Roman Kupchinsky, Writer And Activist For Ukrainian Independence, Dies

ARLINGTON, Virginia -- Roman Kupchinsky, who founded and headed Radio Free Liberty/Radio Europe’s Ukrainian bureau in Kiev and became an international expert on corruption and energy issues in the former Soviet Union, died on Jan. 19 after battling cancer. He was 66.

Roman Kupchinsky

Born on Nov. 1, 1944, in Vienna, Austria, Kupchinsky was decorated with a Purple Heart for his heroic service in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. He headed RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Bureau from 1990 – 2002. He also edited RFE/RL’s Organized Crime and Corruption Watch and served as a senior analyst for the organization from 2002-2008.

More recently, the resident of Arlington, Virginia, served as a partner for AZEast Group, a consultant on Eurasian issues.

Kupchinsky wrote extensively about corruption in Ukraine and authored numerous investigative articles about government corruption and shady natural gas deals since Ukraine gained independence in 1991.

He contributed articles to a variety of publications, including the Kyiv Post. One of his last articles appeared Jan. 4 on the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Monitor website.

“Roman Kupchinsky devoted virtually his entire life to the cause of Ukraine's independence and democracy,” Adrian Karatnycky, senior fellow for the U.S.-based Atlantic Council and former head of Freedom House. “After serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam in the late 1960s, he returned to the US and energetically engaged himself in the cause of Ukraine's freedom.”

"Roman Kupchinsky is no more….But his contribution to the rebirth of a movement for Ukrainian statehood remains a lasting legacy." he added. In the 1970s, Kupchinsky was an active leader of the Committee for the Defense of Soviet Political Prisoners, mobilizing eminent Americans and Europeans in behalf of Ukrainian, Baltic, Jewish, and Russian dissidents serving long terms in forced labor for their defense of human rights.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Committee was the key liaison with the Ukrainian Helsinki Monitoring Group. Kupchinsky worked closely with Tatyana Yankelevych, step daughter of the late Russian dissident, Andrei Sakharov, and his widow, Elena Bonner, among other democratic activists.

Colleagues have praised Kupchinsky for his strong dedication and the impact his work brought. They also said he will be remembered and dearly missed for his sense of humour. Upon learning of his terminal disease, Kupchinsky said he was not certain where he was heading, but promised to make contact, letting friends know where he ended up.

Kupchinsky is survived by a son, Markian Kupchinsky. Funeral services are pending. Burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery with military honors.

Source: Kyiv Post


Nicholas said…

You will be remembered for your unselfish and highly professional work on behalf of the country, you loved so much - Ukraine.

I will especially remember you for your wonderful sense of humour and the all the times we spent together.

May you rest in peace... You will be missed dear friend...