Ukrainian Radical Party
Ukrainian Radical Party
|International affiliation||Labour and Socialist International|
The Ukrainian Radical Party, (URP), (Ukrainian: Українська радикальна партія, УPП, Ukrainska Radikalna Partiya) founded in October 1890 and based on the radical movement in western Ukraine dating from the 1870s, was the first modern Ukrainian political party with a defined program, mass following, and registered membership. It advocated socialism, increased rights for Ukrainian peasants, and secularism.
Programme and Ideology
The Radical Party ideology was based on the political thought of Mykhailo Drahomanov, an eastern Ukrainian thinker who spent part of the nineteenth century in western Ukraine. Although the Radical party advocated socialism in its ideology, it considered itself different from western socialists who were beholden to the ideas of Karl Marx because western socialism was based on the industrial proletariat while the Radical party was focused on the peasantry. Accordingly, its socialism was agrarian and peasant-based. The Ukrainian Radical party claimed kinship and affinity with the similarly peasant-based socialist Serbian Radical Party of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It actively opposed the influence of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and its priests in Ukrainian society. It was also opposed to the Austrian government, to mainstream Ukrainophiles who were loyal to Austria, and to Ukrainian attempts to cooperate with Polish authorities. At the same time, the URP cooperated with Polish workers and peasants. The URP supported Ukrainian independence at a party congress in 1895, the first time that the goal of an independent Ukrainian state had been expressed anywhere. Involved with the plight of the Ukrainian peasants, the URP also called for and organized strikes of Ukrainian agricultural workers.
The Radical Party was founded in Lviv on October 4, 1890 by a group of Ukrainian activists including the poet Ivan Franko, the publisher Mykhailo Pavlyk, and others. It was involved in founding reading rooms and cooperatives, organizing women's groups, and training and politicizing Ukrainian peasants. In 1895, the party passed a resolution calling for Ukrainian independence. That same year, it sent three representatives to the Galician Diet and in 1897 two representatives to the Austrian parliament.
In the mid-1890s three competing groups emerged within the URP. One maintained its allegiance to the traditional ideology of the URP. Another faction turned more to western European socialism and Marxism. A third faction which included most of the Radical Party's most prominent members such as Ivan Franko became increasingly disenchanted with socialist ideas and more focussed on national concerns. In 1899 the latter two groups left the Radical Party. The socialist-learning faction splitt of to form the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party. The natioanlist-leading faction merged with mainstream Ukrainiphiles to create the National Democratic Party, which was the largest Ukrainian political party in Austrian-ruled Ukraine before and during the first world war. The National Democratic party, renamed the Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance, would continue to dominate western Ukrainian political life until the Second World War.
After the exodus of the Ukrainian Social Democrats and the National Democrats, the remaining Ukrainian Radical Party, having become a definitively peasant-oriented party, was the second largest political party among ethnic Ukrainians in western Ukraine. In 1911, it sent five members to the Austrian parliament and in 1913 six members to the Galician Diet. On the eve of World War I, the Radical party established sporting societies and paramilitary groups that would serve as the basis for the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen, an all-Ukrainian unit within the Austrian army.
The Ukrainian Radical Party was one of the founding parties of the West Ukrainian National Republic, and its members occupied the posts of defence minister (Dmytro Vitovsky) and interior secretary within the West Ukrainian government. Following the war, when western Ukraine became part of the Polish state, at a party congress in 1925 the Radical Party passed a resolution simultaneously opposing cooperation with Ukrainian "bourgeois parties" and condemning Bolsheviks policies in Soviet Ukraine. A year later, it merged with a socialist party and renamed itself the Ukrainian Socialist Radical Party (USRP). In the 1928 Polish elections, the party received 280,000 votes, the second most among western Ukrainian parties following the Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance's 600,000 votes. This enabled the USRP to send 11 representatives into the parliament and 3 into the senate. In the 1931 elections it ran in a coalition with the Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance and obtained 1/4 of the coalition's seats. The USRP boycotted all subsequent Polish elections.
After the Soviets annexed western Ukrainian territory in 1939, the USRP like all other western Ukrainian political parties was forced by the Soviet authorities to disband.
- Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Ukrainian Radical Party. vol. 5, 1993. Article written by Jean Paul Himka and Ivan Lysiak Rudnytsky
- Encyclopedia of Ukraine, "Radicalism" written by John-Paul Himka
- Orest Subtelny. (1988). Ukraine: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pg. 328
- Paul Robert Magocsi. (1996). A History of Ukraine. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pg. 446
- Orest Subtelny. (1988). Ukraine: a History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. 434-441
- Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 319