Mykhailo Omelianovych-Pavlenko

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Mykhailo Omelianovych-Pavlenko
Born (1878-12-08)8 December 1878
Tiflis, Tiflis Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 29 May 1952(1952-05-29) (aged 73)
Paris, French Fourth Republic
Allegiance  Russian Empire (1904–1917)
 West Ukrainian People's Republic (1918–1919)
 Ukrainian People's Republic (1919–1921)
 Nazi Germany (1943–1945)
Service/branch Imperial Russian Army
Ukrainian Galician Army
Ukrainian People's Army
Ukrainian Liberation Army
Years of service 1904–1921
Rank Lieutenant General
Battles/wars First World War
Ukrainian–Soviet War
Second World War

Mykhailo Omelianovych-Pavlenko (Ukrainian: Михайло Омелянович Павленко; 8 December 1878 – 29 May 1952) was the Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian Galician Army (UHA) and of the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic. Later, he served as Defence Minister for the Government-in-exile of the Ukrainian National Republic.

Early life[edit]

Mykhaylo Omelianovych-Pavlenko was born in Tiflis (present-day Georgia). His father, Volodymyr, was an officer in the Russian Imperial Army.[1] His mother was of a Georgian aristocratic family.[1] Omelianovych-Pavlenko attended the military academy in Petersburg, graduating in 1900.[2] He had a younger brother Ivan who later was fighting along with him.

Early Military Service[edit]

Pavlenko participated in the Russo-Japanese war as a company commander. Later, in 1910, he graduated from the General Staff School.

World War I[edit]

During World War I, Pavlenko served as commander of many units - including a Ukrainian brigade in Yekaterinoslav.[3]

In the spring of 1917, Omelianovych-Pavlenko became an active supporter of Ukrainian independence, and initiated the creation of the Odessa batalion.[2] He also initiated Ukrainian military academies in Zhytomyr and Kamyanets-Podilsky.[2]

On December 10, 1918, Pavlenko assumed command of the Ukrainian Halitska Army, which he led until June 1919.[3]

After the union of the UHA and the army of the Ukrainian National Republic, Pavlenko assumed command of the force. He served as special attache to Symon Petlura. Omelianovych-Pavlenko commanded the army of the UNR during the First Winter Campaign (1920).[3]

Inter-war Years[edit]

Pavlenko moved to Prague, where he headed the Alliance of Ukrainian Veterans' Organizations.[3]

Nazi Collaborator[edit]

During the Second World War, after Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, Pavlenko headed a Ukrainian nationalist militia, the Ukrainian Liberation Army, that allied itself with the Axis Powers. At its peak it had 80,000 members, but was accused of committing various war crimes, antisemitic and otherwise, in collaboration with the Wehrmacht and the SS.

After World War II[edit]

After World War II, Pavlenko moved to France, and became the Defence minister of the Government in exile of the Ukrainian National Republic from 1945 to 1948. Pavlenko was promoted to rank of Lieutenant General.[3]


Pavlenko authored four books: The Ukrainian-Polish War of 1918–19, (published in 1929), The Winter Campaign, (published in 1934), and two books of memoirs (published in 1930 and 1935).[3]