Unmaking Imperial Russia: Mykhailo Hrushevsky and the Writing of Ukrainian History

By Serhii Plokhy

© 2005

From the eighteenth century until its collapse in 1917, Imperial Russia – as distinct from Muscovite Russia before it and Soviet Russia after it – officially held that the Russian nation consisted of three branches: Great Russian, Little Russian (Ukrainian), and White Russian (Belarusian). After the 1917 revolution, this view was discredited by many leading scholars, politicians, and cultural figures, but none were more intimately involved in the dismantling of the old imperial identity and its historical narrative than the eminent Ukrainian historian Mykhailo Hrushevsky (1866–1934).

Hrushevsky took an active part in the work of Ukrainian scholarly, cultural, and political organizations and became the first head of the independent Ukrainian state in 1918. Serhii Plokhy's Unmaking Imperial Russia examines Hrushevsky's construction of a new historical paradigm that brought about the nationalization of the Ukrainian past and established Ukrainian history as a separate field of study. By showing how the ‘all-Russian’ historical paradigm was challenged by the Ukrainian national project, Plokhy provides the indispensable background for understanding the current state of relations between Ukraine and Russia.

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  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 700 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.8in x 9.3in
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  • PUBLISHED AUG 2014

    From: $39.75

    Regular Price: $53.00

    ISBN 9781442628441
  • PUBLISHED JAN 2005

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    Regular Price: $131.00

    ISBN 9780802039378
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Quick Overview

Unmaking Imperial Russia examines Hrushevsky’s construction of a new historical paradigm that brought about the nationalization of the Ukrainian past and established Ukrainian history as a separate field of study.

Unmaking Imperial Russia: Mykhailo Hrushevsky and the Writing of Ukrainian History

By Serhii Plokhy

© 2005

From the eighteenth century until its collapse in 1917, Imperial Russia – as distinct from Muscovite Russia before it and Soviet Russia after it – officially held that the Russian nation consisted of three branches: Great Russian, Little Russian (Ukrainian), and White Russian (Belarusian). After the 1917 revolution, this view was discredited by many leading scholars, politicians, and cultural figures, but none were more intimately involved in the dismantling of the old imperial identity and its historical narrative than the eminent Ukrainian historian Mykhailo Hrushevsky (1866–1934).

Hrushevsky took an active part in the work of Ukrainian scholarly, cultural, and political organizations and became the first head of the independent Ukrainian state in 1918. Serhii Plokhy's Unmaking Imperial Russia examines Hrushevsky's construction of a new historical paradigm that brought about the nationalization of the Ukrainian past and established Ukrainian history as a separate field of study. By showing how the ‘all-Russian’ historical paradigm was challenged by the Ukrainian national project, Plokhy provides the indispensable background for understanding the current state of relations between Ukraine and Russia.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 700 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.8in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    'Serhii Plokhy is to be congratulated on producing a magisterial survey of Ukraine's "national historian" ... this is a book which matches up to the shape of Hrushevsky's work--a big and bold achievemnt.'


    Andrew Wilson
    Slavonic and East European Review

    'Plokhy leaves no stone unturned in this most detailed intellectual biography of Hrushevsky. A major contribution to the field of Ukrainian history, this book will become a standard work on this subject.'


    Serhy Yekelchyk
    The American Historical Review

    'Plokhy's account of Hrushevsky's role in nationalizing the past of a part of Eastern Europe into "Ukrainian history," thereby "unmaking imperial Russia," is truly, as advertised, a fine piece of scholarship. A nuanced, complex analysis that cannot be summarized in a short review…'


    Stephen Velychenko
    Russian Review

    'The particular strength of Plokhy's ... superbly structured, beautifully written, impeccably annotated and intellectually exciting book ... lies in the analysis of [Hrushevsky's ]historical writings. [O]nly an author to whom nineteenth- and twentieth-century Ukrainian historians such as Mykola Kostomarov, Volodymyr Antonovych, Dmytro Bahalii and Matvii Iavorsky are everyday companions is in a position to convey the nature and extent of Hrushevsky's achievement; and few such authors are to be found.'


    David Saunders
    The English Historical Review

    ‘Plokhy masterfully synthesizes the bountiful material, incorporating new archival sources. It is unlikely that any treatment will ever rival this one in detail and understanding. He stays close to Hrushevsky's perspective, rendering what he saw and how he thought.’


    Timothy Snyder, Times Literary Supplement

    ‘In this fine piece of scholarship, Serhii Plokhy lucidly discusses the ways in which Mykhailo Hrushevsky and other Ukrainian historians unmasked the imperial Russian historical narrative and aided in the construction of a Ukrainian national history. With extraordinary erudition, Plokhy discusses the complex interactions of Hrushevsky the historian, Hrushevsky the populist, and Hrushevsky the statist. Unmaking Imperial Russia is a great contribution to Ukrainian studies as well as the broader field of Russian and Soviet studies.’


    Hiroaki Kuromiya, Department of History, Indiana University
  • Author Information

    Serhii Plokhy is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University.

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