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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.

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 p187  The Southwestern Section of the Geographic Society in Kiev; Mykhaylo Drahomanov

As Osnova ceased publication in 1862, the activity of Ukrainian scholars in St. Petersburg who had gathered around it declined considerably. The center of Ukrainian scholar­ly life moved to the Ukraine, primarily to Kiev. Here in the early 1870's a group of people working in various fields of scholar­ship created an organization which co‑ordinated their work and in a short time became the focal point of scholar­ly activities. This was the South-West Section of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society (Yugo-Zapadnyi Otdel Imperatorskago Russkago Geograficheskago Obshchestva) founded at the beginning of 1873.

The Russian Geographical Society was a learned institution which did not share the reactionary chauvinist views held by most Russian societies of the time and was favorably inclined to  p188 Ukrainian studies. In 1869‑70 it financed the ethnographic expedition in the Right-Bank Ukraine led by Pavlo Chubynsky (1839‑1844) which resulted in the production of seven most valuable volumes of ethnographic and folklore materials (St. Petersburg, 1871‑78). Therefore the group of Ukrainian scholars in Kiev thought it best to accept the member­ship of the Geographic Society and thus to form its Southwestern Section. Hryhoriy Galagan (1819‑1888)108 a land­owner from Chernihiv and Poltava provinces and a well-known benefactor of Ukrainian literature, was elected chairman, and P. Chubynsky secretary of the Society. Among members of the Society were the following prominent Ukrainian scholars: V. Antonovych, F. Vovk, M. Drahomanov, P. Zhytetsky, O. Lonachevsky, M. Lysenko, K. Mychal'chuk, M. Ziber, O. Rusov, I. Rudchenko.

Some of the Society's members were in Galicia and Bukovina (M. Buchynsky, H. Kupchanko, O. Terletsky). The purpose of the Society was to conduct research in the ethnography and economy of the Ukraine. In these fields lay its greatest achievements. Two volumes of Zapiski (1873‑74) were published under the auspices of the Society. They comprised studies by V. Antonovych on industry in the Right-Bank Ukraine in the eighteenth century, F. Vovk on village fairs and handicrafts, P. Chubynsky on the village Sokyrentsi, M. Lysenko on the Kobzar O. Veresay, M. Drahomanov on the traces of knightly epic poetry in Ukrainian folksongs, P. Ivashchenko on the religious cults of the Ukrainians as reflected in Ukrainian proverbs, and P. Chubynsky on an inventory of the peasant household. Among the materials were: Popular names of plants by A. Rohovych and F. Vovk, the Dumy of O. Veresay, a collection of folksongs from Bukovina, (edited by O. Lonachevsky with a study of Bukovina by H. Kupchanko) and Dumy from the Nizhen District recorded by P. Ivashchenko. The Society also published two volumes of Istoricheskiya pesni malorusskago naroda (Historical Songs of the Little Russian People) with explanations by V. Antonovych and M. Drahomanov, Kiev, 1874‑75; Malorusskiya narodnyya predaniya  p189 i razskazy (Little Russian Legends and Stories) collected by M. Drahomanov, Kiev, 1876; and the collected works of M. Maksymovych. It was also due to the Society's initiative that the Archeological Congress was held in Kiev in 1874, thus helping to create interest in Ukrainian studies. The role which the Southwestern Section of the Geographic Society played in the Ukraine as the center for Ukrainian scholar­ship and science was considered dangerous enough by the government to have closed the Society when its ban on Ukrainian literature, issued on May 18, 1876, was published.

Among the scholars whose activity was very closely connected with the Southwestern Section of the Russian Geographic Society was Mykhaylo Drahomanov (1841‑1895).109 Although his chief work lay in the field of folklore and literary history, he cannot be bypassed in any survey of Ukrainian historiography because of the great influence which his views on history and his studies of Ukrainian folksongs had on his contemporaries. Drahomanov himself admits in his autobiography110 that he became a Ukrainian patriot through the study of Ukrainian folksongs which led him to love the common people and their destinies. Drahomanov's  p190 work was not in the field of Ukrainian history, but he wrote two works which are truly historical: the popular book Pro ukrayins'kykh kozakiv, tatar ta turkiv (About Ukrainian Cossacks, the Tatars and the Turks) Kiev, 1876; and "Propashchyi chas; Ukrayintsi pid moskovs'kym tsarstvom 1654‑1876" (The Lost Epoch: Ukrainians Under Muscovite Tsardom, 1654‑1876). The latter work was to be published in the 6th book of Hromada (Community). Unfortunately this volume remained incomplete in fifty‑six proof sheets which comprise the introduction and the beginning of the first chapter entitled "The Liberties of the Zaporozhian Host."

This incomplete work is of the greatest interest. The socialist and federalist Drahomanov, who in his Peculiar Thoughts on the Ukrainian National Cause declared that nowhere did he see the necessity or the basis for political separation of the Ukraine from Russia but on the contrary saw many common interests between the Ukrainians and the Russians, here regards the entire period of common life in the Russian State as wasted. He admits that the Hetman State had the makings of a good political order which was thwarted by unfavorable external circumstances; he recognizes the great value of a state tradition within a nation and regrets that the Ukrainians could not preserve it.

Somehow the Ukrainians are not in the habit of boasting about their own ancestral traditions. . . . For one brief moment in the thirties and forties of this century, when enlightened Ukrainians began to find out about their heritage, a handful of people bragged loudly about the glory of the Cossack Ukraine, but they were quick to discover its dark sides — and now, if anyone wants to learn of these dark spots he can best do so from the works of Ukrainian historians themselves.111

Drahomanov often reproached Ukrainian historians with neglect, in their zeal to be democratic, of many "positive phenomena of the historical process and of those Ukrainian historical figures  p191 who were accused of being 'aristocratic.' " In his well-known letter to the Kievans he wrote that "the works of our democratically-minded historians and Khlopomans falsify the facts most of all, since they revile not only men like Mazepa, but also those like Vyhovsky and Polubotok, while keeping silent about Peter I, and Catherine II. "112

While discussing the historical work of the Russian scholar Solovyov who "changes his view of the Cossack elders and the common people several times in the same chapter, according to their attitude to the Muscovite tsardom," Drahomanov writes:

Unintentionally Ukrainian historians have supported this perversion of Ukrainian history by Russian scholars. They have indicated the faults of the Cossack elders, not sparing such defenders of Cossack freedom as Vyhovsky, Mazepa, Polubotok. . . . The works of these Ukrainian historians are used by the enemies of the Cossack order and by the partisans of tsarism. But so far these historians have not pointed out the great harm done to the Ukrainian people by the tsarist system (for no modern Ukrainian historian has written an exact account of the eighteenth century Ukraine) and they are unable to do so because of tsarist censor­ship. Therefore the whole history of social life in the Ukraine, like that of the ideas of the Ukrainian people about the states under whose domination it has lived and still lives, i.e., Russia and Poland, has not yet been shown in its true light.113

Most of all Drahomanov blamed the Ukrainian historians, among them Kostomarov and Antonovych, for the vagueness of their national outlook and their submissiveness to official Russian views, and in particular for their failure to provide a synthetic ideology. Practically any work of Ukrainian historians, he maintained, was written so "objectively" that it lent itself to almost any, even to an anti-Ukrainian, interpretation.

Drahomanov's most valuable and penetrating observations on Ukrainian historiography (e.g., on Istoriya Rusov) are scattered throughout his writings, and it is regrettable that he, who possessed so much talent, a clear understanding of Ukrainian historical  p192 development, and great erudition, never undertook the task of writing a complete history of the Ukraine.114

As regards the relation of history to ethnography, Drahomanov, unlike his predecessors, did not think that the folksongs could explain history better than the "dry chronicles," although he believed that a people's mentality and views on social and political problems were reflected in its folklore. In the early 1870's together with Antonovych, Drahomanov planned to publish a collection of historical songs which "reflected social changes." It was to comprise all the published variants of folksongs, supplemented by materials from manuscripts sent to the editors from the Russian and Austrian Ukraine, and checked against the chronicles and official documents, creating in this way, as it were, "a history of social life in the Ukraine, according to the songs of her present inhabitants." A part of this plan was accomplished in the edition of the Historical Songs of the Little Russian People, vol. I, Kiev, 1874, which contained songs of the princely retinue (druzhyna) and songs about the wars against the Turks and the Tatars. In the second volume of this work, Kiev, 1875, songs were printed dealing with the struggle of Khmelnytsky against the Poles. These publications created great interest in the European scholar­ly world. Western European scholars like A. Rambaud, W. Ralston, W. Morfill, A. Leroy-Beaulieu praised the work very highly. Rambaud wrote that through this publication the "membra disjecta of the Ukrainian nationality are reassembled in Kiev." The books also provoked a lively discussion among the folklorists. Veselovsky, Jagič, Orest Miller denied that the songs of the first volume related to the princely period. Ranged against them was Kostomarov (Vestnik Evropy, 1874,  p193 XII) who supported Drahomanov's views in his "Istoriya kozachestva v pamyatnikakh pesennago tvorchestva" (The History of the Cossacks in Folksongs), the beginning in Russkaya Mysl', 1880, 1883, and the end in Literaturnoe Nasledie, St. Petersburg, 1890.

Drahomanov continued his scholar­ly work abroad where he published:

1. Politychni Pisni ukrayin­s'koho naroda XVIII‑XIX v. z uvahamy M. P. Drahomanova (Political Songs of the Ukrainian People in the XVIII‑XIX Centuries, with Notes by M. P. Drahomanov), vol. I, Geneva, 1883. This volume contains songs about the end of the Cossack autonomy, the destruction of the Sich in 1709 and the emigration of the Zaporozhians to Turkey in 1710‑1734.

2. The second volume of the Politychni pisni appeared in Geneva in 1885 and contained songs about the Hetman State and Slobidska Ukraine in the eighteenth century until the abolition of Ukrainian autonomy. Each of the songs has a valuable historical commentary.

3. "Novi ukrayins'ki pisni pro hromads'ki spravy, 1764‑1880" (New Ukrainian Songs on Social Affairs, 1764‑1880), Hromada, 1881, and separately, Geneva, 1881.115


M. Pavlyk, Mykhaylo Petrovych Drahomanov, 1841‑1895,  p194 Lviv, 1896; N. Vasilenko, "Politicheskie vzglyady Dragomanova," Ukrainskaya Zhizn', Moscow, 1912, VI; M. Hrushevsky, "Drahomanov v politychnim i natsional'nim rozvytku ukrayinstva," Boritesya-Poborete, No. 5, 1920; M. Hrushevsky, Z pochyniv ukrayin­s'koho sotsiyalistychnoho rukhu. M. Drahomanov i niv sotsiyalistychnyi hurtok, Vienna, 1922; D. Zaslavsky, M. P. Dragomanov, Kritiko-biograficheskii ocherk, Kiev, 1924, II edition, Moscow, 1934; M. Hrushevsky, "Misiya Drahomanova," Ukrayina, 1926, II‑III, Kiev; O. Hermayze, "M. Drahomanov i ukrayins'ka istoriohrafiya." Ukrayina, 1926, II‑III, Kiev; M. Voznyak, "Zakordonna misiya Drahomanova," Ukrayina, 1929, I‑II; E. Borschak, Le mouvement national ukrainien au XIX siècle, Paris, 1930; F. Savchenko, Zaborona ukrayinstva 1876 r., Kiev, 1930; M. Hrushevsky, "Mikhailo Petrovich Drahomanov," Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, vol. V, p233, New York, 1931; D. Doroshenko, "Drahomanov i ukrayins'ka istoriohrafiya," Drahomanivs'kyi Zbirnyk. Pratsi Ukrayin­s'koho Vysokoho Pedahohichnoho Institutu im. M. Drahomanova v Prazi, vol. II, Prague, 1932 (English translation in Mykhaylo Drahomanov, A Symposium and Selected Writings, in a special issue of The Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U. S., vol. II, No. 1 (3), New York, 1952); Arkhiv Mykhayla Drahomanova, vol. I, Warsaw, 1938; D. Doroshenko, "M. Drahomanov and the Ukrainian National Movement," Slavonic Review, London, April, 1938; Mykhaylo Drahomanov, A Symposium and Selected Writings, a special issue of The Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U. S., vol. II, No. 1 (3), New York, 1952.

The Author's or the Editor's Notes:

108 Galagan's obituary in Kievskaya Starina, 1888, XII.

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109 Mykhaylo Petrovych Drahomanov was born on September 6, 1841, in the town of Hadyach, Poltava Province, into a family of old Ukrainian Cossack gentry. He was educated at the Poltava Classical Gymnasium and Kiev University. In the years 1864‑1875 Drahomanov was an assistant professor (staff dozent) of ancient history at Kiev University. After 1876 he became an emigré and lived mainly in Switzerland, where he organized the publishing of Ukrainian literature. He published the magazine Hromada (Community) and other publications. After 1889 he was a university professor in Sophia. He died in 1895.

Drahomanov was a well known Ukrainian scholar (ancient history, Ukrainian folklore, history of literature) and a prominent public figure.

About Drahomanov's works in the field of the history of Rome, see F. Slyusarenko's article in Drahomanivs'kyi Zbirnyk (Symposium on Drahomanov) published by the Drahomanov Ukrainian High Pedagogical Institute, Prague, 1933.

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110 Drahomanov's "Autobiography" was published in the book by M. Pavlyk, Mykhaylo Petrovych Drahomanov, 1841‑1895. Yoho yubiley, smert', avtobiohrafiya i spys tvoriv, Lviv, 1896; and in Byloe, 1906, book 6, St. Petersburg. It was also published separately, Kiev, 1917. A new publication of the "Autobiography" appeared in M. Drahomanov's Vybrani tvory (Selected Works), vol. I, New York-Prague, 1937.

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111 M. Drahomanov, Propashchyi Chas (The Lost Epoch), Lviv, 1909, pp7‑8; see also Mykhaylo Drahomanov. A Symposium and Selected Writings, special issue of The Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U. S., vol. II, No. 1 (3), New York, 1952, p154.

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112 Lysty do Franka (Letters to Franko), v. 2, Lviv, 1908, p19.

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113 M. Drahomanov, Politychni pisni ukrayin­s'koho narodu (Political Songs of the Ukrainian People), part I, Geneva, 1883, p. xviii.

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114 His views in regard to the Ukrainian historical process, M. Drahomanov expressed also in his paper presented at the International Congress of Writers in Paris in 1878. This paper was published as a booklet under the title La Littérature Ukrainienne proscrite par le gouvernement Russe (Ukrainian Literature Outlawedº by the Russian Government), Geneva, 1878. In the same year this booklet was published in Ukrainian in Lviv, and later was published a few times in other languages. A revised and supplemented edition was published under the title "La letteratura di una nazione plebea" in Rivista Internazionale del Socialismo, Milano, 1880.

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115 D. I. Doroshenko intended to write a monograph on M. Drahomanov. In his letter to O. Ohloblyn, dated October 29, 1942, Prague, he wrote: "If time permits, I intend to write a popular book on Drahomanov, similar to that on Antonovych. I greatly esteem Drahomanov as a patriot, scholar, and politician. Both his political and his social ideas now belong to history and, like his political activity, are subject to historical criticism. But since Drahomanov's activity was inspired by a genuine and ardent love of his homeland, it has left an imprint which does not depend on the manner in which this love was expressed. I believe that the Ukrainian cause would have been morally weaker, and poorer in ideas, if there had been no Drahomanov, just as if there had been no Shevchenko . . ." See: Mykhaylo Drahomanov, A Symposium and Selected Writings, a special issue of The Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U. S., vol. II, No. 1 (3), New York, 1952, pp34‑35. This intention of Doroshenko was not realized.

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