Artefact of the Afghanistan War – Archive OUN

Автор Hennadiy Ivanushchenko

Naturally, the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists condemned the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union and sympathized with the Mujahideen. After all, this was in-line with the concept of ABN – the Anti-Bolshevik Block of Nations. ABN actively pursued the political support of nations enslaved by Moscow and was in favour of national revolutions and establishing independent states on the ruins of the USSR.

This was, and still is, considered the most effective way of bringing an end to the notion of Russian imperialism and safeguarding a stable peace.

But the elites in the West did not understand this then, nor sadly even now, and fear the disintegration of the Russian Federation, the uncontrolled migration and uncertainty in such circumstances of the ownership of the nuclear power.

However, western elites live in the West, but for Ukrainians “there is no other Dnipro” as wrote the famous Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko.

The leaflet, (text shown below), was discovered a few years ago in the OUN Archives, situated at the Ukrainian Information service in London. Only one unique copy of this exists. Produced on ordinary thin writing paper, as opposed to most other leaflets, mass produced on the printers of the Ukrainian Publishing Company at 200, Liverpool Road, an example of the printer shown below.

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 “Our machine (1969 model) for more than 40 years, printed various publications and magazines such as “The Liberation Path”, newspaper “The Road to Victory”, for a certain time “The Ukrainian Thought” and numerous bulletins, books and brochures and leaflets. The works of our dissidents and clandestine publications for Ukraine passed through the metal rollers of this printing unit.”

Volodymyr Pawluk, who worked as a printer for many years recalls that the very thin paper, used for leaflets, kept sticking to the cylinders and created many problems – rubbing them down, washing them and printing over and over again. Thin paper was used, so that as many leaflets as possible could fit into the soles of shoes, book covers and other objects, for delivery to Ukraine.

Let us return to the leaflet text, which did not need hiding on the road to Afghanistan, after all the whole civilized world stood up against Kremlin’s then “Special Military Operation”.

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OUN Archive at UIS-London Collection    Information leaflet – No.31

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OUN Archive at UIS-London Collection    Information leaflet – No.31

Translation of the leaflet text:

Freedom for Nations!                                               Freedom for Man!


The Soviet Army occupied Afghanistan, just as it did Ukraine 60 years ago. Then the Ukrainian nation was enslaved, the Ukrainian Independent State was destroyed, Ukraine was turned into a colony of Soviet Russia, which exploits Ukrainian wealth for its own imperialistic goals. Soviet Russia wants to do the same with Afghanistan.

Refuse to fight against the Afghan nation! Afghans have the right to an independent, national life! Demand, that they do not use you in their battle against freedom fighters! Demand that they take you to carry out military service in Ukraine!

Fight for the rights of the Ukrainian nation and human rights in Ukraine! Stand up in defence of Ukraine, help her to liberate herself from Soviet- Russian domination and become an independent state! Together with other subjugated nations overturn the prison of nations – USSR!

Long live free Ukraine!                                Long live free Afghanistan!



OUN Archive at UIS-London Collection    Information leaflet – No.31

As we see, the text was printed in 1982 in three languages: Ukrainian, Russian and Dari. By the way, the first aim of this publication is to find among its readers, a specialist in Eastern languages. The second aim – is broader and more complex. Until now, attempts to find among the Ukrainians - participants of the Afghan war, who saw this leaflet, have proved unsuccessful. Also, we do not know who, under what circumstances and where exactly was the leaflet sent. How was it delivered? Did it find any kind of response in the reports of ‘individuals’ in the ranks of the Soviet army?

Among the documents of the OUN Archive, we have found only a few sources linked to Afghanistan. These are ‘Afghan News’ and ‘Afghan Mujahid’ (1982), an OUN and ABN radio appeal “To Soviet Army Soldiers in Afghanistan”. There is also a fully digitized archive of the ABN Correspondence, which was published in English, German, French and Russian languages from February 1950 – 2000. Separate bulletin editions are devoted to Afghan events.

But there is one archived audio, which I think can “shed light” on the circumstances of OUN’s contacts with Afghan insurgents. This is the recollection of a journalist Askold Krushelnytskyj about trips to Afghanistan (24.07.1980 – 11.08.1980) and conversations with leaders of the Afghan Resistance Movement. It contains an analysis of various Afghan partisan groups.

Whether this will lead to our declared goal – time will tell and the interest of researchers in further searches.

Source: Historical Truth

P.S. After the publication of this article, there was a response from Valentyn Kalyna, a veteran of the Afghan War, today a well-known member of the nationalist movement and participant of the Russia-Ukraine war, who saw this leaflet in Zaranji (near the Iranian border) in 1981.

Translated by Maria Maryniuk

Про нас

The Ukrainian Information Service (UIS London) is an information bureau established in London during the 1970s as the successor of the Ukrainian Publishers. Originally, the aim of UIS London was the dissemination of factual information about Ukraine, in particular, Ukrainian politics, history and current affairs.

Since its inception, UIS London has liaised with government officials, think tank organisations, the mass media and charities working to raise the profile of Ukraine in the UK and strengthening bilateral relations.

The collection of documents, related to this activity, formed the foundations of the archives, situated on this web-site.

Although the nature of work UIS London undertook altered after Ukrainian independence, the basic tenets of promoting, advocating and strengthening Ukraine has remained.

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