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Volodymyr Vynnychenko

Volodymyr Kyrylovich Vynnychenko (July 16, 1880 – March 6, 1951) was a Ukrainian writer and politician.

Portrait of V. Vynnychenko(1900s?)

Portrait of V. Vynnychenko

From the site

He was born in the town Yelisavetgrad (now Kropyvnytskyi, the regional center of Ukraine) in the family of a poor peasant. He studied in public schools and gymnasiums in Yelisavetgrad (1890 – 1899), and in 1901 he entered the Kyiv University.

At the university he joined the Ukrainian national-political movement, joined the Revolutionary Ukrainian Party. In 1903, he was arrested for the first time and expelled from the university, to which he never returned. Until 1914, V. V. took an active part in revolutionary activities, having passed several cycles of arrest – escape from prison – illegal border crossing – emigration life – illegal return to the Russian Empire.

When World War I broke out, V. V. was in an illegal position in Russia, and this continued until 1917. After the February Revolution of 1917, V. V. came to Kyiv and joined the work of the Central Council. Due to a complete lack of specialists, he was instructed to head the General Secretariat (government) and at the same time the General Secretariat (Ministry) of the Interior. V. V. was involved in the preparation of all the universals of the Central Council. At the end of 1918 he was one of the leaders of the uprising against Hetman P. Skoropadsky, and after the success of the uprising for a short time (until February 1919) – the head of the Directory (the governing body of the Ukrainian People’s Republic).

Due to disagreements with S. Petliura, V. V. left the Directory and emigrated to Vienna, but did not stop trying to find his place in politics. In May-September 1920, he attempted to join the leadership of the victorious force, the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), but quickly realized that Moscow wanted to use his popularity to achieve its (anti-Ukrainian) goals.

V. V.’s departure abroad in 1920 proved to be irreversible. In exile (since 1925 – in France), he remained true to his communist ideals and quarreled with most other Ukrainians – political emigrants. Until 1930, his works were republished in the USSR, and he received royalties for them. He was later declared an enemy of the Soviet government, his works were banned and confiscated, and reprints and royalties ceased. Outside the USSR, he had neither publishers nor readers.

V. V. tried to earn a living by drawing landscapes and still lifes for sale, continued his literary work – wrote fiction, philosophical and ethical treatises, diary.

V. V. died in 1951 in the town Mougins, in the south of France and was buried in the local cemetery. The writer’s archive was transferred to the Ukrainian Free Academy of Sciences (USA), and on the day of independence it was returned to Ukraine.

The biography of V. Vynnychenko–politics in general is much better known than his biography as the writer. Although he worked in literature for 48 years (1902, the short story "Beauty and Power" – 1950, the novel "A Word for You, Stalin") and wrote many prose and (to a lesser extent) dramatic works – his creative legacy remains virtually unknown. The most complete collection of works in 23 volumes was published in 1928 – 1930, in the middle of V. V.’s creative path. It was removed from libraries and is now returned in the form of scanned copies. There is no systematic reprint of Vynnychenko’s works in independent Ukraine. It is such a happiness to be "the greatest Ukrainian writer of the 20th century"!

Unable to fill this gap in Ukrainian culture, we will present Vynnychenko’s works on the Myslene Drevo website, which we will be able to obtain and prepare in accordance with our publishing principles.

M. Zh., Jul 25, 2021