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.

Mykhaylo Goryn is 70 on 17 June

The Kharkiv Group for human rights protection congratulates Mykhaylo with his anniversary and sends him the best greetings.

Mykhaylo Goryn was born on 17 June 1930 in the village of Kniselo, Zhidachivsk district of the Lviv oblast. Mykhaylo’s father was a head of the village branch of ‘Prosvita’, he headed the district underground organization of the OUN (union of Ukrainian nationalists); he had been repressed by the Polish power. In December 1944 Mykhaylo with his mother was deported by the Soviet power to Siberia. They managed to escape.

In 1949-55 Mykhaylo was a student of the department of logic and psychology of Lviv University. In 1953 he was driven from the university for his refusal to join the Komsomol, but thanks to the rector, academician E. Lazarenko, he was restored. In his student’s time he had contacts with the OUN underground. He prepared and distributed leaflets. After the graduation from the university he worked as a teacher of logic, psychology, Ukrainian language and literature, was in charge of the district methodical department, was an inspector of district administration of school education. From 1961 he went in for research. He organized an experimental laboratory of psychology and physiology of labor at the Lviv plant of autoloaders. He wrote several methodical papers for school teachers and on psychology of labor. He was preparing a candidate’s dissertation (a work equivalent to a Ph.D. thesis).

In May 1962 he established contacts with I. Svetlychny, I. Dziuba, I. Drach and others. He became one of the organizers of the Lviv club of creative youth ‘Prolisok’. He organized the distribution of political literature published abroad or inside samizdat. He was arrested on 26 August 1965 for anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda (Article 62 of the CC of Ukrainian Republic). On 18 April 1966 he was condemned at the closed sitting of the Lviv oblast court together with his brother Bogdan Goryn, Ivan Gel and Myroslava Zvarichevskaya. The verdict was six years of the strict regime concentration camp.

In 1965 there appeared some new tendencies in the Mordova camps: samizdat appeared, as well as other writings, national groups consolidated in protest actions. For the propaganda and distribution of samizdat among cell-mates the court of Zubovo-Poliansky district condemned Mykhaylo Goryn to incarceration in Vladimir prison. Even from there he managed to transfer information about the state of the imprisoned.

Goryn was released on 26 August 1971 and returned to Lviv, where he resided with his family without a propiska (residence permit). In order to dodge the criminal accusation of parasitism he had to find a job as a engine driver at building a chemical plant in the Rivno oblast. From September 1972 he worked a stoker in boiler-houses of Lviv. From 1977 — as a psychologist at the kinescope plant. All this time he assisted to political convicts and their families. In 1976 the Ukrainian Helsinki Group was created. Goryn took part in writing the Group’s statutory documents. After the arrest of the Group founders he took the publication of its bulletin, prepared Nos. 4-7. During 1981 Goryn was searched six times. During the search of 23 March the searchers placed stealthily a faked document concerning the case of I. Kandyba; on 28 November — another text on 15 pages bearing an illiterate heading ‘Social studies of the machinery of rusification in Ukraine’ (the fakers meant ‘sociological’).

On 3 November, after a 13-hour search, Goryn was at last arrested. To protest against the fakes he went on a hunger strike and refused to participate in the preliminary session. On 10 November he had a heart stroke. On 25 June 1982 he was condemned according to Article 62 part 2 and Article 79 of the CC of the Ukrainian Republic (the latter article was included because Goryn refused to give testimony in the case of I. Kandyba). He was condemned for ten years of the especially strict regime camp and for 5 years of exile. He was regarded as an especially dangerous recidivist.

On 12 November 1982 Goryn was transported to the concentration camp BC-389/36 in the village of Kuchino of Chusovskoy district of the Perm oblast. There he had an opportunity to discuss urgent matters with his cell-mates. There he discussed with Yu. Litvin the problems of reforming of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, there he wrote sketches on O. Tykhiy, G. Marchenko, V. Stus and Yu. Litvin.

He caught several deadly diseases: inflammation of kidneys, hypertension, arrhythmia. In May 1984 he had a heart stroke, on 28 November 1986 he was sent to Lviv, where after the second heart stroke he was put to a hospital. He was ‘mercied’ on 2 July 1987.

Next month Goryn together with V. Chornovil and P. Skochko resumed printing ‘The Ukrainian Herald’, starting from issue 7. On 11 March 1987 Z. Krasivskiy and V. Chornovil, as working secretaries of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, undersigned the ‘Appeal of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group to the Ukrainian and world public’, where they declared that the Group resumed its activities. The brothers Goryn and V. Chornovil wrote the ‘Declaration of the principles of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union’. This union was created on the basis of the Group. M. Goryn also organized and headed the working group of protection Ukrainian political prisoners, he participated in several meetings of national democratic movements of various nations of the USSR.

On 11 August 1988 the Lviv directorate of the KGB warned Goryn officially about his anti-Soviet activities. He was detained several times by militia, in particular in Chernivtsi, where he came to the statutory meeting of the Helsinki union. There he was detained for 15 days.

In summer of 1989 he worked in Kyiv, in the organizing committee of the Popular Rukh. At the statutory congress (8-10 September) he was elected the head of the secretariat of the Rukh. He was the head of the political council and one of the heads of the Rukh. In 1990 he was elected a deputy of the Supreme Rada of the Ukrainian Republic, worked in the Commission on sovereignty, headed the Commission of national minorities. He organized the actions ‘The chain of unity’ between Kyiv and Lviv (21 January 1990), ‘Children diplomacy’ (children Christmas excursions from West Ukraine to East and in the contrary direction), ‘The Holiday of the Cossack glory’ (Zaporozhye, summer 1990), Congress of national minorities (Odessa, November 1991) and others.

From May 1992 to October 1995 Goryn was the head of the Ukrainian Republican party. After the division of this party in 1997 he became one of the founders of the Republican Christian party. Now he is the head of its editorial commission.

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