war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

In memory of Danylo Shumuk


Danylo Shumuk was born to a peasants’ family in the village of Boremshchina, the Vladimir-Volynskiy district of the Volyn oblast, died on 21 May 2004 in the town of Kraskoarmiysk of the Donetsk oblast.

When Danylo was 17, he began his struggle with the Polish occupation regime. When he was 19, he was condemned and spent 5 years and 4 months in Polish prisons.

In 1939 Shumuk returned to motherland. He taught geography at school. His views did not correspond with those of Soviet communists, and he was dismissed from teacher’s activities.

On 15 May 1941 Shumuk was arrested by the Soviet authorities as «a brother of an enemy of the people». From the prison he was called to the Red Army, to a disciplinary battalion. In this battalion he took part in battles with the Wehrmacht troops. The Soviet commandment issued an order to disarm the warriors of the disciplinary battalion. Being unarmed, Shumuk was taken prisoner. He was kept in a concentration camp for POWs in the town of Khorol in the Poltava oblast, but managed to escape. He organized a guerilla detachment in his native places. In 1943 the detachment joined the UIA. Because of principal difference of views with the commandment of the UIA, Shumuk refused to take part in the actions and taught economic geography at the military courses.

After the Soviet Army came in summer of 1944, Shumuk commanded an UIA group in the Zhytomir oblast. There were no chances to survive, and he disbanded this group. In December 1944 he was arrested and in 1945 he was condemned by the High Tribunal of the NKVD in the Zhytomir oblast according to Articles 54-1 item «a» and 54-2 item «a» of the CC of the UkrSSR («high treason») to the capital punishment, which was later exchanged for 20 years of concentration camps. He did his term in the 3rd camp of Norilsk. Shumuk was one of the organizers of the rebellion of convicts in Norilsk in June – September 1953. For this he was transferred to the Vladimir prison. Later he described this rebellion in his memoirs «Za vostochnym gorizontom» («Behind the Eastern horizon») (publishing house «Smoloskyp», 1974).

In 1955 Shumuk was rehabilitated. He returned home, but had to move top the Dnepropetrovsk oblast because of the pressure of the KGB.

On 19 November 1957 Shumuk was summoned to the KGB and was proposed to cooperate. He refused. The next day Shumuk’s flat was searched and all his manuscripts were taken away. On 21 November 1957 he was arrested and transported to the prison of the town of Lutsk.

On 5 May 1958 the closed trial of the Volyn oblast court condemned Shumuk according to Article 54-10 of the CC of the UkrSSR to 10 years of incarceration in colonies of strict regime. He did his term in Vorkuta, then in Tayshet (the village of Vikharevka). During a search in the colony Shumuk’s memoirs were found, and he spent much time in the barrack of especially strict regime. In 1962 he was transferred to Mordova colony ÆÕ-385/7. On 21 October 1967 he was transported to Kyiv and released on 20 November.

From the autumn of 1967 Shumuk lived in the town of Boguslav of the Kyiv oblast, worked as a watchman in a pioneer camp and as a sailor on duty on the Kyiv beach.

In 1968 Shumuk got acquainted with some figures of the sixties, in particular, with I. Svitlychny, N. Svitlychna and E. Sverstiuk.

In 1970 he completed the second part of his book of memoirs that was published in the West.

On 12 January 1972 Shumuk was arrested again and accused of the «anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda» (Article 62 Part 2 of the CC of the UkrSSR) and of «communication of deliberately false testimony» (Article 197). In the course of the arrest his memoirs were confiscated, as well as his letters, which were later acknowledged as program documents of the national liberation movement; these letters were confiscated from I. Svitlychny.

On 5-7 July 1972 Shumuk was condemned by the Kyiv oblast court to 10 years of strict regime colonies and 5 years of exile. He was regarded as an especially dangerous recidivist. He did his term in Sosnovka colony, Mordovia.

On 10 October 1972 Shumuk turned to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Having described his biography and the essence of his case, Shumuk concluded: «… I am asking the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR to release me from the citizenship of the USSR. It would be easier for me to die… in custody outside Ukraine without being a USSR citizen». Shumuk repeated this appeal in 1973 and 1974.

Being incarcerated Shumuk took an active part in numerous protest actions and hunger-strikes, although he was ill and many times got to the hospital because of stomach ulcer and other maladies. In 1978 he was recognized an invalid of the second group. At the same time a group of convicts (E. Kuznetsov, A. Murzhenko, M. Osadchiy and V. Romaniuk) appealed to the parliament and administration of Canada to multiply their efforts to release Shumuk, since the state of his health became catastrophic. However, Shumuk served his term completely.

Since February 1979 Shumuk was a member of the Ukrainian Helsinki group (UHG).

On 1 March 1980 he was transferred to the special regime department of colony BC-389/36-1 (the village of Kuchino of the Chusovskoy district of the Perm oblast), then he was transferred to the stern regime department of the same colony, and later - to colony BC-389/35 (railway station Vsekhsviatskaya).

In 1982 Shumuk was sent to the exile in the village of Karatobe of the Ural oblast (Kazakhstan), where he stayed under the administration survey till 4 January 1987.

In 1987, after more than 42 years of torments in prisons, concentration camps and exile Shumuk left for Toronto, Canada. On 28 November 2002 he moved to his daughter, who lived in the town of Kraskoarmiysk of the Donetsk oblast.

Danyko Shumuk is the author of books «Za vostochnym gorizontom», «Perezhite i peredumane» («What I lived through and thought about») and «Iz GULAGA v svobodny mir» (From the GULAG to the free world).

The Kharkov group for human rights protection

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