Battle of Kruty

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Battle of Kruty
Part of Ukrainian-Soviet War (1917-1921)
Battle of Kruty.jpg
Scheme of the Battle of Kruty.
Date January 29, 1918
Location near Kruty, Ukraine 51°4′46.32″N 32°9′33.48″E / 51.0795333°N 32.1593000°E / 51.0795333; 32.1593000Coordinates: 51°4′46.32″N 32°9′33.48″E / 51.0795333°N 32.1593000°E / 51.0795333; 32.1593000
Result Bolshevik victory
Flag of Ukrainian People's Republic (non-official, 1917).svg The Kiev Cadet auxiliary kurin and the company size element of Free Cossacks of the Ukrainian People's Republic Red Army flag.svg Group of forces in fight with counter revolution in the South Russia
Commanders and leaders
Averkiy Honcharenko Mikhail Muravyov
~300 students
armored train
~100 cossacks
4,000 men
armored train
artillery battery
Casualties and losses
less than 150
prisoners 29
~300[citation needed]
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The Battle of Kruty (Ukrainian: Бій під Крутами, Biy pid Krutamy) took place on January 29, 1918, near Kruty railway station (today the village of Pamiatne, Borzna Raion, Chernihiv Oblast), about 130 kilometres (81 mi) northeast of Kiev, Ukraine, which at the time was part of Nezhinsky Uyezd of Chernigov Governorate.


Order of battle[edit]

Ukrainian forces
  • Sich Riflemen auxiliary student battalion (kurin) - Vasyl Svaryka
  • 1st Company (sotnia) - Petro Omelchenko (116 soldiers) was split into four platoons
  • Cadet Corps of the 1st Ukrainian military school of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi - Averkiy Honcharenko (~200 soldiers)
  • A company size element of Free Cossacks (80 soldiers)
Russian forces
  • Baltic sea sailors of Remnyov
  • 1st Petrograd unit

Brief description[edit]

As Bolshevik forces of about 4,000 men, commanded by Mikhail Muravyov, advanced toward Kiev, a small Ukrainian unit of 400 soldiers (about 300[1][2] of which were students), commanded by Captain Averkiy Honcharenko, was hastily organized and sent to the front. The small unit consisted mainly of the Student Battalion (Kurin) of Sich Riflemen, a unit of the Khmelnytsky Cadet School, and a Free Cossacks company. About half of the 400 men were killed during the battle, which lasted up to five hours. The Haidamaka Kish of Symon Petlyura that stayed in close vicinity turned to Kiev due to the Bolshevik's Arsenal Uprising that occurred on the same day.


Eleven of the students were re-buried at Askold's Grave in the centre of Kiev after the return of the Tsentralna Rada to the capital in March 1918. At the funeral the then President of the Ukrainian People's Republic, Mykhailo Hrushevsky, called every one of the 400 students who fought in the battle, heroes. In addition, poet Pavlo Tychyna wrote about the heroic death of the students.

After the fall of the Ukrainian People's Republic the bodies of the students were moved to the Lukyanivske Cemetery in Kiev.

Ukrainian legacy[edit]

The true story of the battle was hidden by the Soviet Government. Only recently, a monument was set up to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Kruty at Askold's Grave, and a commemorative hryvnia coin was minted. In 2006, the Kruty Heroes Monument was erected on the site of the historic battle and is remembered each year on or around January 29.

Important personalities[edit]

  • Leonid Butkevych, the youngest soldier who was in the sixth grade
  • Yakiv Ryabokin-Rohoza-Rozanov
  • Volodymyr Shulhyn, a brother of the Ukrainian statesman Oleksander Shulhyn
  • Ivano Hrushetsky, later an Orthodox priest who eventually died in a Soviet prison in August 1940
  • Mytrofan Shvydun, later continued to fight on the "Shooter" and "Free Ukraine" armored trains and in 1941 organized the Lutsk Battalion of OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists)
  • Mykhailo Mykhailyk, later wrote a detailed memoir about the battle
  • Numerous former students of Kruty became the base of the officer corps of the legendary Black Zaporizhians Cavalry Regiment
  • Mykola Kryvopusk and Hnat Martynyuk in 1920-1921 served as personal bodyguards of Symon Petlyura, Martynyuk, after becoming a priest, perished in Volyn in 1943 under unknown circumstances
  • Serhiy Zakhvalsky, eventually became an officer in the Polish Army, however, he was renowned for imprisoning a whole company of the Red Army in 1920, while heading one of the cavalry squads of the Zaliznyak Cavalry Regiment
  • Averkiy Honcharenko, in 1943 became one of the organizers of the SS Halychyna of which he was appointed a commander in 1945
  • Petro Franchuk, one of the members of SS Halychyna

To the memory of the thirties[edit]

At the Askold Cemetery
They were buried,
The thirty martyrs-Ukrainians,
The glorious young...
At the Askold Cemetery
The Ukrainian bloom! —
By the bloody roadway
For us to follow into the world.
Onto whom has dared to rise
The betrayer's hand?
Sun is blooming, wind is playing
And the Dnieper-river...
Against whom has Cain committed?
O, Lord, punish them!
Over everything they loved
It was their loved land.
They died in the New Testament
With the glory of saints.
At the Askold Cemetery
They were buried.
Pavlo Tychyna, 1918 (free translation)[6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Subtelny, Orest (2000). Ukraine: A History. University of Toronto Press. p. 352. ISBN 0-8020-8390-0. 
  2. ^ "History of Ukraine". History of Ukraine (in Ukrainian). Retrieved September 12, 2006. 
  3. ^ Events by themes: 91st anniversary of battle near Kruty, UNIAN (29 January 2009)
  4. ^ Yuschenko, Tymoshenko address their compatriots on occasion of Battle of Kruty, Interfax-Ukraine, (29 January 2009)
  5. ^ History of the Battle of Kruty - English, YouTube
  6. ^ Lavrinenko, Yu. Shot Renaissance: Anthology 1917-1933: Poetry-prose-drama-essay. "Prosvita". Kiev, 2001. 794 p.