Hrushevsky, Mikhail Sergeyevich

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(18661934), prominent Ukrainian historian and statesman.

In 1890 Mikhail Hrushevsky graduated from Kiev University, where he studied under Volodymyr Antonovych. In 1894 he was appointed to the newly created chair of Ukrainian history at Lviv University (at the time, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire). While in Lviv, Hrushevsky reorganized the Shevchenko Scientific Society (est. 1873) into an equivalent of a Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, founded new scholarly journals, and established his school of Ukrainian history. After the 1905 Revolution Hrushevsky lived in St. Petersburg and Kiev, where he became increasingly involved in liberal politics. In Kiev he founded the Ukrainian Scientific Society (1907), as well as a cluster of journals and newspapers. Arrested and exiled to eastern Russia during World War I, Hrushevsky emerged after the February Revolution as a recognized leader of moderate Ukrainian nationalists. In March 1917 he was elected president of the Central Rada (Council), which eventually developed into a Ukrainian parliament. During the Revolution Hrushevsky moved to the left and joined the Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries, which had a majority in the Rada. On the last day of its existence, April 29, 1918, the Rada elected Hrushevsky president of the Ukrainian People's Republic.

Hrushevsky lived abroad after 1919, but returned to Soviet Ukraine in 1924 and soon resumed his role as the dean of Ukrainian historians. But the authorities increasingly criticized his scholarship as nationalistic and in 1931 transferred him to Moscow. By the time of his death in 1934, his school in Soviet Ukraine was destroyed by arrests and condemnations. Hrushevsky's main scholarly achievement is his monumental History of Ukraine-Rus' (10 vols., 1898-1937) covering the period until 1658. He also authored several short surveys of Ukrainian history and a five-volume History of Ukrainian Literature. Rejecting the history of state formations in favor of the history of the people, Hrushevsky criticized traditional Russian historical models and was influential in claiming Kievan Rus as a part of Ukrainian history. In contrast to Hrushevsky's denigration by the Soviet ideologues as a bourgeois nationalist, in post-Soviet Ukraine Hrushevsky is lauded as the nation's greatest historian and statesman.

See also: ukraine and ukrainians


Hrushevs'kyi, Mykhailo. (1993). History of Ukraine-Rus', vols. 1, 7, 8. Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press.

Hrushevs'kyi, Mykhailo (1941). A History of Ukraine. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Prymak, Thomas M. (1987). Mykhailo Hrushevsky: The Politics of National Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Serhy Yekelchyk