Interview with Dr. Frank Sysyn about the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen

As part of the celebration of the 29th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, the KONTAKT Ukrainian TV airs a three-part series of TV segments produced and hosted by CIUS editor TANIA STECH within the framework of her regular series “Розмови про культуру Culture in Conversation.” This series of TV episodes feature Tania Stech’s conversation with a well-known historian and director of the CIUS Toronto Office, Professor FRANK SYSYN, about the history of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen and the tradition of Ukraine’s armed struggle for independence. Тhe Ukrainian Sich Riflemen (USS) were the only Ukrainian unit in the Austrian army. They were the longest-lasting (5.5 years) Ukrainian military formation during and after World War I. The USS officers later became the organizers and leaders of the Sich Riflemen in Kyiv, who played a crucial role in the struggle for the independence of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR) in central and eastern Ukraine in the years 1918-21. The USS soldiers and officers also constituted the best-trained troops and top commanders of the Ukrainian Galician Army (UHA), the regular army of the Western Ukrainian National Republic (ZUNR).

More information about these topics in Part 1 of this interview.

What was the position of national minorities (specifically Jews) during the Polish-Ukrainian War in Galicia in 1918-20? And what role did the Sich Riflemen play in the struggle for the independent Ukrainian National Republic (UNR)? These questions are addressed in part 2.

This episode deals with the little-known aspect of the Polish-Ukrainian in Western Ukraine: the participation of Jews in the armed struggle for an independent Western Ukrainian National Republic (ZUNR) and the existence of a JEWISH BATTALION in the UKRAINIAN GALICIAN ARMY (UHA). Also discussed: the formation of the SICH RIFLEMEN in central Ukraine and their importance and combat role within the ranks of the army of the Ukrainian National Republic.

Part 3 of the series deals with the CULTURAL and EDUCATIONAL activities of the UKRAINIAN SICH RIFLEMEN as well as the participation of WOMEN in the Riflemen. Also discussed is the relevance of the Riflemen’s military traditions for Ukrainian soldiers fighting in the present-day Russo-Ukrainian war in eastern Ukraine.