|Chairman of the Lviv Oblast Council|
April 1990 - April 1992
|People's Deputy of Ukraine|
May 15, 1990 - May 10, 1994
|Constituency||People's Movement of Ukraine, Lviv Oblast, Shevchenko electoral district N.264|
May 11, 1994 - May 12, 1998
|Constituency||People's Movement of Ukraine, Ternopil Oblast, Podillia electoral district N.357|
May 12, 1998 - March 26, 1999
|Constituency||People's Movement of Ukraine, No.1|
|Born||December 24, 1937|
Yerky, Kiev Oblast, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Died||March 25, 1999 (aged 61)|
Boryspil, Kiev Oblast, Ukraine
|Political party||People's Movement of Ukraine|
Atena-Svyatomyra Pashko (died 20 March 2012, 81 years of age)
|Children||Andriy Chornovil, Taras Chornovil|
|Alma mater||University of Kiev (journalist)|
|Occupation||Politician and Soviet dissident|
|Awards||Order of State |
Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise
Shevchenko Prize (1996)
Viacheslav Chornovil (Ukrainian: ) (December 24, 1937 in Yerky, Katerynopil Raion, Kiev Oblast - March 25, 1999, near Boryspil, Kiev Oblast) was a Ukrainian politician. A prominent Ukrainian dissident in the Soviet Union, he was arrested multiple times in the 1960s and 1970s for his political views. A long-time advocate of Ukrainian independence, he was one of the most prominent political figures of the late 1980s and early 1990s who paved the path of the contemporary Ukraine to its independence.
Chornovil enrolled into the University of Kiev initially at the College of Philology (faculty), but after the first semester transferred to the College of Journalism. In 1958 due to conflict in the university he took a break from studying and went for construction project in Zhdanov of a blast furnace and later worked for the "Kiev Komsomolets". Chornovil was a member of the Komsomol of Ukraine. He graduated in 1960 with honors and defended his diploma with a thesis "Publicistic work of Borys Hrinchenko".
In 1964 he moved to Vyshhorod and participated in the construction of the Kyiv Hydro-electric Station[clarification needed] (see Kyiv Reservoir). During the same year, Chornovil also enrolled as a postgraduate student (see Candidate of Sciences) of the Drahomov National Pedagogical University, but was not allowed to study.
On 5 September 1965, with Ivan Dzyuba and Vasyl Stus, Chornovil protested at the premier of Sergei Paradjanov's "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" outside the Ukraina movie theater[clarification needed]. This led to him being sacked from his job and searched by the police. For refusing to be a witness and testify at the trials of the Horyn brothers,[clarification needed] Chornovil was given three months of forced labor.
He acquired the reputation of a dissident after documenting the illegal imprisonment of certain Ukrainian intellectuals. Later, he covered a similar story about twenty Ukrainians ("Woe from Wit"). Charged with libel[failed verification] and sentenced to three years in a maximum security prison, Chornovil was released after 18 months under a general amnesty in 1967, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution. The Times awarded him the Nicholas Tomalin Prize for the documentation of the trials.
During his exile in 1969 Chornovil married to Atena Pashko. In 1970 he managed to find a job at the meteorological station in Zakarpattia, provided a manual labor for an archaeological expedition to the Odessa Region, and at the railroad station "Sknyliv" in Lviv. At the same time Chornovil created an underground magazine Ukraine Herald. From 1971 onwards, he worked for the Lviv department of the Ukraine Nature Conservation Society.
He was imprisoned a second time in 1972 for being involved in Ukrainian independence movements and affiliated publications. This time Chornovil was given six years of imprisonment and three more years of exile. He served this term of imprisonment in Mordva camps for political prisoners in the villages of Ozernoye and Barashevo, where he frequently took part in protests, demonstrations and hunger strikes. Chornovil spent half of his term at Camp 17 in the punishment cell or in solitary confinement in the camp prison.
Chornovil renounced his Soviet citizenship and decided to move to Canada in 1975, but was not permitted to do so. In 1976, he joined the newly-formed Ukrainian Helsinki Group, set up to monitor the USSR's compliance with the 1975 Helsinki Accords. In 1978 Chornovil was exiled to the Soviet Far East, travelling the thousands of miles by train, and on foot to the village of Chappandu (Yakutia). There he worked as a laborer at a local state farm (sovkhoz), later as a supplier in Nyurba. In 1978 he was admitted to the International PEN society.
Chornovil was arrested yet again in April 1981, on charges of "attempted rape" and sentenced to five years imprisonment. In protest he went on a 120-day-long hunger strike. He was released in 1983, but following an objection by the Prosecutor of the Yakut ASSR he was not to allow return to Ukraine. Finally back in West Ukraine, Chornovil could only find work in May 1985 as a stoker, at both the Lviv Miskrembudtrest (City Maintenance Construction Trust) and a specialized school in the city.
In the late 1980s he actively participated in the Ukrainian national movement becoming the first leader of the People's Movement of Ukraine (better known as Rukh). In 1988 there was a first attempt to create the "Democratic Front in support of Perestroika" in Lviv only to be dispersed by the Soviet OMON canine unit. Later he promoted several nationally oriented actions, one of them was the Human chain that took place on January 21, 1990 and commemorated the act of unification of the Ukrainian lands in 1919 (see Act Zluky).
Chornovil ran for President of Ukraine in 1991 but was defeated, winning only in western Ukraine. He was one of the most important members of the People's Movement of Ukraine. He was elected to the Verkhovna Rada for the People's Movement of Ukraine in 1994 and 1998 and was the head of that party. In 1999 his party was almost dissolved due to disagreements within. There are speculations that the failure to liquidate the party led to the road accident that took Chornovil's life. That fact is mentioned in the documentary movie of Volodymyr Onyshchenko He who awoke the Stone state.
Chornovil was expected to be the main opposition candidate to incumbent president Leonid Kuchma in the 1999 presidential election. Chornovil's presidential campaign was brought to an abrupt end, however, on 25 March 1999 when he and his assistant Yevgen Pavlov both died in a suspicious automobile crash.
The official investigation carried by the Ministry of Internal Affairs concluded that the crash was purely accidental and discovered no evidence of the foul play. However, some of Chornovil's supporters called his death a political murder and called on bringing those responsible for it to justice. The theory of murder is stated on the website dedicated to Vyacheslav Chornovil and created by his son Taras Chornovil, a deputy of Verkhovna Rada formerly from the Party of Regions.
On August 23, 2006, President Viktor Yushchenko unveiled a monument to Chornovil and ordered a new investigation into his death. On September 6, 2006, Yuri Lutsenko, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, announced that based on the information he saw, he personally believes that Chornovil was a victim of murder rather than a car accident. Lutsenko stated further that the investigation is now carried by the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and the Security Service of Ukraine, the law enforcement authorities not under Lutsenko's control. He went further, alluding that "certain circles" in the Prosecutor's Office and Security Service are stonewalling the investigation. However, on August 9, Oleksandr Medvedko, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, commented at the news conference that Lutsenko's statement is "unprofessional" as his conclusions are based on unreliable information.
On March 25, 2009 a funeral service was held near the memorial sign in Boryspil, and admirers (including the Mayor of Kiev (then Leonid Chernovetskyi)) laid flowers on his monument in Kiev to mark the 10-year anniversary of Chornovil's death.