Mykola Mikhnovsky

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Mykola Mikhnovsky
March 31, 1873, Turivka, Poltava province; † May 3, 1924
Personal details
Born Mykola Ivanovich Mikhnovsky
(1873-03-31)31 March 1873
Turivka, Poltava Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 3 May 1924(1924-05-03) (aged 51)
Kyiv, Ukraine, Soviet Union
Nationality Ukrainian
Alma mater Kiev University
Occupation political and social activist, lawyer, journalist, founder, ideologue and leader of an Ukrainian independence movement
Military service
Rank Lieutenant

Mykola Ivanovich Mikhnovsky (* March 31, 1873, Turivka, Poltava province; † May 3, 1924) - Ukrainian political and social activist, lawyer, journalist, founder, ideologue and leader of a Ukrainian independence movement in the late 19th - early 20th century. Author of the pamphlet "Independent Ukraine", one of the organizers of the Ukrainian army, co-founder of the first political party in East Ukraine - Revolutionary Ukrainian Party (RUP), the leader of the Ukrainian People's Party, co-founder of the Ukrainian Democratic Party, a member of the Brotherhood for Self-determination.[1]

Early years

A descendant of an old Cossack family, whose roots can be traced back to the 17th century, Mykola Mikhnovsky was born to the family of a rural priest in the village of Turivka, Pryluky County, Poltava province in 1873.[2] He spent his childhood in the countryside, listening to folk songs, stories and songs. His world views were influenced by his father, who shaped his "spirit of independence". His father held church services in the Ukrainian language.[1] Mykola was educated in the town of Pryluky. After graduating from high school in 1890, he studied Law at Kiev University.

Mikhnovsky as a student

The growth of Ukrainian national consciousness in the late 19th century led to a riff among the Ukrainian intelligentsia. The older generation approached the "Ukrainian question" through culture and education, limiting their demands to moderate reforms that would have abolished the national-cultural restrictions for Ukrainian within the Russian Empire. The younger generation however, were attracted to socialist ideals. They believed that national liberation could be achieved through a common struggle with other nations against the existing social order in Russia. In the early 1890s, a new trend developed. It was started by a Mikhnovsky, a student who openly declared the state independence of the Ukrainian nation. He began to preach boldly, that the only way to gain state independence was through armed conflict and that this was the only path for the Ukrainian people.

As a freshman at the University of Kiev Mikhnovsky joined the Ukrainian national movement and became a member of "Young community".[3] However, cultural and apolitical activities did not satisfy him. As a radical-minded young man in 1891 he formed a secret student organization. The first Ukrainian national organization with a clearly political purposes was founded by a group of students from Kharkiv and Kyiv Universities, which in summer 1891 took the oath of allegiance to Ukraine, and founded a secret political society, in honor of the poet Taras Shevchenko calling it the "Taras Fraternity".[4]

Mikhnovskyy, though he was not among the founders, soon became the ideologue and leader of the fraternity. As a law student, he developed an ideological platform, known as the "Credo of a young Ukrainian." "The Taras Fraternity“ declared its goal to fight for "an independent sovereign Ukraine, united, whole and undivided, from the San to the Kuban rivers, from the Carpathians to the Caucasus mountains, between the free-free, with no master and no boor, without the class struggle within the federation".

The case of the "Taras Fraternity" seemed almost hopeless, but Mikhnovsky spread their views. These were the performances of other human belief, is not popular and not recognized by most Ukrainian leaders. The propaganda of the "Taras Fraternity" had no noticeable success. Yet throughout Ukraine isolated supporters appeared who shared their views, not only among students but also the peasants, petty bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia. The organization ceased to exist after 1893, as part of "Taras Fraternity" were arrested, and another - sent into exile.

Mikhnovsky was lucky to escape arrest. He graduated and began working in one of the lawyers' offices in Kyiv. However Mikhnovsky did not abandon his social activities. In 1897 he traveled to the city, which had established close relationships with western leaders and purchased a large number of illegal publications, including works by Mykhailo Drahomanov and Ivan Franko. Police believed that he was anti-government".[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Рідна віра - Микола Міхновський
  2. The exact dates and place of his birth are not known.
  3. 100 видатних українців. — К.: Видавництво Арій, 2006. — с. 325
  4. 4.0 4.1 This should be blank