Brotherhood of Taras

Brotherhood of Taras (Братство тарасівців; Bratstvo tarasivtsiv). Secret organization of young nationally conscious Ukrainians established in 1891 (according to some, in 1892) when a group of students and civic leaders from Kharkiv and Kyiv visited the grave of Taras Shevchenko near Kaniv. Among the brotherhood's founders were V. Borovyk, Borys Hrinchenko, Ivan Lypa, and Mykola Mikhnovsky. Besides promoting cultural goals, the brotherhood raised political demands—the liberation of the Ukrainian nation from Russian domination, full autonomy for all the peoples of the Russian Empire, and social justice. Kharkiv was the brotherhood's center of activity until its members were arrested in the summer of 1893. Then Kyiv became the center, with chapters in Odesa, Poltava, Lubny, and Pryluky. The brotherhood included such people as Valeriian Borzhkovsky, M. Dmytriiev, Musii Kononenko, Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky, Volodymyr Samiilenko, Vasyl Sovachiv, V. Stepanenko, Yevhen Tymchenko, Oleksander Cherniakhivsky, Volodymyr Shemet, Viktor Andriievsky, M. Bazkevych, and M. Baizdrenko. The ideological principles of the society were formulated by Lypa and were published anonymously in a revised form as ‘Profession de foi’ in the journal Pravda (April 1893). These ideas were propagated by P. Vartovy (Hrinchenko) in Lysty z Ukraïny Naddniprians'koï (Letters from Dnipro Ukraine), by Kotsiubynsky in the fable ‘Kho,’ and by Samiilenko in satires on the Little Russian mentality and Ukrainophilism.

The Brotherhood of Taras was active until 1898. Through its influence the Hromada of Kyiv transformed itself in 1897 into the more political General Ukrainian Non-Party Democratic Organization, and the younger generation organized the Revolutionary Ukrainian party in 1900.

Lypa, Ivan. ‘Tarasivtsi,’ Pys'mo z Prosvity, 1922, nos 11–12
Kozub, Serhii. ‘Kotsiubyns'kyi u Braterstvi tarasivtsiv,’ in Tvory Kotsiubyns'koho, 7 (Kharkiv–Kyiv 1930–1)
V.V. ‘45-littia Tarasivtsiv,' Litopys Chervonoï Kalyny, 1936, nos 1–2

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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