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This webpage reproduces a section of

Survey of Ukrainian Historiography
By Dmytro Doroshenko

published by
The Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences
in the U. S., Inc.,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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 p76  Istoria Rusov

The date and author­ship of Istoria Rusov are among the most controversial topics in Ukrainian historical science. According to Lazarevsky the manuscript of the Istoria Rusov was found in the following manner. Around 1828, while cataloguing the library in Hrynev in the Starodub District, which had been inherited by Prince Golitsyn from Prince Lobanov-Rostovsky, who had previously inherited it from Count Bezborod'ko, Laykevych and Hamaliya, members of the Starodub court, found a manuscript which they gave to the Marshal of the Chernihiv Province, Stepan Shyray, who made a copy of it. On the basis of this copy several other copies were made by Starodub land­owners. [. . .] Shyray sent one copy to D. Bantysh-Kamensky, so that he could use it for the second edition of his Istoriya Maloi Rossii (The History of Little Russia), 1830. M. Maksymovych already knew of it in 1829 and reported that "in 1830 Istoriya Rusov was being circulated in several copies." In spite of its considerable size, the manuscript was copied many times and was read with interest by the Ukrainian public. Some copies of it reached Byelorussia and Russia.51

 p77  The manuscript was not signed, but it was possible to learn about its alleged author from the preface which gave the following account of the genesis of the work:

That celebrated and learned representative of the Little Russian gentry, Mr. Poletyka, setting out as a deputy to the great Imperial Commission for the drafting of a new code, found it necessary to seek out his native history. On this account he approached his former teacher, the Byelorussian Archbishop George Konysky, rector of the Kiev Academy. Thereupon this bishop communicated unto Mr. Poletyka this chronicle or history, assuring him that it was written in very early times in the Mohyliv cathedral by learned men who, for documentation, consulted scholars from the Kiev Academy and several famous Little Russian monasteries, and especially those in which Yuri Khmelnytsky, the former Little Russian Hetman, lived as a monk, for he left to them many papers of his father, Hetman Zynoviy52 Khmelnytsky, and those very journals of memorable national events which were newly checked and corrected. Mr. Poletyka compared this history with several other Little Russian chronicles and found it to be the best of them all, and used it during the proceedings of the Commission. This history being the work of so many authorities ought to be authentic.

According to this preface, therefore, the author of the Istoriya Rusov was the Archbishop of Byelorussia, George Konysky (1718-1795). The history first became known under his name and was also published by O. Bodyansky in Chtenya Obshchestva istorii i drevnostei rossiiskikh (Moscow, 1846), and also separately. However, it was early admitted that its tone and historical views could hardly be attributed to an Orthodox bishop.

The Russian poet, Pushkin, who thought very highly of the Istoriya Rusov and devoted a special article to it in his Sovremennik (The Contemporary) where he also reprinted two extracts from this history,53 called its author "a Little Russian Titus Livy," and "a great artist." At the same time Pushkin expressed doubts about Konysky's author­ship and remarked that in the author "the heart of a noble beats under the monk's cassock."  p78 Maksymovych was even more sceptical when he wrote this to the editor, Bodyansky, in 1870:

Would it not be advisable to learn where is the copy of Istoriya Rusov which Bantysh-Kamensky received from Stepan Shyray and which gave rise to the popularity of this remarkable work? My talks with Sudiyenko54 and attempts to penetrate the correspondence of the deputy from Lubny, Poletyka, have not solved the problem. I should very much like to discover the name of the talented anonymous author of that factually incorrect but highly artistic embellishment of Little Russian history. I am so much convinced that not Konysky but someone still alive in the first quarter of the nineteenth century is its author that I am ready to dispute your objections.55

Yet many decades passed before Maksymovych's conjecture that the real author of the Istoriya Rusov should be sought in connection with the name of the Lubny deputy, Poletyka, was strengthened by the evidence uncovered by Lazarevsky in the correspondence of Poletyka.

Excerpts from this correspondence were published by Lazarevsky in Kievskaya Starina (1891, IV) under the title "Otryvki iz semeinago arkhiva Poletik" (Excerpts from the Family Archives of the Poletykas). On the basis of this correspondence Lazarevsky advanced the theory that Hryhoriy Poletyka himself was the author of Istoriya Rusov ("Dogadka ob avtore Istorii Rusov," A Conjecture as to the Author of the Istoriya Rusov, Kievskaya Starina, 1891, IV). Later he confirmed this supposition and the entire correspondence of Hryhoriy Poletyka ("Chastnaya perepiska G. A. Poletiki 1750‑1784," Private Correspondence of H. A. Poletyka) was published in Kievskaya Starina and edited by O. Lazarevsky (Kiev, 1895).56

Poletyka's letters made frequent mention that he collected material for a history of the Ukraine and that he worked a great deal at it. His deep patriotism is mentioned by several correspondents,  p79 who warned him on several occasions begging him to destroy their letters for fear of their being intercepted by the Russian government. Finally, in addition to this evidence, Poletyka's activity at the Commission in 1767, where he staunchly defended the autonomous rights of the Ukraine, led Lazarevsky to conclude that the author of Istoriya Rusov was no one other than Hryhoriy Poletyka himself. The preface, which ascribes the author­ship to Konysky, Lazarevsky regarded as a piece of deception to hide the true author. In addition, Lazarevsky supported the theory of Poletyka's author­ship by interpretation of some passages of the Istoriya Rusov. In one of them Hetman Mnohohrishny, who died in exile in Siberia, is represented as having died and having been buried in Baturyn. This inaccuracy Lazarevsky attempted to explain by the fact that Mnohohrishny's daughter was married to one of Poletyka's ancestors.

The correspondence of the family Poletyka, discovered by E. Onatsky, showed that Hryhoriy Poletyka was writing a history.

The date of the Istoriya Rusov remained uncertain, although indications in the text point to 1770. Some doubts as to the author­ship were raised by letters from Hryhoriy's son, Vasyl' Poletyka, showing that he, too, was working on a history of the Ukraine. This prompted V. Horlenko to express the opinion that the author of Istoriya Rusov was Vasyl' Poletyka. Most scholars, however, tended to agree with Lazarevsky's surmises.

It is possible, therefore, to assume that the author of Istoriya Rusov was Hryhoriy Poletyka.57 Hryhoriy Andriyevych Poletyka  p80 (1725‑1784) was a descendant of an old Cossack family in the Romen County of the Province of Poltava. His ancestors came in the seventeenth century to the Left-Bank Ukraine from Volynia. His father, Andriy Poletyka, was a staff companion. Hryhoriy Poletyka was educated at the Kiev Academy and afterwards he went to seek his fortune in Muscovy. An accomplished linguist, he became an interpreter at the Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg in 1746. Between 1764 and 1773 he was inspector of the Naval Nobles' Corps; in 1767 the Lubny District elected him its deputy to the Commission for "drafting a project of the new code," in Moscow. Poletyka appeared before the Commission as an ardent defender of the autonomy of the Hetman State. He compiled: a Sbornik prav i privilegii malorossiiskago shlyakhetsva (A Compendium of Rights and Privileges of the Little Russian Gentry); Zapiska, kak Malaya Rossiya vo vremya vladeniya pol'skago razdelena byla i o obraze eya upravleniya (Memorandum on How Little Russia Was Divided and Governed During the Polish Reign); Zapis', chto Malaya Rossiya ne zavoyovana a prisoedinilas' dobrovol'no k Rossii (A Record that Little Russia Was not Conquered in War but Joined Russia Voluntarily);58 Vozrazhenie deputata G. Poletiki na nastavlenie Malorossiiskoi Kollegii gospodinu zhe deputatu D. Natal'inu (Objections of Deputy Poletyka to Directions Given to Deputy Natal'in by the  p81 Little Russian Collegium);59 and Mnenie na chitannyi v Komissii proekt pravam blagorodnykh (An Opinion on the Project of the Rights of Nobility Read Before the Commission60 — all for the use of the Commission. At the same time Poletyka wrote a longer treatise: Istori­cheskoe izvestie (or in full: A Historical Account of How Little Russia Came Under the Rule of the Polish Republic and What Conditions It Yielded to the Russian Tsars, and a Patriotic Discourse on the Way It Could Be Established Today so that It Could Be of Benefit to the Russian State Without Being Deprived of Its Rights and Liberties).61 In all these works Poletyka defended the Hetman State as an independent national unit, voluntarily joined to the Russian State by international treaties.

In 1741 Hryhoriy Poletyka began to assemble a library and collection of documents in St. Petersburg. [. . .] Having married the daughter of the Justice General Hamaliya, one of the wealthiest men in the Hetman State, he could afford to leave the state service in 1773 and devote himself entirely to his favorite work — researches into Ukrainian history. His love for the antiquity of the Ukraine he passed on to his son Vasyl'. Hryhoriy Poletyka died in 1784 in St. Petersburg.

Poletyka's political and historical views expressed in these writings reached their fullest and best expression in his Istoriya Rusov, which indeed may be regarded as a synthesis of his outlook. Comparing the argumentation, style, and language of Poletyka's discourses and treatises with the Istoriya Rusov, there is little doubt that they were written by the same man, who was obviously attempting to present a history of the Ukraine in the light of national ideology. The author of Istoriya Rusov was not a historian by profession. Historical science in the second half of the eighteenth century was at a low level of development and historical criticism was just beginning to develop. Historical  p82 sources were unknown, uncollected, and unchecked. At that time history was regarded as having a moral and didactic purpose. In view of this, and also considering the great patriotism of the author, it is no wonder that Istoriya Rusov does not represent a work of scholar­ship, but rather a political pamphlet. It was of very little value as research into the Ukrainian past, but it helped to awaken national thought in the Ukraine.

In his introduction, the author states the motives which prompted him to write his book: to give a true picture of his native country's past, to find in it a basis for the idea of a Ukrainian State, and finally to illustrate the character of this statehood and to defend the forms which had been preserved. The author dwells on the poverty of sources for the study of Ukrainian history. He writes:

There were many historians and chroniclers in Little Russia. Yet since this country was, as it were, destined and dedicated to ruin from frequent invasions by foreign tribes, and even more frequent attacks and wars waged by neighboring peoples, and, lastly, from incessant internal quarrels and strife, and suffered all kinds of destruction, slaughter, and conflagrations, and was, so to speak, stained and soaked with human blood and covered with ashes, how could anything be preserved undamaged in such an unhappy country?

Foreign historians, who wrote about the Ukraine, are charged by the author of Istoriya Rusov with tendentiousness, hostility, and falsification:

Polish and Lithuanian historians, who are justly suspected of embroidering and glorifying the facts about themselves, in their description of the history of our Rus′ people, whom they regarded as allegedly subject to the Poles, altogether belittled their exploits, which were undertaken for the benefit of their common fatherland — their own as well as the Polish.

Those historians concealed the rights and privileges enjoyed by the Rus′ people in that fatherland, identifying them as insignificant slaves. And when they reached in their histories the period of Polish tyrannies over the Rus′ people because of the Church Union, which they themselves had invented, and how the Rus′ people became liberated from the Polish yoke owing to their courage and unparalleled bravery, these foreign writers disgorged their lies and  p83 slanders on the Rus′ people and its leaders, calling them rebellious bondsmen, who raised rebellions as it were through sheer lawlessness. However, the exploits of the Rus′ Hetmans Kosynsky, Nalyvayko, Ostryanytsya, and lastly the great achievements of Khmelnytsky, their correspondence and their proclamations, show exactly the contrary, and every sensible person will see in them undeniably true and glorious deeds. Everybody will also admit that all men have the right to protect their lives, property, and liberty.​a

This faulty presentation of Ukrainian history by foreign historians in the past lends to Istoriya Rusov a vindicatory quality. The author puts his personal views into the mouths of historical personages, such as Nalyvayko, Khmelnytsky, Mazepa, and Polubotok; their utterances reveal his own beliefs about the past of the Ukraine.

The title Istoriya Rusov was used in order to cover a wide ethnographic and historical scope. "The Slavs are said to originate from Japhet . . . they were called Slavs from the founder of the Slavic dynasty, Prince Slaven, a descendant of Ross, a grandson of Japhet." Nestor and "other members of the Kiev Academy, founded by the Greek philosopher, Cyril," are cited as historical sources for the autochthony of the Rusy. Further evidence is drawn from Slavic names of places and ruins and from the Greek historians Ptolemy, Herodotus, Strabo, and Diodorus. The name Rus′ is derived from fair-haired (rusyavyi), just as the name Pechenihy means "those who eat baked (pechenyi) food"; the name Polyane is derived from pole;º Derevlyane from "wooden houses," etc.

The historical development of the Ukrainian people is presented by the author in the following manner: The Ukrainian State was founded in Kiev. Weakened by the attacks of the Tatars, this State had to seek an alliance with Lithuania and later Poland. Events up to the middle of the sixteenth century are narrated very briefly. The author shows great sympathy towards the Polish King Stefan Batory, whom he compares to the Roman Emperor Titus. He relates, according to Hrabyanka and other Cossack chroniclers, the legend about the so‑called reform of the Cossacks and presents Polish-Ukrainian relations as idyllic.  p84 "At that time," he writes, "there were no quarrels over the cities, the privileges and religions, which often trouble people's minds. And what was most admirable was that perfect understanding existed between the two main religions — the Roman and the Russian."

This idyllic harmony was destroyed, according to the author, by the Church Union, instituted by Pope Clement VIII. It appeared in "the hide of a fox, but with the jaws of a wolf." Some of the Orthodox clergy were tempted by personal advantages to go over to the other Church, but those in opposition gathered in Berestya and declared that the clergy alone cannot decide such an important matter, "not having any authority from the people to introduce a new faith, rites, changes, and novelties; without this, it cannot burden the people with licentious rules and innovations. Clergymen were elected by the people and maintained at the people's expense; they cannot absolve themselves of all their obligations without the people's consent."

The Church Union and the efforts made by the Polish government to Polonize the Ukraine led to a long and bitter war between the Poles and the Ukrainians. The situation became worse when the Ukrainian gentry "not being able to stand the Polish pressure and the loss of their property and social rank," forsook their people.

The author's portrayal of the struggle waged by the Ukrainian Cossacks against Poland is in harmony with traditions of Ukrainian historiography of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He regards it as a series of wars of liberation leading to the emergence of such Cossack heroes as Kosynsky, Nalyvayko, Taras Fedorovych (Taras Tryasylo), Hunya, Ostryanyn (Ostryanytsya) and others. In the manifesto issued by Nalyvayko the ideology of this struggle is defined in clear and biting words. In addition to these heroes, the author shows a special liking for Sahaydachnyi, "the elected Rus′ Prince or Hetman."

The greatest hero of the entire work, however, and the central figure of Ukrainian history is Bohdan Khmelnytsky. The characterization of Khmelnytsky is not personalized but consists  p85 of a heaping up of the conventionally great virtues of a statesman, military leader and gentleman.

Discussing the political relations between the Ukraine and Poland, and later with Muscovy, the author does not forget to mention wherever he can the moral and cultural superiority of the Ukrainian people over their neighbors. He contrasts the generosity, stability, and hardiness of the Ukrainians with the treachery and fickleness of the Poles. Barbarian Moscow is compared several times with the culture of the Ukraine. The most outspoken condemnation of Moscow comes from the mouth of the Tatar Khan in his speech to Khmelnytsky, whom he advises against an alliance with Moscow:

In Moscow, all classes of people are almost illiterate, and with their numerous faiths and sects they are more like heathens. In their cruelty they surpass the savages, and despite their ignorance and coarseness, they have a high opinion of themselves.

All their faith consists of discussion of crosses and ikons.

The religious beliefs of the starovery (Old Believers) the author describes as "peasant drivel, borrowed from the pagans and multiplied by stupid superstitions." The Muscovite social order, especially serfdom, is also severely condemned. "The serfs, writes the author, "are sold on the market and on the estates of their owners like cattle, and are frequently exchanged for dogs." During the time of Ruin the Cossacks were favorably inclined toward the Turks because "they possess no serfs and do not trade in people, as is done in Muscovy." The Cossack Colonel Bohun thus characterizes the Muscovite social system: "Serfdom and slavery dominate the Muscovite scene to a large degree. The people do not recognize anything as their own, but all is God's and the Tsar's, and men, in their opinion, are born only in order to be serfs, not to possess anything."

There is no wonder, therefore, that this cultural disparity was reflected in the relations of the Cossacks toward Moscow.

The Zaporozhian Cossacks were extremely displeased with the union with Russia and its general attitude . . . and stated their reasons which, although they seemed insignificant, had wide acceptance  p86 among the people. The Cossacks, during the campaigns they undertook together with the Russian soldiers, suffered greatly from the Russians who mocked their shaved heads. These Russian soldiers, wearing grey peasant coats and patched rags, unshaven and bearded, looking quite like peasants, yet had great self-esteem which showed itself in the odious habit of giving all other nationalities derogatory names, such as polyachishki, niemchurki, tatarishki, etc. Following this custom, they called the Cossacks "chuby, or "khokhly" who, in turn, were enraged by it, and fought and quarrelled with the Russians very frequently until finally they reached a stage of irreconcilable hostility and aversion.

Writing on the Pereyaslav Treaty, the author alleges that the Muscovite delegates swore in the name of the Tsar and the Muscovite Tsardom to respect for ever the conditions of the agreement.

The period of Ruin does not receive much attention, and its personalities are not regarded favorably. The author's attitude towards Vyhovsky and Doroshenko is negative; the latter is accused of atrocities and made responsible for the devastation of the country. His attitude towards Mazepa is mixed. Mazepa is described as of Polish descent. His qualities are given in the manner described by Voltaire, and special emphasis is laid on his learning, military exploits and his "profound wisdom." Mazepa's action in destroying before his death those papers which could have compromised many of his followers is regarded by the author as an act of great generosity. The author's real opinion of Mazepa and Peter I has to be read between the lines. Perhaps the key to it is in Mazepa's speech to the Cossacks, after crossing Desna in 1708 which was actually the Hetman's political program. The author quotes it without comment:

We should fight neither together with the Poles, nor with the Swedes, nor with the Great Russians, but, having gathered our military forces, we should . . . defend our own native land, repelling all who attack it . . . When, in the future, peace will come to the warring nations, our country must be reinstated in the position it occupied before the Polish domination, with its own princes, with all the previous rights and privileges characterizing a free nation. Two leading states in Europe, France and Germany, offered to sponsor such a move and the latter insisted upon such an action  p87 at the time of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, during the reign of Emperor Ferdinand III. This was not fulfilled, however, though lack of foresight and due to internal differences among our ancestors . . . It is well known that we first had what the Muscovites now have; the government, seniority, and the name Rus′ itself passed from us to them . . .

This speech having mentioned the alliance between the Ukraine and Sweden at the time of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, and the participation of a Ukrainian corps in the conquest of Warsaw and Kraków, ended with the following tirade:

What people are we then, if we do not realize our benefits and do not forestall obvious danger? Such insensitive people are more like a herd of animals, and are scorned by all nations.

The author condemns severely the atrocities committed by the Muscovites after the capture of Baturyn and the killing of Mazepa's followers in Lebedyn and Romen:

He who despises horrors and fear is famous among all men, but those who took part in the bestial atrocities at Lebedyn, which in their cruelty surpassed all human imagination, cannot even be mentioned in words. Now it is time to reflect and to pass judgment. If, according to the words of the Saviour himself expressed in the Bible — words which are irrevocable and final — all blood shed on land will exact penalty, [. . .] then what a penalty is due for the blood of the Rus′ people, shed from the time of Hetman Nalyvayko to the present day, and shed in large streams for one reason alone, that (the Rus′ people) sought liberty, or a better life in its own land and had the natural human intention of bringing this about!

On several occasions the author contrasts the bestiality of the Russians with the good behavior of the Swedes towards the Ukrainian population. The Muscovite victory is explained by the author as being due to their numerical superiority over the Swedes. At the same time he is careful to point out that the Cossacks of Mazepa kept strict neutrality so that they could not be reproached with fighting against men of the same faith. This neutrality, however, brought no gains to the Ukrainians. Describing the celebration of the Treaty of Nystad, 1721, in Moscow  p88 and the general jubilation on that occasion, the author remarks ironically that the Ukrainians alone were not rewarded for their loyalty; on the contrary, they were given, "evil in exchange for good, hatred for love."

Tsar Peter I is not popular with the author. This antipathy is never openly expressed, but it is evident from occasional remarks such as about the trial of Tsarevich Aleksei, or about how the kindness of a Ukrainian noble was regarded as insolence by Peter I, who could not understand the nobleman's Ukrainian.

What the author lacked courage to say about Peter I he expressed in his portrait of Peter's chief aid, Menshikov, which at the same time is also a condemnation of the Tsar.

Beginning with the period of Hetman Ivan Skoropadsky, the author writes as if he were an eyewitness of events. The Muscovite policy towards the Hetman State in the Ukraine is realistically depicted. He described forced labor on the canals, the billeting of the Muscovite army in the Ukraine, the abuses and violence of the Muscovite administrators, [. . .] the terrorist methods of the "Secret Chancellery" — all this is related often very dramatically as of the recent past.

Herman Polubotok is portrayed with a great deal of admiration. The author ascribes to him a patriotic speech in defense of Ukrainian autonomy. In this speech, which has great literary value, Polubotok stresses the advantages which Moscow received from union with the Ukraine. "Our people," he says, "being of the same faith and ethnic origin as yours, have strengthened your state . . . at a time when your state was still very young and was just emerging from the 'Time of Troubles,' and was still insubstantial. . . . We, with our people, have not ceased to help all of you in all your military undertakings and exploits."

The author has no favorable regard for Hetman Rozumovsky, although he chiefly blames H. Teplov62 for the policy which led to the abolition of the Hetman State. In the Hetman's adviser, who was an agent of Moscow, he sees the cause of all evil, although  p89 Rozumovsky is also taken to task for his ingratitude to the people and the country. Describing the abolition of the Hetman State, the author remarks ironically that Rozumovsky found consolation for the loss of the Hetman scepter (bulava) in the estates which were given him. With no less irony he describes the Cossack starshyna which "patiently waited for the abolition of the Hetman State, hoping that they themselves would become prosperous land­owners at the people's expense, leaving their nation to await the promises of the Almighty; yet they were greatly mistaken, since nothing like this occurred later. "​b

Istoriya Rusov ends with the news of the Turko-Russian war: "At the beginning of 1769 there followed a military campaign, and a real war with Turkey started which will end with God knows what result." This information is also an indication of the date of this work.

The publication of Istoriya Rusov in 1846 was an important event in Ukrainian historiography and was deservedly credited to O. Bodyansky, although criticism of the work itself soon pointed to its historical errors and its obsolescence as a history. Maksymovych was the first to write a scientific review of it, calling it a factually incorrect, but highly artistic picture of the Ukrainian past. He also compared it to dumy. "It is like the popular historical duma, full of artistic enthusiasm and sensitive and true interpretations of events and personages." Russian historical criticisms by Solov'yov63 and Karpov64 regarded Istoriya Rusov very unfavorably and even with some hostility for its "tendentiousness." Criticism by Kostomarov, although also negative, was based on a different viewpoint which charged the author with being anti-democratic ("Poezdka v Baturin," Poryadok, 1881, No. 97). On the other hand Drahomanov valued Istoriya Rusov as "the first monument of new Ukrainian political thought" (Istori­cheskaya Polsha i velikorusskaya  p90 demokratiya, p64). M. Vasylenko is of the opinion that with Istoriya Rusov one begins Ukrainian historiography, and that its author "undoubtedly assisted directly or indirectly the awakening among the Little Russian intelligentsia of the striving towards self-knowledge, which showed itself in the study of the past and present of the Little Russian people," ("K istorii malorusskoi istoriografii," Kievskaya Starina, 1894, XI, p249).

From the 1820's onward, when it became widely known, Istoriya Rusov had great influence on the formation of an interpretation of Ukrainian history in a patriotic spirit. Its influence spread not only among Ukrainian but also among Russian writers. [. . .] Ryleev used Istoriya Rusov when composing his poems on Ukrainian themes. So did Hohol (Gogol) in his historical novels, especially in Taras Bul'ba. On the basis of this work, I. Sreznevsky composed his pseudo-folk dumy in Zaporozhskaya Starina. M. Kostomarov, Hrebinka, Metlynsky, Mykola Markevych, Kulish, Shyshatsky-Illich — all of them were much indebted to Istoriya Rusov where they found many topics and suggestions, and also inspiration for their works.

Yet the most profound influence of all was exercised on Shevchenko by Istoriya Rusov. According to Drahomanov, "no other work, apart from the Bible, had such an influence on Shevchenko's outlook in 1844‑45 as Istoriya Rusov." Istoriya Rusov left a strong impression65 upon Shevchenko's poems: Ivan Pidkova, Hamaliya, Vybir Nalyvayka, Lyakham, Tarasova nich, and Haydamaky (in part).


V. Ikonnikov, Opyt russkoi istoriografii, vol. II, part 2, Kiev, 1908; A. Lazarevsky, "Dogadka ob avtore Istorii Rusov," Kievskaya Starina, 1891, IV; A. Lazarevsky, "Chastnaya perepiska Poletiki," Kievskaya Starina, 1893, III, IV, V, X, XI, in 1894,  p91 IV, VIX; M. Maksymovych, Sochinenya, vol. I, pp301‑302, 305‑306, Kiev, 1876; V. Horlenko, "Iz istorii yuzhno-russkago obshchestva nachala XIX v.," Kievskaya Starina, 1893, No. 1 (reprinted in the collection Yuzhnorusskie ocherki i portrety, Kiev, 1898); L. Maikov, "Malorusskii Tit Livii," Zhurnal ministerstva narodnago prosveshcheniya, 1893, No. 5 (reprinted in the Istoriko-literaturnye ocherki, St. Petersburg, 1895); N. Vasilenko, "K istorii malorusskoi istoriografii," Kievskaya Starina, 1894, XI; A. Hrushevsky, "K kharakteristike vzglyadov Istorii Rusov," Izvestiya Otd. Russ. yaz. i slov. Imp. Akad. Nauk, vol. XIII, St. Petersburg, 1908, No. 1, pp396‑427; A. Hrushevsky, "K sud'be Istorii Rusov," Chteniya obshchestva Nestora letopistsa, XIX, part 2; E. Onatsky, "Shche pro avtora Istorii Rusov," Nashe MynuleI. Kiev, 1918; D. Doroshenko, "Iistoriya Rusov, yak pamyatka ukrayin­s'koyi politychnoyi dumky druhoyi polovyny XVIII stolittya,"Khliborobs'ka UkrayinaIII, Vienna, 1921; I. Beley, "Prychynok do pytannya pro chas poyavy Istoriyi Rusov, ZNTSHVII; A. Lazarevsky, "Zapiska G. Poletiki o nachale Kievskoi Akademii," ChteniyaXI; L. Janowski, O tak zwanej "Historyi Rusów," Kraków, 1913; M. Horban', "Kil'ka uvah do pytannya pro avtora 'Istoriyi Rusov'," Chervonyi Shlyakh, Kharkiv, 1923, VI‑VII, pp146‑150; M. Slabchenko, Materiyaly do ekonomichno-sotsial'noyi istoriyi Ukrayiny XIX stolittya, vol. I, Odessa, 1925, pp103‑105; P. Klepatsky, "Lystuvannya O. A. Bezborod'ka z svoyim bat'kom, yak istorychne dzherelo," Yuvileynyi zbirnyk na poshanu akad. M. S. Hrushev­s'koho, vol. I, Kiev, 1928; A. Yershov, "Do pytannya pro chas napysannya 'Istorii Rusov', a pochasty y pro avtora yiyi," Yuvileynyi zbirnyk na poshanu akad. M. S. Hrushev­s'koho, vol. I, Kiev, 1928, pp286‑291; L. Koshova, "Shevchenko ta Istoriya Rusov," ShevchenkoI, Kharkiv, 1928; A. Yakovliv, "Do pytannya pro avtora Istoriyi Rusiv," ZNTSH, vol. 154, Lviv, 1937, pp77‑92; M. Voznyak, Psevdo-Konyskypsevdo-Poletyka ("Istoriya Rusov" u literaturi y nautsi), Lviv-Kiev, 1939; B. Krupnitsky, Beiträge zur Ideologie der "Geschichte der Reussen" (Istorija Rusow), Berlin, 1945; É. Borschak, La légende historique de l'Ukraine. Istorija Rusov,  p92 Paris, 1949; O. Ohloblyn, "Do pytannya pro avtorstvo Istoriyi Rusov," Ukrayina, No. II, Paris, 1949, pp71‑75; O. Ohloblyn, "The Ethical and Political Principles of Istoriya Rusov," The Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U. S., Vol. II, No. 4 (6) New York, 1952, pp388‑400; A. Yakovliv, "Istoriya Rusov and its Author," The Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U. S., Vol. III, No. 2 (8), New York, 1953, pp620‑629; O. Ohloblyn, "Where Was Istoriya Rusov Written?" The Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U. S., Vol. III, No. 2 (8), New York, 1953, pp670‑695; Istoriya Rusov, Ukrainian translation, edited by O. Ohloblyn, New York, 1956, xxi + 346 pp.

The Author's or the Editor's Notes:

51 As a result of recent studies it was found that Istoriya Rusov had been known already in 1825. See: O. Ohloblyn, "Persha drukovana zvistka pro 'Istoriya Rusov'," Nasha Kultura, 1951, No. 2 (167), pp28‑35.

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52 Bohdan Zynoviy Khmelnytsky.

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53 "The Introduction of the Church Union" and "The Death of Ostryanytsya."

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54 M. Sudiyenko, a land­owner of the Novhorod Siversky District, publisher of material on Ukrainian history.

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55 Chteniya Obshchestva istorii i drevnostei, 1887, I, 177.

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56 V. Ikonnikov was the first to express an opinion on H. Poletyka's author­ship (1874).

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57 In his later works D. I. Doroshenko arrived at the opinion that there were two authors of Istoriya Rusov: H. A. Poletyka and his son, Vasyl' Poletyka. In 1938 D. Doroshenko wrote: To say the least, Vasyl' Poletyka edited this work and stressed its autonomous and republican tendencies." (Mazepa, Zbirnyk, vol. I, Warsaw, 1938, p6).

During the last decades many researches tried to find out who wrote Istoriya Rusov. In 1925 M. Slabchenko expressed the opinion that Count Alexander Bezborod'ko, the Chancellor of the Russian Empire, was the author. The same opinion was repeated in 1928 by P. Klepatsky. In the 1930's Andriy Yakovliv and Mykhaylo Voznyak presented many arguments for this opinion.

In 1931 M. Petrovsky suggested that Vasyl' Lukashevych, a well-known Ukrainian patriot of the beginning of the 19th century, wrote Istoriya Rusov. His statement, however, was not supported by scholar­ly arguments.

In the 1940's O. Ohloblyn hypothesized that Opanas Lobysevych, Ukrainian public figure and writer of the second half of the 18th century, was the author.

Elie Borschak is of the opinion that Vasyl' Poletyka was the author, although in 1923 M. Horban' objected to this possibility.

The question is still being discussed. However, the disputes concerning the author­ship resulted in many special studies of Istoriya Rusov, which established such important points as the time when the work was being written, its ideology, sources, political and ideological influences, etc. Most of the students are of the opinion that Istoriya Rusov was written some time late in the 18th century or during the first two decades of the 19th century. O. Ohloblyn thinks that Istoriya Rusov originated from the Novhorod-Siversk region early in the 19th century and its author was connected with the Novhorod-Siversk circle of Ukrainian patriots at the end of the 18th century.

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58 Ukrayins'kyi Arkheohrafichnyi Zbirnyk, VUAN, vol. I, Kiev, 1926, pp142‑146.

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59 Chteniya Obshchestva istorii i drevnostei, Moscow, 1858, III, Miscell., pp71‑102.

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60 Sbornik Russkago Istoricheskago Obshchestva, v. 36.

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61 Ukrayins'kyi Arkheohrafichnyi Zbirnyk, VUAN, vol. I, Kiev, 1926, pp147‑161.

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62 Hryhoriy Teplov, adviser of Hetman Cyril Rozumovsky and an agent of the Russian government.

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63 S. Solov'yov, "Ocherk istorii Malorossii do podchinenya eya tsaryu Alekseyu Mikhailovichu," Otechestvennyya Zapiski, 1848, part 11.

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64 G. Karpov, Kriti­cheskii obzor istochnikov do istorii Malorossii otnosyashchikhsya, Moscow, 1870.

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65 There was a close connection between Istoriya Rusov and the History of Ukraine written late in the 18th century by Arkhip Khudorba, former sotnyk (officer) of Sheptaky of the Starodub regiment. The contemporary readers stated that the History was written "too freely and against the Russian government." This work has not been preserved.

Thayer's Notes:

a The idea had been floating around for some while in Western political and philosophical circles; today's American reader will recognize it from the American Declaration of Independence (1776, no more than seven years later than Istoriya Rusov): "[we] are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" (this last often felt to refer at least in part to the protection of private property).

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b In the text as printed, a concluding quotation mark appears here, but no opening quotation mark. My transcription here inserts that opening quotation mark before "patiently waited".

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