Taras Bulba-Borovets

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Taras Bulba-Borovets

Taras Dmytrovych Borovets (Ukrainian: Тарас Дмитрович Борове́ць; March 9, 1908, Rovno County, Volhynian Governorate, Russian Empire – May 15, 1981, Toronto, Canada) was a Ukrainian resistance leader during the World War II. He is better known as Taras Bulba-Borovets after his childhood nickname Taras Bulba.

Biography[edit]

During the Interbellum, he led educational programs in Volhynia, and in 1930 the Ukrainian National Renaissance for which he was interned in 1934–35 in the Polish Bereza Kartuska Detention Camp. He was an active member of pro-Simon Petlyura movement, which was initially allied with Poland. However, after the Treaty of Riga which ended the Polish-Bolshevik War, and the failure of Poland to support the establishment of an independent Ukraine, Bulba-Borovets became resentful of the Polish government. After the Nazi invasion of Poland, he managed to get to the German occupied part of Poland, the General Government, and in Warsaw got in touch with members of the Ukrainian People's Republic, who told him to return to the area of Sarny, which he did in August 1940.

Afterward, after Soviet annexation of Western Ukrainian lands to the Ukrainian SSR Borovets organized the underground anti-Soviet resistance in Volhynia (called Polis'ska Sich) and after the German attack on the USSR he organized the first Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) also known as the Polissian Sich. It effectively fought against the Soviets and during the German occupation went into underground, after Borovets refused German demands that his troops participate in the massacres of Jews in the area of Olevsk. Borovets himself hid several Jewish families. From 1943 the Polisska Sich became known as the Ukrainian National Revolutionary Army and the insurgency was directed according to the plan of the General Command of the UNR. Borovets refused to join the forces of Stepan Bandera faction, and his wife was killed by OUN (B) assassins.

In 1943 Borovets organized the Ukrainian National-Democratic Party. In November 1943 he was arrested by the Gestapo in Warsaw and incarcerated in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In Autumn 1944 the Nazis, looking for Ukrainian support in the war they were losing against the Soviets, freed Borovets. He was put in charge of a formation of a paratrooper brigade which was supposed to be dropped in the rear of the Red Army and engage in guerrilla warfare. Those plans never came to fruition and in the end of war Ukrainian nationalist allies of Hitler demanded being transferred away from the Eastern Front to be able to surrender to allies. Borovets' detachment surrendered to the allies on May 10, 1945, and were interned in Rimini (Italy).[citation needed]

Borovets was attacked by Stepan Bandera for failing to submit to OUN-B, and to participate in the Massacres of Poles in Volhynia. In August of 1943, he wrote to Bandera, that Ukraine had more important enemies than the Poles, and the Polish nation will exist as such, and that the future will determine whether the Poles will be enemies or friends. Bulba criticized the massacres of Poles, calling them shameful (Derz. Archiw Riwnenskoji Oblasti (DARO), f. R-30, op. 2, spr. 113, kk. 103–105).

In 1948 he emigrated to Canada. While in emigration he organized the Ukrainian National Guard and published a newspaper "Mech i Volia" (Sword and Freedom), along with a book of memoirs "Armiya bez Derzhavy" (Army without a country). He died in Toronto, Canada and is buried in Bound Brook, New Jersey.

His pseudonym is taken from the eponymous novel by Russian-Ukrainian writer Nikolai Gogol.

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