Olena Pchilka

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Olha Petrivna Kosach
Ольга Петрівна Косач
Born (1849-06-29)June 29, 1849
Hadiach, Poltava Governorate, Russian Empire
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Kiev, Soviet Union
Pen name Olena Pchilka
Occupation writer, civil activist
Language Ukrainian
Ethnicity Ukrainian
Citizenship Russian Empire
Soviet Union
Alma mater Exemplary Boarding School of Noble Maidens (Kiev)
Spouse Petro Antonovych Kosach
Children Lesia Ukrainka

Olha Petrivna Kosach (29 June 1849 – 4 October 1930), better known by her pen name Olena Pchilka, was a Ukrainian publisher, writer, ethnographer, interpreter, civil activist. Sister of Mykhailo Drahomanov. Mother of Lesya Ukrainka

Early years

She was born in Hadiach in family of a local landowner Petro Yakymovych Drahomanov. Her basic education Pchilka received at home and then later finished the Exemplary Boarding School of Noble Maidens (Kiev) in 1866. She was married to Petro Antonovych Kosach sometime in 1868 and soon moved to Zvyahel where he worked. Here was born one of her daughters Lesya Ukrainka. Pchilka is, perhaps, the most well-known Ukrainian female poet. She died in Kiev.

Pchilka recorded folk songs, folk customs and rites, and collected folk embroidery in Volhynia, later publishing her research.

She published numerous works, and was active in the feminist movement, particularly in cooperation with Natalia Kobrynska with whom she published an almanac in Lemberg "Pershyi Vinok".

National question

Both in her writing and in her personal life Pchilka was critical to some of Jews that were ignorant towards the Ukrainian culture and laughed at it. She was critical to those Jews in Ukraine that were unrestrained practicing what was later qualified for the price gauging. For such of her remarks she was shunned and laughed at even by her contemporaries, such as Chikalenko, Yefremov, Volodymyr Vynnychenko and other intellectuals.[1][2][3] She however was not only critical of Jewish people, but more of the Russian chauvinism, to which a great deal of people leaned.


Pchilka also was an interpreter and translated into the Ukrainian language many famous works, such as those of Nikolai Gogol, Adam Mickiewicz, Aleksandr Pushkin and others.


Among the most prominent of her works are the following:

  • "Tovaryshky" (Comradesses, 1887),
  • "Svitlo dobra i lyubovi"(The light of goodness and love, 1888),
  • "Soloviovyi spiv" (Nightingale singing, 1889),
  • "Za pravdoyu" (For a truth, 1889),
  • "Artyshok" (Artichoke, 1907),
  • "Pivtora oseledsya" (One and a half herring, 1908),
  • a play "Suzhena ne ohuzhena" (1881),
  • a play "Svitova rich" (World thing, 1908) and others.


External links