- "To Be Stored Forever"
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This past July in the small Polissia town of Olevs'k, a veritable who's who of the contemporary nationalist political leaders in Ukraine attended a ceremony to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the "Olevs'k Republic." At the ceremony, a stone monument was placed in front of the former raikom building to honor the republic. The short-lived "Olevs'k Republic" was founded by Ukrainian nationalist leader Taras "Bul'ba"-Borovets' 1 and his army the Polis'ka Sich during the summer of 1941. Taras Bul'ba-Borovets', a native of Volhynian Polissia, led the military arm of the UNR (Ukrains'ka Narodna Respublika), a Ukrainian government-in-exile led by Andrii Livyts'kyi. 2 Bul'ba-Borovets' was a major force in the Volhynian region during the Nazi occupation, in which his military force fought primarily against Soviet partisans. He was known for his independence from the larger and more powerful OUN (Orhanizatsiia Ukrains'kykh Natsionalistiv) and his pragmatism in navigating the geopolitics of the fight for Ukrainian independence.
Over the past few years, Taras Bul'ba-Borovets' has enjoyed something of a renaissance. From the end of World War II until the fall of the Berlin Wall, one could argue Bul'ba-Borovets' remained in the shadows of the most well-known nationalists [End Page 434] from the war, Stepan Bandera and Andrii Mel'nyk, or even Roman Shukevych. While there have been a few publications concerning the activities of Bul'ba-Borovets' during the war since Ukraine's indepen-dence, 3 the past three years have seen a number of new works published on his life and activities during the war. 4 The recent document collection and most ambitious project yet on the subject, Taras Bul'ba-Borovets': Dokumenty, Statti, Lysty, edited by Volodymyr Serhiichuk, comes at an opportune time when there is a growing interest in this important figure.
The editor of this new compilation on Bul'ba-Borovets' is no stranger to document collections. Volodymyr Serhiichuk, originally a journalist by training and later, a historian of early modern Ukraine, 5 has made a career by publishing document collections on the events surrounding Ukraine during and after World War II. 6 A former head [End Page 435] of the Center of Ukrainian studies at the Kyiv Shevchenko National University, Serhiichuk has published prolifically, covering a range of subjects from Hetman Mazepa to Simon Petliura. The latest tome on Bul'ba-Borovets' follows up his previous publications in the same series on Ukrainian nationalist leaders, Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukevych. 7
The document collection can be broken into roughly two sections: first, documents ranging from 1934 until 1969, and second, a collection of articles, letters, and supplemental material authored by Bul'ba-Borovets' primarily in the postwar period until his death in 1981. Within the document section we can impose the following periodization on the material: pre-1939; the Soviet occupation of 1939–1941; war period 1941–1944; and postwar period 1945–1981. In this review, I will focus primarily on the documentary material and its usefulness for researchers and only touch briefly upon the articles. I will finish by addressing some ethical concerns about the publication of document collections in post-Soviet Ukraine.
The scope of the documentary record covered here is very impressive. Serhiichuk includes documents from roughly half a dozen archives that span four decades. Some of the archives included are the former communist party archive in Kyiv (TsDAHOU); the government archive in Kyiv (TsDAVOU), Rivne oblast archive (DARO), and various private Canadian archives. Serhiichuk also uses new material from the personal archive of Bul'ba-Borovets', which is in the custody of his niece, Mariia Sul'zhuk (or Lantukh). Serhiichuk includes internal documents from various military organizations of Bul'ba-Borovets', such as the Olevs'k Sich archives (stored in DARO), and various documents from his war correspondence as the first UPA leader.
The bulk of the material in general though, comes from the Derzhavnyi Arkhiv Sluzhby Bezpeky Ukrainy in Kyiv (known as the secret...