

But first things first... Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi was born on January 14th, 1898 in the village of Demidovka in the family of an officer of the imperial army and a hereditary Cossack. His mother was from the kind of Polish szlachta. Childhood future inspirer of the Ukrainian insurgents spent in Central Ukraine. The region, full of Cossack spirit, fascinated and drunk with adventures. It is not surprising that with the beginning of the Great War in August 1914, Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi went to the front, where he served under the command of Khan Nakhichevan and Sultan Giray.

After the overthrow of the Romanov dynasty, the famous Cossack became a trooper in the equestrian regiment of the Zaporizhia division of the newly created Army of the Ukrainian People's Republic. In this military unit, Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi met the Winter Campaign of 1920 and the so-called “death triangle”, when between the cities of Liubar, Chortoryia and Miropol, Ukrainian troops were surrounded by three hostile forces — Poland, the Bolsheviks and the Volunteer Army of Denikin. In the winter of 1920-1921 Zaporizhia division was located in the vicinity of Kholodnyi Yar. It was here that Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi fell ill and had to stay for treatment in a local monastery. After recovering, he went to the camp of the insurgents-haydamaks, which the Chuchupaka's brothers then assembled into detachments.

For the next 2 years, Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi proved himself to be a strategist, having repeatedly nullified the plans of the Bolsheviks. As one of the insurgent leaders of the Kholodnyi Yar, he managed to make raids to the rear of the enemy. Hot lead, the whistle of steel saber and the sharp word of Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi campaign leaflets have long been the nightmares of the invaders. It was on the ground, sung by Taras Shevchenko, that the instigator of the insurgents demonstrated what descendants of free Cossacks are capable of. “Here the peasant was always ready to seize a weapon and go towards the enemy, it seemed that the old times had returned, when every farmer was armed and always ready for battle,” — Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi later recalled in his autobiographical novel “Kholodnyi Yar”.

Subsequently, the Republic of Kholodnyi Yar was formed. Its territory covered more than 25 neighboring villages and had a fifteen thousand peasant insurgent army. The rebels called themselves Cossacks, and their commanders — atamans (in memory of the military tradition of the Cossacks). As such, the rebels did not have a single ideology, but they all recognized that the main line was the fight against the Bolsheviks. The tougher was the resistance, the sooner the demands of a political nature gave way to socioeconomic.

After the defeat of the rebel movement in Kholodnyi Yar, Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi leads an underground struggle in the territory of the USSR, in the very lair of the enemy. On the instructions of the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic in exile, he works in the agents' administration of the OGPU (Joint State Political Directorate). Therefore, he failed more than one chekist's operation. In the summer of 1924 he was arrested. For the anti-communist underground work, the Bolsheviks gave Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi 15 years in psychiatric prison in Kherson.

In the spring of 1931, he managed to escape and get to the city of Rivne, and then — he moved to Lviv. Here he took the pen: wrote an essay “Ave, dictator”, dedicated to Joseph Stalin; with the assistance of Metropolitan Galicia, Archbishop of Lviv Andriy Sheptytskyi, he issues his Magnum Opus about the heroic struggle of the insurgents of Central Ukraine — “Kholodnyi Yar”. Both books were very popular among the Ukrainian emigration and the Ukrainian youth. The famous Cossack living in Poland continues his vendetta against the Bolsheviks. In 1920-1930, Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi helped partisan detachments get into the USSR, which skillfully terrified chekists.

With the height of the Second World War, the fate threw him into Greece, and then — Turkey. But Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi could not sit for long in one place, while somewhere there was a war with the Bolsheviks. In the winter of 1939-1940, an experienced warrior goes to where his participation is extremely necessary — to Finland. The head of the government of the Ukrainian People’s Republic in exile, Oleksander Shulgin, who entered into negotiations with the Finnish ambassador in Paris, gave carte blanche on the actions of yesterday’s rebel leader. The diplomat was invited to send to Finland one experienced officer (that is Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi) to form a military unit of the national Ukrainian army of Red Army prisoners of war (163rd Rifle Division and 44th Rifle Division).

At present, there is still no confirmed information whether the Ukrainian volunteer detachment was really formed in Finland and whether it took part in the war on the side of the Mannerheim army. The secret is also remains its size. Despite this, it is known for certain that Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi was in the combat area in the East of the country (near Suomussalmi) and on the Karelian Isthmus in February-March 1940. At the same time, the last Hetman of Ukraine’s son, Danylo Skoropadskyi, proposed to the British special services a project to create in the territory of Canada a Ukrainian expeditionary legion, which was supposed to help Finland defeat. However, the large-scale offensive of the Bolshevik army led to the rapid end of the Winter War.

During 1941-1944 Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi, who had already been recruited by the German service of the “Abwehr”, was in Leningrad and in Ukraine. There he collected intelligence and hunted down the leaders of the Bolshevik partisan movement. The failure of the blitzkrieg forced the former colonel of the UNR Army to finally migrate — he and his wife sneaked through Austria to Germany and settled in Neu-Ulm. Life in the new conditions in the city, where the scouts and spies of yesterday’s allies were full, turned out to be more dangerous than hostile bayonets and bullets. Yuriy Horlis-Horskyi died under unexplained circumstances in September 1946, but the fame of his exploits still lives in those Ukrainians who volunteered to go to war against Russia in the spring of 2014.

by Denis Kovaliov, original article: Ukrainan kansallisen taistelun innoittaja