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Oleksa Dovbush (Ukrainian: Олекса Довбуш) (*1700, Pechenizhyn Kolomyia— † August 24, 1745) was a famous Ukrainian outlaw, leader of opryshky, who became a folk hero, often compared to Robin Hood.[1]



Oleksa was born in the Hutsul village of Pechenizhyn in the Carpathian Mountains in the early 1700s. He became the leader of his own band that consisted of almost 50 members (leheni). He acted as a protection to the Ukrainian population in the region. There are few or almost no written references left of him and his activities.

The few legends that still survived in Prykarpattia portray him as a local hero who robbed the rich and helped the poor serfs, like the mythical Robin Hood. His residence is believed to be located near the city of Bolekhiv in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast. It's the rock complex that is called the Rock of Dovbush which was nominated as the seven historical and seven natural wonders of Ukraine. The Dovbush deeds became so admired that the tales of his acts spread beyond the Hutsul region to the neighboring Pokuttia and Podillya regions of western Ukraine. His portraits were sold at local market places. He was feared by Polish szlachta (landowning nobility). Once, a military expedition of 2000 soldiers, headed by Polish magnate J. Potocki, was sent to stop his activities. Nonetheless, he could be captured until the time when he was deceived by either his mistress or a girlfriend, Dzvinka. One legend states that Dzvinka in a fit of jealousy betrayed him to his enemies, another says that her husband told of whereabouts of Oleksa.

He was eventually captured in 1745 in town of Kosmach (Kosmacz) and executed.


After his death his legacy was extended by several of his companions and/or people that idolized him: Ivan Bayurak (a memorial plate is erected in Ivano-Frankivsk that mentions of his execution), Maksym Karmeliuk, and many others.

His legend entered Ukrainian folklore, and was the subject of various artistic works, by, among others, the writers Ivan Franko and Yuri Fedkovych. A film was made about him, and there are streets and locations named after him.

See also


  1. ^ Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, Toronto Press, 2000, ISBN 0802083900, p.192


Further reading

  • See references cited by Paul R. Magocsi in Galicia: A Historical Survey and Bibliographic GuideUniversity of Toronto Press, 1983, ISBN 0802024823, , p.91


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