HISTORY OF THE DEFENCE ASSOCIATION OF UKRAINE

On the flag of our sky

And gold of bread chains,

Raspberry flag of glorious ancestors

And their sons’ achievements shine

The public-patriotic and sport-technical association of citizens with its motto: “We educate the patriots of Ukraine!”, has confidently marched under the mentioned above flag for the 4th century already.

The association dates back to March, 1923, when the Aviation and Aeronautics Association of  Friends of Ukraine started its activity. Due to the Association’s initiative Ukrainian labourers raised money for the construction of several dozen aircrafts and thus started the domestic aircraft industry. Later existed Voluntary Society of Friends of Chemical Defence and Chemical Industry (VSFCDCI/DOBROHIM), Voluntary Society of Friends of Aviation and Chemical Defence and Industry (VSFACDI/AEROHIM) and, finally, well-known, thanks to history and stories shared by the people of elder generation, Society for the Promotion of Defence, Aviation and Chemical Engineering (SPDACE/TSOAVIAHIM). It was difficult to overestimate the Society’s contribution to the defeat of fascist attacks. Only some facts will be provided further. For the first three months of the War, the Society for the Promotion of Defence, Aviation and Chemical Engineering (SPDACE/TSOAVIAHIM) trained approximately 30 000 shooters, a thousand of automatic rifleman, 220 mortar men, 264 rifle men, 1217 sapper mining specialists only in Poltava region. By the beginning of August Ukrainian Aerclubs taught and handed over to the People’s Commissariat  of Defense 677 pilots and continued teaching additional 1233 cadets. More than 1,5 million fighters of the combat battalions and people’s militias were trained in Ukraine for a short period of time, and students of the Defence Association were their basis. Putivl activists led by the head of the district Council of the Society for the Promotion of Defence, Aviation and Chemical Engineering (SPDACE/TSOAVIAHIM) Rudniev organized a squad that turned into a powerful partisan union of Sidor Kovpak. Honorable task on liberated territories by the Society’s members was to demine the Motherland. During 1943-1945 almost 7000 people (70% of the number comprised children) were hit by mines and shells. Saving the lives of thousands of people, 264 voluntary mining specialists were killed.

Thousands and thousands of brave sons and daughters of Ukraine, pupils of the Defence Association, joined the army. They received high governmental awards for their courage on the battlefields.  Unfortunately, many were awarded after deaths. Around the globe names of a sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko from Bila Tserkva, a machine gun Nina Onilova from Odessa, a medic Nina Gnilytska from Kharkiv, a marine Grogory Kuropiatnikov from Luhansk and many other heroes of the native land are well known. Our pilots gained immortal glory.  More than 80 pupils of Ukrainian Aeroclub became heroes of the Soviet Union, 9 of them — twice, and Ivan Kozhedub, who first flew in Shostka Aeroclub, received the highest award three times. This list contains a great number of our countrymen – Nadiya Popova, Valentina Gryzodubova, Maria Dolina.

 In Autumn 1951 after several reorganizations, the Voluntary Society for the Promotion of the Army, Aviation and Navy (VSPAAN/DTSAAF) was established. The republican organization did many good actions: either military-patriotic education of youth, or development of technical kinds of sports, training of future soldiers from military, military-technical, aviation and military-marine specialities. The athletes of the Ukrainian Society competed successfully at All-Union competitions and confidently stepped into  the international competition arena. In 1954, 33 world records were set  in aviation sport, 17 belonged to the Ukrainian sportsmen. From 1958 to 1961, Ukrainian athletes set 17 world, 67 All-Union and 152 republican records. People admired technical sports in many Associations of cities and villages of the Republic, they became a vital necessity for youth.

After the Ukrainian parliament declared Ukraine as an independent democratic state, the issue of the future existence of the republican organization the Voluntary Society for the Promotion of the Army, Aviation and Navy (VSPAAN/DTSAAF) arose.

On September 26 in 1991, a decision on reorganization of the mentioned above Society into the Defence Association of Ukraine (DSU) was made at its 7th extraordinary congress. A confirmed Statute stated that the DAU is the legal successor of the Republic Voluntary Society for the Promotion of the Army, Aviation and Navy (VSPAAN/DTSAAF), an all-Ukrainian public organization. According to the Law of Ukraine «On the Association of citizens», the DA of Ukraine registered on October 10, 1991 by the Ministry of Justice as the All-Ukrainian public defense-patriotic organization of citizens. Its goal is to promote the defence and train its members for work and Motherland protection.

A quarter of a century has passed since that day, many changes have taken place both in our independent country and in its Defence Society. Despite the extremely difficult political and economic situation in our country, we have been able to stand, maintain our basic structure, basic material and personnel potential and continue fulfilling the statutory tasks. The most important is that we have preserved our main heritage – thousands of dedicated professionals: managers of organizations, teachers and masters of production training, trainers and instructors. We have preserved the staff to which most of these people devoted all their conscious lives!

One of the main tasks of the Defence Association is training conscripts on military technical specialists, participation in educational activities and training of personnel of mass technical professions according to the legislation of Ukraine. This work direction is not only the fulfillment of statutory tasks for us, but also the main component of the economic-settlement activity.  After all, we do not receive any preferences from the state and all our statutory obligations are fulfilled by the payment for the activity.

The figures show how we worked, having gained a new status in an independent country. During these 25 years our educational institutions have prepared 6 million people for 34 working professions! And 82% of them are drivers of vehicles of all categories. This comprises 37% of the total number of drivers who have received driver certificates during the years of Independence. That is practically every third Ukrainian driver studied in driving schools and the Defence Association of Ukraine Strijsk Sports and Technical Club. In five higher educational institutions of the Association, and these 4 colleges and technical schools, 2430 young people in five specialties received incomplete higher education with educational-qualification level «junior specialist». The heads of educational institutions pay much attention to taking the educational process to the modern level – multimedia educational systems, computer equipment, and certified educational programs are actively introduced.

We have successfully executed the training program for specialists for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The military received more than half a million conscripts, who passed training programs on military specialties. In 2008, the training program for the army was terminated in the absence of a state order from the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Nevertheless we have all the opportunities and desires to resume this work immediately. During 70 days after receiving the state order, educational institutions of the  DA of Ukraine are able to prepare more than 20 thousand drivers of trucks, for 90 days – 10 thousand drivers-mechanics of armored vehicles.  We can also prepare military technicians and drivers for dangerous cargo transportation. The DA airclubs can provide basic training for 300 pilots, almost 4 thousand airborne marines, 400 pilot-operators of the pilotless aircraft. Developed techniques for training diving scouts, artillery fire spotter sappers, snipers, military radio technicians and sanitary technicians also exist. The Defence Association is eligible and has real opportunities to involve military instructors from NATO allied member states to train cadets. The training will take place in all regions of Ukraine with no exception.

It is worth mentioning that conscript training for military specialties in educational institutions of the Defence Association of Ukraine is much cheaper than the corresponding training of a boy drafted and separated from his family and a workplace. Such a boy needs clothes, a place in a military barrack, food, etc.  Besides, the graduate comes to military service not just as driver or, for example, a signalman, but already prepared enough warrior, as the training program also includes military statutes learning, drill training, basics of tactical discipline, etc.

Appropriate vehicles are also needed to train drivers successfully. During Independence years educational institutions have bought 6070 training vehicles units, including 3541 cars. Every day 5270 units of own automotive vehicles and special machinery including 2369 cars, 880 trucks of different purposes, 607 road motorcycles, 269 scooters and mopeds can be involved in training routes.

The Association conducts multifaceted voluntary activities. Only in 2014-15, anti terrorist operation fighters received financial assistance for almost 9 million UAH (including military charge 3.174.309 UAH). The rest, which is about 6 million UAH, comprise own funds from economic activity of organizations, charge one day monthly fee to employees, collected and involved charitable funds. Only Poltava itself attracted and fully engaged 2 million 52 thousand UAH received from philanthropists.

The funds allocation was decided directly in regions, taking into account needs and applications of military units and conscription offices. We receive a great amount of information about urgent needs of operating departments  from our volunteers, who directly communicate with warriors on the front line and deliver necessary things there with their vehicles. These are: financial support to injured fighters and families of killed soldiers, purchase of medical equipment and medicines for hospitals, transportation services for personnel rotation, fund support for volunteers and individuals for purchase bullet proof vests and other accouterments, provision of humanitarian assistance such as warm things, food, tools and equipment to operating units.

Considerable funds were allocated to pay instructors. They prepared boys who had to join the army and providex them with necessary conditions. On behalf of the Ministry of Defense, 297 trucks, cars and special vehicles, group «A» trailers were repaired at the Association’s own expense and transferred to military units. Our educational institutions transfer spare parts and petrol, oil lubricants to forces, which are also purchased at Association’s own expense.

We do not forget about those who have already returned from the front, try to employ them in our organizations or to involve in a military-patriotic work on public principles. Initiative on driving lessons, financed by educational institutions, former warriors and their families got wide support. Only in Vinnytsia regional association 49 people received driver’s licence.

One of the main statutory tasks of the Association is a development of sport engineering and applied types of sports. The Defence Association of Ukraine (DAU) organizations cultivate twenty-one types of sports. Sport-technical, aviation sport oriented organizations, swimming pools, water-sports bases, shooting galleries, children’s and youth sports and technical schools work there. Annually 10 thousand competitions of different levels including international ones took place where more than 240 thousand participants participated.

For 25 years of existence of the Defence Association on the arena of the World Competitions, Championships and World and Europe Cups our sportsmen have won 4138 medals, 1438 of which are gold and 1504 silver. This means that 1438 times the hymn of Ukraine sounded in honor of our sports men and the state flag was raised out on sports grounds of the highest level!  The whole world knows the sports achievements of our radio sportsmen, divers, ship-modelers, all-marines, motorcyclists, representatives of aircraft models and rocket science types of sports. During this period of time 1618 masters of sports, 384 masters of sports of the international class and 41 honored masters of sports of Ukraine were prepared. 22 young people educators are awarded with the high title Honored Coach of Ukraine. For the last 10 years only, the Association spent 9 million 837 thousand 200 UAH for sports development. That is about one million annually!

DAU aviation is our pride. There are 2 aeroclubs, 7 aviation oriented sports clubs and 6 aeronautical engineering sports clubs in the DAU system for the time being. Aviation organizations carry out their work on 20 certified aerodromes and landing sites. More than 287 thousand hours of training flights in aircrafts, gliders and helicopters were exercised, and almost 800 thousand parachute jumps were performed during the Independence years. Together with correspondence sports Federations we annually hold more than 50 championships, Ukrainian Cups and international competitions in aeronautical sports, as well as many regional scale competitions.  Sportsmen participate in many international competitions. 35 masters of sports of Ukraine in aircraft, 28 in parachute and 24 in glide sports have been trained during the years of independence. Two pilots, 31 parachuters and two gliders became masters of sports of Ukraine at international level.

From 2003 to 2009, 349 cadets of Ivan Kozhedub Kharkiv Air Force University of Ukraine were trained in aviation organizations of the DAU. The total number of flight hours reached 6808. It is worth mentioning that initial training of cadets in the DAU system on our piston planes costed the state almost 10 times cheaper than on jet planes L-39.

In 2013 we won a tender and resumed the budget program execution «Cadet training for flight specialties by the Kharkiv Aeroclub of the Defense Association of Ukraine for the Armed Forces of Ukraine». The fourth group of second year study cadets has finished a flight practice wherein fly on domestic planes KhAZ-30. These aircrafts stand out in their extraordinary thrift and reliability in operation. The resumption of training for helicopter cadets is also currently under consideration.

The DAU materials and technical base was created at the expense of the republican property organization of the VSPAAN (DTSAAF) , which was attributed to the DAU property on the basis of Article 20 of the Law of Ukraine «On ownership.  The title of property of the Association is confirmed by respective Certificates.  All the property  subjected to central bodies subordination of the USSR VSPAAN (DTSAAF) and located in Ukrainian territory is transferred to the state in accordance with the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 72 dates back 30.01.1993.

All these years we have not received any financial support from the state. We pay taxes on general terms. Each year, the Defence Association of Ukraine pays a consolidated tax of about 115 million UAH to the state treasury. Since 2015, the situation has been complicated by the introduction of real estate tax and the increase of land tax. More than 5 thousand employees of the Society are forced to make incredible efforts to preserve the organization and its assets.

For the last five years, the cost for maintaining buildings and facilities estimated 413 211,75 UAH. That is more than 80 million a year!  And «revenues» from the premises lease have never exceeded 10% of the total gross profit.  And those funds, according to the Regulation,

should be spent only for buildings maintenance the majority of which are 60 years old and older. We are always ready to use our property together with state institutions, we give them numerous proposals. And we work…

One of the main statutory tasks is the patriotic education of the members of the Association. After the collapse of the Soviet Union with its powerful system of ideological education of citizens this issue was completely neglected. The absence of an integral state program of national-patriotic education for the young generation for more than two decades affected the majority of young people.

That is why the initiative was farely completely overtaken by public organizations and parties. The Defense Association of Ukraine took the leading position, the second point of its statutory tasks is «patriotic education of its organization members, propaganda among the population of the Constitution and the Laws of Ukraine on the Motherland protection». We conduct monthly based military-patriotic work twice a year, dedicated to the Motherland Defence Day and Victory Day in the Second World War. Citizens of all cities and villages take part in the events without exaggeration. Every year car racers form crews for participation in motor rallies in places of fame in Ukraine. The defenders actively cooperate with local education departments in preparation and conducting all stages of the All-Ukrainian military-patriotic game «Soqil (Dzhura)».

Despite the objective and subjective difficulties of today, the Defense Association of Ukraine clearly sees its public purpose, its role in the organization of youth education, its preparation for self-directed work and protection of independent Ukraine!

On December 7, 2016, the participants unanimously approved the new version of the DAU Statute during extraordinary XIV congress, which was brought into line with the requirements of the Law of Ukraine «On public association» , which came into force on January 1, 2013.

On October 26, 2017, the Board members satisfied Timchenko Viktor Mikolajovich application about his dismissal from the position of the Head of the Association and elected Serhiy Mefodiyovych, first Deputy Chairman of the Rivne Regional Organization, as the Defence Association of Ukraine (DAU).

On July 23, 2020 the Association General Congress took place where the reports of the Board and the Audit Commission were listened to and appropriate decisions were made. The Congress delegates discussed and approved amendments to the Statute and elected a new Board and audit committee. The Board members elected Serhiy Koshyn as the Society Head for the next term till 2024.