Search and development by Soviet forces of Ukrainian nationalists on the territory of the Romanian People’s Republic (1955–1957

Ilnytskyi V.I., Mykhats R.M.



Abstract. The article is an attempt to disclose an unknown aspect, namely, the work of the Soviet special services on revealing, investigating, and detention of former participants of the OUN and UPA in the territory of Romanian national republic. In the article, it is established that despite the struggle against the liberation movement in the 1940s and 1950s, the Soviet authorities failed to eradicate and suppress anti-Soviet sentiments completely. The confrontation between Ukrainian nationalists and the Soviet administration continued not only in the USSR, but also abroad and even after the official report on the liquidation of organized nationalist structures. At the same time, in connection with the liberalization of the socio-political regime (de-Stalinization, “vidlyha” (“thaw”), rehabilitation of prisoners) intensified the activities of hostile to power  –mostly former members of the OUN and URA (both those who remained underground and released from imprisonment), as well as representatives of religious associations. That is why the tasks of the law enforcement agencies included not only the suppression of opposition resistance in the USSR, but also the search for and elimination of all former underground fighters, especially leaders who were in other countries, including Romania. The repressive and punitive bodies carried out work on the search for nationalists in the Romanian People’s Republic in several directions: 1) development of family, former organizational ties of OUN leaders who crossed the border at different times and joined various OUN foreign organizations and centers; 2) intensification of the search for OUN leaders abroad, detection and interception of probably existing channels of their connections with the remnants of the OUN in Bukovyna and its use for operational purposes; 3) intensification of the search for underground fighters and the development of well-known OUN members who were on the operational register; 4) organization of intelligence and operational work among those who were legalized and appeared guilty, former underground fighters, members of the OUN, as well as the development of those who did not surrender their weapons and legalized on the instructions of the underground, as well as returnees from prison and did not renounce their previous views; 5) intensification of the development of Ukrainian nationalists who were on the operational register or in the legal units of the OUN; 6) recruiting new and increasing the efficiency of the existing agency (which worked with special tasks to intercept existing communication channels developed by the security forces of the OUN and foreign OUN centers).  As potentially dangerous the Soviet system considered even those nationalists who had emigrated abroad, therefore, after the liquidation of the Ukrainian organized resistance movement, they were perpetually search for. Hence, after the revealing of such persons, who most often were former heads and members of the nationalist underground of Chernivtsi region, a detailed plan of their investigation was made. A leading role in this process was played by the secret service agents who carried out the most difficult operative combinations of the Soviet law enforcement bodies. The well arranged – since the 1940s cooperation between the USSR law enforcement bodies and the Romanian national republic assisted in the effective search, investigation, and arrests of the Ukrainian nationalists.

Keywords: Romania, operative-search activity, the OUN (B), the OUN (M).