Volodymyr Vasylyovych Shcherbytsky (Ukrainian: Володимир Васильович Щербицький, Russian: Владимир Васильевич Щербицкий) (17 February 1918, Verkhnodniprovsk - 17 February 1990) was a Ukrainian and Soviet politician. He was a leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine from 1972 to 1989.
An influential figure in the Soviet Union, a member of Soviet politburo since 1971, he was a close ally to the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. His rule of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was characterized by the expanded policies of re-centralisation and suppression of dissent. While supporting Russification policies, he still allowed the Ukrainian language to keep circulating side-by-side with Russian in this traditionally bilingual republic. Scherbytsky's power base was arguably one of the most corrupt and conservative among the Soviet republics.
He was one of the supporters of Mikhail Gorbachev in his takeover of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union which ultimately led to the implementation of reforms that dramatically altered the country and its future. At the same time, Scherbytsky opposed these democratic changes.
He is also held responsible for concealing the real scale of the Chernobyl Accident even to the central government in Moscow and for holding a May Day demonstration in Kiev only five days after the accident happened, when the public was still severely exposed to nuclear radiation. He committed suicide in 1990.
Volodymyr Shcherbytsky was twice awarded the Hero of Socialist Labour - in 1974 and 1977. During his public service he also received numerous other civil and state awards and recognitions, including the Order of Lenin (in 1958, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1977, 1983 and 1988), the Order of October Revolution (in 1978 and 1982), the Order of the Patriotic War, I class (in 1985) and various medals.
- Democratic Changes and Authoritarian Reactions in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova By Karen Dawisha, Bruce Parrott. Cambridge University Press, 1997 ISBN 0-521-59732-3, ISBN 978-0-521-59732-6. p. 337
- Shcherbytsky Volodymyr Vasylyovych, from the Ukrainian Government Portal