Mykola Horbal

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Mykola Andriyovych Horbal (Ukrainian: Микола Андрійович Горбаль; born September 10, 1940) is a well-known Ukrainian dissident, human right activists, member of parliament of Ukraine, poet, and member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group

Early life

Mykola Horbal was born on September 10, 1940, in the village of Volovets in Ukrainian region of Lemkivshchyna (Gorlice municipality, Kraków woiwodship - now Poland). In 1947, his family was moved to Ukraine, and they settled in the village of Letyache (Ternopil oblast).

From 1963 to 1970, Horbal worked as a music teacher. During this period, he first started creating poetry.

First Arrest

On November 24, 1970, Horbal was arrested by the KGB and charged with Anti Soviet Agitation and Propaganda. He was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and 2 years exile in Siberia.[1]

Second Arrest

On release from prison and return to Ukraine, Horbal settled in Kiev, where he joined the Ukrainian Helsinki Group which had formed in 1976. All of the members of the group were arrested, and on October 23, 1979, Horbal was arrested and sentenced to 5 years hard labour.[1]

Third Arrest

In 1984, having completed the 5-year term, Horbal was not released from incarceration, but was immediately sentenced to another term of 8 years of hard labour and 3 years in exile. However, this sentence was terminated in 1988 during the Perestroika.

Political career

Upon release, Horbal immediately became active in Ukrainian politics. He served as a representative to the Kiev City Council from 1990 to 1994.

He has served as a member of Parliament of Ukraine from 1994 till 1998.[2]


Horbal's works were first published outside of Ukraine. The first collection of his work was published in the USA in 1983. His first collection was entitled "Details of a Noisy Alarmclock" (Ukrainian: Деталі Піщаного Годинника), and the second publication was of poetry for children, a collection entitled "A Song for Little Andrew" (Ukrainian: Коломийка Для Андрійка).

In 1986, a collection of his poetry was translated into German, and published in the collection "Here the End is Awaited" (Ukrainian: Тут Чекають Кінця).

In 1992, Horbal was awarded the prestigious Vasyl Stus Prize for poetry.[1]

State awards