SBU opens Information Center in Kyiv

11:32, 15 October 2008
Ukraine
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In order to facilitate the impartial coverage of the Ukrainian history

In order to facilitate the impartial coverage of the Ukrainian history, consolidation of society and exposure of stereotypes and myths about the events of the 20th century, the Security Service of Ukraine, SBU, has engaged in the systemic work to declassify and publicize its archive documents throwing light on the operations of Soviet security services and the liberation movement in Ukraine.

 

Working group of historians to study OUN/UPA activities

 

In early 2008, a working group of historians to study OUN/UPA activities was set at the SBU. The group was made up of members of various state and public organizations: the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, the State Committee of Archives of Ukraine, the Institute of History at the National Academy of Sciences, the Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University, the SBU National University, the SBU archive and the Memorial Society.   

According to work group members, their research will focus on the liberation movement in Ukraine from 1920 through 1991. As separate aspects, the dissidents’ movement of the 1960s – 1970s as well as the democratic movement of the 1980s – 1990s will be examined. As a priority task, the group will study the documents of the SBU central and oblast archives. 

The work group goal is to attract scholars for the examination of archive materials and the implementation of joint research and publication projects.

The group’s chair is SBU head’s adviser Volodymyr Vyatrovych, Ph.D (History). His contact phone is (380 44) 239-70-93. 

 

Center for the study of documents related to the history of the Ukrainian liberation movement

 

At present, the SBU is possessor of the largest amount of materials related to OUN/UPA activities. However, these materials have been studied inadequately and were not accessible to the public. Given highly mixed and controversial feelings on these issues existing in Ukraine, the declassification and publication of archives is of crucial importance. 

Accordingly, the center for the study of documents about the history of the liberation movement was set up in June 2008. The center is part of the SBU state archive. The center’s main purposes are:

[1] searching, studying, systematization and declassification of archive materials related to the history of the liberation movement;

[2] creation of an annotated electronic directory of materials; 

[3] implementation of publication projects, preparation of books and articles, organization of public hearings related to OUN/UPA activities;

[4] enrollment of NGOs in the study of documents about the liberation movement, cooperation with domestic and foreign research and public organizations involved in the study of OUN/UPA history.

 

The center can be reached at: phone: (044) 256-98-32, fax: (044) 253-13-86, email: arhivsbu@ssu.gov.ua

SBU information center launched October 2, 2008

 

Oct. 2, 2008, the Security Service of Ukraine, SBU, launched its Information Center (IC) [in Kyiv] including an open electronic archive – to simplify access to materials stored in the SSU archive. [I attended this event in Kyiv, AUR Editor]

Over the past several years the SBU has been actively involved in declassifying documents related to the operations of Soviet security services and the history of liberation movement in Ukraine.

 

The IC provides an opportunity to get acquainted with electronic copies of archive documents. All documents have been arranged according to various topics (1932-1933 Holodomor, OUN/UPA Activities, Repression in Ukraine, Movement of Dissidents, etc.)

The IC also gives access to a large number of photographs, scientific journals and books, electronic versions of exhibitions and presentations. At present, the IC has 8 workplaces. The IC’s easy search system will be convenient to scholars, journalists and students of Ukrainian history working with original materials.

 

As declassification and conversion of materials into electronic form continues, the IC database is updated daily. Simultaneously, SBU has appealed to institutions, NGOs, and individuals who own archive documents related to the specified topics, asking them to make their materials available to IC visitors. 

 

The SBU Information Center is located at the following address: 4 Irynska St., Kyiv, Ukraine; Phone: 380 44 255-82-24.

 

Electronic archive of national memory

 

The SBU, jointly with the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, has initiated the formation of an electronic archive of national memory. The archive will make it possible to facilitate the study of liberation movement history and contribute to the emergence of its uniform assessment by Ukrainians.

At present, the bulk of related materials is stored in state and law-enforcement agencies archives as well as the archives run by NGOs and individual researchers, both in Ukraine and abroad. The purpose of establishing the electronic archive is to create a unified database allowing a comprehensive study of the 20th century liberation movement history. Stage 1 of such work which is already under way is to convert SBU archive documents into electronic form.

Archive materials are being arranged according to the recommendations of Ukraine’s research institutions and scholars. The final analysis of documents is carried out by the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, an authorized central executive body for restoring and preserving the national memory. The electronic archive database is to be published by the official sites of SBU and UINM.

 

Publication projects

 

A lot of attention is being given to the publication of documents from the SBU archive.

[1] The book titled “Declassified Memory. 1932-1933 Holodomor in Ukraine as reflected by GPU/NKVD documents” was prepared by the SBU with the assistance from the “Ukrayina 3000” international charity foundation, the country’s academic institutes and scholars as well as the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory.

The book, for the first time in the Ukrainian history, presents a complete range of Soviet security services documents (the State Political department, GPU, and the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affaires, NKVD), unveiling the causes, strategies and consequences of the 1932-1933 Holodomor, the most severe tragedy which afflicted Ukraine in the 20th century.

 

The documents throw light on massive political repression by state security agencies, including efforts to quash the truth about the Famine and providing a credible source for the study of activities by central and local executive officials and party leaders in 1932-1933. For over 70 years these materials were classified and not accessible to researchers.  The book also includes research articles analyzing various aspects of the Holodomor.

[2] “Roman Shukhevych in the Documents of Soviet State Security Agencies” is a collection of materials about various aspects of the life of UPA Commander-in-Chief Roman Shukhevych. The book was published jointly with the Center for Ukrainian Studies at Kyiv Shevchenko National University.

[3] Another book on the 1932-1933 Holodomor is currently being prepared jointly by the Interior Ministry and the Administration of Poland.  It is the 7th volume to be published within the framework of the “Poland and Ukraine in the 30s and 40s of the 20th century. Unknown documents in secret services archives,” research/publication project between Ukraine’s SBU and its Polish partners.

The book titled “1932-1933 Holodomor in Ukraine in the documents of Soviet and Polish secret services” will come out in the Ukrainian and Polish ahead of the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor. The book’s presentation is scheduled in Kyiv as part of the events to mark the Day of Memory for the victims of holodomors. Later, the book will be translated into English and presented in the United States, Canada and Europe.  

Volume 7 will include documents and materials presenting the points of view on the Holodomor taken by Polish and Ukrainian researchers. The book is unique as the materials have been studied by an international team of scholars. 

The book will contain materials from the SBU archive and Poland’s military archive. The Polish documents include the reports by the Polish police and diplomats hitherto unknown to the wide public. The documents provided by the SSU archive have also not been published before. This research/publication project, whose first volume came out in print in 1998, is supported by presidents Viktor Yushchenko and Lech Kaczynski.

 

Public hearings

 

With the participation of the work group of historians, the SBU launched a series of public hearings of scholars, journalists and members of the public in order to shed light and discuss the Ukrainian liberation movement, attracting newly declassified documents.

 

In 2008, for instance, the following public hearings were held: “Operations of secret agents and guerilla groups,” “UPA: its trail in history”, “Accusations against the Nachtigall Unit – historical truth or political games,” ”OUN activities in Central and Eastern Ukraine,” “Role of Jews in the Ukrainian liberation movement.” Public hearings are open to interested individuals.   

 

Exhibitions

 

Based on declassified materials from SBU archives, three road-show topical exhibitions were arranged. Along with the already showcased “UPA: History of the Unconquered”, the two others are “Roman Shukhevych” and “Declassified Memory.” 

“Declassified Memory” which portrays the 1932-1933 Holodomor was showcased in all the regions of Ukraine, attracting about 100,000 visitors. Exhibition materials have been handed over to the foreign ministry for translation into other languages and presentation worldwide. 

 

List of Holodomor perpetrators

The SBU publicised and placed on its website the first list of high-ranking Communist party and state officials who were heads of punitive bodies OGPU (United State Political Department) and GPU (State Political Department) in 1932-1933 as well as the documents signed by these officials that formed a legal and organizational base for perpetrating the Holodomor and massive political repression. 

The documents give conclusive evidence of the fact that the 1932-1933 Holodomor-Genocide was deliberately engineered by the totalitarian Communist regime. 

To make the archive materials on the organizers and culprits of Holodomor as well as the documents signed by them more accessible, SBU offered website visitors an opportunity not only to familiarize themselves with the list of perpetrators but also access orders, Communist party politburo protocols, secret instructions to party activists, instructions on how to apply the notorious “Law on the Five Ears,” directives on arrests in the rural areas, etc.  

Such kind of publication initiates a new project involving SBU archives, and the Security Service of Ukraine urged the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, the State Committee of Archives, lawyers, experts of other law-enforcement agencies’ archives, Holodomor researchers, members of NGOs to join in to evaluate the activities of Holodomor organizers and perpetrators and eventually bring them to justice for committing crimes in Ukraine.

 

Cooperation with other countries

 

The SBU is involved in cooperation with respective agencies in other countries of the world, primarily in the former CIS republics, with the purpose of finding and exchanging information about the victims of political repression by the totalitarian regime in the USSR.

Accordingly, the SBU cooperates with the Committee for National Security of Kazakhstan, having received information regarding 15,675 Ukrainians who were victims of repression and served their sentences in Kazakhstan in 1920s-1950s. 

Notably, the Kazakh security service provided a list of 7,103 Ukrainians and victims of the Steplah concentration camp and 915 victims of the Karlah camp (near Karahanda). In addition, regional branches of the CNS handed over lists of 7,657 Ukrainians who, according to their archives,  were kept in other concentration camps.

Simultaneously, the SBU handed over to Kazakh authorities a list of 85 natives of Kazakhstan who had been imprisoned or repressed in the Ukrainian SSR.  

Materials on the SBU website

 

Events announcements, news on SBU activities, electronic versions of publications and exhibitions, copies of archive documents, protocols of work groups and public hearings sessions are available on the SSU official site at www.ssu.gov.ua

Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, October 2, 2008

SBU material translated into English for the Action Ukraine Report (AUR)

Morgan Williams, Editor & Publisher, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, October 15, 2008

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