Ukrainian Social Democratic Labour Party

Ukrainian Social Democratic Labour Party
Украї́нська соціа́л-демократи́чна робітни́ча па́ртія
General Secretary Volodymyr Vynnychenko
Founded 1905 (1905)
Dissolved March 26, 1950 (1950-03-26)
Preceded by Revolutionary Ukrainian Party
Succeeded by Ukrainian Communist Party
Headquarters Kiev
Ideology Social democracy
Political position Left-wing
National affiliation Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
International affiliation Labour and Socialist International
Colours      Red
Party flag

The Ukrainian Social Democratic Labour Party (Ukrainian: Украї́нська соціа́л-демократи́чна робітни́ча па́ртія) was the leading party of the Ukrainian People's Republic and was also known as SDPists or Esdeky. The party was reformed in 1905 at the Second Congress of the RUP and was pursuing the Marxist ideology. The leaders of the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party were Volodymyr Vynnychenko, Symon Petliura, Mykola Porsh, Dmytro Antonovych, Lev Yurkevych, Mykhailo Tkachenko, M. Kovalsky.


In December 1905, the Ukrainian Social-Democratic Labour Party (USLDP) decided to join the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, provided it was recognised as the sole representative of the Ukrainian proletariat, within the RSDLP. The Fourth (Unity) Congress of the RSDLP rejected the proposal which the USDLP spokesman had made for the immediate discussion of the terms of a merger, and referred the matter to the Central Committee for decision. No agreement was reached on a merger. Arguably, the reason that there was no merger was the fact that the USLDP, the UPSR, and the URLDP all favoured an independent Ukrainian state.[1] The party also closely worked with the Jewish Bund subsequently including the Ukrainian Jewish into the government of Ukraine; as well as other menshevik factions which altogether accounted for around 3,000 members. In 1908 the USDLP was suspended and renewed in spring of 1917. The party adopted the Erfurt Program of Social Democratic Party of Germany.

After the February Revolution the party was the main party in the first Ukrainian government, the General Secretariat of Ukraine which was headed by the Volodymyr Vynnychenko (USLDP). Eventually it came into coalition with another party of Federalists, the proponent of the federalism with the Russian SFSR and was in the opposition to the other truly nationalistically oriented parties in the country such as the Democratic Agrarian Party, the Union of Land Owners, and others. With time SDeky lost its popularity in favor of the Ukrainian Socialist Revolutionary Party (SR) that worked together with the peasant representatives and gaining a rapid popularity amongst military formations within Ukraine. In 1918 together with several other Ukrainian parties formed the Ukrainian National Union that stayed in the opposition to the Hetmanate of Skoropadsky and later formed the Directory after defeat of the Hetman. After the IV Universal (Declaration of Independence) only two members of the party represented the party in the government (Dmytro Antonovych and Mykhailo Tkachenko).

During the Soviet times the party was portrayed as nationalistic as it ideologically was for the wide autonomy of the Ukrainian lands.

Party split

At the Fourth party Congress on January 10–12, 1919 the party had several members split as the left independent SDPists. Among the most prominent independists were Anatol Pisotsky, Vasyl and Yuriy Mazurenkos, Mykhailo Tkachenko, and others. They recognized the necessity of the dictatorship of proletriat and peace with Russia. The main faction consisting of Mykola Porsh, Volodymyr Vynnychenko, Symon Petliura, Isaak Mazepa, and most of the party members opposed their ideas and were proposing the Labor Democracy, phased socialization of the main industries of People's Economy, and support of Direktoria.

Later in 1920 those independent SDPists formed the Ukrainian Communist Party also known as UKPists as opposed to the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine. The independent SDPists (or Socialists-Sovereigns) were opposing the centrist tendency of the Moscow Communists parties, particularly the Bolsheviks. The Ukrainian Communist Party became a legal party of the Soviet Union.

In exile

As the government of Ukraine was emigrating into exile during the Russian-Ukrainian war of 1918-1919, a section of the USDLP was formed as the 'Foreign Delegation' of the party. During 1919 the party's Central Committee included Yosyp Bezpalko, Andriy Livytsky, Mykola Shadlun, and I. Romanchenko. At the party's conference September 9–13, 1919 in Vienna the Central Committee requested for its party members to withdraw out of the government. USDLP had members in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Germany and France, amongst other countries with the center in Prague. Isaak Mazepa was the secretary of the Foreign Delegation while other members of the Foreign Delegation included Yo. Bezpalko, Fedenko, I. Romanchenko, amongst others. The party began issuing publications: Socijalistyčna Dumko (published in Lviv and Prague), Vil'na Ukraina (Lviv) and Socijaldemokrat (published monthly from 1925 from Poděbrady). The party was a member of the Labour and Socialist International between 1923 and 1940.[2]

As of the early 1960s, Emil Wolynec was the acting chairman of the party, Panas Fedenko the general secretary and Bohdan Fedenko the youth secretary. Other executive committee members of the party were Antin Czerneckyj, Iwan Luczyszyn and Spyrydon Dovhal. The party had its headquarters in London. It published the monthly Nashe Slovo from London with Panas Fedenko as its editor. The party also issued the quarterly Vilna Ukraina from Detroit, with Mykola Nahirniak as its editor and Volodymyr Lysyj as its director. Vilna Ukraina and Nashe Slovo each had a circulation of around 1,000. Furthermore, there was a weekly newspaper (Narodna Volya) published from Scranton which was politically close to the party.[3]

Party official assemblies

Party press media

See also


  2. Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 338
  3. Socialist International (1951- ), and Asian Socialist Conference. Yearbook of the International Socialist Labour Movement. Volume II 1960-1961 London: Lincolns-Prager Interniitonal Yearbook Publishing Co., Ltd, 1961. p. 332
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