«...Maintained contact with prominent Ukrainian nationalists»: highlights of the criminal case of the underground Greek Catholic priest Yaroslav Sovyak


  • Oleh Yehreshiy


criminal cases, Yaroslav Soviak, underground Greek Catholic priests, historical source, history of everyday life, Soviet special services


In the scientific article, the author tries to recreate the everyday life of the priest of the underground Greek Catholic Church, Yaroslav Sovyak, through the criminal case brought against him by the Soviet special authorities. The purpose of the article. To find out the specifics and the degree of informativeness of the mentioned criminal case against the underground Greek Catholic priest Yaroslav Sovyak as a primary source for studying the history of everyday life. The research methodology is based on the principles of historicism, scientific research, author’s objectivity, the use of source studies methods, in particular the method of internal criticism of sources. Scientific novelty. These historical monuments, despite their peculiarities (characteristic subjectivism, inaccuracies, low level of representativeness, sometimes arbitrary interpretation), contain a significant resource of factual data, complement the existing source base on the history of everyday life. Conclusions. Ya. Sovyak’s testimony due to their expressive «subjectivity» is worth carefully comparing with other primary sources and individual local studies, in particular, the memories of eyewitnesses of the events, periodical and non-periodical publications of that time. Meanwhile, they contain facts that, in our opinion, characteristically testify to the daily life not only of Ya. Sovyak himself, but also of many clergymen of the catacomb period of the GCC, shedding light on their ideological beliefs, interests, communicative environment, mentality, etc. The investigation materials reflect the subjective nature of these interrogations, the tendency in the selection of witnesses, numerous facts of psychological pressure on both clergy and secular persons. On the other hand, criminal cases well illustrate the working methods of Soviet law enforcement agencies and special services. In criminal cases, in particular, the arrestee’s questionnaire focuses on the information important in the context of everyday history. Valuable personal data about Ya. Sovyak, special features of the defendant, as well as some photo documents are found in the verbal portrait.
The criminal case as a source contains the facts of the priest’s detention, the circumstances of his arrest, interrogations, examinations of his handwriting, indictments, sentencing materials, etc. These facts characterize living conditions, the father’s level of well-being, habits, level of intelligence, data on education, and personal items are concentrated.