Ukrainian peasants of the South of Ukraine in the views of E. Chykalenko: ethnological dimension

Main Article Content

Yriy Prysiazhniuk


Introduction. In this article the author seeks to deepen the study of the views of the Ukrainian fi gure of the last
nineteenth – fi rst quarter of the twentieth century E. Chykalenko to the peasantry of the South of Ukraine.
In essence, this investigation is a continuation of the analysis of a broad scientifi c problem, which was recently
covered in the pages of «Ukrainian Peasant» (Cherkasy, 2019, №22). If in the mentioned article it was concluded that it
is expedient to study the original peasant world in the context of its own cultural circle, to interpret its diffusion, namely,
the limits and intensity of spread to cultural circles of other ethnic groups (Russians, Germans, Jews, etc.), here the
author’s attention is drawn to something else, namely – algorithms and the general culture of communication of rural
people with the natural environment, social environment, political environment. We are also talking about the content
and nature of everyday relations of peasants, mental and ideological factors of their decisions and reproductive actions,
manners of everyday behavioral practices, the problem of snobbery, «ethnic» separatism, nobility, ideology.
Purpose. To deepen the research of various aspects of everyday life and activity of the Ukrainian peasantry of
the South of Ukraine in the memoirs / views of E. Chykalenko, occasionally «updating» some principles of the used
methodological tools.
Methods. The methodological peculiarity of exploration is a set of original categories of ethnological science,
which make it possible to discover the everyday life of Ukrainian peasantry, to distinguish and analyze its various
aspects – interaction with the natural and social environment, problems of identity, self-esteem, interethnic confl icts,
modern transformation, etc.
Results. In his vision of the peasantry of southern Ukraine (also Poltava region), E. Chykalenko proved to be quite
dependent on those ideological priorities that were inherent in the Ukrainian intelligentsia of his time. Such problems
include grounds for the dominance of social aspects of ideas. These views were quite stable. At the same time, in
contrast to the then widespread Marxist interpretations of «production relations» in the countryside, Chykalenko did not
sympathize with the class approach to explaining the obvious processes of social stratifi cation of the village.
Originality. The novelty of the study lies in the marked increase in scientifi c knowledge about the ethnographic
features of the Ukrainian (southern Ukrainian) peasantry in the late nineteenth – early decades of the twentieth century,
as they are refl ected in the «Memoirs» of Eugene Chykalenko. Analyzed in historical retrospect, these features refl ect
a truly unique and at the same time universal world of the traditional Ukrainian population, which gives grounds for
conceptually alternative interpretations of many events, phenomena, processes of the late imperial period.
Conclusion. The study confi rmed and enriched the author’s earlier conclusion that the Ukrainian peasantry of
the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and in this case its so-called «southern» phenomenon, should be
imagined and interpreted as a unique historical phenomenon. This uniqueness stems from the truly original cultural
and communicative nature, both environmental and social (socio-cultural). All this strengthens the belief in the need to
look for an alternative to the still excessive dependence of historians on politically ordered or politically conditioned
interpretation of the past of the Ukrainian peasantry.

Article Details

Methodology, historiography and source studies of agrarian history
Author Biography

Yriy Prysiazhniuk, Bohdan Khmelnytsky National University of Cherkasy

Doctor of history, Professor, Professor of the Department of History of Ukraine, Bohdan Khmelnytsky National
University of Cherkasy, Cherkasy, Ukraine


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