Grushevskii, Mikhail Sergeevich

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Grushevskii, Mikhail Sergeevich


Born Sept. 17 (29), 1866, in Kholm, now Chelm, Poland; died Nov. 25, 1934, in Kislovodsk. Ukrainian bourgeois historian and historian of Ukrainian literature; one of the leaders of the Ukrainian bourgeois-nationalist movement.

Grushevskii graduated from the history and philology department of the University of Kiev in 1890. In 1894 he became chairman of the subdepartment of general history at the University of L’vov. He became chairman of the Shev-chenko Scientific Association in 1897. Grushevskii was an active member of the Kiev Gromada (an organization of the Ukrainian liberal-bourgeois intelligentsia) in the 1890’s; in 1899 he was one of the organizers of the National Democratic Party in Galicia. During the Revolution of 1905–07 he denounced peasant revolts. He advocated the autonomy of the Ukraine within a federated Russia. In 1908, after moving to Kiev, he became one of the leaders of the Association of Ukrainian Progressives, which was politically close to the party of the Constitutional Democrats (Cadets). During World War I, Grushevskii favored a German orientation; in 1914 he was arrested by the tsarist authorities and banished to Simbirsk. In March 1917 he joined the party of Ukrainian Socialist Revolutionaries and headed the bourgeois-nationalist Ukrainian Central Rada, being one of its chief ideologists. With Grushevskii’s active participation, the Central Rada invited the German interventionists into the Ukraine. After the collapse of the German occupation, Grushevskii emigrated to Austria in early 1919; in Vienna he founded the Ukrainian Sociology Institute, an ideological center of Ukrainian nationalist counterrevolutionaries. After several appeals by Grushevskii to the Ukrainian Soviet government denouncing his counterrevolutionary activities, the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee permitted him to return to his homeland for scientific work in 1924. That year Grushevskii was elected an academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR and became head of the Ukrainian history section of the Academy’s history department. In 1929 he was elected an academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. He worked in Moscow after 1930.

For the first time in Ukrainian bourgeois historiography, Grushevskii produced an integrated, complete work on the history of the Ukraine up to the mid-17th century. His principal historical and historical-literary works are The History of the Ukraine and Rus’ (vols. 1–10, in 13 books, 1898–1936), through 1658; An Essay on the History of the Ukrainian People (1904); and The History of Ukrainian Literature (vols. 1–5, 1923–27), which contains abundant material on oral folk arts and written literature until the early 17th century. The History of the Ukraine and Rus’ summarized the results of research of Grushevskii’s predecessors and made use of the latest data of archaeology, ethnography, and philology; it made available extensive documentary material that had been uncovered in the archives of Russia, Poland, Sweden, and other countries.

However, the scholarly value of Grushevskii’s works was limited by tendentiousness in the selection and generalization of facts and by the nationalistic interpretation of sources. Grushevskii was hostile to Marxism. He held that social progress is determined equally by biological, economic, and psychological factors. Grushevskii viewed the nationality problem as the main one in history and contended that national interests were above class interests and that the class struggle hinders the struggle for national interests. Grushevskii propounded the nationalist theory of “a single stream” and depicted the Ukrainian nation as classless and without a bourgeoisie, a nation in which there were no national exploiter classes and no place for class struggle. In Grushevskii’s works the Ukrainian people were counter-posed to the Russian people, their historical closeness was ignored, and the colonial policy of tsarism was passed off as the policy of the Russian people.

Grushevskii erroneously maintained that Kievan Rus’ belonged only to the history of the Ukraine and was not the common cradle of the Ukrainian, Great Russian, and Byelorussian peoples. He denounced the activities of Bogdan Khmel’nitskii and extolled I. Vygovskii and I. Mazepa, who tried to separate the Ukraine from Russia. After his return from abroad, Grushevskii began to devote more attention to the history of the class struggle but basically retained his old nationalist positions. Even today Grushevskii’s bourgeois-nationalist beliefs are used abroad by reactionary bourgeois historians and Ukrainian nationalists who are agents of international imperialism.


Istoriografiia istorii SSSR s drevneishikh vremen do Velikoi Ok-tiabr’skoi Sotsialisticheskoi revoliutsii. Moscow, 1961.
lubileinyi zbirnyk na poshanu akademika M. S. Hrushevs’kogo, vol. 3. Kiev, 1929. Pages 3–104.


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