Central Council of Ukraine

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Central Council of Ukraine
Українська Центральна Рада
 Ukrainian People's Republic
Coat of arms or logo
Founded March 4, 1917 (1917-03-04)
Disbanded April 28, 1918 (1918-04-28)
Succeeded by Constituent Assembly (proposed)
All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets (de facto)
Seats 822 (July 1917)
Last election
April 1918
Meeting place
Київський міський будинок учителя-загальний вигляд.JPG
Ukrainian Club Building, Kiev

The Central Council of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Українська Центральна Рада, Ukrains’ka Tsentral’na rada) (also called the Tsentralna Rada or the Central Rada) was the All-Ukrainian council that united the political, public, cultural and professional organizations of the Ukrainian People's Republic. After the All-Ukrainian National Congress (19–21 April 1917), the Council became the revolutionary parliament in the interbellum lasting until the Ukrainian-Soviet War.


From its beginning the council directed the Ukrainian national movement and with its four Universals led the country from autonomy to full sovereignty. During its brief existence from 1917 to 1918, the Central Rada, which was headed by the Ukrainian historian and ethnologist Mykhailo Hrushevsky, evolved into the fundamental governing institution of the Ukrainian People's Republic and set precedents in parliamentary democracy and national independence that formed the basis of an independent Ukrainian identity after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

During the Soviet-era official ideology described the Central Council as a counter-revolutionary body of the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeois nationalist parties.[1]


The Central Council was founded in Kiev on 17 March [O.S. 4 March] 1917 at the initiative of the Society of Ukrainian Progressionists and with the participation of various Ukrainian political parties, Ukrainian military activists, workers, religious activists, students, entrepreneurs, public and cultural organizations such as the Ukrainian Science Society, the Ukrainian Pedagogic Society, the Society of Ukrainian Technicians and Agriculturists, etc.

Mykhailo Hrushevsky was elected as the Head of the Rada while Volodymyr Naumenko, Dmytro Doroshenko, and Dmytro Antonovych were appointed as his deputies. On March 22, 1917 the Rada published its first declaration - To the Ukrainian people - in support of the Russian Provisional Government. When Mykhailo Hrushevsky assumed his duties on March 27, 1917, the Rada became an acting center of the Ukrainian national movement. But straight after the convocation of the All-Ukrainian National Congress, the Rada transformed into a provisional parliament that consisted of 150 members elected from the Ukrainian political parties, professional and cultural organizations and delegates from the guberniyas. During the National Congress Hrushevsky was reelected as the chairman of the Rada, while the leaders of the most popular political parties Serhiy Yefremov and Volodymyr Vynnychenko were appointed as his deputies.

During the lifetime of the Central Rada nine plenary sessions took place - eight in 1917, one in 1918 - and one extended session of the Mala Rada. Prior to the First Ukrainian Universal the Central Rada was increased by 130 representatives that were delegated by the II Military Congress (June 23, 1917) and 133 members of the Peasants' Deputies Council who were elected at the I All-Ukrainian Peasants' Congress (June 15, 1917).

Mala Rada[edit]

The Mala Rada (also called the Small, Little or Minor Council) was the Central Executive Committee of the Central Rada. It was created in June 1917 and consisted of 30 members; the members of the Council's presidium, secretaries of the Rada, and two representatives from each political block. The elected Chairman of the Small Council was Hrushevsky who also held the position in addition to his role as Chairman of the Central Rada. His deputies were Vynnychenko and Yefremov. All important matters were addressed at meetings of the Mala Rada in the first instance and later the designed projects were ratified at the plenum of the Central Rada.

First and Second Universals[edit]

The Ukrainian Club Building, now the Pedagogical Museum, a meeting place of the Little Council
A side view

After the declaration of autonomy (First Ukrainian Universal, 10 June 1917) the Central Rada elected the General Secretariat, an autonomous government of Ukraine consisting of eight secretariats. The Soviet Encyclopedia pointed to the fact that autonomy was declared in spite of the Provisional Government and then the Central Rada compromised and postponed the declaration until the convention of a Constituent Assembly. The Encyclopedia did not discuss the details and the factors upon which the Rada based its decision and described it as deceptive. While in fact the Russian Provisional Government and Alexander Kerensky, in particular issued the Instruktsiya on 16 July 1917 in which it recognized regional autonomy and the General Secretariat, although it declared substantial changes to the Rada's proposition and decided to "appoint as the supreme body of government of regional affairs in Ukraine a separate body, the General Secretariat, the composition of which will be determined in agreement with the Central Rada". According to the instruction the Secretariat was to be the representative body of the Provisional Government. Such a response disappointed Vynnychenko who protested it and dissolved his cabinet. After acknowledgment by the Central Rada of the Provisional Government Instruktsiya, it issued its Second Universal confirming the agreement between both governments. The composition of the Rada also was increased by 100 representatives elected at the I All-Ukrainian Workers' Congress (July 24–27, 1917) and other representatives of minorities.

Texts of the Tsentralna Rada Universals
Soviet Encyclopedia outlook

The Soviet Encyclopedia also claims that the Rada took an aggressive opposition against the October Revolution as well as the Kiev Bolshevik Uprising. Then the Rada, by pulling towards Kiev the nationalist military units, overtook the government and on November 13 occupied the city. A week later it declared itself the supreme government of the UNR (the Soviet Encyclopedia here used the words so called) and established a strict terrorist regime. On 25 December 1917 the All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviet Ukraine declared the Rada illegitimate while its participants organized an parallel government to oppose it.

The Soviet Encyclopedia did not provide information that the Kiev Uprising took place with the collaboration of the Bolsheviks and other parties that were all part of the Rada, nor an unabridged account of events on November 13 and November 16.


By the end of July 1917 the Central Rada formally had 822 deputies (according to Pavlo Khrystiuk). Its members belonged to the following parties:

The Mala Rada was elected out of these 822 deputies with 58 members including 18 members of various national minorities. From the initiative of the Central Rada a congress of Russian nationalities took place in Kiev on 21–28 September 1917.

Fate of the Central Council members[edit]

All members of the council were proclaimed outlaws by the Soviet government of Ukraine in December 1917 as part of a national-bourgeois government. On 29 January 1918 Bolshevist troops entered Kiev and declared a Soviet Coup d'etat. The Kiev garrison joined with the Soviets and deposed the Rada. Alexander Odoevsky attempted to form a new government but was arrested. The Bolsheviks established Kharkiv as the capital of the Soviets of the Ukraine.[2]

  • Volodymyr Vynnychenko, died in France
  • Khrystofor Baranovsky, died in Brazil
  • Borys Martos, died in the United States
  • Moishe Zilberfarb, died in Poland
  • Mieczysław Mickiewicz, died in Poland
  • Oleksander Lototsky, died in Poland
  • Oleksander Shulhyn, died in France
  • Ivan Mirny, died in Czechoslovakia
  • Mykola Porsh, died in Germany
  • Mykola Kovalevsky, died in Austria
  • Mykyta Shapoval, died in Czechoslovakia
  • Dmytro Antonovych, died in Czechoslovakia
  • Nykyfor Hryhoriiv-Nash, died in the United States
  • Mykhailo Yeremiiv, died in Switzerland
  • Pavlo Zaitsev, died in Germany
  • Volodymyr Kedrovsky, died in the United States
  • Andri Livytsky, died in Germany
  • Dmytro Chyzhevsky, died in Germany
  • Yevhen Onatsky, died in Argentina
  • Oleksander Slyvynsky, died in Canada
  • Levko Chykalenko, died in the United States
  • Andri Yakovliv, died in the United States
  • Solomon Goldelman, died in Israel
  • Kornel (Korni) Nishchemenko, died in the United States
  • Viktor Prykhodko, died in the United States (1982)
  • Kost Turkalo, died in the United States
  • Panas Fedenko, died in Germany
  • Dmytro Isayevych, died in Poland
  • Metropolitan Ilarion (Ivan Ohienko), died in Canada
  • Vyacheslav Prokopovych, died in France
  • Fedir Shvets, died in Czechoslovakia
  • Valeria O'Connor-Vilinska, died in Czechoslovakia
  • Sofia Rusova (Lindfors), died in Czechoslovakia
  • Fedir Shtaingel (Theodor Steingel), died in Germany
  • Yuri Tyshchenko, died in the United States
  • Oleksander Salikovsky, died in Poland
  • Zinaida Mirna (Khylchevska), died in Czechoslovakia
  • Oleksander Vilinsky, died in Czechoslovakia
  • Dmytro Doroshenko, died in Germany
  • Mykhailo Korchynsky, died in Poland
  • Tymish Olesiyuk, died in the United States (1978)
  • Pavlo Khrystiuk, died in Sevvostlag
  • Serhiy Yefremov, died in Vladimir city prison
  • Valentyn Sadovsky, died in Lukyanivska Prison
  • Vsevolod Holubovych, died in Yaroslavl city prison
  • Vasyl Mazurenko, died near Almaty
  • Illya Shrag, died in Chernihiv (under house arrest)
  • Kuzma Korzh, died in Kiev - shot by Cheka
  • Kostyantyn Vasylenko, died in Vinnytsia - shot by Cheka
  • Hryhori Holoskevych, died in Tomsk - suicide
  • Anatoli Pisotsky, died in Mykolaiv Oblast
  • Mykola (Hryhorovych) Levytsky, died in Krasnoyarsky Krai
  • Mykola Chechel, died in Suzdal
  • Arkadi Stepanenko, died in Kiev
  • Mykola Tkachenko, died in Moscow
  • Yuri Tyutyunyk, died in Moscow
  • Fedir Kryzhanivsky, died in Kiev
  • Mykhailo Poloz, died at Solovki
  • Oleksander Shumsky, died at Solovki
  • Mykola Vorony, executed in Odessa
  • Yuri Shapoval, died at Solovki
  • Ivan Feshchenko-Chopivsky, died in Kozhvinski Raion (Komi Republic)
  • Mykola Galagan, died in Lukyanivska Prison
  • Maksym Slavinsky, died in Kiev Oblast NKVD prison #1
  • Mykola Lyubynsky, died at Solovki
  • Lyudmyla Starytska-Chernyakhivska, died in transit to Kazakhstan
  • Mykola Simashkevych, died in Kiev
  • Yevtykhi (Yavtukh) Harmash, died in Poltava
  • Antin Drahomyretsky, died in Kharkiv
Assassinated (or killed in action)
  • Symon Petliura, killed in Paris (1926)
  • Ivan Steshenko, killed in Poltava (1918)
  • Oleksander-Bohdan Zarudny, killed in Kiev (1918)
  • Loenard Bochkovsky, killed in Kiev (1918)
  • Ivan Lutsenko, killed near Starokostyantyniv (1919)
  • Mykola Mikhnovsky, killed at home (1924)
  • Isaak Puhach, killed in Kiev (1918)
Fate unknown
  • Mykola Stasiuk, worked as an editor of a local newspaper in Mariupol during World War II
  • Moisei Rafes, died in 1942
  • Aleksandr Zarubin
  • Mykhailo Savchenko-Bilsky
  • Aleksandr Zolotarev
  • Zinovi Vysotsky
  • Prokip Ponyatenko
  • Oleksander Zhukovsky
  • Yosyp Mayevsky
  • Viktor Poplavko
  • Volodymyr Naumenko, died in Ukraine (Kiev?) - shot by Cheka
  • Petro Artemenko
  • Mykola Herasymenko
  • Andriy Nikovsky, was looking for a job in Leningrad before World War II
  • Oleksander Stepanenko, died in Siberia in 1924
  • Serhi Vikul
  • Yevhen Kasianenko
  • Oleksander Yanko
  • Oleksander Zhukivsky
  • Andri Likhnyakevych, emigration
  • Antin Postolovsky, emigration
  • Pavlo Pohorilko, the archbishop of All Ukraine was arrested in Kharkiv in 1929 - his subsequent fate is unknown
Died of natural causes
  • Myhaylo Tuhan-Baranovsky, 1919 (heart-attack)
  • Petro Stebnytsky, 1923 (hunger)[3]
  • Mykola Vasylenko, 1935
  • Viktor Pavlenko, 1932 (hunger)
  • Stepan Erastov, 1933 (hunger)
  • Mykhailo Hrushevsky, 1934 (medical mistreatment)
  • Mykola Bilyashivsky, 1926 (hunger)
  • Oleksander Voloshyn, 1933 (hunger)
  • Volodymyr Shemet, 1933 (hunger)
  • Mykola (Vasylyovych) Levytsky, 1936 (hunger)
  • Mykola Shrag, 1970
  • Serhi Kolos, 1969
  • Lyubov Yanovska (Shcherbachova), 1933
  • Fedir Matushevsky, 1919
  • Lev Han, 1919 (typhus)
  • Andri Viazlov, 1919 (typhus)
Other vicitms and related people
  • wife of Mykhailo Hrushevsky, Maria-Ivanna Sylvestrivna Hrushevska (Voyakovska), died soon after was brutally robbed in 1948
  • daughter of Mykhailo Hrushevsky, Kateryna Mykhailivna Hrushevska, died in Temlag in 1943 being in custody since 1938
  • brother of Mykhailo Hrushevsky, Oleksandr Serhiyovych Hrushevsky, was arrested soon after the death of Mykhailo - his subsequent fate is unknown.
  • Arystarkh Ternychenko, was a member of the government (not mentioned as a member of the Central Rada)- fate unknown
  • Serhi Ostapenko, was a member of the government (not mentioned as a member of the Central Rada)- fate unknown
  • Ovksenti Korchak-Chepurivsky, was a member of the government (not mentioned as a member of the Central Rada) - died from natural causes in 1947
  • Volodymyr Oskilko, a member of the opposition to the Martos government (not mentioned as a member of the Central Rada) - assassinated by Cheka in 1926
  • Isaak Mazepa, was a member of the government (not mentioned as a member of the Central Rada)- died in Germany

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (Russian)The Central Rada in a scope of the Soviet perspective
  2. ^ The Times, Bolshevists Against The Church, 7 February 1918.
  3. ^ (Ukrainian)Fate of the Central Council members (Ukrainian Pravda)


  • Hrushevsky, Mykhailo (1918). "На порозі нової України" (The first step towards the new Ukraine). Kiev.
  • Shulhin, O. (1918). "Політика" (Politics). Kiev.
  • Vynnychenko, Volodymyr (1920). "Відродження нації" (Revival of the nation). Vol I-II. Vienna.
  • Khrystiuk, Pavlo (1921). "Записки і матеріали до історії української революції 1917—1920 pp." (Notes and materials to the history of the Ukrainian Revolution 1917-20). Vol I-II. Vienna.
  • Zolotariov, A. (1922). "Із історії Української Центральної Ради" (From history of the Ukrainian Central Rada). Kharkiv.
  • Skrypnyk, M. (1923). "Начерк історії пролетарської революції на Україні" (Outline of history of the proletarian revolution in Ukraine). Chervonyi Shliakh (Red Pathway). Kharkiv.
  • Richytskyi, A (1928). "Центральна Рада від лютого до жовтня" (The Central Rada from February to October). Kharkiv.
  • Doroshenko Dmytro (1932). "Історія України 1917—1923" (History of Ukraine 1917-23). Vol I "Доба Центральної Ради" (The times of the Central Rada). Uzhhorod.
  • Reshetar, J. (1952). "The Ukrainian Revolution 1917—1920". Princeton.
  • Pidhainy, О. (1966). "The Formation of the Ukrainian Republic". Toronto — New-York.
  • Makhun, Serhiy (2005). "1917—1918 годы: Потерянное время Центральной Рады, или «Между двумя креслами»". Zerkalo nedeli. #32(560) August 20–26. Kiev. The copy of the article. (Russian)
  • Bilokin, Serhiy (2000). "Доля членів Центральної Ради в СССР" (The fate of the Ukrainian Central Rada members in USSR). Vyzvolnyi Shliakh (Liberating Pathway). Vol I. 14-26 pp. The copy of the article. (Ukrainian)

Coordinates: 50°26′41″N 30°30′49″E / 50.44472°N 30.51361°E / 50.44472; 30.51361