Михаил Петрович Драгоманов (1841-1895)

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Mykhaylo Drahomanov: A Symposium and Selected Writings, The Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U.S., Vol. II, Spring, 1952, No. 1 (3), pp. 70-130.



The life and activity of Mykhaylo Drahomanov, a fearless fighter for freedom, is worthy of our attention. Drahomanov did not have an easy life. He had to face not only material privations, but also the spiritual anguish of conflicts with political enemies, and of no less painful disagreements with his collaborators and friends. However, Drahomanov's life was a model of service to his people and to humanity.

Drahomanov's life can be divided into four periods: the first, in Poltava, from his birth to his graduation from the gymnasium (1841-1859); the second, in Kiev, from his entrance into the University of Kiev to his emigration (1859-1876); the third, in Geneva, from the beginning of his emigration to his departure for Bulgaria (1876-1889); and the fourth, in Sofia, from his arrival there to his death (1889-1895).

I. The Poltava Period

Mykhaylo Drahomanov was born on September 6, 1841, in the town of Hadyach, Poltava province, into the family of a small landowner. The class into which he was born was to influence his future personal life and his scientific and public activities. As Drahomanov remarked, the petty nobility and gentry who had small or medium-sized land-holdings in the Left Bank Ukraine, the territory of the former Cossack Hetmanate, formed a singular cultural nest, from which emerged a number of social and scientific leaders. In social status this gentry was not removed from the common people, since they were the descendants of the former Cossack elders. For this reason, they were aware of the needs of the people, and were sympathetic to their situation. In contrast to the aristocrats, whose attachment to the court took them to the capitals of the empire, the petty nobility lived on their estates and took a great interest in local affairs. At the same time, their material position made it possible for them to have a cultural life, and to educate their children. Consequently they were acquainted with West European progressive ideas.

Drahomanov belonged to this society. He grew up surrounded by Ukrainian popular traditions, and under the influence of the humanistic and liberal ideas of his parents' home. His father, after serving as an official in Petersburg in his youth, came back to his native country in the 1830's, with ideas, as Drahomanov remarked in his autobiography,

that consisted of a mixture of Christianity with 18th century Enlightenment, and of Jacobinism with a democratic caesarism.1

Certainly, with such ideas, he was out of place in the bureaucratized aristocratic life of the provinces under Tsar Nicholas I. After marrying he remained at home, read widely, and gave legal help to such people as peasants illegally made serfs or recruits unjustly taken into military service. For this the local serfowners and civil authorities disliked him intensely. Drahomanov's uncle was an officer and member of the secret society, United Slavs, from which came the participants in the Decembrist insurrection in the Ukraine. From this brief description we see the idealistic atmosphere in which young Mykhaylo was brought up.

Like his father, Mykhaylo Drahomanov developed a love of reading and study. In 1853 he was admitted to the Poltava Classical Gymnasium. Among the instructors were some enlightened teachers who strengthened the principles which the young man had had inculcated at home. Drahomanov was especially indebted to the teacher of history, Stronin, who had him read the works of Herzen and other progressive writers, and strongly advised him to study foreign languages. While still in the gymnasium Drahomanov read Schlosser's history of the 18th century and works by Macaulay, Prescott, Guizot, etc. One can say that Drahomanov's social and journalistic activities began in the gymnasium, for there his comrades chose him to be editor of the handwritten journal of the pupils' secret club.

It was at that time that Drahomanov got into trouble with the director of the gymnasium. He had taken the part of a comrade who had been unjustly treated by the inspector. This inspector complained to the director, and, shortly before he was due to graduate, Drahomanov was expelled without the right to enter another secondary school. It was only thanks to the intervention of the liberal curator of education of the Kiev school district, the famous surgeon and pedagogue Pirogov, that Drahomanov was able to finish the gymnasium and enter the university.

II. The Kiev Period

In the autumn of 1859 Drahomanov was admitted to the faculty of history and philosophy of the University of Kiev. His solid foundation enabled Drahomanov to orient himself in the ferment which had begun among the university youth of Russia. He at once entered the circle of students who founded the first adult folk schools in the Russian Empire. This was the beginning of the notable idea of "going to the people," which later was to become so famous. Drahomanov taught the history of Russia, paying appropriate attention to the past of his native Ukraine. He dreamed of publishing these lectures, but this was never done. The Russian government, suspicious and fearful of closer cooperation between the young intelligentsia and the working classes, hastened to close the schools in 1862, replacing them by the Temporary Pedagogical School of Kiev, from which the student-teachers were barred.

We must take note of Drahomanov's first public appearance, which attracted great attention. In the spring of 1861 the body of Taras Shevchenko was carried from Petersburg to Kaniv for burial on the banks of the Dnieper. Drahomanov delivered a fiery speech when the funeral train stopped in Kiev. Drahomanov delivered another remarkable speech at the farewell banquet given in honor of Curator Pirogov, who had been dismissed because of his liberal reforms. The audience rewarded the youthful orator with stormy applause. He praised Pirogov's outstanding services, notably his success in substituting moral principles for military discipline in the schools, and in restraining the violence of the teachers who had tortured their pupils, punishing them mercilessly with rods and even with wooden logs. This speech was severely condemned by the Kiev administration; its printing was prohibited and the rector of the university was reprimanded. Nonetheless this daring brought Drahomanov closer to the circle of liberal professors. At that time Drahomanov was specializing in Roman history, and when V. Shulgin, a professor of history who was known for his liberal views, resigned in 1862, he recommended his talented student to the council of the university as a candidate for his chair. He advised that Drahomanov be sent abroad for further preparation after he had completed his university studies.

However, the Polish insurrection of 1863 frightened the government, and the atmosphere changed in the university. The conservative faction in the faculty of history and philosophy was able to delay Drahomanov's study trip abroad. Therefore, after the sudden death of his father, Drahomanov had to look for a job in order to support his brother and sister. He became a teacher of geography in a Kiev gymnasium, at the same time taking the necessary steps toward becoming privat dozent. After having defended his thesis pro venia legendi on Emperor Tiberius, on May 25, 1864 Drahomanov was admitted as a lecturer. His fiancee's mother died the same year, and Drahomanov had to marry sooner than he had intended, which worsened his already difficult financial situation.

In order to improve it Drahomanov was obliged to add journalism to his scientific work and his teaching. He wrote critical articles and editorials for the press of the capital, chiefly for the liberal Petersburg News. He treated aspects of local life, of the economic situation, of school affairs, and of the relations between nationalities in the so-called Southwestern Country, i.e. in the provinces of Kiev, Volhynia, and Podolya.

In the spring of 1863 Drahomanov drew nearer to Ukrainian circles, and joined the Kiev branch of the illegal organization Hromada, which had been organized in 1859. He was attracted to it because of his interest in popular education. In his articles for the press Drahomanov stressed the educational value of establishing schools using the Ukrainian language, and called for textbooks in Ukrainian. This stand aroused the opposition of government circles, who were hostile to Ukrainian aspirations, particularly after the Polish insurrection. The government suspected that Polish intrigues were at the bottom of the Ukrainian movement, and that it aimed at the disintegration of the Russian Empire. Although the Ukrainians violently rejected the claims of the Polish insurrectionists to the Right Bank Ukraine, the Russian reactionaries continued their senseless accusations, urging the government to take strong measures against "Ukrainian separatism." It was not long before the repressions started. In 1863, the Minister of Education, Count Valuyev, who had been known as a liberal, issued a secret circular which prohibited the printing of school books and popular literature, including religious works, in Ukrainian. Soon even the discussion of teaching in Ukrainian was considered treasonable. In the spring of 1866 Drahomanov reviewed the Primer for Use in the Folk Schools of the School District of Kiev, written by the curator of the district, the reactionary Prince Shirinsky-Shikhmatov, Pirogov's successor. Drahomanov said that this book was useless in any folk school, and doubly so in Ukrainian ones, because of its Russian language. The illustrious author and the pro-government press accused Drahomanov of separatism, and for several years he was under the surveillance of the police as an unreliable person. When in 1870 Drahomanov defended his thesis for the degree of master (Tacitus and the Question of the Historical Importance of the Roman Empire), and was nominated by the council of the University as assistant professor (staff dozent), with a preliminary trip abroad at the expense of the university, this same Prince Shirinsky-Shikhmatov took his revenge by not confirming the appointment until Drahomanov returned. As a consequence Drahomanov did not receive the usual sum awarded to young scholars sent abroad.

From his studies of ancient history, particularly in religion and mythology, Drahomanov was led to an interest in their development in later periods. Then he turned to the history of the Slavs, in which he concentrated on the legends and folklore of the Ukrainian people. In 1867, together with several friends, he started to collect Ukrainian folk literature for publication. A practical reason for this was that such works were almost the only sort of Ukrainian publication not prohibited by the Russian censor. Four books were soon published, two collections of Ukrainian fairy tales, and two of songs. In 1869, together with the well-known historian Volodymyr Antonovych, Drahomanov started an annotated collection of Ukrainian historical songs.

In spite of the time required for these scholarly pursuits, Drahomanov continued to be interested in politics, and was always ready to be of service. Here we shall mention an incident which was indicative of the future. In 1869 the student agitations in Petersburg spread to Kiev. Drahomanov was invited by student friends to speak to their society. Here he had an argument with a student delegate from Petersburg with centralist ideas. This discussion, as Drahomanov notes in his autobiography, was the start of his struggles with the Great Russian revolutionary centralists and the pan-Russian "Jacobins."

Finally Drahomanov was sent abroad by Kiev University. He expanded his two years into three (1870-73), visiting Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria. He spent the first eight months in Berlin, during the Franco-Prussian War, chiefly attending Mommsen's lectures and studying in the libraries. At the same time he became acquainted with the political and civic structure of Germany. Drahomanov visited Leipzig, Bautzen, where he was interested in the cultural movement of the Lausitz Slavs, and Heidelberg (autumn, 1871). From Germany he went to Florence (1872). In 1873 he visited Switzerland, staying in Zurich, and on his return trip he went to Vienna and Prague, where he made the acquaintance of Slavic leaders. In Vienna he was glad to meet Galician Ukrainians, as he was much interested in cultural and social developments in Galicia.

In addition to pursuing the studies in ancient history for which he had been sent abroad, Drahomanov collected material everywhere for the comparative comments on folklore themes in his proposed collection of Ukrainian historical songs. He also found time to write for Russian liberal journals, contributing articles connected with his studies or on his observations on life and politics abroad. Vestnik Yevropy (European Messenger) printed a remarkable article by Drahomanov, "Germany's Eastern Policy and Russification" (1872), based on his impressions in Warsaw and Berlin. In this article Drahomanov presented the idea that Russia's policy of centralization in regard to the non-Russian nationalities played into the hands of German imperialism. His acquaintance with the Ukrainian movement in Galicia provided Drahomanov with material for other articles in European Messenger, as well as in West European reviews such as Rivista Europea. These articles were the beginning of Drahomanov's lifelong activity as a political writer, informing Russian and West European society about the Ukrainian question. These articles created Drahomanov's reputation, but they also made him many enemies both in Russia and among the local conservatives and clergy in Galicia.

During his month and a half in Zurich, Drahomanov met many Russian students or emigrants. With them he debated the possibility of realizing a socialist order in Russia. In spite of the wide differences of opinion among them, his opponents were all convinced that the Russian peasants were ready to accept socialist ideas. None agreed with Drahomanov that it was first necessary to seek to establish political freedom in Russia.

When Drahomanov visited Galicia he was surprised by the stagnation of its social and cultural life, both among conservative Russophile Old Ruthenians and among their adversaries, the Ukrainophile Young Ruthenians or Populists. Drahomanov strove to combat this inertia by putting his fellow-countrymen of the Austrian Empire into closer contact with West European culture. He wrote articles and distributed imported progressive publications, not only in Ukrainian, of which there were very few, but also in Russian. For this some people called him a dangerous threat to the foundations of the social and political order; others called him a Russophile or even an agent of the Russian government. However, Drahomanov certainly did not only criticize the Galician Ukrainians and their leaders. He also tried to indicate the possible basis for constructive work. He had been commissioned by the Ukrainians in Russia to consult with the Galicians about the establishment of a Ukrainian scientific and literary society, out of the reach of tsarist censorship. Such a society, the Shevchenko Society, soon was established in Lviv, on December 11, 1873. In 1892 it grew into an institution which was a real center of Ukrainian thought, the Shevchenko Scientific Society.

Drahomanov returned to Kiev in September, 1873, and was appointed assistant professor. He found great animation among his Ukrainian friends. During his absence a center of Ukrainian studies had been established under the name of the Southwestern Section of the Russian Geographical Society. Drahomanov was active in it, making reports at its meetings and printing his scholarly works in its publications.

In 1874 and 1875 this Society published two volumes by Drahomanov and Antonovych, Historical Songs of the Little Russian People, and in 1876 it published Drahomanov's own collection, Little Russian Popular Legends and Tales. These works were favorably received by scholars in the field of folklore. The first volume of Historical Songs appeared in time for the Archeological Congress which met in Kiev in 1874. This Congress was a triumph for Ukrainian scholars. It caused great joy to Ukrainian patriots, but it provoked the wrath of reactionaries in Kiev, who saw separatist tendencies in the Congress and in the activities of the Geographical Society. These attacks against the Geographical Society, which had begun at its inception, soon turned into a concerted threat against the whole Ukrainian movement.

One of the Old Ruthenians who had come to the Archeological Congress from Galicia formally denounced Drahomanov as a Polish agent in Kievlyanin (Kievan), the organ of Kiev's administration. The local reactionaries had long detested Drahomanov on account of his articles in the Petersburg progressive press. Now their opposition to him was considerably augmented by the passage of another Kiev newspaper, Kievsky Telegraf (Kiev Telegraph), into Ukrainian hands. Drahomanov became the spiritus movens of this newspaper, and from November, 1874 to August, 1875 he placed in it many articles and notes which criticized the local administration.

Reports from Kiev alarmed St. Petersburg, and the censor began to regard Drahomanov's articles on Ukrainian subjects, which appeared in the European Messenger, with even greater suspicion. The censor deleted Drahomanov's article, "Ten Years of Ukrainian Literature," from the September-October (1875) issue of that paper. Finally the administration's pressure began to affect Drahomanov's personal life. In May, 1875, the curator of the Kiev school district requested Drahomanov to resign voluntarily from his position at the university, alleging that Drahomanov had advocated in the foreign press that the Ukraine be separated from Russia and united to Poland. Drahomanov refused to resign and thereby plead [not] guilty to this and other equally ridiculous accusations. Instead of resigning he went for a vacation to Galicia to become better acquainted with life in the Austrian Ukraine. Drahomanov attached considerable importance to Galicia, for he thought it might become a reservoir of national energy upon which the Russian Ukraine could later draw. Drahomanov worked for the "Europeanization," as he called it, of Galicia, and appealed to his friends in Kiev not to forget their felloe-countrymen in Austria. He undertook the liaison between the Galicians and the Ukrainians in Kiev, who jokingly called him "King Mykhaylo of Galicia."

Drahomanov was especially moved by the piteous fate of the Subcarpathian region, which groaned under the Magyar yoke. For him this area was a "wounded brother". After having become acquainted on the spot with the fate of the Subcarpathian Ukrainians, his appeals to Galicia for aid for these people were constant.

Drahomanov helped to make the Austrian Ukraine known to the Ukrainians in Russia. He also greatly stimulated life in the stagnant backward province which Galicia was at that time. Drahomanov's articles in Druh (Friend), the organ of a student society of the same name in Lviv, were especially influential. His articles in 1875 and 1876 worked a real revolution among the members of Druh. These formed the nucleus of a new progressive movement, which in time became the Radical Party. At its head was the well-known writer, scholar, and politician Ivan Franko.

Drahomanov's appearance in Galicia during the summer of 1875 was followed by new denunciations to Kiev about his supposed separatism. The charge that Drahomanov advocated the separation of the Ukraine from Russia alarmed the Kiev administration, which hastened to forward it to the highest authorities in Petersburg. The ister of Public Education presented the telegram to Tsar Alexander II himself, and described Drahomanov as a dangerous character. The tsar ordered that Drahomanov resign from the University of Kiev, with the right to go to any other university provided it was in Great Russia, not the Ukraine. Drahomanov replied with a decisive refusal, and was then dismissed by administrative order, without the right to occupy any government post.

The Drahomanov incident was the first in a chain of events. The tsar appointed a special commission to inquire into Ukrainian separatism and to recommend measures to be taken against it. The creation of this commission was announced by the tsar himself, in Kiev in September, 1875. The Ukrainian movement was seriously threatened, and Drahomanov and his friends began to prepare for the struggle. The Ukrainian underground organization in Kiev, Hromada (Community) decided to send Drahomanov abroad to defend the Ukrainian cause before the free world. At the meetings of a special committee the content, approach, and even length of the writings in which he was to do this were discussed in detail. At that time Hromada was in close touch with Russian revolutionary organizations, many of whose members were of Ukrainian origin, e.g. Zhelyabov, Kibalchich, Lizogub, and others. Hromada pledged itself to support Drahomanov and his family, and a fixed amount was allotted for his yearly expenses. Drahomanov hastened to finish the works he had already started in Kiev, including his collection of Ukrainian folk legends and tales. In May, 1876, having received his passport for travel abroad, Drahomanov left for Vienna by way of Galicia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia. In Vienna he started work on the program Hromada had proposed.

The commission to inquire into Ukrainian separatism met in the latter part of May, 1876, and decreed the following measures: prohibition of printing in the Ukrainian language, prohibition of Ukrainian theatrical performances and concerts, the closing of the Southwestern Section of the Geographical Society, and the banishment of Drahomanov. Exclusion from the Ukraine was also applied to Pavlo Chubynsky, the well-known statistician and ethnographer, who, in the early 1870's, had directed a statistical and ethnographic expedition into the Right Bank Ukraine (the provinces of Kiev, Podolya, and Volhynia). This expedition collected seven large volumes of very valuable material, which was published by the Petersburg Geographical Society.

Thus Drahomanov was condemned to exile. He was unable to stay in Vienna very long. Before his arrival, in April, 1876, the Austrian government had started a campaign against the Ukrainian socialist movement in Galicia, searching suspected persons, confiscating pamphlets, etc. In preparation for a trial of Ukrainian socialists, Drahomanov was accused of being the head of the socialist conspiracy, an agent of the Russian government, etc. After editing one pamphlet in Vienna, On the Question of Little Russian Literature, Drahomanov took refuge in Switzerland.

III. The Geneva Period

After settling in Geneva in the autumn of 1876, Drahomanov began on the publications commissioned by the Hromada group in Kiev. His works on Ukrainian matters and his socialist propaganda were written in Ukrainian; in Russian he wrote various liberal political works, following the course of the events that were agitating Russia. His first task was collecting material for a magazine to be called Hromada (Community), in honor of the organization that had sent him abroad. At the same time Drahomanov edited several other works: a novel by the Rudchenko brothers (under the pseudonyms of Panas Myrny and Ivan Bilyk), which described a Ukrainian village after the abolition of serfdom; two volumes of his own Political Songs of the Ukrainian People, a continuation of the Historical Songs he and Antonovych had edited in Kiev; and two pamphlets by a fellow emigrant in Geneva, the doctor and economist Serhiy Podolynsky, Handicrafts and Factories in the Ukraine and The Life and Health of the Ukrainian People.

Hromada presented the Ukrainian socialist program and articles and correspondence on political, economic, and educational conditions in the Ukraine. In Geneva Drahomanov also published a series of articles and pamphlets in Russian devoted to internal conditions in the tsarist empire, in which he demonstrated the need for political freedom in Russia.

In taking a stand against tsarist policies, Drahomanov was also drawn into conflict with various Russian revolutionary groups, such as that around the paper Narodnaya Volya (The People's Will). He did not share their illusions about the possibility of realizing socialist ideas in a backward country which had not gone through the school of political freedom. According to Drahomanov the realization of these ideas was only possible through an evolutionary process, bringing a high level of civilization to the masses. However, Drahomanov's methods seemed too slow to the Russian revolutionaries, who wanted immediate, decisive action. Besides, Drahomanov disapproved of their Great Russian centralism, their destructive tendencies, their Machiavellian approach in which the end justified the means, and their establishment of terror as a principle of revolutionary action. Drahomanov's writings of this time show the maturing into a well-rounded system of the convictions he had already expressed in Kiev.

In the Russian journal Volnoye Slovo (Free Word), Drahomanov led a campaign for political freedom, against all centralism, tsarist or revolutionary. From August, 1881 to May, 1883, he worked for this journal, first as a regular contributor, soon as its editor-in-chief. Volnoye Slovo was supposed to be the organ of a secret underground organization in Russia, the Zemsky Soyuz (Union of the Land). After 1905 certain authors studying the history of the revolutionary movement expressed doubts that this organization had ever existed. The secrecy surrounding Zemsky Soyuz led to a hot discussion. It was only after 1917, when State documents could be studied, that it was possible to clear this question. It was shown that in fact Zemsky Soyuz was a facade for the anti-revolutionary Svyashchennaya Druzhina (Holy Guard). In a few words let us summarize its history. The assassination of Tsar Alexander II (March 1, 1881) caused panic among the government and the aristocracy. The new tsar, Alexander III, hardly dared to go out of his heavily guarded castle outside St. Petersburg. A group of clever ambitious men in bureaucratic and court circles endeavored to make use of this situation. Under the leadership of Count Paul Shuvalov they formed a sort of private police, the Holy Guard, which competed with the official police, compromised by their failure to protect Alexander II. The chief aim of the Holy Guard was to bring to an end the wave of assassinations by the revolutionary Narodnaya Volya Party. They supported the magazine Volnoye Slovo because Drahomanov was known as a vigorous opponent of terrorism.

Obviously it is not very flattering to present Drahomanov as the unconscious tool of a reactionary intrigue, but we must make a few additional remarks. First, Count Shuvalov was playing a double game. While fighting terrorism, he was also trying to use his influence on the monarch and the government to obtain liberal reforms. He drew up a project for a constitution which he presented to Alexander III. His ambition was to be the leader of the first constitutional government. Shuvalov's political conceptions coincided in part with Drahomanov's ideas. Although in the secret meetings of the Holy Guard Shuvalov justified the financing of Volnoye Slovo by speaking of the necessity of splitting the revolutionary movement, it is very probable that he also welcomed the magazine as a center for liberal forces. Secondly, although a Zemsky Soyuz never existed, there were a great many individuals and groups in Russia who sympathized with the principles of the Geneva publication, especially those circles of the liberal opposition who concentrated on the idea of Zemstvo self-government, and opposed both absolutism and revolutionary terrorism. Here Volnoye Slovo found readers and correspondents. Since the time of Herzen's Kolokol (Tocsin) no emigrant publication had aroused such a response in Russia. Thirdly, Drahomanov's own complete good faith has never been cast into doubt by any of those doing research on the problem. As editor Drahomanov had a completely free hand; he wrote what he chose and there can be no question of an influence by the Holy Guard on the editorial policy of Volnoye Slovo.

The shipwreck of Count Shuvalov's ambitions brought downfall to Volnoye Slovo. After a preliminary period of doubt and vacillation, Alexander III decided on a resolutely reactionary course. The Holy Guard was dissolved. Of course to Drahomanov the true connection between these events was never clear, and to the end of his days he believed that he had published Volnoye Slovo for and with the help of the underground Zemsky Soyuz. This whole comedy of errors is typical of Russian politics of the time.

As a convinced advocate of political freedom, Drahomanov gladly welcomed all who struggled for it in Russia. In June, 1883, a group of delegates from the Russian Ukraine came to him for aid in drawing up a program for remodeling the Russian Empire on a federal and democratic basis. A society, Volny Soyuz (Free Union), was to be created to work to carry it out. At the end of August the program was finished, printed, and taken to Russia, but the members of the group were arrested, and the society never came into being, Nevertheless, Drahomanov printed the program, with the addition of a detailed commentary. (Volny Soyuz, Geneva, 1884).

During all of his stay in Geneva, Drahomanov continued to place articles on the Ukraine in French, German, and Italian publications, Perhaps the most important of these is his extensive study of the Ukraine which appeared in La Nouvelle Geographie Universelle, the famous compendium by his friend Elisee Reclus. This was the first systematic treatment in a West European language of all the Ukrainian lands. Drahomanov took a public stand in defense of the Ukraine, oppressed by Russian absolutism. For example his protest at the International Literary Congress in Paris, 1878, against the decree prohibiting the use of Ukrainian as a printed language, made a considerable impression. Drahomanov's report was printed as a separate pamphlet entitled La litterature oukrainienne proscrite par le gouvernement russe. A considerably enlarged version of this appeared in the Italian journal Rivista Minima, 1881.

Drahomanov also kept up his interest in Galicia, and tried to influence West Ukrainian social opinions and attitudes by placing articles in various local publications, and by personal correspondence with West Ukrainian leaders. It must be said that Drahomanov was a remarkable correspondent. He answered all letters immediately, and many of his letters were really political treatises, e.g. his letters to the Hromada group in Kiev, those to many Galician Ukrainian leaders, and especially those to his disciples and friends Ivan Franko and Mykhaylo Pavlyk. In his letters Drahomanov not only gave his correspondents advice on specific practical problems, but also expressed his general theories. That is why his letters present such rich material for a historian of his time.

Drahomanov's relations to the Ukrainian press in Galicia and to the progressive leaders there became closer as reaction gained the upper hand in Russia during the eighties. The members of Hromada in Kiev, who had sent Drahomanov abroad, found that the activity he pursued in accordance with their original instructions was too radical to suit the changed temper of the times. With the years they had moved to the right, and now they felt that the policy of their European ambassador was injurious to the Ukrainian cause in Russia. They felt that Drahomanov's radical publications only irritated the Russian government and ruined their hopes of seeing the restrictions on Ukrainian literature lessened. They were displeased even with the publication of the collected poetic works of Shevchenko, which Drahomanov had undertaken in Geneva, believing that his fellow-countrymen in Kiev and Lviv had lost sight of the ideals of that great revolutionary poet. The extent of the alarm felt at that time by Drahomanov's former comrades-in-arms can be seen by the opinion of one of the formerly most radical members of Hromada, Pavlo Zhytetsky: "We must hibernate through this misfortune [the reactionary reign of Alexander III]."

The divergence between Drahomanov and his friends in Kiev, which had already become manifest in 1883, grew sharper in 1886, and had a painful effect on his material situation. Hromada stopped sending the money for Drahomanov's expenses as had been arranged. Although the money had never arrived very regularly, still this was a great blow. The conflict had even more painful spiritual effects. Now Drahomanov felt like an abandoned outcast from his native country. Drahomanov liked to repeat the words of Renan: "Le moyen d'avoir raison dans l'avenir est, a certaines heures, de savoir se resigner a etre demode," but this scarcely improved his situation.

In this hard period Drahomanov was consoled by the proposal made by a circle of still loyal friends from the Ukraine to write a history of Ukrainian literature. He accepted with joy and began to study Ukrainian folk poetry, which was to constitute the first part of this work. This history of Ukrainian literature was never completed, but a series of articles, sketches, notes, and monographs appeared in different publications. This research occupied the last years of his life.

IV. The Sofia Period

In 1889, while engaged in this work on Ukrainian literature, Drahomanov received an invitation from the Bulgarian government to fill a chair of history in the University of Sofia. This gave him financial security and the opportunity to print in Bulgarian publicatios, as well as a chance to return to his beloved profession of teaching. Drahomanov signed a three year contract with the Bulgarian government. At its expiration it was prolonged for one year in spite of the demand of the Russian government that he be expelled from Bulgaria along with other Russian emigrant "nihilists and terrorists". In 1893 the contract was again renewed, this time for three years.

At the university Drahomanov lectured on pre-Hellenic civilizations, but his personal scientific work was devoted to Ukrainian and other Slavic folklores and literatures. His works on folklore were recognized as outstanding, and their author received many honors.

In spite of the time required for teaching and research, and of the limitations imposed by a serious heart disease, Drahomanov still managed to contribute frequently to the Radical press in Galicia. Contact with Galicia became a spiritual necessity for Drahomanov. He himself said that Galicia became his second homeland, no less dear to him than his own province of Poltava. These ties lessened his feeling of isolation from his native soil.

In his Galician articles and pamphlets Drahomanov, as always, defended the principles of freedom and tolerance, political, religious, and national, and campaigned for the secularization of all social relations. He opposed clericalism and social reaction, which threatened the free development of the Galician Ukrainian community. Two works from this period are especially remarkable: "Peculiar Thoughts on the Ukrainian National Cause" (Lviv, 1891) and "Letters to the Dnieper Ukraine" (Lviv, 1893). The latter was an answer to the articles of Borys Hrinchenko in a newspaper of Chernivtsi, Bukovina. Although Hrinchenko started out as an opponent of Drahomanov's point of view, Drahomanov's replies turned him into an ardent follower.

Naturally Drahomanov's journalistic activity exposed him to continual attacks by his various political adversaries. The Polish nobility and the Ukrainian conservatives in Galicia suspected him of being an agent of the Russian government; tsarist officials considered him a bitter enemy, a dangerous separatist and revolutionary. In Russia the very mention of his name was prohibited. The censor prevented the printing of his most innocuous scholarly contributions to Russian magazines, even under pseudonyms, whenever it was discovered that Drahomanov was the author. But the hostility both of the Galician conservatives and of tsarist Russia did not prevent Russian and Polish revolutionary centralists from insinuating that Drahomanov was a sort of agent provocateur of the Russian government. On yet another side, some of his Ukrainian adversaries saw in him a Russophile or even a "Muscovite," pretending to defend the Ukrainian cause in order to injure it. But no insinuations, calumnies, or denunciations could make Drahomanov change his convictions. Till his death he remained a fearless and ardent advocate of political, religious, and national freedom and of international solidarity. Drahomanov always tried to persuade his compatriots that while keeping their feet firmly planted on the Ukrainian soil, they should turn their eyes toward European culture.

In spite of the obstacles raised on all sides, Drahomanov's indefatigable activity brought him supporters even during his lifetime. The Galician Radical Party was founded under his influence and continued to be guided by his advice. His ideas also penetrated into the Russian Ukraine, which the reactionary government of Alexander III tried to keep isolated from the outside world. Drahomanov lived to achieve public recognition from his colleagues in political and scholarly fields, and from his personal friends and disciples. In Lviv, on December 16, 1894, the thirty years' jubilee of his public activity was celebrated. On this occasion he received warm greetings from all over the Ukraine and from West European scholars and friends. Among these greetings there were also many from progressive Russians and Poles. For Drahomanov this celebration came as a real surprise, and it gave him deep satisfaction.

His days were already numbered. In his last years Drahomanov suffered from a heart disease, aneurism of the aorta. This painful disease was incurable, and could be fatal at any moment, as Drahomanov knew. Nevertheless Drahomanov continued work to the end. On June 20, 1895, after having lectured as usual at the university, he died suddenly. In accordance with his request, he was buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Sofia.


1 M. Drahomanov, "Autobiography," Selected Works of M. Drahomanov, I (Prague, 1937), p. 56.

malorus.org, копилефт 2006 г.