Home > Holodomor | Ukrainophobia | Demjanjuk | d&d (Furman, Odynsky, Katriuk) | Zuzak Letters |

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 evidence.

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 good.

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 Odynsky.]

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 many others.

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.


Guest:  26Oct2011 at 18:30
Good article, one can only imagine what is going on today as the great powers contest for control of Ukraine.

Guest:  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

Guest:  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 nationalism?

Guest:  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?".]

Guest:  25Oct2011 at 21:47
...but Paul R. Magocsi is Ukrainian so what are you complaining about?

Guest:  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.

[W.Z. 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 defeated.

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 Svoboda.

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 culture.

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 printing techniques.

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 success story.

[W.Z. When 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 1985-1992.