Kost Levytsky

Kost Levytsky
Кость Леви́цький
Chairman of State Secretariat of West Ukraine
In office
November 9, 1918  January 4, 1919
President Yevhen Petrushevych
(as chairman of council)
Preceded by post created
Succeeded by Sydir Holubovych
Secretary of Finance of West Ukraine
In office
November 9, 1918  January 4, 1919
Prime Minister himself
Preceded by post created
Succeeded by Sydir Holubovych
Deputy to Imperial Council
In office
Deputy to Galician Diet
In office
Leader of National Democratic Party
In office
Preceded by Julian Romanchuk
Succeeded by ?
Personal details
Born Kost Antonovych Levytsky
(1859-11-18)November 18, 1859
Tysmenytsya, Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria
Died November 12, 1941(1941-11-12) (aged 81)
Lviv, General Government
Resting place Yanivsky cemetery, Lviv
Nationality Ukrainian
Political party Ukrainian National Democratic Party
General Ukrainian Council (1914-16)
Alma mater Lviv University (1884)
Occupation lawyer, politician, financial expert, civic activist
Religion Greek Catholic

Kost Levytsky (Ukrainian: Кость Леви́цький; 1859 1941) was a Ukrainian politician. He was a founder of the Ukrainian National Democratic movement and the leader of the State Representative Body of the Ukrainian government declared on June 30, 1941


Levytsky was born on November 18, 1859 in the settlement of Tysmenytsia of today’s Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast into the family of a Greek Catholic priest Antin Levytsky, who was in particular the priest in Nyzhniv.[1] After finishing the Stanislaviv gymnasium he studied at Law faculties of Lviv and Vienna Universities. In 1884 he was awarded the Doctor’s degree in law, and in 1890 opened the barrister’s office in Lviv.

Kost Levytsky took active part in public and political life in his student years, he was one of the leaders of Academic Fraternity, the Circle of Law. From the first years of his barrister’s practice K. Levytsky was a practical advocate of the rights and freedoms of people. He united his professional activity with that in the sphere of Ukrainian enterprises, he was a co-founder and leading figure in the economic associations Zorya, People’s trade, Dniester, Province Credit Union. At the same time he was a well-known scientist in law, translated foreign laws into Ukrainian, worked with Ukrainian law terminology; he had published German-Ukrainian Law Dictionary, a series of popular works in law for the broad circles of Galician people, founded such professional editions as Chasopys pravnycha (Law periodical) and Zhyttia i pravo (Life and Law) and was their editor.

Political career

Kost Levytsky was a patriarch of Ukrainian political life, leader of the land's first political organization Narodna Rada (People’s Council, 1885), a cofounder and a head of Ukrainian National Democratic Party. In 1907 he was elected an ambassador of the Austrian parliament, in 1908, that of Galician Sejm, headed the ambassador’s clubs. He fought for the national aspirations of Ukrainian people. K. Levytsky was the author of the conception of the national movement development through evolution, organic work and broad political work in masses; he was the adherent of the strategic course for Galicia autonomy as the first step to ward statehood. He favoured development of the mass Ukrainian societies, units of intellectuals, peasants, youths, the Sokil-Sich movement.

First World War and its aftermath

At the onset of the World War I he headed the Supreme Ukrainian Council (1914) in Vienna, which defined Tsarist Russia as the main enemy of the nation, and called Ukrainians to the struggle against it for the restoration of a united Ukrainian state.

In 1916, as a prosecutor for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he played a role in the sentencing to death of Ukrainian Russophiles, and sent others to imprisonment in Talerhof.[2]

In autumn 1918, in the course of disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian empire K. Levytsky became a member of the Ukrainian National Council, which announced formation of the Ukrainian state on October 19, and on November 1 the Council headed a victorious armed uprising in Lviv, Galicia and Bukovyna, which resulted in formation of the West Ukrainian People's Republic (ZUNR). Being an experienced public and political figure, K. Levytsky headed the first government – State Secretariate – which developed under the war the state and army formation activity for independence against Poland.

After K. Levytsky’s resignation in December 1918 he was a head of the commission on elaboration of the election reform, a representative in the affairs of press and propaganda, in foreign affairs; he also headed diplomatic missions of ZUNR which were sent to Riga (1920), Geneva (1921), he was a member of the ZUNR delegation in Genoa (1922), headed a Committee of political emigration. In 1923 he came back to Lviv after liquidation of the exile government.

In the years between wars he was a member of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian National Democratic Association (1925–1939), was a director of Centrobank, head of the Union of Ukrainian Barristers, author of fundamental scientific works including The History of the Liberation Struggles of the Galician Ukrainians Since the War of 1914–1918 (Parts I–III. – Lviv, 1929–1930), The Great Derangment: On the History of Ukrainian State in March–November 1918 on the Basis of Recollections and Documents (Lviv, 1931).

Second World War and the independent Ukrainian state

After the Soviet Army entered Western Ukraine, in September 1939, he was arrested by the People’s Commissariate of Internal Affairs and incarcerated in Lubyanka prison in Moscow. Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, Vyacheslav Molotov, and Lavrentiy Beria were involved in the proceedings concerning his case. In the spring of 1941, he was released and returned to Lviv. After the start of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, an independent Ukrainian State was proclaimed on June 30, 1941. K. Levytsky headed the State Representative Body – a Council of Seniors (Ukrainian National Council). He worked to curb the excesses of the occupational regime, carried on negotiations with the administration of Distrikt Galizien, petitioned to end groundless repressions, and pleaded for the release of prisoners, often with positive results.


Kost Levytsky died on November 12, 1941 and was buried at Yanivsky Cemetery in Lviv.

See also



  1. Dmytro Blazejowskyj. Historical Šematism of the Archeparchy of L'viv (1832-1944).— Kyiv: Publishing house «KM Akademia», 2004.— 570 p.— P. 249. ISBN 966-518-225-0
  2. Vavrik, Vasilij Romanowicz (2001). Terezin i Talergof : k 50-letnej godovščine tragedii galic.-rus. naroda (in Russian). Moscow: Soft-izdat. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
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