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EPILOGUE (ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND HIS WORK)

An Army without a State by Otaman Taras Bulba-Borovets is a book of memoirs of the founder and commander in chief of the Ukrainian Insurrection Army which was brought to being and action during the Second World War. It is also a narrative about the life and activities of the talented fighter-partisan in the midst of the most gruesome events of the twentieth century.

A son of a poor peasant of Bystrychi, in the Kostopol county, Western Ukraine, the fourteen-year old Taras was compelled to leave his native village with its misery, and -went in search of means for his livelihood in the Polissian stone quarries. This ethnographic part of the Ukrainian territory was then under Polish occupation. Hard work during the day, and nights of strenuous labor over self-education, was an exhausting activity for young Taras; but it made him an excellent stone craftsman, and later on a successful businessman.

From his early youth, Taras became interested in various socio-political problems, in political parties, and in Ukrainian national movements that were on the rise between the two World Wars. For example, he was puzzled why he had to converse in a foreign language in his native land. This question led him to study most of the political theories and movements, and finally, to join in an active struggle for the restoration of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR). He rejected the totalitarian ideas of dictatorial Communism and Fascism, and became a promoter of Ukrainian Nationalism with a human face that vowed to respect the interests and the dignity of all minorities.

Meanwhile, Taras Borovets (the name, Bulba, was assumed when he started underground activities) was engaged in energetic work among his native brothers-Polissians in order to arouse in them a patriotic consciousness and readiness to fight for Ukrainian liberty. He founded, and became a leader of a secret organization called "Ukrainian National Renaissance" which later became the nucleus of Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Ukrainian Insurrection Army.

Prior to the Second World War, young Borovets was the victim of endless arrests, torture and imprisonment in the ill-famed Polish concentration camp Kartuzka Bereza; however, such experiences only hardened his resoluteness to fight for the ideals of Ukrainian political liberation. During the Conference of European Ambassadors, in 1922, the Polish Government offered to grant political autonomy to Western Ukraine, but when such sentiments were revealed by the Ukrainian people, the Polish authorities fought them with sword and fire. As a result of this reaction, Taras Borovets suffered the loss of his own enterprise and was exiled to Warsaw.

In 1940, after the partition of the Polish State between Stalin and Hitler, the author of these memoirs, with special authorization of A. Livytsky, president of the exiled government of UNR, illegally crossed the Soviet-German frontier to organize the people of Volyn and Polissia to fight, in the opportune time, for the liberation of Ukraine. This opportunity arrived within a year, with the occupation of the Ukrainian territory by the German forces. The swift advance of the German troops eastward had left in the Polissian swamps great numbers of Russian military units which mercilessly terrorized the local Ukrainian population for its national conviction, as well as robbing them of their means of sustenance. This situation created an urgent need to organize Ukrainian self-defence, as the Germans did not deem it necessary to send their troops into the treacherous swamps to defend the people from the Communist terrorists. In this situation, Taras Bulba-Borovets undertook the task of organizing the famous "Polissian Sich" the first unit of the Ukrainian Insurrection Army. This unit, together with the Belorussian self-defence formed for the same purpose, cleared the Polissian and Belorussian territories from the Communists. However, the "Polissian Sich" had to be overtly disbanded as it could not stand its ground against the German forces, and went underground in special small units. Soon these units proved to be most effective in their defence of the Ukrainian people, now from the Gestapo brutalities.

Taras Bulba-Borovets proved to be a very successful commander in guerilla warfare, as also a good diplomat.

He chose his officers from members of the Ukrainian National Army of 1917 - 1920; he knew how to use the animosity of his enemies advantageously, and engage his own troops with least of losses; he avoided open engagements as much as he could, and operated his units according to proven guerilla tactics: "From beneath the ground and back underground." This even gave him the advantageous opportunity to enter into talks with the Soviet, German and Polish representatives.

As a true patriot, Bulba-Borovets devoted a lot of his efforts to the cause of uniting all Ukrainian political forces, nevertheless, he was not successful; for all the leading political parties were ready to stand under his banner expect one, the totalitarian fraction of Ukrainian Nationalists led by Stepan Bandera. However, throughout his activities, Taras Bulba-Borovets was representing a force that even the German command was compelled to recon with.

In 1943, the Gestapo treacherously arrested Bulba-Borovets and imprisoned him in a concentration camp in Saxenhausen, near Berlin, where most of the Ukrainian leaders were held. There, overcoming strict isolation, he found means to befriend some high personalities of other nationalities, among whom were an English major and a captain of the Royal Navy.

Late in 1944, the German authorities opened their negotiation with Ukrainian leaders in Saxenhausen, and as a result, they allowed the Ukrainians to organize their National Army under the command of General Pavlo Shandruk. The sole purpose of this Army was to fight against Soviet Communism. Otaman Bulba-Borovets was chosen to take command of the special Group B of the Ukrainian National Army that was to be parachuted into the Russian rear to engage in guerilla activities. End of World War II made this operation impossible.

The memoirs of Taras Bulba-Borovets will be first-hand source material for historians as well as an inspiration for future fighters whom God and Mother-Ukraine will call upon to raise the Temple of Freedom on our Cossack Land.