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Kyiv Post | 25Oct2011 | Askold Lozynskyj
The Ukrainian CIA connection
Over the last few years, several articles have appeared about the
collaboration between a faction of Ukrainian nationalists and the U.S.
Central Intelligence Agency. These mostly personal accounts have been
more confessions rather than revelations. Almost from the planting of
the initial collaborative seeds between Prolog and the CIA, the
Ukrainian community guessed at the special relationship. Granted there
was no proof, but only because no one cared enough about it to dig for
One of the former presidents of Prolog, the late Roman Kupchinsky and
more recently the director of its British affiliate, the Ukrainian
Press Agency, Taras Kuzio has written thinly veiled attempts to justify
the collaborative effort by touting its “central role in achieving
Ukrainian independence.” [See article below.] Certainly, serving as paid agents for a
foreign government may be questioned on moral grounds, but that is not
the purpose of this article. The thrust here is to examine the efficacy
of this collaboration in achieving independence.
The independence assertion is based on the presumption firstly that the
United States was interested in Ukrainian independence and secondly
that the collaborators on balance detracted from Soviet plans.
U.S. policy towards Ukrainian separatism was addressed by President
George H.W. Bush in his “Chicken Kiev” speech as late as only three
weeks before the Ukrainians proclaimed independence in 1991. That
speech was not an aberration. It was predicated on a decades-old U.S.
policy and the personal request of Soviet General Secretary Mikhail
Gorbachev. As to the work of Prolog, on balance, it did more harm than
U.S. intelligence documents show that the United States was not
favorably predisposed to Ukrainian separatism.
In fact the general position was that Ukraine could only exist within
the boundaries of a Great Russian state, as outlined by the US National
Security Council on Aug. 18, 1948: “...We cannot be indifferent to the
feelings of the Great Russians themselves. They were the strongest
national element in the Russian Empire, as they now are in the Soviet
Union. They will continue to be the strongest national element in that
general area under any status. Any long term US policy must be based on
their acceptance and their cooperation. The Ukrainian territory is as
much a part of their national heritage as the Middle West is of ours…”
Furthermore, US policy was to undermine Ukrainian nationalist
activities in the diaspora. The people from Prolog and its affiliates
had to accept that mandate. They not only did not join mainstream
Ukrainian community organizations such as the Ukrainian Congress
Committee of America, but formed their own structures such as the
Association of Ukrainians in America.
Additionally, they worked seemingly to break the barriers between the
diaspora and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Together with
other fringe groups, they organized a Round Table Club for discourse
with representatives of the Ukrainian SSR. Naturally, the Soviet KGB
aided these efforts and sent professional emissaries who would appear
palatable. One such emissary was the Ukrainian poet Ivan Drach, who not
only worked for Soviet intelligence, but had infiltrated the dissident
movement because of his poet background. At one public event organized
by the Round Table Club in New York in 1966, Drach was asked about the
recent arrests and trials of Ukrainian writers and poets. He replied:
"Unfortunately, it is very
difficult for me to answer this question, because among the arrested
and convicted there are my good friends. Some of them have already been
released…Their environment was connected with an underground and the
gestapo …they disseminated illegal documents which wrote about
hostility to Ukraine…This was not presented in the nationalist
press…When I asked these people, they told me that they had been
warned, but they did not listen.”
This piece of propaganda was then reported by the Prolog press.
[W.Z. In the
early 1990s, Ivan Drach (and other dissidents) visited Montreal several
times. It was touching to see little old lady pensioners slipping him
$20.00 bills in gratitude for helping usher in Ukraine's independence.
He also attended the 18Oct2003 Edmonton lecture by Olya Odynsky on the
"denaturalization and deportation" policy targeting her father, Wasyl
In the 1970-80s, the Soviets published many newspaper articles,
pamphlets and even books denigrating the bourgeois nationalist diaspora
in Western Europe, Canada, the United States and even Australia. These
publications carried such inflammatory titles as “About the true face
of Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism,” “Ugly Great Grandchildren”, “The
OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) -- a Marketplace for the
Sale of Spiesm,” “The Anatomy of Betrayal,” “Nationalist Scorpions” and
The authors were invariably Soviet but the sources were replete with
named people connected to Prolog. In almost every publication one can
find an exhortation by a Prolog member expressing the sentiment that
the diaspora needs to listen to everything and everyone in Ukraine. The
Soviet writers would then paint their picture of Ukraine’s
accomplishments, including but not limited to its specious United
Nations’ membership as evidence of Ukrainian independence.
Undoubtedly, in the course of its almost 40-year tenure, Prolog, its
affiliates and members did some good, particularly in the area of
dissident literature publication. No doubt many of its members were
well-intentioned. But on balance Prolog served its master, U. S.
intelligence and carried out its mission, which often conflicted with
the Ukrainian liberation struggle. More unfortunately, they often
served, unwittingly, to shore up Soviet disinformation.
Askold S. Lozynskyj was executive vice president from
1990-1992 and president from 1992-2000 of the Ukrainian Congress
Committee of America.
26Oct2011 at 18:30
Good article, one can only imagine what is going on today as the great
powers contest for control of Ukraine.
25Oct2011 at 23:47
party svoboda is a moscow run nationalist organization in the same
manner... it seems all of ukraine's nationalist organizations are
anything but nationalist when you dig down. whoops
26Oct2011 at 05:19
Got any proof, or just typical sovok disinformation?
"Nationalist" Svoboda?: 26Oct2011 at16:07
Why disinformation? Svoboda's leader Tiagnibok obviously has plenty of
money and lives a very good life. His obnoxious, aggressive
un-intellectual manner gives the impression that Ukrainian nationalists
are thugs and idiots. Do you really think the Kremlin wouldn't love to
fund a guy like Tiagnibok and have him as the face of Ukrainian
27Oct2011 at 00:19
Aren't you getting a little carried away?
Tyahnybok un-intellectual?....come now! Compared to Yanukovych and the
PoR...Tyahnybok is a giant intellectually.
As to his 'money'.....how exactly do you know he has plenty of it?
Kindly state your source... or refrain from making idiotic
unsubstantiated statements picked out of your imagination.
It's quite obvious you're a provocateur.
Wasted $$$ on HURI: 25Oct2011 at 21:40
Harvard Ukrainian "studies" is another SCAM!
When Prof James Mace brought up the need for Holodomor studies...he was
quickly exiled and all of a sudden Harvard Ukrainian studies took a
strong interest in wasting money in publishing "Christian Millenium"
polemics which were of great interest to some monks living in caves!
See who controls Harvard Ukrainian "studies" now...any Ukrainians?
an opinion re HURI: 26Oct2011 at 06:11
[W.Z. Reprint of an article by Myron Kuropas and archived at
Ukrainophobia titled "Is HURI still out there?".]
25Oct2011 at 21:47
...but Paul R. Magocsi is Ukrainian so what are you complaining about?
25Oct2011 at 21:49
...and what about CIUS in Edmonton Canada...they are full of Ukrainians
-- Marples, Himka, etc.
Kyiv Post | 11Sep2011 | Taras Kuzio
How America played a central role in Ukraine becoming independent
The USA played a central role in the emergence of Ukraine as an
independent state. But this story, until now, has never been told. US
official documents from the Cold War are only now being released while
eyewitnesses are either reluctant to talk or no longer with us.
Although the analysis of Taras Kuzio below of the U.S. government
involvement in the affairs of the Ukrainian Diaspora is very
interesting and enlightening, by no stretch of the imagination can the
United States government or the various Diaspora organizations be
credited with playing "a central role in Ukraine becoming independent".
In my opinion, the analysis of Corson and Crowley in their excellent
1985 book titled "The New KGB" -- outlining the evolution of the
KGB under Yuri Andropov into a sophisticated political force --
foreshadows the dissolution of the USSR by the very people who had
previously ruled it via terrror and brutal murder. I suspect that these
people decided that transforming themselves into capitalist Oligarchs
would be more rewarding than remaining faceless Communist bureaucrats.]
The US funded the most successful publishing and research
operation in the Ukrainian diaspora throughout the Cold War. Washington
did the same with the Paris-based Instytut Literackie, which was the
publisher of Kultura magazine. Washington therefore supported the two
most influential and intellectual magazines in the Polish and Ukrainian
diasporas -- Kultura and Suchasnist respectively.
This story begins in 1944 when representatives from the UHVR (Ukrainian
Supreme Liberation Council), one of whom is the legendary Mykola Lebed,
are sent to Western Europe to establish contact with the allies. UHVR
was established by the underground OUNb (Organisation Ukrainian
Nationalists, Stepan Bandera) in Ukraine as an umbrella political body.
One outcome of cooperation between zpUHVR and Western allies were the
parachuting of couriers into Ukraine until the early 1950s.They were
largely ineffective due to Soviet spies in British intelligence and
OUNb. By the early 1950s, the Ukrainian nationalist underground had been
In 1952, the Americans switched from hard to soft power and began
financing zpUHVR through Prolog Research and Publishing Corporation
based for most of its four-decade life in New York. From the 1950s
Suchanist journal and book publishers were based in Munich and from the
1980s, the Society Soviet Nationality Studies (SSNS) and Ukrainian Press
Agency (UPA) were based in London.
American financing of Prolog lasted until the late 1980s, when US covert
operations against the USSR ceased on President George W. Bush’s
instructions as a gesture to President Mikhail Gorbachev. Prolog closed
its doors in 1992, but Suchasnist magazine continued to be published in
Ukraine until 2010.
Prolog Vice President Anatol Kaminsky and President Roman Kupchinsky had
a close connection to another US-funded operation, Radio Liberty, where
they were heads of the Ukrainian service (Radio Svoboda). Bohdan
Nahaylo, who cooperated with Prolog in the 1980s, was also head of Radio
American documents from the 1940s show they believed only two émigré
groups had influence in Ukraine -- zpUHVR and OUNb. These two
organisations, the former relying principally on American money and the
latter on its mass community networks, were the biggest players
vis-ŕ-vis Ukraine over the following four decades.
This was also the view of the Soviet regime as seen by the
assassinations of OUNz leader Lev Rebet and OUNb leader Stepan Bandera
in Munich in 1957 and 1959, respectively, by KGB agent Bohdan
Stashynsky. It is not a coincidence that Stashynsky came out of hiding
to give media interviews only after Viktor Yanukovych was elected
president last year. OUNz (abroad) was established in 1952 after
breaking away from OUNb and supported zpUHVR.
Prolog and OUNb differed in four important ways in their approach to Ukraine.
The first was strategy with only OUNb seeking to establish underground
networks in Ukraine. Unfortunately, some of these were run by former
OUNb leaders who had been turned by the KGB or by KGB double agents.
Because of this they were often a source of provocation as in 1971-1972
when an OUNb courier from Belgium was arrested leading to widespread
arrests in what became known as the “Pohrom” of Ukrainian dissent and
A second was in publishing with OUNb focusing on only nationalist
literature. Because Prolog, like Instytut Literackie, was financially
independent of the diaspora, they could publish books and articles from
across the entire political spectrum. These included for example
national communists from the 1920s and 1960s such as Ivan Dziuba, whose
well known “Internationalism or Russification?” was published in the
late 1960s. Dziuba, Ukraine’s first Minister of Culture, edited
Suchasnist magazine in Ukraine.
The third difference lay in attitudes towards developments in
Ukraine.OUNb distrusted the non-nationalist opposition, including Rukh
in the late 1980s.
Prolog meanwhile embraced different ideological trends in the opposition
and factions in the Communist Party of Ukraine. In the late 1980s Prolog
therefore provided the greatest amount of financial (stretching into
the millions of dollars) and technical resources for the emerging
democratic movement in Ukraine.
A final way they were different was in their ability to work with other
nationalities oppressed under communism. In the 1980s Prolog and
SSNS/UPA closely cooperated with the Czech opposition and Polish
underground in the smuggling of books and journals to Ukraine, some of
which were reprinted in Poland, and trained Ukrainians in underground
This cooperation built on decades of close ties between Suchasnist and
Kultura magazines that had promoted Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation in
the decades before it received support from inside Poland by Pope
Cardinal Wojtyla and Solidarity. Cooperation with the Polish underground
was assisted by Adrian Karatnycky, who was then based at AFL-CIO.
The younger generation of Ukrainian-Americans took control of Prolog in
1978 when Roman Kupchinsky was elected president. This was an opportune
moment because American funding grew to its highest levels under
President Ronald Reagan in his crusade against the “evil empire.”
Liberalisation in the USSR from 1985 under Gorbachev also opened up
opportunities for covert and overt operations in support of the
democratic opposition and splits in the Communist Party of Ukraine.
Greater American funding permitted the expansion of Prolog activities
into Britain with the opening of SSNS/UPA and launch of English-language
publications Soviet Nationality Survey, edited by Alexander Motyl and
Nadia Diuk, and Soviet Ukrainian Affairs, which was modelled on an
earlier Prolog publication, Digest of the Soviet Ukrainian Press,
published from the 1950s to the 1970s. UPA issued Ukrainian and
English-language press releases and accumulated the largest Western
collection of Ukrainian samvydav.
UPA went international opening offices in Warsaw (headed by Roman Kryk),
Kyiv and Moscow. Of the three UPA-Kyiv student-journalists, Serhiy
Skrypnyk is today editor of Kyiv Weekly, Viktor Tkachuk (Ukolov) is a
Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT) deputy and Vyacheslav Pikhovshek, a
long-time regime apologist. A fourth person was Konstantin Borodin, who
today works under Energy Minister Yuriy Boiko.
UPA personal were also instrumental in obtaining a NED (National
Endowment Democracy) grant that established Ukraine’s first think tank,
the Center for Independent Political Research, which is still going
strong two decades later (www.ucipr.kiev.ua).
American funding of Prolog is one of Washington’s most successful covert
operations in the Cold War vis-a-vis the USSR and played a central role
in achieving Ukrainian independence. In decades to come, US documents
will be released that will be able to provide greater detail of this
will USSR and Russian Federation documents providing details of their
success story in undermining (destroying?) Ukrainian independence be released?]
Prolog archives are deposited in the Center for Research into the Liberation Movement in Lviv, Ukraine (http://cdvr.org.ua/). SSNS and UPA archives are located in the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. http://cdn.calisphere.org/data/13030/fg/kt3m3nd8fg/files/kt3m3nd8fg.pdf
Taras Kuzio is a senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic
Relations, School Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins
University, Washington DC. He was the director of SSNS/UPA from