Vladimir Kirillovich Vinnichenko

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vinnichenko, Vladimir Kirillovich


Born July 26 (Aug. 7), 1880, in Kherson Province; died 1951, in Paris. A theorist of Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism; leader of the nationalist counterrevolution in the Ukraine; Ukrainian writer.

In 1901, when he was a student at the University of Kiev, Vinnichenko joined the petit-bourgeois nationalist Revolutionary Ukrainian Party (RUP), which later became the Ukrainian Social Democratic Labor Party (USDLP). Vinnichenko became a member of the Central Committee of the USDLP in 1907. He lived abroad from 1907 to 1914. After the February Revolution of 1917 he was an organizer of the Central Rada. He was hostile to the Great October Revolution. In 1918, during the German occupation, Vinnichenko conducted negotiations concerning collaboration with the occupation forces and their lieutenant, Hetman P. P. Skoropadsky. From November 1918 until February 1919 he headed the Directory, which waged a struggle against Soviet power. He emigrated after the defeat of the counter-revolutionary forces in the Ukraine. In 1919 he wrote the three-volume work Revival of a Nation, in which he described the revolutionary events in the Ukraine between 1917 and 1919 from a bourgeois-nationalist point of view. In 1920, allegedly reconciling himself with Soviet power, Vinnichenko organized the so-called group in exile of the Ukrainian Communist Party and published the newspaper Nova doba in its name. He came to the Ukraine that summer and discussed entering the government of the Soviet Ukraine and the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party. He was appointed vice-chairman of the Sovnarkom (Council of People’s Commissars) of the Ukrainian SSR but was not admitted to the Party leadership. The same year he went abroad again, where he acted as an open enemy of Soviet power.

Vinnichenko began his literary activity in 1902. In the short stories and novellas written between 1902 and 1906, such as Near the Machine and The Poor, Vinnichenko depicted realistically the life of the village poor and the seasonal workers. After the defeat of the Revolution of 1905-07, Vinnichenko began slandering Russian revolutionaries. M. Gorky gave a very unfavorable review of his novel On the Scales of Life (1911), and his novel The Ancestors’ Behests (1914) received a devastating review by V. I. Lenin. Vinnichenko’s short stories, novellas, and plays are inspired by ideas of individualism and eroticism; they present a distorted picture of the revolutionary struggle in the Ukraine.


Lenin, V. I. “Inesse Armand.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 48, pp. 294-95.
Ol’minskii, M. “ ’Belletrist’ V. Vinnichenko.” In his book Po literaturnym voprosam. Moscow-Leningrad, 1932.
Gorky, M. Sobr. soch., in 30 vols.; vol. 29. Moscow, 1955. Pages 177-80.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.