Mykhailo Drahomanov bigraphy, stories - Philosophers

Mykhailo Drahomanov : biography

August 30, 1841 - July 2, 1895

Mykhailo Petrovych Drahomanov ( August 30, 1841 in Hadiach – July 2, 1895 in Sofia) was a Ukrainian political theorist, economist, historian, philosopher, ethnographer and public figure in Kiev. Born to a noble family of Petro Yakymovych Drahomanov who was of a Cossack descent. Mykhailo Drahomanov started his education at home, then studied at the Hadiach school, Poltava senior school and Kiev University. He was also an uncle of Larysa Kosach (Lesya Ukrainka) the great Ukrainian poetess and brother - Olha Drahomanova-Kosach (Olena Pchilka).

He lectured at Kiev University from 1870 to 1875, but because of the repressions against the Ukrainian movement peaking up in 1876 with Ems Ukaz was forced to leave the Russian Empire and emigrated to Geneva. In emigration he continued his political, scholarly and publishing activities. In 1885–95, he was a professor at the University of Sofia. Drahomanov wrote the first systematic political program for the Ukrainian national movement. He himself defined his political convictions as "ethical socialism," and was deeply impressed by socialist literature as a teenager.


  1. Hornowa E. Problemy polskie w twórczości Michala Drahomanowa. – Wroclaw, 1978.
  2. Rudnytsky Ivan L. Essays in Modern Ukrainian History / Ed. by P.L. Rudnytsky. – Edmonton: Canadian institute of Ukrainian studies, University of Alberta, 1987. – 499 p. – P. 203 – 253. The First Ukrainian Political Program: Mykhailo Drahomanovʼs “Introduction” to Hromada. – P. 255 – 281. Mykhailo Drahomanov and the Problem of Ukrainian-Jewish Relations. – P. 283 – 297.


Drahomanov was anticlerical. He hoped that the spread of Protestant denominations among the Ukrainian peasants would contribute to the liberation of peasants.


As a figure of some importance in Russian and European socialism Drahomanov did not accept Marxist and social-democratic orientation because of his fear of centralization and state power but located himself on the anarchist wing of the movement. According to his vision the ideal future world will be one of "free unions," united with each other from below on some pragmatic basis. Drahomanov did not reject the revolution outright but usually spoke in favor of gradual reforms taking root among the society. He believed that the Russian Empire desperately needed a constitution with the next step being its reorganization into a federation with a rule of law.


The lasting legacy of Drahomanov can be discerned in the whole Ukrainian tradition of leftist political parties and political activism. He personally influenced a handful of younger Ukrainian intellectuals in Habsburg Galicia in the late 1870s, first of all Ivan Franko and Mykhailo Pavlyk, both of whom accepted his ideas although reworked them later according to their own mould. In 1890 these intellectuals founded the first Ukrainian political party - Ruthenian-Ukrainian Radical Party. The program-maximum of this party was socialist and therefore the party can be seen as one of the first socialist parties in Eastern Europe.

Drahomanov tried to popularize an orthographic reform, called the Drahomanivka after him.

In 1991, the "Kievan State Pedagogical University Named After Mykhaylo Drahomanov" in Kiev was founded on the basis of the former "Kievan State Pedagogical University Named After Maxim Gorky". In 1997, the university was granted "National University"-status.


In the 1860s he was involved in the hromada movement, briefly worked with peasants in Sunday school run by the members of Kiev hromada and developed his views on social question. In the early 1870s he was one of the younger leftist wing in Kiev hromada. While in exile he published the periodical Hromada which was financed by the members of Kiev hromada but they broke up with him as his views were too radical for them. Mykhailo Drahomanov argued that in the Ukrainian case national movement had to address the social question. He was against narrow nationalist egocentrism and believed that nationality was just a form to achieve universal human ideals.

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