Evhen Batchinsky was born in 1885 in Katerynoslav (later Dnipropetrovsk, now Dnipro) in the Russian Empire. Born into the szlachta, or a legally privileged noble class, Batchinsky attended a military cadet school in Oryol, Russia and the artillery academy in St. Petersburg before serving in the Tsarist army as an artillery lieutenant. He was among the officers with revolutionary aims in the period 1905-1907, advocating for the institution of a constitutional monarchy and federalization of the empire. For this, Batchinsky was arrested and released from military service, serving 10 months in prison before fleeing to France where he lived from 1908 until 1914. Batchinsky traveled briefly to Bukovyna (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) in 1910, where he was arrested and spent three months in jail for agitating for the creation of a Ukrainian university in Lviv. From that point onward, he was under the surveillance of Romanian, Hungarian and Soviet state security services. He then returned to France, before moving to Geneva in 1914, when he also began studying socioeconomics at Lausanne University.
From 1915 to 1917, he was a representative of the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine (Soyuz vyzvolennia Ukrainy) in Switzerland and was editor of La Revue ukrainienne, an official publication of this organization. In 1918, he was made temporary consul of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR) diplomatic mission in Switzerland, participating in various diplomatic and political activities. From 1919 to 1922, Batchinsky served as general secretary of the Chambre de Commerce Ukraino-Suisse in Geneva founded by Pavlo Chyzhevsky, an emissary of the Ukrainian National Republic, and was editor of its publication, Vistnyk (The Herald). During the interwar period he continued his journalistic activities, and was an accredited journalist to the League of Nations for several Ukrainian newspapers.
In 1939, Batchinsky founded the Central Aid Committee of the Ukrainian Red Cross in Exile, and was its director until 1950, when it was disbanded. Though not officially recognized by the International Red Cross and severely lacking in resources, this organization helped a large number of Ukrainian refugees during and immediately after World War II with advice, documents, and occasional material assistance. Documents Batchinsky prepared helped save a number of Ukrainian refugees from forced repatriation to the Soviet Union. At least three large boxes of materials relating to the Ukrainian Red Cross and the Prisoner of War Post remain at the Ukrainian Museum-Archives in Cleveland.
Alongside his diplomatic and humanitarian activities, Batchinsky avidly collected documentation from this period, amassing a collection that totals 115 linear meters, including 67 meters of manuscripts and other papers and about fifteen hundred serial and monographic publications. As indicated in the finding aid prepared by Carleton University, he acquired these materials in various ways. Some were encountered in his day-to-day administrative functions and preserved organically, while in other cases he sought out personal papers of notable diplomats and representatives of the UNR’s government-in-exile. Evhen sent some of these materials to his brother Leonid Bachynsky in Cleveland, Ohio from the 1950s to the 1970s. Though Carleton acquired most of these surviving materials in 1982, which amounted to one-third of the reunited Evhen Batchinsky Collection, some items remain part of the UMA’s holdings.
- Dnipro, Ukraine
- Kulick, Orysia Maria