Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) [Організація Українських Націоналістів] – an underground organisation whose goal was the establishment of an independent Ukrainian state.
The OUN was founded in 1929 in Vienna through the merger of a number of nationalist organisations active in the western Ukrainian territories under Polish rule, and in Czechoslovakia and other European countries. The organisation was led by the Leadership of Ukrainian Nationalists (Provid Ukrainskykh Natsionalistiv, or PUN), whose members lived mostly outside Ukraine. Activities in Western Ukraine were directed by the Western Ukrainian Territorial Executive.
As part of efforts to gain international support for the Ukrainian independence cause, Eugene Lachowitch was appointed by the PUN to act as the OUN representative in the UK, and was based in London from 1933 to 1935. Lachowitch was succeeded by Stephen Davidovich who arrived in London in 1938 and established the Ukrainian National Information Service, which he ran until 1941.
After the outbreak of the Second World War, differences with respect to strategy emerged between the PUN, headed from 1938 by Andrii Melnyk, and leading pre-war members of the OUN in Western Ukraine, of whom the most prominent was Stepan Bandera. Consequently, in 1940-1941 the OUN split into two organisations, headed by Bandera and Melnyk, which became popularly known as the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (Banderivtsi), or OUN(B), and the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (Melnykivtsi), or OUN(M). After the end of the war a conflict arose within the OUN(B) outside Ukraine, which resulted, in 1954-1956, in the formation of a separate Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists Abroad (OUN za kordonom, or OUNz).
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