In Memoriam: Levko Horokhivsky


On 1 November Levko Fedorovych Horokhivsky, member of the residence movement from the 1960s to the 1990s and former political prisoner, died in Kyiv. He was 67. 

Levko Horokhivsky was from the Ternopil region, and after graduating as a construction engineer from Lviv Polytechnic, worked in a planning institute in Ternopil.

From 1966 – 1969 he distributed samizdat, including the seminal work by Ivan Dziuba “Internationalism or Russification?”  He was arrested on 2 February 1969 together with Mykhailo Samanchuk, and sentenced on 4 September 1969 for Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” to 4 years harsh regime labour camp. He served his sentence in the Mordovian political labour camps and was released in February 1973 before the prisoners of the second wave of arrests in Ukraine began arriving in the camps.

Back in Ukraine, he had enormous difficulty finding work as a former political prisoner. Psychologically conditions “at liberty’ were worse than those in the camps because at least there he had been among people with similar views. Horokhivsky was frequently summoned to the KGB, where they demanded that he publicly condemn his past activities. 

During the perestroika years, Horokhivsky created an initiative group of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union (UHU) in the Ternopil region. He also organized the first political rallies in Ternopil and in 1989 founded branches of the All-Ukrainian Association of political prisoners and victims of repression, the Society of the Ukrainian Language, “Memorial”, and of Narodny Rukh Ukrainy [The Popular Movement of Ukraine] (RUKH).  In May 1989 he prepared national flags which appeared for the first time on the streets of Ternopil. At the first rally to mark the restoration of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC), Horokhivsky was detained by the police, however Ivan HEL called on the participants in the rally not to disperse until he was released. The KGB officers were forced to bring him out so that those present could see him.  The court imposed a fine of 1000 roubles or 15 days custodial arrest. Since he didn’t have the money, he agreed to the arrest.

Horokhivsky organized a petition campaign to close atomic power stations, to have Ukrainian declared the State language, to introduce Ukrainian citizenship and to ensure that Ukrainian young conscripts only served on Ukrainian territory. In 1988-89 he organized trips of Greek Catholics to Moscow to demand the legalization of the UGCC.  Under Horokhivsky’s leadership, the Ternopil branch of the UHU became the largest in Ukraine after Lviv. 1989 became a turning point for Halychyna with people ceasing to be frightened of speaking the truth.

In March 1990 and in April 1994, Horokhivsky was elected National Deputy (MP) of Ukraine. He was a member of the Verkhovna Rada Commission on State Sovereignty, then on the Committee on issues of nuclear policy and safety.

In recognition of all he had done for his country, on Independence Day 24 August 1998, he was awarded the order “For services” third class. 

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