Kachenovsky, Mikhail

Kachenovsky, Mikhail or Mykhailo [Каченовский, Михаил or Каченовський, Михайло; Kačenovskij, Mixail or Kačenovs'kij, Myxailo], b 12 November 1775 in Kharkiv, d 3 March 1842 in Moscow. Russian historian and literary critic of Ukrainian and Greek origin. He finished his studies at Kharkiv College in 1789. From 1805 to 1830 (with minor intervals) he edited and published the journal Vestnik Evropy. From 1810 he was a professor at Moscow University and in 1837 he became its rector. Kachenovsky opposed the nationalist views of Nikolai Karamzin and was a founder of the skeptical school in Russian historiography. He questioned the authenticity of many works of the Kyivan period—including Povist’ vremennykh lit (Tale of Bygone Years), Slovo o polku Ihorevi (The Tale of Ihor’s Campaign), and Ruskaia Pravda (Rus' Law)—believing them to be written at a later date. This provoked others to analyze these monuments in detail. He was convinced that Kyivan Rus’ did not have its own literature, commerce, laws, or currency and that these were imported from Germany in the 14th century.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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