Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self Defence

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Ukrainian National Assembly
Leader Yuriy Shukhevych[1][2]
Founded 3/4 November 1990
Dissolved May 22, 2014[3] (Political wing only.[3])
Merged into Right Sector[3] (Political wing only.[3])
Headquarters Kyiv
Membership  (2006) 8,000[4]
Ideology Ukrainian nationalism
Political position Far-right[5][6]
International affiliation None
Colours Red, black
Party flag
Politics of Ukraine
Political parties

The Ukrainian National Assembly - Ukrainian People's Self-Defense (Ukrainian: Українська Національна Асамблея-Українська Народна Самооборона , УНА-УНСО, UNA-UNSO) is a Ukrainian political organization. The UNA-UNSO is often perceived as a far-right in Ukraine and abroad.[7][8]

The Ukrainian National Assembly (Ukrainian: УНА, UNA) acted as the organization's legal political party-wing, but on May 22, 2014 this merged into Right Sector[3] while UNA-UNSO continues to operate independently.

According to Andreas Umland and Anton Shekhovtsov the UNSD was created in 1991 as a "formation manned by UNA members who had served in the Soviet armed forces" "to confront the State Committee for the State of Emergency".[9]


First years[edit]

Ukrainian National Assembly (UNA) was created on June 30, 1990 in Lviv under the name of Ukrainian Inter-party Assembly (UMA). It was led by a maverick politician and nationalist writer Dmytro Korchynskyy. On November 3–4, 1990 a constituent congress of the Ukrainian National Association (UNS) took place in Kiev. On January 11, 1991 squads of UNS headed by Yuriy Tyma guarded the Seimas Palace during the January Events in Lithuania when the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania. On June 30, 1991 some 200 members of UNS conducted a torch parade to commemorate the Declaration of Ukrainian Independence in Lviv 1941.

In the first days of the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt a squad of UNS led by the Vietnam War veteran Valeriy Bobrovych departed to Moscow. Later that squad laid foundation in creating the "Argo" battalion. On August 19, 1991 in the fight against the State Committee on the State of Emergency, UNS created squads of the Ukrainian People's Self-Defense (UNSO) in Kiev. The squads were formed around a small group of ethnically Ukrainian Soviet army veterans who fought in Afghanistan (see Soviet war in Afghanistan). Because of the 1991 Declaration of Independence of Ukraine on September 8, 1991 the 6th session of Ukrainian Inter-party Assembly was officially renamed as the Ukrainian National Assembly, while among people it became known as UNA-UNSO due to the UNSO close association with UNA. The first head of the party was elected Yuriy-Bohdan Shukhevych, a son of Roman Shukhevych.

Since gaining its independence in 1991 Ukraine chronically suffers from separatists movements directed to reunite some of the Ukrainian territories with Russia and other neighboring countries. UNA-UNSO managed to stop enthusiastic activities of a People's Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union Goncharov in Donets basin in reestablishing the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic and its Donetsk National Guard. In Kiev was liquidated an organization "Patriotic forum" (Otyechestvyennyi forum). In November 1991 UNSO disperse their congress and rally. Due to the brawl involving UNSO fighters the government conducted the first mass arrests against UNSO activists. In Odessa UNSO stopped an initiative in creation of the "Novorossiysk Republic" which also influenced another separatists movements in Bukovina and Zakarpattia. On June 7, 1992 a Lviv team of UNSO dispersed the Romanian congress in Chernivtsi which was provoking in uniting of the Northern Bukovina with Romania.


Since 1991 and to this day on the territory of Ukraine, Crimea and Sevastopol, are located forces of the Russian Federation, which explicitly contradict the Constitution of Ukraine. In 1991 on the territory of Ukraine were located the Russian Black Sea Fleet and the 126th Division of Coastal Defense subordinated to Moscow commanded by the Russian admiral Igor Kasatonov. Admiral Kasatonov sharply reacted to all pro-Ukrainian actions of sailors such as labeling them traitors, hounded or discharging from Navy the officers who were sworn allegiance to Ukraine. When in April 1992 headquarters officers of the Naval base in Novo-ozerne were sworn allegiance to the Ukrainian state, he ordered to block the base with armored tanks from the coast and with military ships from the sea. Kasatonov refused to execute any orders of the President of Ukraine and declarations of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea. In Crimea over the official buildings were flying the official flags of the Soviet Union, openly acted militarized organizations of local Cossacks and other patriotic clubs.

Because of no laws of Ukraine seemed to be possible to enforce in Crimea, UNA-UNSO decided to conduct a series of crusade marches and prayers for the perished Ukrainians in Odessa, Kherson, and Sevastopol. In the campaign have agreed to participate priests of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAPC) and the Kiev choir "Homin".

History since 1994[edit]

Despite this during Ukrainian parliamentary election in 1994 three UNA-UNSO members were elected as deputies of Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament). Between 1994 and 1997 UNA-UNSO members gained prominence in Ukraine through a number of anti-Russian actions. UNA-UNSO deputies destroyed a Russian flag in Ukrainian parliament, UNA-UNSO fighters joined the Chechen rebels in First Chechen War and fought against the Russian army, its activists organized street protests against Russian pop-stars visiting Ukraine. UNA-UNSO took sides in Ukrainian church affairs and in July 1995 clashed with police during the funeral of Patriarch Volodomyr (Romaniuk), head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate. UNA-UNSO supported Patriarch Filaret (Mykhailo Denysenko) excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church, and participated in violent attempts to capture church property for the new church, notably in Rivne and Volyn oblasts. Membership of the organization peaked at around 10 000 members, who were mostly young Ukrainians. About 90% of its members were between 18 and 35 years old.

The organization was depicted in Georgy Gongadze's 1994 documentary film "Shadows of War".

In 1997 government of Leonid Kuchma banned the Ukrainian National Assembly — Ukrainian National Self Defence. Members of UNA-UNSO responded with a number of violent street protests, resulted in over 250 arrests. Dmytro Korchynskyy himself was arrested and soon after left the ranks of UNA-UNSO.

In 1998 UNA-UNSO new leaders of the organizations became Andriy Shkil and Yuriy Shukhevych, son of prominent Ukrainian nationalist Roman Shukhevych.

UNA-UNSO participated in Ukrainian parliamentary election of 1998 but managed to get only 0.39% of the votes.[10]

In 2000 and 2001 members of Ukrainian National Assembly — Ukrainian Nationalistic Self Defense actively participated in Ukraine without Kuchma mass protest campaign.

During the 2002 parliamentary elections Andriy Shkil won a single-mandate constituency in the Lviv Oblast (province) and thus a seat in the Verkhovna Rada,[11][12] the party itself won 0,04% of the votes.[10] In 2003 Shkil left the party,[13] he has become a close aide to influential politician Yuliya Tymoshenko.[14][15]

During Orange Revolution UNA-UNSO members supported Viktor Yushchenko against his pro-Russian opponents. UNA-UNSO members provided security for the supporters of Viktor Yushchenko, and prominent leaders of the Orange camp such as Yulia Tymoshenko on Independence Square in Kiev.[16]

UNA-UNSO members in Kiev, January 26, 2014

In 2005 Yuriy Shukhevych became the leader of the party again. In the 2006 parliamentary elections the party failed to win parliamentary representation with 0,06% of the votes.[10] The party did not participate in the 2007 elections.[10]

In 2008, the South Ossetian Prosecutor General Teimuraz Khugayev accused UNA-UNSO to have participated with a unit on the Georgian side during the August war. But so far no evidence of this has been provided.[17] According to a Russian Investigative Committee report from August, 2009, 200 members of the Ukrainian UNA-UNSO as well as full-time servicemen of the Ukrainian army aided Georgian forces during the fighting; Ukraine denied the accusation. UNA-UNSO deputy head Nikolay Karpyuk said that “unfortunately,” no members of the organization took part in the fighting in Georgia.[18]

The party did again participate in the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election.[19] In these elections the party won 0.08% of the national votes and no constituencies (it had competed in 5 constituencies[20]) and thus failed to win parliamentary representation.[21]

In March 2014 Russia launched a criminal case against the party, and some members (including party leader Oleh Tyahnybok) of Svoboda, for "organizing an armed gang" that had allegedly fought against the Russian 76th Guards Air Assault Division in the First Chechen War.[22]

The political party-wing Ukrainian National Assembly merged into Right Sector on May 22, 2014.[3]

International Conflicts[edit]


The Vakhtang Gorgasal Order, first class

In the War of Transnistria members of UNA-UNSO fought on the side of Transnistrian separatists against Moldovan government forces.[23] This was justified as a defense of large ethnic Ukrainian minority in Transnistria. Over 50 members of UNSO were awarded order "Defender of Transnistria".

In the spring of 1992 700 members of UNSO participated in extinguishing a pro-Russian separatist movement in Crimea. In autumn of 1992 a similar movement was extinguished in Zakarpattia. Concurrently with that UNSO sponsored a return of the Ukrainian veterans from across the Soviet Union.

Georgia civil war[edit]

In 1993 UNA-UNSO sent volunteers to participate in Georgian-Abkhaz conflict in fight against the Abkhasian separatists.[24][25] UNA-UNSO fighters formed a unit called "Argo" and joined Georgian side against Russian-backed Abkhaz forces. Some volunteers joined the Sukhumi Battalion of the Marine Infantry Forces of Georgia. A squad of CPT Ustym prevented an amphibious assault of Russian forces near Sukhumi and sank a Russian military motorboat. Seven members of UNSO perished during the conflict near Sukhumi, 30 members were awarded the order of "Vakhtang Gorgasali".

  • Sukhumi raid (June 1993)
  • Starushkino village ambush (July 15, 1993)
  • Shromi village assault (July 17, 1993)
  • Khomi defense (October 4, 1993)
  • Samtredia defense (October 17, 1993)

Ideology and image[edit]

International security expert Andrew Mcgregor has stated (in 2006) that the UNA-UNSO "might be best characterized as an influential fringe movement", and that "its high visibility belies its limited numbers".[4]

UNA-UNSO has an anthem, which is called 'Stay, my love, don't cry, honey'. It is a remake of the Bella Ciao song.[26]


Parliamentary since 1994
(year links to election page)
Year Votes % Mandates
0 (1)

UNA-UNSO parliamentarians[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shukhevych re-elected as UNA-UNSO leader, Kyiv Post (June 30, 2010)
  2. ^ UNA-UNSO Official party web page
  3. ^ a b c d e f Right Sector registered as official party, Interfax-Ukraine (22 May 2014)
  4. ^ a b McGregor, Andrew (March 30, 2006), [tt_news=31539 Radical Ukrainian Nationalism and the War in Chechnya], The Jamestown Foundation 
  5. ^ Wilson, Andrew (2005), Ukraine's Orange Revolution, Yale University Press, p. x 
  6. ^ Ramet, Sabrina P. (1998), Nihil Obstat: Religion, Politics, and Social Change in East-Central Europe and Russia, Duke University Press, p. 257 
  7. ^ Singh, Anita Inder (2001), Democracy, Ethnic Diversity, and Security in Post-Communist Europe, Greenwood, p. 114 
  8. ^ Dymerskaya-Tsigelman, Liudmila; Finberg, Leonid (1999), "Antisemitism of the Ukrainian Radical Nationalists: Ideology and Policy", Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism (Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism) (14) 
  9. ^ Umland, Andreas; Shekhovtsov, Anton (September–October 2013). "Ultraright Party Politics in Post-Soviet Ukraine and the Puzzle of the Electoral Marginalism of Ukrainian Ultranationalists in 1994–2009". Russian Politics and Law 51 (5): 33–58. doi:10.2753/RUP1061-1940510502. 
  10. ^ a b c d (Ukrainian) Українська національна Ассамблея, Database DATA
  11. ^ The Constituency № 121, Central Election Commission of Ukraine (2002 regular election)
  12. ^ Results of voting in single-mandate constituencies, Central Election Commission of Ukraine (2002 regular election)
  13. ^ UNA-UNSO :: Articles
  14. ^ Yulia Tymoshenko’s orbits / Ukrayinska Pravda
  15. ^ The Makeup of the New Verkhovna Rada / Ukrayinska Pravda
  16. ^ Far-right Group Flexes During Ukraine "Revolution", The Associated Press, January 1, 2005]
  17. ^ Allenova, Olga (2008-11-25). "Foreign Traces in the Strange War". Kommersant. Retrieved 2008-11-30. 
  18. ^ Ukrainian army supported Georgian attack on South Ossetia, Russia Today (August 24, 2009)
  19. ^ (Ukrainian) Відомості щодо реєстрації виборчих списків кандидатів у депутати Information on the registration of electoral lists of candidates, Central Election Commission of Ukraine
  20. ^ (Ukrainian) Candidates, RBC Ukraine
  21. ^ (Ukrainian) Proportional votes & Constituency seats, Central Election Commission of Ukraine
  22. ^
  23. ^ About UNA-UNSO
  24. ^ Democratic Changes and Authoritarian Reactions in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova (Democratization and Authoritarianism in Post-Communist Societies), Cambridge University Press, 1997, ISBN 0521597323 (page 349)
  25. ^ State Building and Military Power in Russia and the New States of Eurasia (International Politics of Eurasia), M. E. Sharpe, 1995, ISBN 1563243601 (page 173)
  26. ^ (Ukrainian) УНСО, YouTube

External links[edit]