Papers of BAS. Humanities and Social Sciences

Vol. 7, 2020, No. 1

Bulgarian topics in the publications of the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine during the First World War

Inna Manasieva

Abstract. Before the outbreak of the Great War, the problems of nationalities in the Russian Empire, and specifically the Ukrainian question, were unfamiliar to Bulgarian society. It was in the autumn of 1914, with the arrival of representatives of the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine, that Bulgarians were first acquainted with the striving of part of the Ukrainians to separate the Ukrainian lands from the Russian Empire and create an independent Ukrainian state.

This organization was created in Lviv (Austro-Hungary), in early August 1914, by Ukrainian political emigrants from the Russian Empire. The task of the Union’s emissaries in Bulgaria was to popularize the Ukrainian question through newspaper publications, brochures, etc. In its printed organ, Vistnyk Soiuza vyzvolennia Ukrainy [Herald of the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine], the organization’s leadership introduced Bulgarian topics in order to illustrate, through the Bulgarian case, Russia’s aggressive policy towards other Slavic nations. Bulgaria was cited as an example of the successful national-state development of a rural nation, a kind of development that Ukrainians were striving for themselves at that time. Many of the publications presented the Ukrainian viewpoint on the Bulgarian national question. Two Bulgarian-language brochures, published in Sofia in 1914 and 1915, dealt with the cultural ties and mutual influence existing be­tween the two nations: the texts in question, written by the Ukrainian Lonhyn Tsehelsky, were, Not a Liberator, but an Oppressor of Nations (How Russia “Liberated” Ukraine), and, Is the Ukrainian Movement a German Intrigue? Response to the Russophiles Y. Romanchuk andDr. N. Bobchev.

Keywords: The Ukrainian Question, Union for the Liberation of Ukraine, Lev Hankevych, Lonhyn Tsehelsky