Volodymyr Zatonsky

Volodymyr Petrovich Zatonsky (Ukrainian: Володи́мир Зато́нський; Russian: Влади́мир Петро́вич Зато́нский Vladimir Petrovich Zatonsky ) (July 27, 1888 July 29, 1938) was a Soviet academic, politician, Communist Party activist, and member of the Ukrainian SSR Academy of Sciences (since 1929).

Volodymyr Zatonsky
Володи́мир Петрович Зато́нський
Chairman of TsVK
In office
March 19, 1918  April 18, 1918
Preceded byYukhym Medvedev
Succeeded byreorganized as Uprising Nine
Secretary of Education
In office
December 30, 1917  April 18, 1918
Prime MinisterMykola Skrypnyk
Preceded byposition created
Succeeded byHimself
(as Narkom of Education)
Narkom of Education
In office
November 28, 1918  ?
Prime MinisterHeorhiy Pyatakov
Christian Rakovsky
Preceded byHimself
(as Secreatary of Education)
Succeeded by?
Chairman of Halych Revkom
In office
July 8, 1920  September 21, 1920
Preceded byposition introduced
Succeeded byposition disbanded
Personal details
Born(1888-07-27)July 27, 1888
Lysets, Podolia Governorate, Russian Empire
DiedJuly 29, 1938(1938-07-29) (aged 50)
Kyiv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Political partyRSDLP (Mensheviks) (1905-1917)
Russian Communist Party (1917-1937)
Spouse(s)Olena Samiylivna Raskina
Alma materKyiv University

Life and career

Zatonsky was born in the village of Lysets in of Ushitsy (Ushytsia) Uyezd, Podolia Governorate, Russian Empire (now in Dunaivtsi Raion, Khmelnytskyi Oblast, Ukraine) into the family of a volost pysar.

He joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) party as a Menshevik in 1905. In March 1917 he joined the Bolsheviks as the member of the Kyiv Committee, later joining the Kyiv revkom as well. He was one of few who initiated the organization of the Congress of the Workers-Peasants and Soldiers deputies as well as the military coup in Kyiv. Zatonsky participated in the fight against the Central Rada.

When the Red Army took over Kyiv in 1918 after the January Uprising, Zatonsky recalled that he only narrowly escaped execution as a counterrevolutionary when only Vladimir Lenin's mandate saved his life.[1]

At the beginning of 1918 he was the Head of the Ukrainian delegation from the Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets for the Brest-Litovsk Peace Conference. From March 19 to April 18, 1918, he was Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee. In July 1918 he was a commissar of a strike force against the Left Socialist-Revolutionary rebellion in Moscow.

Beginning in November 1918 he was the Narkom of People's Education. While in that post he did everything in his power to shut down the Kamyanets-Podilsky State University as the concentration of the counter-revolutionary forces of Symon Petliura. From 1968 to 1997 the institute was named after Zatonsky.[2] He personally was offered a position by Lenin as a representative of the Soviet Ukrainian People's Republic in the Russian SFSR.

On November 17–30, 1918, Zatonsky, Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko and Joseph Stalin became members of the Revolutionary Military Council (RMC) of the Special Group of Kursk Troops. The RMC developed a military-strategic plan for the liberation of Ukraine, and began to staff the front with troops. The headquarters of the formation was located in Kursk. From November 30, 1918, Zatonsky was a member of the RMC of the Ukrainian Soviet Army.[3][4][5]

In 1920 he was chairman of Galrevkom. In 1921 he received the Order of the Red Banner for the suppression of the Kronshtadt mutiny. Afterwards he held various government and Party positions in the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic. In 1922 he was one of the persons who signed for the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as the representative of the Ukrainian SSR. In September 1933 Zatonsky was appointed as chief editor of the Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopedia.

On November 3, 1937, he was arrested in a movie theater while he was with his family. Later the authorities conducted an unsanctioned search of his apartment searching for a proof of him being a spy for "bourgeois" Poland. After several days his wife was arrested as well. He was charged with being a member of an anti-Soviet Ukrainian nationalist center. On July 29, 1938, he was convicted after a 20-minute-long trial and sentenced to 10 years in prison without right of correspondence. During the Great Purge this was a euphemism for a death sentence, and the same day he was executed by firing squad. In 1956 Zatonsky, along with many others, was posthumously rehabilitated.


  1. Budivnytstvo Radianskoyi Ukrainy (Kharkiv: 1928)
  2. http://kamieniec-podolski.com/vydayushhiesya-lichnosti/zatonskij-vladimir-petrovich.html
  3. От повстанчества к регулярной армии. Краснознамённый Киевский. 1979. С.с. 21-24.
  4. Ратьковский И., Ходяков М. История Советской России. Глава 1. V. Боевые действия в конце 1918 — начале 1919
  5. Ратьковский И., Ходяков М. История Советской России. Глава 1. V. Боевые действия в конце 1918 — начале 1919 гг. Выведен из состава кандидатов в члены ЦК на Январском пленуме ЦК 1938 года, уже после ареста.
Preceded by
Mykola Khvylovy
Director of Chervony Shliach
Succeeded by
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