Ukrainian Intelligentsia of the «Long» Nineteenth century: social roles and main tendencies of their transformation

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Yaroslav Platmir


Introduction. The "Long" nineteenth century was the process of forming a modern Ukrainian nation under the rule of the Romanovs and Habsburgs. Notwithstanding the difficulties faced by Ukrainian (in our study - Naddniprianschyna) intelligentsia, it had to make some compromises with authorities and officials to build the foundations for her own statehood in the future.

Under the influence of European ideas of democracy and liberalism, Ukrainian intelligentsia did not become a bourgeoisie. Its diverse constituent certified only the fact of being unstable social stratum, as, for instance, peasantry or aristocracy. Peasantry intelligentsia is added to civic, which did not own large landholdings and was engaged in mental activities. The article provides us with a certain distribution among the intelligentsia itself and investigates the transformation of the given social stratum.  

Purpose.  It is important to mention that the evolution of Ukrainian national ideology took place under the influence of European ideas. They, however, captured the thoughts of very narrow circles of humanitarians, most of whom engaged in the study of ethnographic and folklore spheres of peasant life, and therefore, were concerned about a relatively limited range of issues. At the same time, the comprehension of the past and present problems arose against the background of the involvement of a new generation of public figures in the movement. In the territory of Naddnipryanschyna, it was formed in conditions of rapid modernization, while maintaining the imperial (autocratic) system of power.

Results. After analyzing all the main dimensions of the proposed problem, the author came to the conclusion that in relation to social processes (realities) at the beginning of the twentieth century in the Naddnipryanchyna, the Ukrainian intelligentsia focused on socio-cultural, national, regional, and, to a lesser extent, economic and social life. The choice between «culture and politics» was too limited.

Conclusion. In a situation, where many forces were in need to solve internal (party, interpersonal, etc.) problems, such a local orientation significantly weakened the influence of intellectual circles on society, particularly the peasantry. Meanwhile, when the Ukrainian intelligentsia claimed to be the main leading force of national affirmation, the establishment of bonds between the Western («sub-Austrian») and the eastern («sub-Russian») communities, it did little to impact on the general population, the common people that was a huge fallacy in the new historical conditions. 

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