Mykola Lebed was a leading figure from 1930s to the 1970s and closely involved in the leadership of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council (UVHR), and the Prolog Research Corporation.
Mykola Lebed was born 23rd of November 1910, in Novi Strilyshcha -a small town in Bibrka county, Western Ukraine (at the time, Austria-Hungary).
1929-32 | While Mykola Lebed attended school in Lviv to complete his studies, he was an active part in organizing the youth movement of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) in the area around Lviv.
1932-34 | Mykola Lebed directed communications between the Ukrainian Executive and the Foreign Command of the OUN. Lebed served as a liaison between the OUN leadership, Yevhen Konovalets in Europe, and the organization’s national executive in Western Ukraine. His liaison activities led to travel to Czechoslovakia, Germany, and Italy.
1934-39 | In a OUN led operation, Mykola Lebed participated with Stepan Bandera and others -in the assassination of the Polish Minister of Internal Affairs Bronisław Pieracki. After the assassination, Lebed tried to flee through Gdansk-Szczecin to Germany, but by the order of Heinrich Himmler, he was arrested by Gestapo and handed over to the Polish authorities.
During the Warsaw Process, 16 members of the OUN were tried. In 1936, Mykola Lebed was given death penalty, the sentence was later commuted by the state to life imprisonment.
Lebed was married in Warsaw prison with Daria (Hnatkivska). She was later arrested in 1941 as co-conspirator in the plotting of the assassination of Pieracki and again for the second time in January 1944. This time Daria and their 2 year old daughter, Zoriana, were sent to a concentration camp in Ravensbruck, Germany, where they remained until fall 1944.
Lebed remained imprisoned in Warsaw, until the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, were he escaped and marched eastwards.
1939-43 | The OUN turned to collaboration with Nazi-Germany -when the ‘Nazi-Soviet Pact’ in 1939 were signed and ‘Eastern Galicia and Volhynia was given to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In 1940 the OUN split up into Bandera and Melnyk factions, Mykola Lebed joined the faction led by Stepan Bandera.
After the Germans initiated Operation Barbarossa and invaded the USSR, Bandera’s teams of OUN/B moved into East Galicia, where his deputy Jaroslav Stetsko proclaimed a “sovereign and united” Ukrainian state in Lviv, June 1941, in the name of Bandera and the OUN/B.
Jaroslav Stetsko was to be the new prime minister and Mykola Lebed, which prior had received training at a Gestapo center in Zakopane, the new minister for security. The Germans insisted that Bandera and Stetsko rescind this proclamation. When they refused, they, along with other OUN/B leaders, were arrested and kept under house arrest in Berlin. In 1942, Bandera and Stetsko was sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
Mykola Lebed’s escaped and hereafter as Bandera’s second deputy, he assumed control of the OUN/B in Western Ukraine. The OUN/B operated underground because the German security police, were ordered to arrest and kill Bandera loyalists in Western Ukraine. Mykola Lebed concentrated his focus on the formation of an OUN/B security service, whose members are best characterized as ‘fanatic nationalists and intransigence to the enemies of the state/nation’.
In 1942, the OUN/B dominated the newly formed Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a guerrilla force intended to engage all political and ethnic enemies including Germans and Soviets. Eastern Ukrainians later claimed -that the Bandera’s group took over the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) by assassinating the original leaders. Mykola Lebed played a key role in the leadership and organizing of the UPA, which by 1943 served as a military arm of the OUN/B.
After three and a half years of war, the fascist and nationalist Mykola Lebed, proposed; ‘to cleanse the entire revolutionary territory of the Polish population’. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), then cleansed the Polish population from Volhynia. The UPA killed about seven thousand unarmed men, women and children in the first days of the attacks in late March and early April 1943.
Soviet partisans reported that the UPA had undertaken ‘a complete annihilation of the Poles of Ukraine’. The earliest available UPA report discussed the conquest of a Polish village: ‘two-thirds of the buildings were burned down. The battle lasted a few hours. The Poles give the number of their dead as 500’.
Throughout Volhynia in the weeks of April 1943, UPA (OUN/B) soldiers surrounded colonies and villages, burned houses, shot or forced back inside those who tried to escape death by fire. In mixed settlements, the UPA’s security service warned Ukrainians to flee by night, then killed everyone remaining at dawn. This was a coordinated attack by armed men, upon a leaderless, disorganized and defenseless minority population.
Mykola Lebed was thirty-three years old when the ethnic cleansing of Volhynia Poles began.
The same year 1943, Mykola Lebed relinquished the post of acting chief of OUN/B and assumed the duties of OUN/B’s chief of foreign affairs.
1943-45 | In the end of the Second World War, the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council (UHVR) was formed and officially established on July 11-15, 1944. UHVR -an umbrella liberation movement with the purpose of combing forces to fight both Nazi and Soviet occupation. Lebed was in the end of the war in Rome.
Lebed served as the external liaison officer and director of the information bureau of the UHVR. In this role, he was ordered to go abroad to gain Allied support for Ukraine’s struggle for independence. The External Representation of the UHVR was established and Lebed appointed its general secretary. At the end of the war in 1945 he was in Rome.
- CIA Project BELLADONNA (1946-1948)
CIA project “involved collection of foreign intelligence on USSR”.
- CIA Project TRIDENT (1946-1948)
CIA project “involved collection of counterintelligence on USSR through Ukrainian emigre activities and personalities.
1949-98 | In 1949 Lebed immigrated to the United States and settled with his family. Lebed continued his activities on behalf of the External Representation of the UHVR. He acted as UHVR’s president from 1952 to 1975 and vice-president from 1982 to 1985.
Prolog Research Corporation
Lebed was organizing a group of scholars and researchers and was instrumental in the setup of ‘Prolog Research Corporation’ founded in New York City -by members of the External Representation of the UHVR. Prolog Inc. was responsible for monitoring and reporting on political, economic and cultural developments in Soviet Ukraine, including studies of the important dissident movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
He was on the editorial board of Litpys UPA (from 1975). Lebed is the author of the book UPA: Ukrainska povstanska armiia (1946; 2nd ed. 1987) and numerous articles on the independence movement in Western Ukraine.
Nazi collaborator and CIA agent, Mykola Lebed -passed away on July 19, 1998. He left behind his daughter Zoriana, sister Olya, several grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as extended family in the U.S. and Ukraine.
He is buried at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery in South Bound Brook, New Jersey, USA.
Mykola Lebed’s CIA Cryptonyms:
CIA Projects Associated w/ Mykola Lebed:
- Project BELLADONNA (1946-1948)
A CIA project “involved collection of foreign intelligence on USSR”.
- Project TRIDENT (1946-1948)
A CIA project “involved collection of counterintelligence on USSR through Ukrainian emigre activities and personalities.
- Project AERODYNAMIC
(a.k.a. CARTEL / ANDROGEN / AECARTHAGE) A CIA project to aid the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council (ZP/UHVR) in publishing anti-soviet / anti-communist propaganda in Ukraine through CIA funded Prolog Research Corporation. “Prolog … sought to exploit and increase nationalist and other dissident tendencies in the Soviet Ukraine.”
- Project QRPLUMB (1970-1991)
(a.k.a. QRDYNAMIC / AEBEEHIVE) “… superceded Project AERODYNAMIC and supported the Ukrainian émigré organization ZP / UHVR (Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council) with a New York publishing arm called Prolog Research Corporation (QRTENURE, AETENURE) and a Munich Office, Ukrainian Society for Foreign Studies (QRTERRACE, AETERRACE), publisher of the monthly journal Suchasnist.”