Ivan Lytvynenko's Course of “Combat Intelligence”
Ivan Lytvynenko was one of those who left a noticeable mark on the activities of national special services during the Ukrainian people’s liberation struggle. In the 1920s and 1930s, all the intelligence work of the State Center of the Ukrainian People's Republic in exile was subordinated to him in Volhynia. During the Second World War, he headed the intelligence department of the UPA-North National Military Staff, and taught the course “Combat Intelligence” at the school of senior officers. All this time, information about him was accumulated in case files of the GPU / NKVD of the USSR. The currently declassified documents from the archives of the Intelligence provide more information about this brave Ukrainian senior officer, commander, intelligence officer, insurgent.
Ivan Danylovych Lytvynenko was born on January 17, 1891 in the village of Khoruzhivka of Romny district, Poltava region. In 1916 he graduated from the Zhytomyr School of Ensigns. Since 1917 he had been serving in the Army of the Ukrainian People's Republic. He commanded a sotnya, a kurin, a regiment. In particular, in 1918 he was commander of the Hetman Petro Doroshenko 1st Zaporizhzhya Infantry Regiment – part of the Zaporozhian Corps.
During the First Winter Campaign through the Bolsheviks and Denikinites’ rear, he commanded the Bohdan Khmelnytsky Zaporizhzhya Cavalry Regiment, the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Zaporizhzhya Rifle Division of the UPR Army.
Command valued him for his wisdom, clear thinking, and ability to find common ground and reach understanding with anyone. It is probably no coincidence that Symon Petliura soon commissioned him to fulfill a special task - to lead the UPR military mission to hold talks with General Petro Wrangel to join forces in the fight against the Red Army and the Soviet government.
In I. Lytvynenko’s responses, which are preserved in the archives of the Iintelligence, it is noted that the meeting with P. Wrangel took place in Sevastopol. At it I. Lytvynenko made a short speech in which he pointed out that there had already been an attempt to reach an agreement on joint actions, but it failed. In I. Lytvynenko’s words, Wrangel emphasized in his answer: “I am sure that we will reach an agreement, and even if we do not reach an agreement, we will not fight each other” (BSA of the SZR of Ukraine. - F.1. - Case 1812. - V. 3. - P. 68).
During the negotiations, it was possible to quickly reach an agreement in principle on a joint struggle with the Bolsheviks. However, P. Wrangel's troops were soon defeated in Crimea, and he himself fled abroad with the remains. The UPR Army was also defeated.
Ivan Lytvynenko found himself in Kalisz, Poland. There he enrolled in courses for the military, where Generals Vsevolod Petriv, Viktor Kushch and others taught. All the students kept hoping for a speedy return to Ukraine and restoration of its statehood with the assistance of Western countries.
In early 1924, he was invited to Warsaw by Colonel Mykola Chebotariv, a former counterintelligence chief of the UPR's Active Army. He intended to revive the intelligence and counterintelligence work of the UPR government in exile. That is why he was looking for people who could take up the organization of the newly created special services. As Ivan Lytvynenko himself later recalled, “Chebotariv told me that he had summoned me to go to Volyn, settle in Ostroh, and watch what the insurgents were doing there, who go from the Poles and from him to Ukraine in organizational and intelligence matters”( BSA of the SZR of Ukraine. - F.1. –Case 1812. - Vol. 3. – P. 71).
Lytvynenko agreed. At first, he seldom performed tasks, meeting messengers from the Soviet side and sending them to Warsaw, transporting someone across the border to Ukraine, meeting with former Ukrainian warriors.
This continued until the autumn of 1926, when M. Chebotariv invited him and asked for assistance in arranging the archives of the General Staff of the Ukrainian People's Republic, which he had brought from the camp for interned Ukrainian soldiers in Kalisz. It was a huge pile of documents of various kinds, stored in more than two dozen boxes - orders, directives, various protocols, letters, notes, financial documents.
All this time Ivan lived at M. Chebotariv’s. Soon, the work, which at first seemed interesting, began to bore him, and he expressed a desire to do something specific, rather than sorting through the papers. M. Chebotariv said to this that the formation of the Ukrainian General Staff was to be completed soon, which included the creation of a special unit for intelligence and counterintelligence. Then there will be a real job for everyone with guaranteed payment provided by the Polish General Staff. In fact, in the early summer of 1927, the structure and personnel of the Staff were approved. And in June I. Lytvynenko received his first salary - 250 zlotys.
At that time he was already in the field of view of the GPU of the USSR, as evidenced by numerous reports from the Soviet secret services. Quite eloquent is the description of him at that time in the document of the Foreign Department of the USSR OGPU of June 26, 1928. “From the information we have”, it says, “we can conclude, describing Lytvynenko, that Lytvynenko, not being a politician, is at the same time an adamant Ukrainian nationalist. Having no other profession than that of a soldier, and thus not counting on a more or less decent financial situation in Poland, Lytvynenko made friends with Chebotariv, who involved him in intelligence work. Lytvynenko's nationalistic ideas and his belief that his cooperation with Chebotariv “saves Ukraine from the Bolsheviks” made him, undoubtedly, Chebotariv’s devoted employee” (BSA of the SZR of Ukraine. - F.1. - Case 1812. - Vol. 2. – P. 350).
At that time, he was sent to work immediately at the border - in Mohylyany, near Ostroh. But first he had to go to the Polish intelligence department in Zdolbuniv, where his boss, Captain Litinskyi, made him new documents in the surname of Morozenko. That was the beginning of a new stage in his life, associated with purely intelligence activities.
One can learn what Lytvynenko-Morozenko did in Mohylyany from the report of the Foreign Department of the GPU of the Ukrainian SSR “On the work of the U.P.R.” of October 30, 1929: “Morozenko now does only organizational work on the Soviet side and distribution of literature. The organization on the Soviet side is based on the principle of triykas (triples-transl.) that conduct intelligence work, not thinking about mass organizations, but intending to create a network of organizations that would cover a large area and at the right time could be a force. At the moment, Morozenko is interested in the development of work in Shepetivka district and especially in Yampil. He transports his men to the Soviet side through the Moshchanytsia checkpoint of the Polish border guards ”(BSA of the SZR of Ukraine. - F.1. – Case 1812. - Vol. 1. – P. 4).
A year later Ivan Lytvynenko was transferred from Mohylyany to Rivne. He was given the task of leading and arranging the work of the central checkpoint in Volyn. He was in charge of the points in Korets, Lanivtsi, Mohylyany, Kostopil, Ostroh, where Ukrainian officers Yakiv Vodyanyi, Yakiv Halchevskyi, Taras Bulba-Borovets and others were in charge.
He involved both locals and refugees from Soviet Ukraine in his intelligence work. The agents were divided into two main groups. The unskilled and illiterate were used to smuggle anti-Soviet leaflets and other literature across the border, distribute them to relatives and acquaintances, or scatter them in settlements. Qualified agents were given the task to gather information about the authorities, the activities of the police and the NKVD, the moods among the population, officials, the military.
At the same time, they had to inform the population about the work of the UPR government in exile, its intentions to restore Ukrainian statehood and to attract sympathizers to its side.
According to archival documents, they worked thoroughly with Soviet refugees. A camp was set up in the town of Tulczyn to house those who had no relatives or acquaintances in Poland. They were checked, questioned about the situation in the USSR, taken note of for possible further use.
Special instructions had been developed to interview the refugees. They consisted of the following sections: “Army”, “Organization of the Local Government of the Village, District, Region and City”, “Cooperation”, “Teams”, “Workers at All Enterprises”, “Higher Education Institutions, “Security Agencies, GPU Inside the State”, “Foreign Departments of the GPU”.
Among the questions offered to be answered were as follows: “Do Ukrainian officers and Red Army soldiers know that there is a UPR government abroad that is fighting for Ukraine's independence?”; “Would the Ukrainian military like to have their own independent state and with what system?”; “How do collective farmers and their families survive?”; “Has the harvest improved or worsened in comparison with individual farming and what is the reason for this?”; “Who conducts the GPU terror and for what offenses, the percentage of terror against Ukrainians”; “Are agents of the Foreign Department using terror abroad and how do they organize this terror?” (BSA of the SZR of Ukraine. - F.1. – Case 1812. - V. 3. - P. 77–80).
Ivan Lytvynenko's active participation in public activities helped him to establish the necessary contacts and involve patriotic Ukrainians in intelligence work. He headed the Rivne branch of the Ukrainian Central Committee, the Ukrainian Public Committee to Honor Symon Petliura, he helped erect a monument to Otaman Vasyl Tyutyunnyk, initiated fundraising for the Symon Petliura Library in Paris, and was elected delegate of the Third Émigré Congress in Warsaw, worked closely with members of the Lesia Ukrainka Literary and Artistic Society. On behalf of the Ukrainian political emigration of Rivne region, the signed by him Memorandum was sent to the Secretariat of the League of Nations on the famine in Ukraine in September 1934.
According to I. Lytvynenko, in 1933-1934 there was a decline in intelligence work. The number of messengers coming from Soviet Ukraine had dropped significantly. The information they provided about the mood on the other side of the border testified to people's not believing in further struggle against the Soviet government and the possibility of its change in the foreseeable future. People also feared for their lives due to mass terror. Ivan reported about this to the leadership of the State Center of the Ukrainian People's Republic in Warsaw in the summer of 1934. The hearing was attended by Prime Minister Andriy Livytskyi, Chief of General Staff Viktor Kushch, Defense Minister Volodymyr Salskyi, Chief of Counterintelligence Vsevolod Zmienko, Chief of the Intelligence Section Volodymyr Shevchenko and other figures.
Due to the difficult situation and the Polish authorities’ serious obstacles to the work, I. Lytvynenko even raised the issue of termination of his activities at the head of the central intelligence checkpoint. But Andriy Livytskyi's words made him reconsider his position. According to archival documents, he said: “We must continue the struggle that Petliura started, as Orlyk did after Mazepa, then the whole world will respect us”.
So having returned from Warsaw, I. Lytvynenko continued to work at the head of the checkpoint. Otaman Taras Bulba-Borovets commented on the period of his activity as follows: “Colonel Ivan Danylovych Lytvynenko was one of the most active members of our organization among the older generation.
In the military language, he was like a chief of staff... He is an ardent patriot of labor Ukraine, a brave officer, a far-sighted politician, a sincere friend and father to a soldier”.
He was characterized in their own way by representatives of Soviet secret services, for whom he was the object of close attention for many years. In the document compiled on the basis of intelligence and investigative materials of the 3rd Department of the NKVD GUGB in 1939, under the general title “Review of Political Military- Fascist, Nationalist, Catholic, Youth and White Guard Parties and Organizations of Former Poland” he is mentioned in the section "Ukrainian Terrorists in Poland” among the ten most active and authoritative figures of the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic in exile. His description, given in the “Review”, is quite telling: “Lytvynenko-Morozenko - the son of a kulak, a former colonel of Petliura's army. In exile - the chief of intelligence of the UPR in Polish Volhynia. Permanently lived in Rivne. Headed the intelligence of the Ukrainian People's Republic in Rivne, Ostroh, Zdolbuniv, and Rakytne. The area of his activity bordered on the territory of our three border detachments - Yampil, Slavutych and Olevsk in Ukraine. Being an active and experienced intelligence officer, he sent dozens of agents to the Soviet side” (Russian State Military Archives. - F. 309. - V. 1. - Case 158. - P 35).
These border detachments were instructed by the Foreign Department of the GPU of the Ukrainian SSR to carefully collect and accumulate all information about I. Lytvynenko, his whereabouts, close ties, relatives, acquaintances, preferences, habits, and special features. A real hunt was opened for him, which lasted for many years, even after the intelligence service of the UPR had stopped its work in 1936.
At the beginning of the Second World War, I. Lytvynenko was invited by Otaman Taras Bulba-Borovets, who began to create the Polissya Sich, and later the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in Volyn and Polissya. He understood that without a well-established intelligence network, success could not be achieved. He was looking for staff for this specific job from among former Ukrainian senior officers.
Initially, I. Lytvynenko headed the intelligence department of the UPA-North National Military Staff. At that time he chose the pseudonym “Yevshan”. Later, the Commander of the UPA-North, Dmytro Klyachkivskyi (Klym Savur), realized that the knowledge and experience of the 52-year-old veteran of the liberation movement could be used more rationally to train young fighters. He was appointed instructor of the UPA senior officers' school “Druzhynnyky”, where he taught a six-hour course “Combat Intelligence” and managed the graduation of officers.
He enjoyed the new job. But with each month of staying in damp dugouts and in the cold, old diseases showed signs. Rheumatism, which he got during the First Winter Campaign, began to torture him again. After a personal meeting with Vasyl Kuk (Lemish), a member of the OUN Central Provid, I. Lytvynenko decided to move to the city and go underground.
A new passport was issued to him in the name of Danylo Kostyantynovych Solonchak and in early 1944 he was sent to Lviv with a number of tasks to establish work of the underground.
After the liberation of the city from the Nazis, the Soviet military administration, together with the state security agencies, began searching for the unreliable, those who fought in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and welcomed the return of Soviet power without much joy. Everyone was sifted through the KGB sieve: where he was, what he did, with whom and against whom he fought, and so on – all the way back to 1917. I. Lytvynenko was soon detained. He was promised life if he told about his activities in the underground.
I. Lytvynenko tried to play by his own rules. During interrogations, he spoke about his participation in the First Winter Campaign, life in exile, the activities of the UPR government and its intelligence service which at that time had long ceased to exist. But they wanted to hear something else from him. They asked about the organization of the OUN underground and connections with UPA leaders. He did not deny that he had such contacts, but confessed only to those who had already died or were abroad. He was released from prison for some time and was under surveillance to find out about his connections. And because of purposeful pressure, ideological influence and all sorts of promises they tried to talk him into cooperation. But in vain.
Eventually, the detectives got sick and tired of him. The investigator then ruled:
“Despite the fact that Lytvynenko-Morozenko was given the opportunity to atone for his guilt before the Soviet authorities, he on his own initiative did not provide us with any information about the OUN-UPA underground, hides from us known to him OUN members, but he himself does maintain his ties with OUN-UPA.
Lytvynenko-Morozenko Ivan Danylovych, who lives at the address: 24, Yakhovycha Street, Flat 1, Lviv, to be arrested… ”(BSA of the SBU. – Case 10418. - P 3–3).
The arrest was authorized on June 1, 1946. The investigation lasted until the end of the year and ended on December 12 with a death sentence handed down by a military tribunal of the Kyiv Region Ministry of Internal Affairs. But for more than two months I. Lytvynenko was kept in the death cell of Lukyanivka prison. Perhaps they hoped that he would tell everything he kept silent about during interrogations. He did not.
Ivan Danylovych Lytvynenko was shot dead on February 17, 1947.