Yesterday 137 years have passed since the birth of Peter Bolbochan, an outstanding fighter for the freedom of Ukraine, a brilliant military leader, liberator of the Crimea, Left Bank and Slobozhanshchyna. His figure occupies a special place among the heroes of the first liberation struggle.
The future liberator of the Crimea was born in the Khotyn region on October 5, 1883. The son of a priest from Bessarabia chose the path of a warrior in his youth. It is noteworthy that, having entered the Chuguiv Military School, Petro Bolbochan founded a Ukrainian circle in the imperial school. Even then he was an ardent patriot of Ukraine. Shortly after receiving his military education, Petro Bolbochan gained his first combat experience on the fronts of the First World War. Thanks to the courage, bravery and skill of the commander, Petro Bolbochan rose to the rank of captain, receiving a number of high military awards.
After the outbreak of the Ukrainian Revolution, the talented officer was finally given the opportunity to use his abilities for the benefit of the Motherland. He actively participated in the Ukrainization of imperial units. At the beginning of 1918, Petro Bolbochan headed the second volunteer unit in Zaporizhia, which successfully opposed the Bolshevik rebels in Kyiv. The unit became one of the most capable of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, playing an important role in the further organization of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
In March-April 1918, Petro Bolbochan’s Cossacks liberated Kyiv, Poltava, Kharkiv, Melitopol, and the Crimea from the Moscow-Bolshevik occupiers. It was a colossal contribution to the victory of the UPR in the first war against the Red Army. It is natural that during the successful operations the Zaporizhzhya Bolbochan Regiment turned into the Zaporizhzhya Division. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian triumph of 1918 still remains a little-known page in history.
Petro Bolbochan repeatedly clashed with the left leadership of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, which felt fear of strong personalities. The life of a brilliant military leader ended tragically. In June 1919, the colonel was unjustifiably shot.
A natural warrior, aristocrat of spirit and ardent patriot of Ukraine Petro Bolbochan forever inscribed his name in our history in golden letters. For us, he is an example of a true statesman who has dedicated himself to the Motherland. It is gratifying that in recent years the Ukrainian patriotic community has managed to raise the forgotten name of Petro Bolbochan to a proper level of respect.