Vasyl Makukh

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Memorial plaque at Khreshchatyk

Vasyl Omelianovych Makukh (Ukrainian: Васи́ль Омеля́нович Ма́кух) (14 November 1927, Lwów voivodeship, Second Polish Republic – 5 November 1968, Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union) was a Soviet veteran of World War II, political prisoner and Ukrainian activist, and member of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

Having been conscripted into the Red Army, in November 1944 Makukh defected and joined the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. In February 1946 he was wounded and captured after a shootout with Soviet and Polish border guards at the Soviet-Polish border (today Poland–Ukraine border). On 15 February 1946, Makukh was taken to the district precinct of the KGB (soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs) in Velyki Mosty and later to Lviv Prison No. 4 (known as "Brygidki"). On 11 July 1946, the Military Tribunal of Lviv garrison sentenced him to 10 years of hard labour (katorga) with five years of detention ("civil rights restriction") plus the confiscation of all his property. Makukh served his sentence in Dubravlag (Mordovia) and other GULAG camps in Siberia. On 18 July 1955, he was freed and exiled to a local settlement, where he met a woman who had also served 10 years imprisonment. In 1956, both managed to return to Ukraine, and being forbidden to return to their own region, they settled in Dnipropetrovsk (today Dnipro), where they married and Makukh worked as a schoolteacher.

On November 5, 1968, he committed suicide by self-immolation on Khreshchatyk, Kiev's main street, in protest against the Soviet rule of Ukraine as well as the Soviet invasion in Czechoslovakia.[1][2][3] Before his death, Makukh shouted 'Long live free Ukraine!'[3] On 6 November 1968 the prosecutor's office of the Leninsky District of Kiev city opened a criminal case against him because of the suicide, the outcome of which was never made known.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Український герой – палаючий смолоскип Василь Макух". Радіо Свобода (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  2. ^ "Smuga sadzy". 2013-03-16. Retrieved 2013-09-09.
  3. ^ a b "Makukh, Vasyl". Internet Encyclopaedia of Ukraine. Retrieved 16 July 2015.