Dragomanov, Mikhail Petrovich

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Dragomanov, Mikhail Petrovich


Born Sept. 18 (30), 1841, in Gadiach in present-day Poltava Oblast; died June 20 (July 2), 1895, in Sofia. Ukrainian bourgeois liberal, publicist, historian, folklorist, and public figure. Born into a family of the petty gentry.

Dragomanov studied at the University of Kiev from 1859 to 1863 and became an assistant professor in 1864. He played an active role in the Kievan hromada (organization) and was fired from the university in 1875 for political “unreliability.” He emigrated to Switzerland in 1876 and began publishing collections of articles in Geneva in 1878. Dragomanov also published the Ukrainian-language journal Hromada, as well as the works of A. I. Herzen, T. G. Shevchenko, and Panas Mirnyi. In 1880 he was the first to publish as a separate pamphlet Belinskii’s letter to Gogol. In 1889 he became a professor at the University of Sofia.

Dragomanov’s world outlook and activities are contradictory. He viewed the social process as a gradual development of ideas, and his petit bourgeois socialism was a variety of the Utopian socialism of the 1860’s and 1870’s. He opposed centralization employed as a means of political and national oppression. Dragomanov’s political narrowmindedness was manifested in his program for national and cultural autonomy. In his opinion, Western European parliamentarianism and the zemstvo (district and provincial assemblies) movement were the ideal government structure. In the zemstvo movement he saw support for the struggle against tsarism.

In Dragomanov’s creative career a central position was occupied by publicistic works, whose basic theme was the struggle against the national and social enslavement of nations by Russian tsarism and Austria-Hungary. Defending the right of the Ukrainian people to develop their national culture, he opposed bourgeois-nationalist plans for the Ukraine to break away from Russia. However, he did not understand the significance of the Polish revolutionaries’ struggle against tsarist autocracy.

Dragomanov wrote a number of works on the history of the Ukraine, including Historic Poland and Great Russian Democracy and An Appeal to “Hromada.” In his research on Ukrainian and Slavic folklore, Dragomanov basically adhered to the theory of borrowing. He is the author of the works Historic Songs of the Ukrainian People (vols. 1-2, 1874-75, coauthored by V. B. Antonovich) and New Ukrainian Songs About Public Events, 1764-1880 (1881). As a literary critic Dragomanov struggled for the affirmation of realism and the national principle in Ukrainian literature and for the unity of Ukrainian and Russian literature. Social Democrats and representatives of revolutionary-democratic currents in the liberation movement, whom Dragomanov had criticized from a position of bourgeois liberalism, criticized him for his political narrowmindedness. At the same time, they noted positive features in his creative work and public activities.


Sobranie politicheskikh sochinenii, vols. 1-2. Paris, 1905-06.
Rozvidky Mykhaila Drahomanova pro ukrains’ku narodnu slovesnist’, vols. 1-4. Lvov, 1899-1906.
Shevchenko, ukrainofily i sotsializm. (Foreword by I. Franko.) Lvov, 1906.
Politychni pisni ukrains’koho narodu XVHI-XIX st. 3 uvahamy M. Drahomanova. Geneva, 1883-85.
Literaturno-publitsystychni pratsi, vols. 1-2. Kiev, 1970.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.