Ukrainian Social Democratic Party (1899)

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Ukrainian Social Democratic Party (USDP) was a political party in Galicia. The party was founded in 1899 as an autonomous section of the Polish Social Democratic Party of Galicia (and Silesia) by some members of the Polish Social Democratic Party of Galicia (PPSD) and the Ukrainian Radical Party in Lviv. The key leaders were Mykola Hankevych (party chairman) and Semen Vityk. It was based on the Ukrainian social democratic organization that already existed since 1897. The first congress of the party took place in Lviv in 1903. Few years later in 1906 the party was joined by its affiliate in Bukovina, the Social Democratic Party of Bukovina (leader Yosyp Bezpalko).

The Ukrainian Social Democratic Party had close ties to the Ukrainian Social Democratic Labour Party in the Russian Empire. Ideologically the party had an Austro-Marxist orientation. It advocated the creation of an independent Ukrainian state. V. Levynsky, Y. Bachynsky and Vityk Hankevych were leading personalities of the party.[1] The party was active mobilizing for the 1902 peasant strikes in Husyatyn and Terebovlia counties. Until 1907 the party remained as a section of its Polish counterparts and Hankevych headed the Lviv city committee of the Polish Social Democratic Party of Galicia. In June 1907 the USDP has officially seceded from PPSD at the party conference. The split allowed the USDP civil organization "Liberty" (Volya) to be more active in urban communities rather than to remain outside of cities.

In 1914 the party joined the Ukrainian General Council, and adopted a pro-Austrian position. This position was however reverted in 1921, as the party adopted a pro-Soviet line advocating unification with the Soviet Ukraine, while being hostile to the Polish government as well as the exiled government of Yevhen Petrushevych. Earlier upon dissolution of the Austria-Hungary in 1918 and establishment of the Western Ukrainian People's Republic, the party became an independent Ukrainian party and joined the Ukrainian National Council, but later left the coalition government creating the socialist opposition, the Peasants and Workers Union. Some Volhynian USDP members were elected to the National Sejm of Poland in 1922. By the early 1920s the party became infiltrated by members of the Communist Party of Western Ukraine and at its 6th Congress in Lviv in March 1923 it changed its political platform to Communist and removing its older leader including Mykola Hankevych.

The Polish authorities outlawed the party on January 30, 1924, as one that causes threat to peace and order. After the banning, many USDP cadres joined the underground faction of Communist Party of Western Ukraine.[1] Other members that did not joined communists, became involved in the Workers Community as a public cultural and educational society. In 1928 the party managed to revive by the Lev Hankevych's "Forward" group (Vperid). In 1933 it joined the Labor and Socialist International and in December 1934 joined the Ukrainian Socialist Bloc that also included the Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance and the Ukrainian Socialist Radical Party.

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