Volodymyr Zatonsky

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Volodymyr Zatonsky
Володи́мир Петрович Зато́нський
Zatonskij Volodymyr.jpg
Chairman of TsVK
In office
March 19, 1918 – April 18, 1918
Preceded by Yukhym Medvedev
Succeeded by reorganized as Uprising Nine
Secretary of Education
In office
December 30, 1917 – April 18, 1918
Prime Minister Mykola Skrypnyk
Preceded by position created
Succeeded by Himself
(as Narkom of Education)
Narkom of Education
In office
November 28, 1918 – ?
Prime Minister Heorhiy Pyatakov
Christian Rakovsky
Preceded by Himself
(as Secreatary of Education)
Succeeded by ?
Chairman of Halych Revkom
In office
July 8, 1920 – September 21, 1920
Preceded by position introduced
Succeeded by position disbanded
Personal details
Born (1888-07-27)July 27, 1888
Lysets, Podolia Governorate, Russian Empire
Died July 29, 1938(1938-07-29) (aged 50)
Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Ukrainian
Spouse(s) Olena Samiylivna Raskina
Children Dmytro
Alma mater Kiev University
Volodymyr Zatonsky

Volodymyr Zatonsky (Ukrainian: Володи́мир Зато́нський; Russian: Затонский, Владимир Петрович Vladimir Petrovich Zatonsky ) (July 27, 1888–July 29, 1938) was a Soviet politician, Communist Party activist, member of the Ukrainian SSR Academy of Sciences (since 1929).

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

He joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) party, faction of Mensheviks, in 1905. In March 1917 he joined Bolsheviks as the member of the Kiev Committee, later joining the Kiev 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 Kiev. Zatonsky participated in the fight against the Central Rada. When the Red Army took over Kiev in 1918 after the January Uprising, Zatonsky recalled that he only narrowly escaped execution as a counterrevolutionary when only the Lenin's mandate saved his life.[1] In 1918 while being the Narkom of the People's Education, he personally by Lenin was offered a position of a representative of the Soviet Ukrainian People's Republic in Russian SFSR. In 1918 he was Chairman of All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee as well as the Head of the Ukrainian delegation from the Soviet Ukrainian People's Republic for the Brest-Litovsky Peace Conference. Together with Mykola Skrypnyk protested Joseph Stalin's proclamation that it is enough for Ukraine to play the government and the independent republic. In July 1918 was a commissar of a strike force against the Left Socialist-Revolutionary rebellion in Moscow. In 1920 he was chairman of Galrevkom. As the Narkom of the People's Education he made everything in his power to shut down the Kamyanets-Podilsky State University as the concentration of the counter-revolutionary forces of Symon Petliura. In 1921 he received the Order of the Red Banner for the suppression of the Kronshtadt mutiny. Afterwards he held various governmental and Party positions in Ukrainian SSR. In 1922 he was one of the persons who signed the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic as the representative of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic. In September 1933 Zatonsky was appointed the 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 the 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 finally rehabilitated posthumously.


  1. Budivnytstvo Radianskoyi Ukrainy (Kharkiv: 1928)
Preceded by
Mykola Khvylovy
Director of Chervony Shliach
Succeeded by