Novhorod-Siverskyi patriotic circle

Novhorod-Siverskyi patriotic circle. A network of Ukrainian noble autonomists in Novhorod-Siverskyi vicegerency in the late 18th century. Its members and associates included Andrii Hudovych, Tymofii Kalynsky, Ivan Khalansky, Arkhyp Khudorba, Pavlo Koropchevsky, Opanas Lobysevych (one of the leaders), Mykhailo P. Myklashevsky, Hryhorii A. Poletyka, Andrii Rachynsky, Bishop Verlaam Shyshatsky, Fedir Tumansky, Melkhysedek Znachko-Yavorsky, H. Dolynsky, S. Shyrai, and A. Pryhara. Most were graduates of the Kyivan Mohyla Academy and foreign universities. The circle's goals were the revival of an autonomous Ukrainian state and the rebirth of Ukrainian culture.

The activities of the members have not been thoroughly researched, but they were far-reaching. The members propagated the idea of Ukrainian independence, disseminated publicistic works (eg, the speeches of Hetmans Pavlo Polubotok and Ivan Mazepa), and supplied foreign scholars (eg, Nicholas-Gabriel Le Clerc and Jean-Benoît Scherer) with information about Ukrainian history and concerns. They championed the rights of the Ukrainian nobility and Cossacks, engaged in foreign diplomacy (Vasyl Kapnist's secret mission in Berlin in 1791 was probably connected with their aims), and took an interest in organizing Ukrainian armed forces (involvement in the Ukrainian carabineer regiments and V. Kapnist's 1788 proposal for reviving the Cossack regiments) with the ultimate goal of fighting Russian domination.

The members also took an interest in education (plans to establish a gymnasium and a proposal for a university in Novhorod-Siverskyi) and scholarship (Fedir Tumansky's proposal for a Ukrainian academy of sciences—the ‘Academic Convention’) and collected and prepared for publication materials and writings on the Hetman state (by Hryhorii A. Poletyka, Tumansky, Arkhyp Khudorba, and Pryhara, and Yakiv M. Markovych's Zapiski o Malorossii [Notes on Little Russia]), the Ukrainian language (Tumansky's 1793 dictionary), and Ukrainian literature (Opanas Lobysevych's poetry and plans to publish Ukrainian baroque works).

Few of the circle's plans and projects were realized. Their ideas and activities, however, had an influence in Ukraine in the first quarter of the 19th century even beyond the Novhorod-Siverskyi region.

Oleksander Ohloblyn

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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