Михаил Петрович Драгоманов (1841-1895)

Традиция - это передача пламени, а не поклонение пеплу.
Поделиться в соц.сетях:

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).




As a point of departure in imagining the conditions of the period in which Mykhaylo Drahomanov was to work, let us remember that he was already twenty years old in 1861 when serfdom was abolished in the Russian Empire. Serfdom came close to being real slavery. The master had the right to sell his peasants, and there are even cases on record where serfs were the stakes in card games. At the time of the emancipation, about eighty percent the population of the Russian (or Dnieper) Ukraine were serfs.

Even after the act of emancipation the peasants remained economically dependent. About a third of the land which the serfs had had under cultivation in 1861 was taken from them and allotted to the great landowners. The primitive level of agrarian technique and the lack of outlets in industry and the cities for the surplus agricultural population caused chronic misery in the villages, turning into acute famine with every bad harvest. (It was only toward the end of the 19th century that coal and iron mining and heavy industry took on real significance in the Ukraine.) Even decades after the abolition of serfdom the tsarist regime had not established an adequate network of elementary schools, with the result that illiteracy was the rule rather than the exception for the mass of peasants.

The social structure of the Ukraine was not integrated. There was a deep gulf between the peasants and urban lower classes on the one hand and the nobility, bureaucracy, bourgeoisie, and clergy on the other. The former group was Ukrainian in language and other ethnic characteristics, if not in political consciousness; the latter regarded itself as a part of the Russian (or Polish, in the Right Bank Ukraine) nation. These groups lived in two separate worlds, and there was little spiritual contact between them.

There was absolutely no chance for legal political activity -- except for manifestations of loyalty to the tsar and the government. Independent political thoughts could be expressed only in secret organizations or, in carefully veiled allusions and symbols, in literature. This was true of die whole Russian Empire, but even the little free expression that was tolerated in Russia proper was ruthlessly suppressed in the Ukraine. From Drahomanov's autobiography we see, for instance, that the Sunday folk schools, which aimed at giving the workers an elementary education, and which were completely harmless politically, were suppressed by the government.

The tsarist nationality policy toward the Ukraine was one of systematic and ruthless Russification. Ukrainians were even forbidden to call themselves Ukrainians; the official name of Little Russians was imposed. The Ukrainian language was banned from government offices, schools, and churches. It was allowed only in poetry and belles lettres, and even so, all books had to be submitted in manuscript to the censor.

The position of die Ukrainian people in Austria was different and in many respects more favorable. Serfdom was abolished in Galicia, Bukovina, and Transcarpathia (Hungarian Ruthenia) in 1848, thirteen years before it was in Russia. During the first constitutional period in Austria, 1848-49, the Ukrainian (or Ruthenian, as it was then called) national movement was able to make remarkable progress. A political organization, the Ruthenian Main Council, was established in Lviv, with branches throughout the land. Ukrainian ambitions were expressed in the electoral struggle, in public meetings, and in the press. The use of Ukrainian, at least in the elementary schools, was guaranteed. The wave of reaction which followed in Austria (1849-59) slowed down the movement, but could not stop it entirely. The reestablishment of a constitutional regime in 1860, and its extension in 1867, gave the Ukrainians nominally equal rights with the other peoples of the multi-national empire. However, this provided only a legal framework; in reality the Ukrainians were far from having the same rights as the Germans, Hungarians, Poles, Czechs, etc. To achieve true equality a long struggle was needed, first to turn the letter of the law into reality in Galicia, and second to reform the legal structure in an ever more democratic manner.

The abolition of serfdom did not break the economic power of the great landowners in Galicia. About 1,500 families owned 42 percent of the land in the province. The former serf-owners received a high monetary compensation from public funds, which made the tax burden on the peasants heavier, driving many into debt. On the average three thousand peasants were forced to sell their farms at public auction every year. Moreover, the nobles possessed the so-called privilege of propination. Propination was the privilege of the nobles to manufacture liquor on their estates and to sell it in their own taverns. In the old Polish Commonwealth this had been an essential part of the "golden freedom" of the Polish nobility. This remnant of feudalism was preserved in Austrian law even after the introduction of the constitution. As a result, there was an average of one saloon for every 233 persons. The population was systematically undermined in health, morals, and material well-being by the Polish nobility and the parasitic usurers who leased the taverns from them.

The Austrian government formed one province of the ethnically Ukrainian territory of the medieval kingdom of Galicia and the ethnically Polish region of Cracow. Even in such an artificially constructed province the Ukrainians made up the majority of the population. However, this majority was not reflected in the political structure, for the elections both to the central Parliament in Vienna and to the Galician Diet were conducted on the basis of a class or curial election system. The curia of the landowners was Polish; that of the industrialists, merchants, and urban real estate owners was Polish and Jewish; the Ukrainians could only be represented in the peasant curia. Moreover, the elections to this last were indirect. The village delegates met in their county seat to elect deputies by a roll call vote. This method gave every opportunity for corruption and administrative pressure. It must be remembered that in the 1860's Galicia, which had previously been administered by imperial officials, was delivered into the hands of the Poles. The Polish oligarchy made use of all its power to hinder the social and national progress of the Ukrainian people.

This extremely difficult situation disheartened the Ukrainian intelligentsia, most of whom were at that time priests of the Uniate Church. In 1848 the Ruthenian Main Council had proclaimed that the Ukrainians (Ruthenians, in the terminology of the time) were a distinct nation, different from both the Poles and the Russians and identical with the Ukrainians dominated by Russia. But Polish preponderance brought despair, and led to a Russophile reaction. Confronted with the prospect of Polonization, the Ukrainian intelligentsia turned toward Russia, which in language, cultural tradition (Cyrillic alphabet and rites of the Eastern Church), and the alleged common descent from the medieval Kiev State, seemed closer than Poland. This attitude of the Russophiles was formulated by one of their leaders, Father Ivan Naumovych, in a speech in the Galician Diet: "Placed before the choice, we prefer to drown in the Russian ocean instead of in the Polish swamp." This Russophile tendency was undoubtedly encouraged by the deep conservatism of the Ukrainian clerical intelligentsia, who were impressed by the power and splendor of the Russian monarchy.


In the second half of the 18th century the last remnants of Ukrainian Cossack statehood were liquidated by the Russian government. The last hetman, Rozumovsky, was forced to resign in 1764; the Cossack stronghold, the Zaporozhian Sich, was destroyed in 1775; and finally the territory of the Hetmanate was divided into provinces and the peasants turned into Russian-style serfs, 1781-83.

At the end of the century, however, Western influences brought a part of the nobility, descendants of the former Cossack officers, to increased interest in the past and in the peculiar character of their homeland. There were beginnings of a new poetry in the popular tongue, and of scholarly research into Ukrainian history and folklore.

In the 1840's a dynamic personality entered the historical arena, the emancipated serf Taras Shevchenko. The poet Shevchenko, the historian Kostomarov, the writer Kulish, and others joined together in 1845 to found the secret Brotherhood of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Kiev. However, before the Brotherhood could get started on its practical program, it was denounced to the police and its members were sentenced to long terms of deportation.

It was only after the Crimean War, which was disastrous for Russia, and after the death of the despotic Nicholas I and the accession of the "liberal" Alexander II that the Ukrainian movement could gather force again. The old leaders returned from banishment, and a new generation of representative personalities appeared in the 1860's. The Ukrainian movement then took the form of secret hromadas (communities), which sprang up in all the cities of the Ukraine and in St. Petersburg, where there was a large Ukrainian colony. At the head of the movement was the mother Hromada of Kiev, also called the Old Hromada, which had several hundred members. Many of these were school teachers, but there were also members of the liberal professions, Zemstvo officials, etc. The hromadas should not be imagined as dangerous conspiracies; by any normal standard their activities were harmless enough, and it was only conditions in the Russian Empire which drove the members to underground methods. The hromadas had no formal organizational structure, no written statutes, and no elected officers. Everything was built upon personal contact, mutual trust, and the moral authority of the recognized leading figures. Toward the end of the sixties, Drahomanov, who had joined the Kiev Hromada as a student, became, along with Volodymyr Antonovych, an undisputed leader; he remained one until he wenl abroad as the representative of the Kiev Hromada.

The democratic Ukrainian movement, still in its cradle, was soon to be baptized by the fire of tsarist persecution, even though it had no ambitious political aims. In 1863 the Valuyev Ukase was promulgated, forbidding the use of Ukrainian in any printed matter of an educational or religious nature. This was a bitter blow to the Ukrainian movement, which had placed its hope in popular education. The experience of a few years of relative liberalism had sufficed to show the thankfulness with which the masses welcomed popular literature in Ukrainian. The Valuyev Ukase aimed at preventing the Ukrainian intelligentsia from influencing the people In spite of these obstacles, the Ukrainian movement continued to make progress until the Ukase of Ems of 1876 forbade all publications in the Ukrainian language and any organized form of Ukrainian cultural activity.

The situation of the Ukrainians was made even more difficult by the fact that they could not obtain any outside support. Although the Poles were also an oppressed nationality in the Russian Empire, the Polish or Polonized nobles of the Right Bank Ukraine were hostile to Ukrainian national ambitions. They feared that the work of popular enlightenment carried on among the peasants by the hromada members would gradually undermine the position of the Polish aristocracy, and thereby the basis for Polish claims to the "historical frontiers" of 1772. Thus, in the early sixties, there was a paradoxical situation: the Polish nobility, while arming for rebellion against Russia, flooded the Russian administration with denunciations of Ukrainian agitations among the peasants. In conjunction with the attacks of the Russian reactionary press -- which, ironically, linked the Ukrainian movement with Polish intrigues -- these denunciations were one of the causes of the Ukase of 1863. The attitude of the Russian liberal and socialist opposition was scarcely more favorable to the Ukrainian democrats. There were a few honorable exceptions: Herzen handled the Ukrainian question humanely, and allowed an article by Kostomarov (of course anonymous) to be printed in his Kolokol (Tocsin); later Turgenev joined Drahomanov in signing a petition against the infamous Ukase of 1876. But these were the white ravens. In comparison with the Ukrainian movement, the anti-tsarist opposition had considerable influence. But the overwhelming majority of the Russian opposition -- liberal, democratic, socialist, or revolutionary -- was at best indifferent, at worst almost openly hostile, to the slightest demands of the Ukrainians and of the other non-Russian nationalities.


There are various motives which can spur men on to active participation in public life: personal ambition and the desire for power; a wish for social and material advantage; the desire to see an idea realized; a feeling of duty and an inner vocation to public service. Usually these motives do not act in an isolated manner; in each politician a different mixture in varying proportions is to be found.

Only Drahomanov's profound patriotism and ardent love for his people can explain his political activity. In Russia he had the prospect of a brilliant academic career, which would have given him not only material security and honor, but also the chance to use to the full his scholarly talents. As a politician he would have had every chance to find a leading position in the Russian revolutionary camp. As an influential theoretician and representative of the Russian revolutionary movement abroad, he could have played a role comparable with that of Herzen, Bakunin, Lavrov, or Plekhanov. This way of life would not have been so peaceful and secure as a university career, but to a strong and ambitious man the Russian revolutionary camp was already able to offer tempting bait: a broad field of activity, international fame, and -- in the case of a crisis in the tsarist government -- well-founded hopes for immediate power. Drahomanov voluntarily renounced all these possibilities. He chose another way, one which could only bring him what it did, material want, isolation, illness, and an early death from overwork and care. As he said, he could not bear to sit by passively while his people were turned into fellahin.

Drahomanov did not usually express his emotions. But once, when Ohonovsky, professor of Ukrainian literature at the University of Lviv, accused the Radicals, as internationalists, of being without love for their country, Drahomanov answered for himself and his political friends in a letter:

You write: "In the program of the Radical movement we do not find the most important point, namely love for the homeland." I must protest vigorously against these words. In our political programs we do not speak of "love," because political programs are not lyric poetry. Moreover, I think that love is better expressed in deeds than in words. . . . Allow me to remind you of my history, not in order to defend myself, for your remarks are so unjust that they do not merit an answer, but as an example of the situation of our whole group. While I was still young, I became a professor in a Russian university, in a field which is quite remote from the Ukrainian question. I had a recognized position as a contributor to the best Russian periodicals. What made me give up all this in order to study Ukrainian problems and to dedicate myself to the journalistic battle to defend Ukrainian national interests? Why did I begin to write in Ukrainian, when I knew that this would narrow my circle of readers? My Radical comrades are in a similar position. Who dares to say that we love our land less than those who vaunt their patriotism, but write little or nothing in Ukrainian, and publish all their writings in Russian. . . ? It is obvious that a man works first of all for what he loves.1

And elsewhere:

It would be best for me personally to give up politics entirely. But there is something stronger than I that pushes me. What I have seen happen on both sides of the Zbruch River [the boundary between Russian and Austrian Ukraine] demands imperiously that someone say certain things aloud at the right time.2


In a fully developed nation each individual is able to satisfy all his cultural needs in his own national language. During Drahomanov's lifetime the Ukraine was far from being such a nation. Ukrainian literary production was limited almost entirely to poetry, tales, and novels from peasant life. Even prominent Ukrainian patriots wrote their scholarly and scientific works in Russian. This situation was caused partly by the pressure of censorship, partly by a desire to be understandable to all educated readers of Russian, and partly by the lack of a Ukrainian technical vocabulary.

Among 19th century authors, Drahomanov was second only to his elder contemporary, the poet and scholar Panteleymon Kulish (1819-97), in his influence on the development of a scientific and journalistic vocabulary and terminology in Ukrainian prose. He was particularly responsible for the evolution of a Ukrainian political terminology. It is interesting that Drahomanov not only tried to make Ukrainian independent of Russian, but also tried to replace such international words as republic, socialism, progress, etc., with neologisms of his own invention based on the Ukrainian vernacular. In this he was probably following the example of Czech, which was noted for a far-reaching "Slavization" of technical language. Only some of Drahomanov's neologisms ever became a part of the language.

Drahomanov was also a reformer of Ukrainian orthography. He wanted the Ukrainians to give up the Cyrillic alphabet in favor of the Latin one, and experimentally published a few of his works in Latin characters. But this radical reform had against it not only a thousand year tradition of Cyrillic writing in the Ukraine, but also the fact that for the Galician Ukrainians the Latin alphabet was suspect as a symbol of Polish civilization and as a possible means of Polonization. The creator of modern Ukrainian spelling was Kulish. In contrast to Russian etymological orthography he based Ukrainian spelling on the phonetical principle, making the spelling as close a transcription as possible of the spoken word. This not only brought the orthography closer to the needs of the people, but also made Ukrainian publications look considerably different from Russian ones. The Russian government attacked phonetic spelling as separatist. In his publications in Geneva, Drahomanov simplified and rationalized Kulish's system. In this, also, he was only partially successful, for his bolder proposals never became standard. In conservative Galicia it was principally Drahomanov's followers who popularized phonetic spelling and assured its victory there.3

By his influence on two of the most important modern Ukrainian writers, Ivan Franko (1856-1916) and Lesya Ukrayinka (1871-1913), Drahomanov affected the current of modern Ukrainian literature. The versatile and talented Franko -- novelist, poet, scholar, and journalist -- was one of Drahomanov's first disciples in Galicia. Lesya Ukrayinka (the nom de plume of Larysa Kosach), the great lyric and dramatic poet, was Drahomanov's niece, and he devoted loving attention to her education.

The basic aim of Drahomanov's cultural policy was the evolution of "Ukrainian Europeans,"4 that is, of men who were at the same time well-grounded in European cultural traditions, and conscious and active Ukrainian patriots. This idea challenged both the spiritual dependence of the Ukrainians on the dominant Russian nation, and every form of exclusive Ukrainian nationalism in cultural questions.


Drahomanov saw that the Ukrainian movement had a long series of tasks before it. The strength for the accomplishment of these tasks was only to be found in the people. Therefore the latent energy of the masses had to be aroused.

At that time the Ukrainian people was unorganized. In the Russian Ukraine organization was prevented by law and by the whole system of administrative and police terrorism. The situation was different in the Austrian Ukraine, where it was legally permissible to form private societies of every sort. But until the seventies and eighties the Ukrainians made little use of this opportunity. The harassments of the Polish provincial administration in Galicia were partially responsible for Ukrainian passivity; in part the patriarchic attitude of the clerical intelligentsia was to blame, for the priests had little understanding of modern forms of mass organization. In consequence, Drahomanov advocated that his Galician followers strive to disentangle their national movement from the clericalism of the Uniate Church, and that they take energetic action among the people to establish economic, cultural, and political associations.

The Galician Ukrainian leaders of that generation were chiefly spurred on to activity by the elections to the Vienna Parliament and to the provincial Diet. Drahomanov felt that certain conditions must be achieved before electoral campaigns could be successful.

It will be a long time before the Parliament and the Diet, as they are now constituted, can do any good for the working people in Galicia, particularly for the Ukrainians. . . . The Ruthenian papers admit that the peasants, out of fear of the lords and the officials, or bribed by money and gin, sell their votes. . . . Even if we should manage to elect a dozen deputies to the Diet, and four or five to Parliament, would these deputies be able to be useful to their people, assuming that they understood the welfare of the people. . . ? You may ask what is to be done. Should we rebel, although we have neither the weapons nor the strength to do so, or should we fold our hands and look passively on while our enemies rule our land and our people? Those who place their hopes in the Parliament and the Diet will have to learn that it is useless to want to build a house from the roof to the foundation. A unified, organized people is necessary for any political action -- for revolution, for peaceful progress, and of course for winning elections. Men can best be organized for things that are near to them and that they can understand easily. Those who believe that education is most important, and who feel best suited to work in the field of education, should found educational groups and reading halls. Mutual aid societies, credit unions, etc. should be founded by men with concerns for them. No one should think that he will be able to reform the world that way, but he will be able to make a real, if modest, contribution to the welfare of his people, and, most important, he will bring them together. Similarly, political groups should be organized, and public meetings called, in which all political matters can be discussed. The whole land must be covered by a network of various associations and councils, which the people will be able to develop in their own manner. This network will not be superimposed over the people, like the present Parliament and Diet; it will not promise a blessing from above; it will be the organized people. It will be, so to speak, a sort of popular parliament, very different from the official parliament which is so constructed that it conceals the true desires of the people. The official parliaments and diets will have to respect the force of such "popular parliaments." Then, if the moment comes when it is possible and desirable to represent the interests of the people in the official parliamentary institutions, the organized people will be in a position to ensure the election of men it can trust.5

This advice fell upon good ground. In the 1880's and 1890's a general movement among the mass of the people became ever more evident. Of course this can not be traced to Drahomanov's influence alone. The methods of organization which Drahomanov proposed were suggested to him by the very nature of things, and were based on the experience of other peasant nations in Europe. But Drahomanov's followers were the pioneers in the systematic organization of the people. In less than one generation, from the time of Drahomanov's death to the First World War, a profound change was completed in Galicia. The passive, intimidated mass of peasants became an aspiring nation, fighting for its rights. As Drahomanov had foreseen, it was the broad basis of educational societies, cooperative and other economic associations, as well as sport and paramilitary groups (following the example of the Czech Sokols) which made possible a successful parliamentary policy. Each election to the Parliament or Diet produced a larger Ukrainian representation, and in 1907 the introduction of universal suffrage for elections to the Vienna Parliament sounded the knell of the whole system of Polish hegemony in Galicia. In the Dnieper Ukraine, after the introduction in 1905 of a modicum of constitutional liberty, there was a similar movement toward the organization of the people in educational societies, cooperatives, and so on.


When Drahomanov entered public life there were still no real Ukrainian parties. The hromadas were loosely-organized clubs, without an elaborated political program. The situation was not much different in Galicia, except that there such clubs or formless political groups could work legally, as they could not in Russia.

Drahomanov saw the need for modern Ukrainian political organizations, which, as he always emphasized, should be independent of Russian or Polish ones. The first such political movement came in 1875, when his Galician followers formed a group. However, its members were soon persecuted by the Austro-Polish administration; there were arrests, convictions on slight evidence, arbitrary confiscations of publications, etc. It was much later that the movement which Drahomanov called into existence took organizational form. In the seventies most of Drahomanov's followers were young students. Drahomanov opposed the Russian revolutionary practice of creating political organizations with student members. He believed that young people needed a thorough theoretical and practical preparation for political life, and that parties should be composed of mature citizens.

It was fifteen years later that the first congress of the Ukrainian Radical Party was held in Lviv in October, 1890. The creation of this party had required two groups of leaders: intellectuals, who were direct or indirect disciples of Drahomanov, and new grassroots political leaders from among the peasants themselves -- clever party organizers and skilled speakers, who knew how to reach the hearts of their peasant brothers. This was something new in the political life not only of Galicia, but perhaps also of all of Austria and Eastern Europe. The Radical Party was the first modern Ukrainian party. Its program was one of non-marxist, ethical socialism, of the kind that Drahomanov had always advocated. In its revised platform of 1895, the Ukrainian Radical Party proclaimed an independent Ukrainian Republic as its real political aim.

In 1899 a group of the more moderate of Drahomanov's followers fused with the more democratic of the older Galician Ukrainophiles or Populists (narodovtsi), forming the Ukrainian National Democratic Party. Just as the Radical Party had represented the socialist side of Drahomanov's teaching, this party represented the liberal side. The social program of the National Democrats was approximately equal to the minimum program of the Radicals. Both parties strove for the interests of the peasants and for universal suffrage. Both parties, while working within the framework of constitutional Austria, had as their ideal a unified and independent Ukrainian State.

The National Democrats and the Radicals dominated the Ukrainian political scene in Galicia. Other political groups, such as the marxist Social Democrats and the clericalists, were unimportant and a de facto two party system developed there. Usually the National Democrats were the majority and the Radicals were the opposition. Both parties survived the breakup of the Austro-Hungaria Empire, and during the short, dramatic period of independence in 1918-19 they were at the helm. With slightly altered names -- as the Ukrainian National Democratic Union (UNDO) and the Ukrainian Socialist Radical Party (USRP) -- they continued their work in the inter-war period, leading the stubborn resistance of the Ukrainian people against the Polish regime. It was only the annexation of the West Ukraine by the Soviet Union which put an end to these two parties, which had been Drahomanov's godchildren.

Drahomanov's influence on the party system in the Russian, or Dnieper, Ukraine was much weaker. The period of harsh reaction of Alexander Ill's reign so delayed the progress of the Ukrainian movement that it was only after Drahomanov's death that parties were founded in the Dnieper Ukraine. The first one, the Revolutionary Ukrainian Party (RUP), was founded in 1900, but it was only after 1905 that the Ukrainian political groups obtained a little freedom of movement, and that party distinctions became clearer among the Ukrainians of the Russian Empire. Moreover, Drahomanov had much less personal influence in the Dnieper Ukraine. His break with the Kiev Hromada group in the 1880's cut him off from the Eastern Ukrainians. The new generation of leaders which appeared in the early 20th century had scarcely known Drahomanov. Their lack of that thorough training which he gave his disciples was evident in the fact that up to 1917 the young political groups and parties were unable to shake off the ideological and even organizational influence of the Russian parties. It is interesting to note that the maturing of the parties and their members, in the Dnieper Ukraine, often took the form of a "return to Drahomanov."

Two parties in the Dnieper Ukraine were particularly marked by Drahomanov's influence. One was the Democratic Radical Party, which later took the name of the Socialist Federalist Party. In general its program corresponded to that developed by Drahomanov in Free Union, with one important change. Whereas Drahomanov was content with autonomy of regions (oblasts), the Democratic Radicals demanded the unification of all the ethnically Ukrainian territory in the Russian Empire into one autonomous unit. None of the changing Ukrainian regimes of the period of 1917-20 could dispense with the cooperation of the Socialist Federalist Party (the former Democratic Radical Party), since, although it did not have broad popular support, its membership included the best of the Ukrainian liberal intelligentsia. The other party which had a program in line with Drahomanov's ideas was very different. This was the Socialist Revolutionary Party, which was founded by the fusion of a number of smaller groups in the spring of 1917. It was the agrarian socialist party, and it obtained strong support from the mass of the peasants, so that numerically it was the strongest party of the Ukrainian revolution. However, most of its leaders were young men, still students, who had no mature political philosophy. For many of these Socialist Revolutionaries the time for theoretical reflection came only in emigration. Most of them then discovered that they were believers in Drahomanov's ideas.


Drahomanov's ideas worked as a leavening in the legislation and policies of the independent Ukrainian People's Republic, 1917-1920. His spirit was visible in the treatment of the national minority question. The revolutionary Ukrainian parliament, the Tsentralna Rada (Central Council), coopted representatives of the Russians, Poles, and Jews. In the government there were ministers for Russian, Polish, and Jewish affairs, proposed by the parties of these minorities. The banknotes of the Republic were inscribed in the languages of the three most important national minorities as well as in Ukrainian. The law of January 22, 1918, which was adopted at the same time as the declaration of independence, introduced the principle of "national-personal autonomy." This meant that the Russians, Poles, Jews, and any other nationalities which wished to, might form national unions, which would be autonomous bodies in public law, have legislative powers in the cultural affairs of their peoples, and, according to an established scale, receive funds from the State budget. The Bolshevist invasion prevented the implementation of these measures.

Drahomanov's federalism, or more broadly the traditional federalist tendency of Ukrainian political thought, was expressed in both the foreign and internal policies of the Ukrainian government. Internally this came to a guarantee of broad self-government to communities and regions (Constitution of April 29, 1918). The Act of January 22, l9l9, which united the West Ukraine (the Ukrainian regions of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire) with the Ukrainian People's Republic, assured these new regions a considerable degree of autonomy.

The foreign policy of the Ukrainian People's Republic aimed at the reconstruction of Eastern Europe into a confederation of free and equal nations. On the initiative of the Tsentralna Rada a congress of the nationalities of the former tsarist empire was held in Kiev in September, 1917. Among the participants were the plenipotentiary representatives of the Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Byelorussians, Bessarabian Rumanians, Jews, Don Cossacks, Georgians, and Buriats. The congress expressed itself in favor of territorial constituent assemblies and of the participation of national governments in the coming peace conference. The Ukrainian State took a number of similar initiatives during its short existence.


1 The Correspondence of M. Drahomanov (Lviv, 1901), p. 162.

2 Drahomanov's Correspondence with M. Pavlyk (Chernivtsi, 1910-11), VI, p. 153.

3 Cf. Vasyl Simovych, "Drahomanov's Orthographic System," A Symposiun in Honor of M. Drahomanov (Prague, 1932), pp. 145 ff.

4 Drahomanov, Letters to the Dnieper Ukraine (Vienna, 1915), p. 109.

5 Drahomanov, "The Moral of the Story," Hromada, No. 2 (Geneva, 1881), pp. 220-222.

malorus.org, копилефт 2006 г.