У рубриці "Дискусія" розміщуємо матеріали обговорення книги Климентія К. Федевича та Климентія І. Федевича "За Віру, Царя і Кобзаря. Малоросійські монархісти і український національний рух (1905–1917 роки)" (Київ: Критика, 2017. 308 с.). Дискусія відбулася на шпальтах журналу Ab Imperio (2018, №2) за участі Дениса Шаталова, Михайла Гаухмана, Андрія Заярнюка, Климентія К. Федевича. Зараз знайомимо читачів з реплікою Андрія Заярнюка.

2018 10 22 Fedevych


For decades a preoccupation with the “Ukrainian national revival” precluded Ukraine’s historians from exploring those political and social movements of the nineteenth century that did not conform to that revival’s narrow definition. The authors of the first histories of the Ukrainian “revival,” which appeared at the turn of the twentieth century, themselves actively participated in that revival’s latest stage. Their accounts legitimized their own politics, laid exclusive claims to many illustrious predecessors, and vilified their political opponents. Both the narratives and deeds of those activist historians operated with a vision of the world composed of distinct national communities. Imagining the Ukrainian national community they also tried to demarcate its boundaries, separating it neatly from its closest neighbors, first of all Poles and Russians. Generations of Ukraine’s historians followed in their footsteps without daring to challenge the authoritative canon those early activist historians had created.

The “black hundred” movement presented one of the greatest challenges for historians working in the national revival paradigm. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Ukrainian lands, with a Ukrainian ethnic majority, became a stronghold for some of the Russian Empire’s most obscurantist monarchists and radical Russian nationalists. Apparently, at the dawn of mass politics local Ukrainians flocked to the Russian black hundred organizations in much greater numbers than to Ukrainian national ones. This puzzle had no solution within the “Ukrainian national revival” paradigm. To construe a satisfactory answer, historians had to look elsewhere.

Faith Hillis was the first to propose a new approach to the problem in her widely acclaimed Children of Rus’, and it is a great pity that Klymentii I. Fedevych and Klymentii K. Fedevych do not engage Hillis’s work in their book.1 Hillis starts with David Saunders’s argument that at the beginning of the nineteenth century when educated elites, both local and in Russia’s capital cities, discovered Ukraine or Little Russia, they imagined this land and its people as the epitome of Eastern Slavic folk culture. Hillis argues that this fascination with folk culture, when combined with the Ukrainian lands’ multiethnic composition, social tensions (which also had ethnic dimensions), and relatively fresh and easy-to-heroicize violent past, became an explosive mixture that turned Ukraine into the birthplace of Russian ethnic nationalism. According to Hillis, this Russian ethnic nationalism would eventually split into the Ukrainian and Russian proper, but for most of the nineteenth century it was a relatively cohesive body manned primarily by local or “Little Russian” activists. Even after these two nationalisms officially parted ways, they remained closely related in their repertoire of national enemies, attention to “the people,” and their readiness to embrace mass politics. Some Russian and Ukrainian activists were related by blood and came from the same families – allegedly a consequence of the common Little Russian origin of the two nationalisms.

The Fedevyches’ book offers an alternative, but equally elegant and provocative interpretation. Klymentii K. Fedevych acknowledges that this book presents an answer to the puzzle the author encountered while researching interethnic relationships in interwar Volhynia. This interwar Volhynia was a stronghold of the Ukrainian national movement, where the Russian national discourse had almost no resonance whatsoever. However, when the author looked for the roots of this Ukrainian nationalism in the region before World War I, he found that in pre–World War I western Volhynia (the western part of the Volhynian gubernia, which would become the Volhynia of the interwar Polish state) all the parties and organizations usually associated with the Ukrainian national movement were virtually unnoticeable. The region was dominated by radical Russian nationalists and monarchists.

The authors’ answer to this puzzle – the book’s main thesis – is fairly simple: while usually seen as “Russian,” the radical monarchist and nationalist “black hundred” movement in Ukraine at the turn of the twentieth century was in fact Ukrainian. It was Ukrainian not only in its ethnic constituency but also in the key elements of its discourse and political action. The Fedevyches argue that, with only a few exceptions, black hundred monarchists in Ukraine should be treated as a conservative, monarchist part of the broader Ukrainian national movement.

Through a close examination of the texts produced by the black hundred associations and activists in Ukraine, the authors demonstrate that in its main outlines the native national community, as construed in those texts, was virtually indistinguishable from the one imagined by the activists and organizations traditionally associated with the Ukrainian national movement proper. Contrary to the popular misconception, both the progressive Ukrainian national movement and black hundred monarchists used “Ukraine” and “Little Russia” interchangeably. Black hundred activists from the Ukrainian lands used the Ukrainian language, cherished and praised a distinct Ukrainian culture, and clearly distinguished between Ukrainians and Russians as two separate ethnic groups.

One of the book’s chapters is dedicated to Taras Shevchenko. The Fedevyches show that black hundred activists venerated Shevchenko as Ukraine’s greatest poet and national prophet, popularized his poetry, and made pilgrimages to the poet’s grave – exactly as their “progressive” Ukrainian counterparts did. This did not change significantly even after Shevchenko’s antimonarchist and anticlerical poems had become available to readers in the noncensored 1907 edition published by Kobzar. Only in 1914, when the centennial anniversary of the poet’s birth had become appropriated by the Ukrainian progressive activists, a strong anti-Shevchenko reaction from the authorities and the Orthodox Church came and split the black hundred movement. Nonetheless, according to the Fedevyches, the change came too late to undermine Shevchenko’s popularity among the Ukrainian masses under the influence of the black hundred associations.

The Fedevyches’ book is very convincing when it comes to demonstrating that “Ukrainian” national and “Russian” monarchist and nationalist imagery in Ukraine more than merely overlapped in imagining “their own” homeland and its people. The authors have marshaled sufficient evidence to show that the pre–World War I black hundred movement in Ukrainian lands prepared the ground for the acceptance of Ukrainian identity by the region’s inhabitants after World War I. The authors’ insistence that the “black hundred” movement in Ukraine should be treated as the conservative, right-wing faction of the broader Ukrainian national movement, however, is less convincing.

The Fedevyches’ approach to the Little Russian monarchists and nationalists in the Russian Empire reminds us of Anna Veronika Wendland’s treatment of the so-called Galician Russophiles.2 Wendland showed that the absolute majority of those Russophiles identified mostly with the Ukrainian (Ruthenian) people and remained loyal to the Habsburg Empire. She argued that they would be best understood as traditionalists opposed to what they perceived as unwarranted and dangerous novelties introduced by the Ukrainophiles, and wary of the latter’s social and political radicalism. Russophiles’ political conservatism was coupled with cultural and identity traditionalism. Russophiles did not share the vision that saw the world as neatly divided into unambiguous national communities. While Russophiles were an integral part of the Galician Ruthenian society, strictly speaking, most of them were not nationalists. They did not see nation-states as a cornerstone of the coming political reorganization of the world displacing obsolete anational states.

The Fedevyches prove that the majority of “black hundred” activists from Ukraine were Ukraine’s patriots, aware of Ukraine’s distinct culture, language, and past, who worked in the local context for local people. However, by including them in the “Ukrainian national movement” the authors overstretch the definition of a “national movement.” Perhaps, the term should be reserved for “modern nationalists,” allowing for the fact that nationalist agendas change depending on period and region. According to such a narrow definition, the recognition of a distinct nationality or even support for a territorial autonomy does not signify automatic inclusion in the “national movement.” The key criterion would be one’s vision of the future, of the world’s future political organization. Only those who adhere to the principle famously defined by Ernest Gellner as the congruence of the political and national units would qualify as part of the “national movement.”

The recognition of Ukraine as a distinct ethnic body was a commonplace in nineteenth-century Russian political thought. Nikolai Danilevsky believed that “Little Russia” as a Slavic tribe was not much different from Western Slavs. He saw Bogdan Khmelnytsky as one of the greatest historical heroes, who, alongside Kuzma Minin, embodied the spirit of the Russian people. For Danilevsky Little Russia’s union with Russia proper did not mean assimilation into the Great Russian ethnic group. His Russia was a supraethnic imperial state of Slavic civilization, a viable alternative to Western civilization (it included non-Slavic peoples who had no other civilizational choice).3 Arguably, many black hundred activists in Ukraine subscribed to this vision of history and Russia’s historical destiny, but Danilevsky was hardly a participant in the “Ukrainian national movement.”

The answer to the apparent “puzzle” of the “Russian” monarchists and right-wingers in the Ukrainian lands seems to be quite straightforward. Their “Russia” was not the land or state of ethnic Russians, and the Fedevyches’ book does a great job of demonstrating this. However, it does not mean that they were Ukrainian nationalists either. They should be best understood and analyzed in the context of supranational entities, which not only defined their career horizons but also shaped the larger lived experience, generated loyalty, and invoked patriotism.

Almost all strands of political thought and all kinds of political parties in modern times had their “national moments.” However, if for the protagonists of the Fedevyches’ book, the sovereign, the empire, the Slavic civilization, and the Orthodox Church were more important than their nation as the foci of individual loyalty, the principles defining political allegiance, and elements of the future world order, then these protagonists hardly qualify as modern nationalists. Anti-Semitism and a hatred of Poles are not synonymous with nationalism. It is probably not an accident that the Fedevyches’ protagonists leave the orbit of the “black hundred” movement and join an explicitly Ukrainian “national movement” only after the tsar’s abdication, the collapse of the empire, and the fracturing of the church.

1. Faith Hillis. Children of Rus’: Right-Bank Ukraine and the Invention of the Russian Nation. Ithaca, 2013.
2. Anna Veronika Wendland. Die Russophilen in Galizien. Ukrainische Konservative zwischen Österreich und Russland, 1848–1915 (Studien zur Geschichte der österreichisch-ungarischen Monarchie, 27). Vienna, 2011.
3. N. Ia. Danilevskii. Rossiia i Evropa: vzgliad na kul’turnyia i politicheskiia otnosheniia Slavianskogo mira k Germano-Romanskomu. St. Petersburg, 1895. Pp. 284, 530.