MYKHAILO ANTONOVYCH, THE RESEARCHER OF UKRAINIAN HISTORY

  • Nataliia Konopka
Keywords: Mykhailo Antonovych, history of Ukraine, historiography, state formation, national idea, national interest, “modern nationalism”, B. Khmelnytskyi, T. Shevchenko

Abstract

The paper encompasses the analysis of the life and works of a prominent Ukrainian historian and the member of the famous Ukrainian Antonovych dynasty, Mykhailo Dmytrovych Antonovych. Basing on the published sources, the author of the article endeavors to render the scholar’s biography, overview the life conditions and peculiarities of his academic interest formation, define the intellectual circle of the historian, present his work in Ukrainian research institutions and abroad, as well as to analyze his academic achievements.
The main attention in the research is paid to the study of historical and political views of Antonovych, basing on his 4-volume work “History of Ukraine” published in Prague in 1941–1942. It is a synthesis of the author’s views and evaluation of the prominent events, phenomena and processes in the history of Ukraine. The historian’s appraisal of the state formation process differs from the ideas which were popular in the early 20th century and comes down to the idea of the state’s only value as one of the functions of the national life and as the body which can provide the nation’s development.
It is noted that the process of formation and articulation of national idea consisted of several evolutionary phases (from Kyivan Rus to the early 20th century) and depended on various social classes (clergy, Cossacks, aristocracy, intelligentsia), who failed in completing its articulation and popularization. Antonovych has singled out the conditions and reasons of the inability to create a proper theoretical and political conception before 20th century. The researcher considers the colonial movement to have both positive and negative features for Ukraine. On the one hand, vast areas of land were cultivated, therefore, increasing the economic strengths of Ukrainian territory. On the other hand, colonization of the south-eastern regions led to the shift of the central axis of the national life from the line Kyiv – Lviv to Donbass region with its russified population, which was majorly alien and of non-Ukrainian origin and thus unable to create the national idea.
The author of the paper proves that Antonovych’s views on Ukrainian political and historical process have accumulated various historiographic traditions and approaches being at the same time quite exceptional and unique.

Published
2020-03-11