The Nature of the World
by Joel Anderson
Fighting against the slide into dictatorial fascism and censorship is not independent to those citizens living in the United States. The fight against govt/corporate imposed propaganda and numbing mind-control has been going on since... the beginning of time.
In an ancient region between Germany and Russia; the Ukraine it seems was always caught and torn in the crossfire between those two war-culture nations.
As a young girl, writer Larissa Young began hearing stories about her father Yuri (George) Horodianya-Lisowsky who was the legendary Ukrainian Freedom Fighter known as “Iron Man” who fought against the Wall Street financed Bolshevik Red Army (who later became communist USSR) in the 1920s. She also found that Yuri had written a book in the 1930s, Cold Canyon, under the protective pen name of Yuri Horlis-Horsky, which documented his fight against the Bolsheviks. The book was effectively censored, remaining underground for years due to Soviet regime control. Larissa is now in the process of having the book, (legendary in underground Ukraine/Poland) translated into English. In the Dec. 2009 Issue of The VIEW (avail. www.OjaiandVenturaView.com), a story of Larissa and her father, Yuri was published.
The following is an Exclusive pre-released excerpted passage.
– Joel Anderson, Editor
Introduction - This is a historical novel and autobiography. The events in this book are all true, they are the experiences of the author in one memorable year of his life. The author is my father, and this translation is dedicated to his grandchildren and great grandchildren, in case they decide to explore their heritage.
Ukraine is a country still going through change and turmoil, but then, these days, what country isn’t. It is hopefully of interest to those of Ukrainian descent, especially the Diaspora, those Ukrainians scattered throughout the world.
It speaks of the desire for freedom and autonomy, and shows the example of one group of people who fought until the death for their own and their country’s freedom. Yuri, my father, came across these people when he was twenty-two-years-old, an officer in the Ukrainian army cavalry, on patrol during the struggle between the freedom seeking Ukrainian people and the invading Russian Bolsheviks.
His regiment was patrolling the country, and when they reached the area of Cold Canyon, he had to stay behind while his regiment went on. He had contracted frostbite in his foot. He became irresistibly drawn to the Cossacks of Cold Canyon, joining them in their campaign.
Those in the world today may or may not know that the original Cossacks were Ukrainian. They were the warrior class who protected their people from invasion. They were reputed to be extremely fierce, even brutal, also known to have mystical powers, which are often demonstrated today by descendents. In 1920, Ukraine was enjoying a new independence, but was already being besieged by invaders. When the Russian Communists, the Bolsheviks, or comrades conquered this country, they took on the Cossacks to be their own, and today, people think that Cossacks are Russian.
The story of Cold Canyon demonstrates the dedication of this group of Ukrainians, and their uniqueness and versatility, as well as their love of music and the arts.
When I visited Ukraine, I fell in love with it. My observation was that the people were artists, musicians, dancers and definitely poets. I lost my heart completely. That region has a special atmosphere. Archeologists are today starting to explore the ancient barrows and burial mounds, the artifacts go back to pre-antiquity.
Nobody wants to be a slave or told what to do. But who has the courage to stand up to a powerful enemy that wields its power and declares, “Surrender or die.”
This is the story of a group of people who were willing to fight to the death. It is an inspiration to all those who today struggle for their freedom and right of expression. It demonstrates that words may set the stage, but action is what counts.
– Larissa Young
During the February 1920 partisan march, our Zaporozh unit of the Ukrainian National Army fights its way through the Denikin and Bolshovik fronts and crosses from Kherson to beyond the town of Chehrin.
The sprawling landscape of the barren steppes gives way to large forests, amid which are scattered ranches and small villages. Our group passes the seemingly endless Black Forest.
The neat white-thatched houses, surrounded by orchards, create a pleasant impression after the large, Germanstyle buildings of the Kherson region where there are almost no orchards.
During our stay in one of the villages, the farmers tell us about Cold Canyon. They tell us about the unapproachable Motrin Monastery, which has mysterious electrified fences, and heavy canons that shoot 26 miles. Chief Ataman Chuchupaka has settled there with his army, and he’s not afraid of anyone, neither Denikins nor Bolsheviks.
We glance at each other during the recital of these stories. Of course the guys are exaggerating, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see this fortress? We argue amongst ourselves whether we should go to Cold Canyon or pass it by.
"Make sure to tell The Truth"
The next day, I advance the 2nd Zaporozh Regiment with fifty cavalrymen toward Cold Canyon. Other units go ahead, taking different routes. I meet a familiar officer with two Cossacks, taking a directive to “grandpa” Ataman Pavlenko. He tells us, in one village they are met by a line of well equipped villagers carrying machine guns. They settle themselves in a comfortable position, ready for battle. He is on his way to participate in negotiations, and the villagers go with him.
“What army? Where are you going and why are you going through our villages?”
Our commander replies, “The Zaporozh group of the Ukrainian army.”
They look at one of their group, he steps forward and asks, “What units, what are the commanders’ names? Make sure to tell the truth, I’m a Doroshenko man myself.”
The commander orders his detail to leave it’s position and send messengers to the villages, because “our people, the Ukrainians, are coming.”
After about a mile, I encounter five horsemen, riding strong, short, steppe horses. Two locals are wearing Cossack- style black tunics, the other three are in long black coats of heavy broadcloth and wide black pants. They are all wearing sheepskin hats, trimmed at the top with black velvet. Each has a rifle, a saber, and a gun. Hand grenades are fastened to their saddles.
They approach peacefully, apparently already knowing who we are.
Next, we approach the village of Matvivka. Outside the village, on a hill alongside the road, there is a high burial mound. I get off my horse and climb it.
There is no doubt this is an ancient Cossack burial mound. You can see far and wide from here. From the direction of our approach and to the right, you can see the forests, and to the left, facing Chehrin, there is another stretch of forest, while in the middle there is a barren hollow that opens out to the steppes.
A thought goes through my mind. It goes to the ancient times when Cossack surveillance would look out for guests, the Tartar hoards raiding from the steppes.
Entering the village, we meet a group of villagers armed with rifles. They greet us courteously. Further on we meet more armed men. It appears the village is part of the fighting organization of Cold Canyon, the center being Melniki, about 7 miles away.
On the short trip to Holokivka I must ride in the machine gun cart, since back when we were in Kherson during the night I fell asleep and the toes on my right foot got frost bitten. The foot has swollen so that I can’t put on my boot. In Holokivka I feel very poorly, and am bedridden in a farmer’s house under the vigilant care of my hosts.
Apparently, messengers came to headquarters asking the Ataman and all the officers to attend Ataman Bohdan’s wedding, somewhere near Olexandrivska, and “grandpa” has sent several officers to go have fun, as well as check things out.
"He... became ‘an eagle of a young man.’"
We were told about Bohdan’s outrageous attacks on the Bolsheviks and Denekins back in Matvivka. Our host, a former Hussar sentry officer who knows military matters well, tells us about Bohdan.
“He was born a bastard. His mother, a young orphan girl, brought him back from her maid service in Chehrin. When asked where he came from, she said ‘Boh dav’ (God gave), so they say that’s how he came to be named Bohdan. He grew up in poverty, but became ‘an eagle of a young man.’ He went to war and came back a decorated Jr. Officer.”
“When the struggles started here, Bohdan started to show off his skills. He caused much grief to the Russians. His fame followed him, ‘Ataman Bohdan, Ataman Bohdan!’ they would call when he passed by.”
“His army consists of a cart with a pair of good horses, and a driver (also a good lad). The cart has a “Colt” machine gun, a lightweight German mortar mine thrower is attached to the side. The driver holds a hand held machine gun, a “Louis.” They arrive at night at a railway station which is filled with soldiers, both Bolsheviks and Denikins, usually when they are retreating, and start a battle.”
"...you get a battle as if two whole divisions were fighting.”
“With his left hand he shoots from the Colt, and with his right he loads mines onto the mine thrower, and sets them off. The driver lets loose from the Louis. The soldiers they attack shoot into the dark, not knowing who they are shooting at, and you get a battle as if two whole divisions were fighting.”
“Naturally there is panic. The enemy drops everything and runs away by train or foot, and Bohdan takes over the abandoned station. He then goes to the nearby village, waking up the folks and telling them to go collect the goods and weapons. If he needs more men, he can gather about fifty good cavalrymen through word of mouth.”
"....for me to continue the march in freezing weather is out of the question. My brother comes from headquarters and we consider the options."
“Our boys don’t need to be asked twice for these events, but mostly he likes to operate alone. The rascal shoots magnificently! If there is no one to fight with, he goes to the steppe with his machine gun, and relieves his boredom shooting rabbits. That’s how he lives, on wheels. He almost never goes to his abandoned house.”
“Wherever night falls, he goes to sleep there. He is highly respected for his courage. He gets fed, is offered drink, and girls don’t shy away from him. And now he has decided to get married. And look how highbrow he is now, asking generals to dance at his wedding!”
By nightfall I am really ill. A physician comes and checks my temperature, it’s well above normal. The doctor agitates, wondering if it is caused by the frost bite or the typhus which has inflicted several Cossacks. Our group is scheduled to move out in the morning, but for me to continue the march in freezing weather is out of the question.
My brother comes from headquarters and we consider the options. The physician recommends checking into a hospital in Medvedivka, where he has already sent two typhus victims, but the hostess saves the day with a suggestion.
“Take him to the monastery, to the Haidamaki (rebels), there is a doctor and the nuns will take care of him better than in hospital.”
“Of course,” my brother agrees. “You will be in a safe place, among our own people. We will stay in this region for awhile and no doubt will have constant contact with Cold Canyon. When you’re better you can join us.”
In the morning several officers and Cossacks come to say good bye. The group is moving on. I am reluctant to separate from those with whom I have shared two years of stirrup to stirrup warfare, but it won’t be for long.
“Study my brothers, think, read, learn about others, but never forsake your own.”
A few villagers come by in the evening. There is a lot of talk about the past and the future. I am amazed at their thorough knowledge of Ukrainian history and national conscience.
"...boys play war with wooden rifles."
Next day I felt a bit better and decide to go to Motrin Monastery on horseback instead of cart, very carefully, of course. I sit side saddle because my right foot, wearing a large felt boot (valyanki) does not fit into my slim Caucasian stirrup.
We pass a school.
On the front is a plaque that reads, “The Holokivka Primary High School,” and above it is a stone-carved image of an open book. The two pages say, “Study my brothers, think, read, learn about others, but never forsake your own.” Near the school, boys play war with wooden rifles. They chant “Glory,” and “Forward for Ukraine!” I have to constantly slow down my horse, Abrek, who is raring to go now that he has rested. I leave the village, and a truly enchanting landscape opens up in front of me.
The village has a normal peaceful atmosphere, but the young men walking down the road singing “Along the open steppe” are all armed. There are rifles, several have sabers and revolvers, and one is wearing an ancient saber in a silver casing.
My illness starts to make itself known. I go either hot or get the shivers. The road winds along a wide gully through the forest, and starts going up. After one of the turns I encounter a cart harnessed with a good pair of horses. The driver is a Cossack in a warm black zhupan coat, wearing a hat with a black top. Behind I see someone else similarly dressed, but he has a silver triangle on the sleeve of his black tunic.
Perhaps it’s the Ataman?
"...don’t pay attention if he’s less than courteous, that’s just his personality. In reality he’s a good soul."
“Glory to Ukraine!” the one in the cart stands up. “Going to the monastery?”
“I’m a Zhaporozhian cavalry officer, got sick during the march, I’m going to your place to recover.”
“Good idea! An extra saber won’t hurt, particularly an officer. My name is Ivan Kompaniyets, Lieutenant of the cavalry platoon.”
I tell him I have a letter for his Commander, and ask if he’s at the monastery.
“No, the Ataman lives in the village. I’ll be with him soon, and can deliver your letter. You go on to the monastery, where they will give you a warm room and everything you need. The surgeon’s assistant is also in the village, but there is a nun who is worth three doctors. You can ask my assistant, Andrew Chornota. But don’t pay attention if he’s less than courteous, that’s just his personality. In reality he’s a good soul. I’ll be back day after tomorrow or in a couple of days. Got an issue to take care of in Poberezia.”
As I talk with him, I can’t take my eyes off his face. It is classically beautiful, chiseled features, thick as if painted on eyebrows, sensuous black eyes that are kind and brave, and a beautifully shaped mouth. When he smiles, you feel as if a beautiful woman, with a pasted on joke mustache, is smiling at you. I give him the packet and go on. The road takes a sharp upward turn.
My new home is less than luxurious. The peeling walls haven’t been painted for ages. The only furniture is an army cot, or perhaps a nun’s bed, a table and chair, upon which all my goods are scattered: saber, dagger, two automatic pistols, a small German rifle, and two “Milsa” hand grenades.
After the nun leaves, a tall bear shouldered Cossack, wearing a Kuban sheepskin coat and a Tartar suede hat, with a full complement of silver cast Caucasian weaponry stuck in his belt, enters my cell.
I tell him I met Lt. Kompaniyets on my way and gave him my papers for the Ataman.
"Trenches upon trenches, graves on top of each other."
“I’ve gotten to like this region. As soon as you get better, we’ll take a ride around. I doubt there is a square foot of ground that has not been soaked with Cossack blood. Trenches upon trenches, graves on top of each other, and the populace is full of Cossack spirit, they’re not a mixed race, they are pure Ukrainians. They’re ready to gouge out your eyes for Ukraine, not like some I can mention, Podilya and Volinia.”
Next day brings many guests. The Lubinets officers, and Chornomorets. Also members of the Ukrainian Sitch Riflemen. They all want to know about the front, and partisan underground activities.
The fever finally disappears, and the swelling in my foot has also gone down and doesn’t bother me so much. I am eager to go see my horse Abrek, but my doctor won’t allow it. I ask Ivas, who is constantly admiring my weapons, to bring him to my window.
“Damn jerk, dammit! Devil’s doll! I told him that’s how it’s going to end!”
I see that my horse is clean and well fed. He is prancing about, dragging a small Cossack behind him.
In the evening Chornota comes in. He seems very upset when he sits next to me.
“Damn jerk, dammit! Devil’s doll! I told him that’s how it’s going to end!”
I assume he’s talking about Kompaniyets.
“Andrey, what’s happened?”
“What? Nothing! The jerk gets himself killed, that’s what! The crazy Cossack breaks loose, and the Kotsur guys from Chehrin catch up with him. Ivan loses his life worthlessly....’”
“Do you think Ukraine has many others such as Kompaniyets? What right does he have to lose his life for nothing!”
“I really loved him. What a guy he was, like an eagle! They took him to Melniki church. Tomorrow we will bury him here in the monastery. Probably the whole heaven of girls will shed an ocean of tears. They used to come to the monastery from all around to pray to his dark eyebrows!”
"Treating me in a friendly manner...... not as brutal with me as with some of the others..."
Next day Chornota and I decide to head out to Melniki. I put my injured foot into a small soft felt boot that Andrey has brought. He’s treating me in a friendly manner, he’s not as brutal with me as with some of the others. This mystery clears up when we go to saddle the horses.
"We both have acquired Muslim military ethics."
“When a man has good weapons and a good horse, then he’s a good man,” he declares without hesitation. We get close because we both started our military service in the Caucasian Cavalry under the leadership of Prince Khan Nakichevanski and Sultan Herey, and we both have acquired Muslim military ethics.
We come down from the mountain and let the bored horses go into a jog. His, a good Kherson breed, has difficulty keeping up with my hunch-nosed long legged Abrek, who was traded to me for two bullets from a Denikin Tartar near White Church.
"The village of Melniki is inundated with people who have gathered from all surrounding areas to attend Kompaniyet’s funeral."
The village of Melniki is inundated with people who have gathered from all surrounding areas to attend Kompaniyet’s funeral. There are close to ten thousand armed men. The women are mostly girls carrying towel wrapped pots as well as dried flower wreaths. The mood is somber. The men are huddled together hotly discussing some issue. We meet Ataman Vasyl Chuchupaka and his older brother Petro, who is the Chief of Staff, and with him are three brothers. The youngest is a young boy as tall as his rifle. A tall older man with a long beard is with them, carrying a well cleaned rifle with attached bayonet. He is Stepan Chuchupaka, the Ataman’s father.
Chornota introduces us.
The Ataman addresses him.
“Andrey, sometimes they listen to you better than me. We’ll all go to the church, you mingle with the people.” The general mood is that after burying Kompaniyets, we should advance on Chehrin, but that’s not a good idea. When we get involved with Kotsur, the Bolsheviks will give us a lot of trouble.
The crowd is thick on the way to the church, but the silent people make way for the Ataman.
"...open eyes reflect the candlelight and look as if they are alive.... expression is gentle.... undoubtedly fought back."
The High Price of Freedom: Kompaniyets is lying in a simple oak casket. His open eyes reflect the candlelight and look as if they are alive. His expression is gentle. A small black hole can be seen above his right eyebrow, entry of the bullet. His hands and face are covered with black marks, he undoubtedly fought back.
Even in death he is remarkably beautiful. “I’ll be back day after tomorrow.” I remember our meeting in the woods.
After a short service his body is carried out of the church on embroidered ritual towels. He is to be carried by hand to the monastery. There are is at least fifteen thousand people in the procession, strung out from out of the village through the woods. Armed men march in units, women and girls are separate.
"It’s curious that all these people are taking to heart the death of a total stranger..."
It’s curious that all these people are taking to heart the death of a total stranger, a vagabond who came here last year from the steppes of Kherson.
Chornota seems to guess my thoughts.
“Last year they were burying their own boys, a dozen killed a day, but none had a funeral like this. He is loved because he didn’t spare himself for the people. Being killed in battle is normal here.”
".......some ancient graves."
We overtake the procession and go into the monastery courtyard. The grieving detail is getting ready to receive their beloved jovial commander who is returning from an outing on the right bank. A deep “home” has been dug between two churches, among the giant trees, next to some ancient graves.
The monastery kitchen is busy preparing a memorial lunch. The procession enters the monastery courtyard and the open casket is lowered to the ground. The girls carrying the lid, see the grave and start to cry quietly. Chornota, standing next to us by the grave, is looking at his dead friend’s face and angrily rubbing his eyes with his fists.
“Oh son of the devil, devil’s son....”
“Oh son of the devil, devil’s son!” he sighs, and when the old monastery priest starts reading the requiem prayers, he begins to pray in deep concentration.
Chornota is a deeply spiritual person.
When thousands of voices sing the somber grand requiem hymn, “Vichnaya Pamyat” (Eternal Memory) one can hear deep sobbing coming from the girls. The closed casket is lowered into the grave, supported by the long “rushniki” (embroidered towels) that are tied together and which are thrown into the grave, along with the flower wreaths and girls’ scarves.
The Honor Guard is led by Josyp Orobko, the sharp barrage of thousands of rifle shots dull the strong voice and salutes of the garrison.
Three mines set out from a mortar explode heavily beyond the ramparts.
“When I die, bury me…” rings out the deep bass voice of an elderly villager standing in the front row, leaning on his rifle. The mighty song rings out and spreads itself above the treetops, echoing in the meadows.
“Bury me and stand up. Break your shackles! And with the evil enemy blood sanctify your freedom!”
“Bury me and stand up. Break your shackles! And with the evil enemy blood sanctify your freedom!”
At the end of the song the crowd chants angrily and they shout, “Let’s go to Chehrin! How long can we take this? Death to the Kotsurs!”
The Ataman climbs onto a bench near the grave and lifts his hand, holding a rifle. The noise subsides.
“Brothers, countrymen! The enemy has taken from us one of our best fighters, but don’t succumb to the temptation of a just revenge. Let the memory of Ivan Kompaniyets live in our hearts forever. Let the dead stay buried, and the living live. Ukraine has suffered many tragedies and destruction because her sons were fighting amongst themselves at a time when foreign enemies approached from outside.”
"Our villagers are tearing off their blinders and.... will fight to regain what was so foolishly lost.
“The Hetman’s former capitol, where you are thinking of marching, can tell you some stories about that. Now a dangerous enemy has moved into Ukraine, is plundering and destroying our land, and thousands of people are being killed. But our villagers are tearing off their blinders and Ukraine will fight to regain what was so foolishly lost. We can only win by striking in a coordinated unity.”
“The Kotsur organization will perish because it doesn’t have a ground to stand on. The villages of Subotiv and Stetsivka will join us as soon as they rid themselves of the unwanted influence, and they see this is the only path to survival. There is no point in fighting them while they are still blind, that will only give the enemy reason to rejoice. Go back to your homes! Take care, and get your weapons ready. Be ready to join the Black Flag of Cold Canyon to protect your rights and those of Ukraine! It’s our job to regain former glory and well being.”
A loud and mighty cheer of “slava” (glory) sounds for a long time. When the crowd gets quiet again, the sound transcends and reverberates through the meadows.
“A-a-a-a! ” the long echo reverberates from afar.
Chornota turns to me with mystical seriousness, “Cold Canyon is speaking.”
Editor’s Note: Twenty-six years later, at the close of World War II, Yuri Horlis-Horsky sought shelter with his wife, Halya, at the Displaced Persons (DP) Camp at Ulm, Germany. The Soviets sent a list (http://labas.livejournal.com/941507.html), 12 Nov 1945, to U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower demanding Yuri (#38 on the list of 153) be ‘returned’ to the Russians. Yuri tragically disappeared just after visiting his newborn daughter, Larissa, then just 2 days old in the hospital. She was his only child.
- VIEW Ed.
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