Ivan Hel: features of the political portrait (1987 - 1990)


  • Vitaliia Demianchuk I. Krypiakevych Ukrainian Studies Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ukraine




I. Hel, UkSSR, restructuring, member of an unofficial organization, political activity, repressions, victimization


The paper reviews anti-Soviet activities of Ivan Hel, a well-known Ukrainian dissident, political prisoner and socio-political figure of the restructuring and independence period of Ukraine. It is pointed out that after returning from long-term confinement he never ceased fighting for restoration of independence of Ukraine and initiated / cofounded a number of informal socio-political organizations which activity was focused on undermining the political system of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (UkSSR).

It is indicated that the restructuring period set up a new page in I. Hel's political biography as the glasnost and democratization policy resulted in revival of the socio-political life of the UkSSR and allowed to set up a range of informal national-cultural and political organizations which member the Ukrainian dissident was in the second half of the 1980s. Among his closest associates to be mentioned were M. Osadchyi, Igor and Iryna Kalynets, Z. Krasivskyi, V. Chornovil, L, Lukianchenko, Mykhailo and Bogdan Goryn, V. Barladianu et al.

It is stated that over the period under research I. Hel cofounded the Ukrainian Helsinki Group - the Ukrainian Helsinki Union (UHG - UHU), "Memorial", local units of the People's Movement of Ukraine (PMU) for restructuring, the Ukrainian initiative group for release of  prisoners of conscience. Concurrently, I. Hel was an active participant of the so-called 'religious dissidence' - he headed the Ukrainian Catholic Church Protection Committee which activities had an explicit political focus: in addition to the fight for legalization of the Greek Catholic Church in the UkSSR, the organization encouraged dwellers of the region to fight with the imperious regime.

A conclusion is made that the peak of I. Hel's socio-political activity fell on the late 1980s - early 1990s. Over that period he was victimized by the Soviet punitive and repressive system for involvement in the so-called 'meeting democracy', participated in elections for the Supreme Council of the UkSSR and the Lviv Regional Council. It is pointed out that I. Hel's political / anti-Soviet activity was aimed at democratization of the existing regime, development of the national patriotic outlook of the local population and breakup of the Soviet Union.

Author Biography

Vitaliia Demianchuk, I. Krypiakevych Ukrainian Studies Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Candidate of Historical Science, Doctoral Candidate


Gel, I. (2013), Challenge to the system: the Ukrainian liberation movement of the second half of the twentieth century, Journal, Lviv, 370 p. (ukr)

Archive of the Institute of the History of the Church of the Ukrainian Catholic University, T.1-1-29.

Gorin, B. (2010), Not only about himself, Pulsari, Kyiv, T.3, 918 р. (ukr)

Hrytsak, Y. (2000), Essay on the history of Ukraine: the formation of the modern Ukrainian nation, Genesis, Kyiv, 380 p. (ukr)

Ukrainian Gazette (1987), 8.

Ukrainian Gazette (1987), 11 - 12.

State Archive of Lviv region, fond Р-3, opys 62, sprava 300.

Batenko, T. (1999), «I am rising, therefore і exist». Political portrait of Ivan Gel, Lviv, 320 p. (ukr)

Iskiv, V. (2009), The activity of the Lviv Rukh, Forum, 2, рр. 2 - 11. (ukr)

Gel, I.(2012), What results can we bring in after 20 years?, The First Lviv Democratic. 1990 - 1994, Spolom, Lviv, рр. 11 - 12. (ukr)

Central State Archive of Public Associations of Ukraine, fond 1, opys 32, sprava 2540.

Gel, I. (2009), «Bogdan Kotik was a very wise man», «Catacomb Church» (The 20th anniversary of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is dedicated to the underground), Logos, Lviv, рp. 90 - 92. (ukr)

Informer-39 (1989), 17 - 19 аugust.

State Archive of Lviv region, fond Р-3, opys 62, sprava 805.

Interview of Gel Ivan Andreevich of September 23, 2012, available at: http: // archive.khpg.org.



How to Cite

Demianchuk, V. (2017). Ivan Hel: features of the political portrait (1987 - 1990). Skhid, (4(150), 52–56. https://doi.org/10.21847/1728-9343.2017.4(150).111353