Vasyl Kuk

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Vasyl Kuk . 2007

Vasyl Stepanovych Kuk (Ukrainian: Василь Степанович Кук (pseudonym Koval)) (January 11, 1913 – September 9, 2007) was a Ukrainian nationalist who was the last leader of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, following the death of Roman Shukhevych.


Vasyl Kuk was born in Krasne, Zolochiv County, Galicia, now in Busk Raion, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine on January 11, 1913. He studied law at the Catholic University of Lublin and joined the radical Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. In 1937 he went underground in order to escape the Polish police. In 1941, he became one of the OUN's leaders. During World War II, he headed an OUN-organized anti-Nazi underground in Dnipropetrovsk from 1942 to 1943, before returning to western Ukraine. After UPA leader Roman Shukhevych's death in 1950, Kuk assumed the role of commander of the UPA and of the OUN in Ukraine. Kuk was captured by Soviet forces in 1954. After six years of imprisonment and interrogation, he was amnestied and allowed to move to Kiev. After obtaining a philosophy degree from Kiev University he worked at Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR before his eventual dismissal as an undesirable, following the publication of his book "Marxism-Leninism about the Ukrainian National Question." In the 1990s he became active in UPA veteran affairs. He died at the age of 94 and was buried in his native village. He was described by Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine's president from 2005 to 2010, as the "personification of the Ukrainian idea."