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Mykhailo Drahomanov

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Mykhailo Drahomanov

Mykhailo Drahomanov, born on September, 6, 1841 in Hadiach, Poltava gubernia, died July 20, 1895, in Sophia, Bulgaria. Scholar, civil leader, publicist, political thinker. Born into a gentry family of Cossack origin, Drahomanov studied at Kyiv University, where in 1864 he became private decent, and in 1873, decent, lecturing on ancient history. While pursuing an academic career, Drahomanov rose to a position of leadership in the Ukrainian, secret society the Kyiv Hromada and took part in its various activities.

Drahomanov became an early victim of anti-Ukrainian repressive measures by the Russian government and was dismissed in 1875 from the university. Entrusted by the Hromada with the mission to become its spokesman in Western Europe, he settled in Geneva in 1876. He published the journal Hromada (1878-82), the first modern Ukrainian political journal. He strove to alert European opinion to the plight of the Ukrainian, people under tsarism by pamphlets and articles in the French, Italian, and Swiss press.

In 1886 a rift occurred between Drahomanov and the Kyiv Hromada.
In 1889 Drahomanov accepted a professorship at Sophia University. During his last years he saw the rise of the Ru-thenian-Ukrainian Radical party, founded in 1890 by his Galician followers. Drahomanov was their mentor through his intensive correspondence and programmatic articles in the party's organ, Narod. Soon after his move to Bulgaria, Drahomanov developed a heart ailment. He died and was buried in Sophia.

Drahomanov began his scholarly work as an ancient historian. Later he worked in Slavic, especially Ukrainian, ethnography and folklore, using the historical-comparative method. His principal works are "Historical Songs of the Little Russian People", with V. An-tonovych, 1874-5; "Little Russian folk Legends and Tales", 1876; "Recent Ukrainian Songs on Social Topics", 1881.

Drahomanov was an outstanding Ukrainian political thinker. He dealt extensively with constitutional, ethnic, international, cultural, and educational issues; he also engaged in literary criticism. Drahomanov's ideas represent a blend of liberal-democratic, socialist, and Ukrainian patriotic elements, with a positivist philosophical background. Drahomanov insisted on the priority of civil rights and free political institutions over economic class interests and of universal human values over exclusive national concerns. However, he believed that nationality was a necessary building stone of all mankind, and he coined the slogan "Cosmopolitanism in the ideas and the ends, nationality in the ground and the forms".

Drahomanov declared himself a socialist, without subscribing to any school of contemporary socialist thought. The motivation for his socialism was ethical: concern for social justice and the underprivileged and exploited. He advanced a program of concrete socioeconomic reforms. Drahomanov was convinced that in agrarian Ukraine socialism must be oriented towards the peasantry. Therefore, he may be classified as a populist in the broad sense of the term. Drahomanov rejected Marxism, especially the materialist interpretation of history.

Markian Shashkevych   Mykhailo Hrushevsky