April 27, 2018

Let Us Celebrate Original Ukrainian Dates!

Victor Hvozd

President of the “Borysfen Intel” Centre, Lieutenant General of the Reserve, Chief of the Military Intelligence (2008–2010) and Foreign Intelligence (2014–2016) of Ukraine, Ph.D. in Military Science

 

Publication of the material “The 100th Anniversary of the Creation of the Military Intelligence of Ukraine” on March 10 had a positive response among researchers of the history of the special services of Ukraine and veterans of the Intelligence. Let me remind that on the basis of the analysis of the works of well-known researchers of the history of the creation and functioning of the armed forces, national special services of Ukraine and relevant archival documents, the formalized historical date of the creation of the first military intelligence authority of the Independent Ukraine proved to be March 10, 1918. According to all historical features, the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine may be considered the successor to the Intelligence sub-department of the General Staff of the Army of the Ukrainian People's Republic as the central authority of the Military Intelligence of the State.

The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine went the same way. According to researchers, in April 1918, troops of the Zaporizhzhya Corps of the Army of the UPR, together with their allies and Ukrainian Sich Riflemen, conducted a unique operation to liberate Ukraine from the Bolsheviks. The Crimean Group led by P. Bolbochan and the Slavic Group under command of V. Sikevych at the end of April 1918 completely liberated the Crimea and the Donbas from Bolshevik units. The Ukrainian army reached the Ukrainian historical borders, where on the land border with the RSFSR and the Great Don Army began to sink blue-and-yellow border-marking poles.

So our Ukrainian border guards, as the descendants of glorious Ukrainian warriors, offered a new, but historically grounded, date of the creation of their service. According to O. Slobodyan, Spokesman for the Service, “the question of the new date is being discussed both in the historical and political context. There are several options. One of them — April 30, as the day on which 100 years ago, Ukrainian troops after the bloody battles sank the state symbols on the border with Russia”. Border guards hope that the decision will be taken by the State's leadership in the nearest future.

It should also be noted that after determining the historical date of the creation of the Military Intelligence of Ukraine, further research has made it possible to find out the date of the beginning of work of the special intelligence service of the state level of the Ukrainian People's Republic, which is now the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine. The Service is considered to be the successor to the Central Intelligence Directorate of the State Security Service (SBU) of Ukraine, whose organizational and staff structure was approved on December 28, 1991 (from February 2004 — the Department of Intelligence of the SBU). By the decree of the President of Ukraine of October 14, 2000, the status of a national intelligence agency was given to the Central Intelligence Directorate of the SBU. Since October 14, 2004 (the day of the signing of the Presidential Decree “On the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine”), an independent state body — the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine — has been working in the state. December 1, 2005 — the day of adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the Law of Ukraine “On the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine”, is considered the day of formation of the Foreign Intelligence Service, which is celebrated today.

Returning to the topic of creation and coming into being of intelligence structures of the Ukrainian national state formations of 1917–1921, it should be noted that since the beginning of the functioning of the central military intelligence authority of the General Staff of the Ukrainian State since March 1918, it has been fulfilling the tasks of political intelligence as well: collecting and studying intelligence on the political situation in the countries that were objects of interest, their military-economic potential, creation of positions of influence in order to seek allies in recognition and guarantee of the sovereignty of the Ukrainian state.

Publications researching the history of the creation of the Foreign Intelligence Service and other special services of Ukraine

Publications researching the history of the creation of the Foreign Intelligence Service and other special services of Ukraine

In the period of the Directory, intelligence activities had become even more advanced. In the main strategic regions around Ukraine agent networks were created, while foreign diplomatic missions, diaspora and representatives of foreign socio-political circles that actively supported Ukraine's struggle for independence were actively involved in collecting intelligence. An important step in ensuring the security of the UPR was the establishment in January 1919 of the Political Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the UPR — a special service of the national level. According to the Temporary Staff of the Political Department, approved on January 24, 1919, an intelligence unit was created within its structure — the Department of Foreign Information, which was responsible for intelligence work on the enemies actively operating against the UPR (the Red and Volunteer Army, N. Makhno's Insurgent Army), as well as on potential adversaries of the State.

Analysis of archival documents shows that the Department of Foreign Information provided intelligence data and information, first of all, to the leadership of the Ukrainian People's Republic. The reports of the Department concerned the intentions and actions of anti-state political forces and movements working against Ukraine on its territory and abroad, the attitude of governments, political and business circles of the Western powers to the problems of Ukraine. The Department also realized plans for the appropriate influence on those forces and their possible use, provided the government with confidential contacts, etc.

In its work, the Department resorted to classical methods of activity of an intelligence agency of the time, the main of which were secret agents, their secret infiltration and use, the use of diplomatic missions and other institutions of the UPR abroad, as well as the Ukrainian diaspora and foreign socio-political circles who sympathized with Ukraine's struggle for independence, daily informational and analytical work, and so on. The Department of the total number of 13 people at different times was headed by A. Tkachuk (1919), D. Levytskyi (1919), Teodorovych (1920). Unfortunately, there is not much information on first intelligence chiefs and this remains the task of further research.

Again, thanks to well-known researchers of the history of the creation and functioning of the national special services of Ukraine V. Sidak, T. Vronska, O. Skrypnyk and others, and on the basis of relevant documents from the funds of the Central State Archives of the Supreme Bodies of Power and Government of Ukraine, the archive of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, we can state that the Department of Foreign Information of the Political Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the UPR is the first agency of the political intelligence of the Independent Ukraine and it is undoubtedly the predecessor of the current Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine. And January 24, 1919 can be considered the date of creation of the first political intelligence authority of the UPR and, respectively, of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine. That is, in January 2019, we will greet intelligence officers, employees and veterans of the Service on the 100th anniversary of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine!

January 24, 1919 can be considered the date of creation of the first political intelligence authority of the UPR and, respectively, of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine

January 24, 1919 can be considered the date of creation of the first political intelligence authority of the UPR and, respectively, of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine

The example of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine demonstrates that the current special and intelligence agencies of the State must not only be aware of those distant events, the main historical milestones of the Ukrainian people's liberation struggle, but also should celebrate professional holidays based solely on their own Ukrainian history, rich in heroic personalities, on successful examples of defending our independence and statehood. The current generation of the military, intelligence officers, border guards has the right to celebrate worthy historical dates related to their services.

 

In preparing the material, the following sources were used:

1. Sidak V. S. National Special Services During the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917–1921 (Unknown Pages of History): monograph. — K.: “Alternatyvy” Publishing House, 1998. — 320 p.

2. Sidak V. S. Special Services of Ukraine From Ancient Times To the Present: in 5 volumes. V. 2: Ukrainian Special Services of the Era of the National Liberation Movement 1917–1921. — K.: “Prometey” Publishing House, 2017. — 472 p.

3. Sidak V. S., Stepankov V. S. From the History of Ukrainian Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence: (Essays). — K.: Institute of the SBU (State Security Service of Ukraine), 1994. — 402 p.

4. Chiefs of the Ukrainian Foreign Intelligence / Authors-Editors V. D. Khomenko, O. V. Skrypnyk and others. — 2nd edition, updated and revised — K.: “Yaroslaviv Val”, 2011. — 173 p.

5. Materials from the web-site of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine https://dpsu.gov.ua

6. Materials from the web-site of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine http://szru.gov.ua

 

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