Mykhailychenko, Hnat

Mykhailychenko, Hnat [Myxajlyčenko] (pseud: Ihnatii Mykhailych), b 27 September 1892 in Studenok, Kursk gubernia (now Myropillia, Krasnopillia raion, Sumy oblast), d 21 November 1919 in Kyiv. (Photo: Hnat Mykhailychenko.) Writer, revolutionary, and cultural activist. He was arrested in 1915 and sentenced to six years of hard labor for his involvement in the movement of Ukrainian Socialist Revolutionaries. He served two years of his sentence and returned to Ukraine during the February Revolution of 1917. A member of the Borotbists, he became people's commissar of education of the new Communist government in Kyiv in 1919. He remained in Kyiv during Anton Denikin's advance on the city, was captured by the White forces, and was executed.

The relatively small canon of Mykhailychenko's writings includes the symbolic and allegorical Blakytnyi roman (The Azure Novel, 1921), the short story ‘Istoriia odnoho zamakhu’ (The Story of One Assassination Attempt), and a number of lyrical, freeform prose miniatures published in the journal Mystetstvo, which he coedited with Mykhailo Semenko, and in the almanacs Chervonyi vinok and Muzahet and the journal Shliakhy mystetstva. Two collections of his works were published posthumously, Noveli (Novellas, 1922) and Tvory (Works, 1929).

The official literary criticism of the period, particularly that of Volodymyr Koriak, considered Mykhailychenko and other Borotbist writers to be the ‘first wave of the brave,’ that is, the originators of Ukrainian Soviet literature. After 1930, however, those writers were declared counterrevolutionary and were banned. There was no talk of rehabilitating Mykhailychenko until 1987.

Ivan Koshelivets

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

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