The First Case Against a Ukrainian Party (From the History of the National Movement in the Imperial Era)

Keywords: Ukrainian parties, RUP, M. Rusov, M. Maslov, Police Department, gendarmerie, Poltava region, 1901


The article analyzes the materials of the case “On the Ukrainian Party of Socialist-Revolutionaries,” opened in 1901 by the Poltava Provincial Gendarmerie. The incorrect name of the organization aside, it was indeed the first case of its kind, in that its participants and key episodes were associated with a Ukrainian political party (the Revolutionary Ukrainian Party, RUP). The case of 1901 has never been a subject of special academic attention. Only some of its aspects found reflection in a broader 1928 work by A. Duchynsky. It is not represented in modern studies on the operations of tsarist law enforcement agencies against Ukrainian parties. This article is based mainly on archival documents from the Poltava Provincial Gendarmerie collection (Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine, Kyiv, f. 320), additionally drawing on published imperial laws and regulations. The materials obtained are verified through the latest scholarship on the history of the Ukrainian national movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The 1901 case conforms to the patterns in the work of imperial law enforcement that can be seen as characteristic for that period: better results in the initial, simplest stages (the tracing of connections, searches, arrests) and rather helpless, ineffective performance in investigation and interrogation. Furthermore, the case demonstrates the unpreparedness of the political police in the face of the intensification and radicalization of the national movement and its complete incompetence in the matter of Ukrainian organizations, their structure, personnel, ideology, etc. On the other hand, the case materials show that Ukrainian activists, despite the young age and inexperience of most of them, showed confidence and courage in confronting the tsarist gendarmes. Due to this, the investigation failed not only to obtain any significant information about the RUP, but even to establish the fact of its existence, which gave the party the opportunity to develop further and soon play a prominent role in the peasant uprising of 1902 in the Poltava and Kharkiv regions.


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How to Cite
Naumov, S. (2021). The First Case Against a Ukrainian Party (From the History of the National Movement in the Imperial Era). The Journal of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Series: History, (59), 71-87.