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Manifesto for Reunification

Manifesto for Reunification — the formal document issued by the First Congress of People’s Committees of Transcarpathian Ukraine that proclaimed “the reunification of Transcarpathian Ukraine with the Soviet Ukraine.” The Manifesto was approved at a meeting in Mukachevo on November 26, 1944, by 663 delegates from 12 districts that represented 80 percent of the urban and rural population of *Subcarpathian Rus’. The document had no legal validity because it was issued within the framework of a military regime and the occupation of the region by a foreign army, that of the Soviet Union. The military authorities took a direct part in the “election” of the delegates, and the work of the congress was carried out under the close supervision of agents of the Soviet secret police (NKVD); its military counter-intelligence service (SMERSH); and political commissars attached to the IVth Ukrainian Front and 18th Army, including Lev Z. Mekhlis, S.I. Tiul’panov, Leonid I. Brezhnev, I.P. Kravchuk, Andrii Chekaniukh (Andrienko), and Davidovich (Davidenko). The Manifesto for Reunification was written in Moscow, and the process whereby it was “approved” at the congress in Mukachevo was in violation of all international agreements previously signed by the Soviet Union with its ally Czechoslovakia: the agreement of July 18, 1941; the treaty of alliance of December 12, 1943, whereby the Soviet Union recognized Czechoslovakia’s boundaries of 1937; and the treaty of May 8, 1944, whereby the Soviet military was to turn over full governing authority to a Czechoslovak administration dispatched to liberated territory, including Subcarpathian Rus’.

The events leading up to the proclamation of the Manifesto for Reunification did not happen spontaneously, but were part of a Soviet strategic plan to acquire a bridge-head beyond (south) of the*Carpathian Mountains that would allow Moscow direct access to central Europe. The actual decision to annex Subcarpathian Rus’ was taken in Moscow as early as March 9, 1944, by a special Soviet Commission on Peace Negotiations and the Postwar Order. The commission recommended that, as compensation for its loss in the east, Czechoslovakia be given German-ruled Upper Silesia. Stalin, however, considered that compensation to Czechoslovakia of any kind was unnecessary. To camouflage their real territorial aims, the Soviet secret services were called on to formulate plans and carry out the “reunification” (vozz”iednannia) of what was to be called “*Transcarpathian Ukraine” with the Soviet Ukraine. The very term “reunification” was itself invalid, since Subcarpathian Rus’ had never been a part of either Ukraine, or Russia, or the predecessors of those states.

The Manifesto for Reunification was viewed in very positive terms by both Soviet Marxist historiography (Mykhailo V. *Troian) and Ukrainian emigres in the West (Vasyl’ Markus, Vincent *Shandor), who considered the document a confirmation of “the final unification of all Ukrainian lands in a single Ukrainian state.” In post-Communist independent Ukraine, the Manifesto is still depicted in most historical accounts in a positive manner (Mykola *Makara), although it has been criticized as a violation of international law by a few historians (Mykhailo *Boldyzhar, Ivan *Pop) and by supporters of the recent Rusyn national movement in Subcarpathian Rus’/Transcarpathia.

Bibliography: Vasyl Markus, L’incorporation de l’Ukraine subcarpathique a l’Ukraine sovietique, 1944-1945 (Louvain, 1956) — Ukrainian ed.: Pryiednannia Zakarpats’koi Ukrainy do Radians’koi Ukrainy, 1944-1945 (Kiev, 1992); Mykhailo V. Troian, Toho dnia ziishlo sontse vozz”iednannia: pershyi z”izd Narodnykh komitetiv Zakarpats’koi Ukrainy (Uzhhorod, 1979; 2nd rev. ed. 1997); Mykola P. Makara, Zakarpats’ka Ukraina : shliakh do vozz”iednannia, dosvid rozvytku, zhovten’ 1944-sichen’ 1946 rr. (Uzhhorod, 1995); Ivan Pop, “Rezhysery i statysty: ‘Vozz”iednannia Zakarpattia z Radians’koiu Ukrainoiu v dzerkali moskovs’kykh dokumentiv, 1944-1945 rr.,” Karpats’kyi krai, V, 1-4 [110] (Uzhhorod, 1995), pp. 68-72; Mykhailo M. Boldyzhar, Kraiu mii ridnyi (Uzhhorord, 1998), esp. pp. 124-141.

Ivan Pop

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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