Mykhailo Hrushevs'kyi's Historical Methodology

Paul Pirie


Long suppressed in the Soviet Union, the works of Ukraine's most noted historian, Mykhailo Hrushevs'kyi, have recently become the object of great interest in Ukraine. It is therefore necessary for the scholarly world to begin the process of re-examining Hrushevs'kyi's writing of history. This paper rejects the common interpretation that Hrushevs'kyi's work was a product of the nineteenth century Ukrainian populist tradition and was therefore indifferent to the idea of Ukrainian statehood or nationhood. By demonstrating the continuity of Ukraine's historical development, H rushevs'kyi sought to modify the traditional Russocentric interpretation and to show that Ukraine was a distinct nation with a tradition of statehood. This paper illustrates how Hrushevs'kyi's methodology, periodization scheme, and interpretive framework for East-Slavic history were all adjusted to support this "national idea;" this willingness to adapt his methods is the outstanding characteristic of Hrushcv's'kyi's historical methodology. His highly controversial interpretation of the origin of the East-Slavic peoples is also examined in this paper. Finally, Hrushevs'kyi's historical bias as well as his contribution to the scholarly world are considered.

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