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The Greek Catholic Rustic Gentry And The Ukrainian National Movement In Habsburg-ruled Galicia

The Greek Catholic Rustic Gentry and the Ukrainian National Movement in Habsburg-Ruled Galicia




     J  OURNAL   OF   UKRAINIAN  STUDIES  Volumes 35–36 2010–2011 Confronting the Past: Ukraine and Its History A Festschrift in Honour of John-Paul HimkaG UEST E DITORS   A  NDREW C OLIN G OW ,   R  OMAN S ENKUS , AND S ERHY Y EKELCHYK    C ONTRIBUTORS   M ARK  B AKER  •S ERGE C IPKO •H EATHER  C OLEMAN •O LEKSANDRA H  NATIUK  •Y AROSLAV H RYTSAK  •O LEH S.   I LNYTZKYJ •A  NATOLIY K  RUGLASHOV •P AUL R.   M AGOCSI •D AVID R.   M ARPLES •Y OSHIE M ITSUYOSHI •C OLIN  N EUFELDT •S ERHII P LOKHY •N ATALIA P YLYPIUK  •O STAP S EREDA •M YROSLAV S HKANDRIJ •R  OMAN S OLCHANYK  •F RANCES S WYRIPA •S ERHY Y EKELCHYK  •A  NDRIY Z AYARNYUK      Journal of Ukrainian Studies 35–36 (2010–2011) The Greek Catholic Rustic Gentry and theUkrainian National Movement inHabsburg-Ruled Galicia  Andriy Zayarnyuk  This article discusses the national allegiances of the Byzantine-rite Galician pettygentry during the second half of the nineteenth century and the early years of thetwentieth century. Noble status set this social group apart from other Ruthenianinhabitants of nineteenth-century Galicia. Both contemporaries and later scholars sawthe Galician Ruthenians as a typical “non-historic,” or “plebeian,” nation consistingof “priests and peasants.” However, the petty gentry did not fit into this picture.Throughout much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries both the Polish and theUkrainian national communities claimed that the Galician Greek Catholic pettygentry was theirs. The petty gentry’s position in between these two communitieshelped attract public attention, but at the same time it determined the partisan char-acter of the study of this question. For non-partisan scholars, a major limitation wasthe acceptance of a framework that emphasized sociological differences between“historic” and “non-historic” nations in determining the character of the nation-build-ing process: the petty gentry did not fit well into either of these “ideal types.”The Ukrainian descendants of petty-gentry families were for some time their onlystudents. They tended to stress the importance of the petty gentry in the history of theUkrainian nation, viewing the latter as a community stretching over many centuries.After the Soviet interlude, during which the Ukrainian petty gentry were lionizedonly in diaspora publications, 1 a renewed interest in that gentry arose in westernUkraine in the 1990s. 2 Even well-known historians succumbed to the temptation tooverestimate the impact of this unusual social group. In his scheme of the nineteenth-century Ukrainian national awakening, the late Harvard historian Omeljan Pritsak,who was a descendant of the petty gentry on his mother’s side, 3 claimed that theEastern-rite gentry that dominated in Galicia’s organized Ukrainian life uninter-  1 In Soviet Ukraine researching this subject was taboo for ideological reasons. Meanwhile theeditors and authors of post-war émigré Ukrainian publications about the regions where the Galician petty gentry once lived compactly were preoccupied with the latter.Articles about individualmembers of the gentry in the Boiko region can be found in almost every issue of   Litopys Boi-kivshchyny (Philadelphia, 1969–89). 2 Panegyrical articles about the petty gentry appeared in  Litopys Boikivshchyny after the Boikiv-shchyna History and Ethnography Museum in Sambir, Lviv Oblast, revived that publication, and innumerous local miscellanies and new books, e.g., Ivan Volchko-Kulchytsky,  Istoriia sela Kulchytsii rodu Draho-Sasiv (Drohobych: Vidrodzhennia, 1995). 3 Hryhorii Demian, Talanty Boikivshchyny (Lviv: Kameniar, 1991), 292.  92  Andriy Zayarnyuk    ruptedly for several centuries also played a key role in Ukraine’s nineteenth-centurynational awakening. 4  Since their emergence, these Ukrainian narratives have been contested by struc-turally very similar Polish ones. However, unlike their Ukrainian counterparts, Polishhistorians have tended to attribute Polish identity to Galicia’s Greek Catholic pettygentry. In the absence of direct evidence, such an identity was inferred from someactions by members of the gentry, for example, their participation in the Polishuprisings of the nineteenth century. 5 For Polish historians, the ultimate proof of thatgentry’s Polishness was their sharp dissociation from their peasant neighbours. For the most part, both Polish and Ukrainian historians have sought to essentialize thegentry’s identity, despite the volatility of the gentry’s national allegiances.Armed with Ernst Gellner’s theory of nationalism, John-Paul Himka was the firstscholar to discuss the Galician petty gentry’s national affiliation in the context of theformation of a nation that did not previously exist. His thesis was that although the petty gentry was Ukrainian according to the two most important ethnographic cri-teria—religious affiliation and language—the heritage of the feudal era turned theminto an ally of the Polish nobility and an enemy of the overwhelmingly peasantUkrainian national movement. Although Himka’s analysis ends with the 1880s, he believes “that with the passage of time, as one moved away from the feudal era and asthe Ukrainian movement grew more differentiated, the petty gentry also found a placein the movement.” 6  This article re-examines Himka’s arguments and pays closer attention to the years before and after the 1880s. Following Himka’s methodology, it explores the relation-ships between the petty gentry and the national movement, not the petty gentry’sidentity per se. This choice is based on the assumption that national identity is ahistorical phenomenon sustained by the purposeful effort of social institutions,groups, and individuals, which inevitably change over time. Accordingly, the onlymeaningful way to establish the “identity” of a group is to trace the relationship be-tween the group and nationalized or nationalizing agents’ efforts and representations.This paper will deal only with the period in which such agents can be identified.The term “petty gentry” is a confusing one. In the context of the nineteenthcentury its usage is a misapplication of the social reality of the Polish-LithuanianCommonwealth to the new social order created during Habsburg rule. This paper willdiscuss only the so-called “rustic gentry”—the petty gentry that owned “rustical”(peasant) and not “dominical” (demesne) land. These gentry folk either lived in their own villages or, more commonly, shared villages with their peasant neighbours.Other kinds of petty gentry (i.e., impoverished dominical, service, employed by thestate or the the church, or leasing and purchasing dominical estates) are not con-  4 Omeljan Pritsak, “Prolegomena to the National Awakening of the Ukrainians during the Nineteenth Century,” in Culture and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Europe, 109, ed. RolandSussex and J. C. Eade (Columbus, Ohio: Slavica, 1983). 5 Krzysztof  Ś lusarek, “Szlachta zagrodowa w Galicji, 1772–1939: Stan i przeobra ż enia warstwy pod zaborem austriackim i w okresie niepodleg ł o ś ci,” in Galicja i jej dziedzictwo , vol. 2, Spo ł  e-cze ń  stwo i gospodarka, 120, ed. Jerzy Ch ł opiecki and Helena Madurowicz-Urba ń ska (Rzeszów:Wydawnictwo Wy ż szej Szko ł y Pedagogicznej, 1995). 6 John-Paul Himka, Galician Villagers and the Ukrainian National Movement in the NineteenthCentury (Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 1988), 212–13, 214.  The Greek Catholic Rustic Gentry and the Ukrainian National Movement  93   sidered, even though in most cases their ancestry can be traced to the rustic gentry.The majority of the Galician Greek Catholic rustic gentry in the first half of thenineteenth century lived in the Habsburg administrative territory called Sambir “circle” (German:  Kreis ).From the point of view of the late eighteenth-century Habsburg state, the rusticgentry was not much different from the peasants. State governance of the countrysiderelied on the manors ( dominia ) and not on those claiming noble blood. Rustic gentrycommunities frequently had a history of conflicts with the dominia not unlike theconflicts that peasant communities had. 7 The rustic petty gentry did not have to perform corvée labour and allegedly had a greater number of literate people, but their written and customary culture was very much like that of the peasants. 8 In the 1840sa peasant impostor born in a state-owned village could present himself as a member of the petty gentry in another district of the same circle without arousing suspicion. 9  The rustic gentry maintained their distinctiveness from the local peasants, butmarriages between their members, although not frequent, were not considered ab-normal. 10  When the national movement was making its first inroads into the villages of Sambir circle, the petty gentry reacted much as the peasants did. Individuals from both groups took part in the Polish nationalist conspiracies of 1846. Although therustic gentry’s involvement was proportionately somewhat higher, 11 nonetheless themajority of both the rustic gentry and the peasants did not take part. In 1848representatives of both groups participated in the activities of the Ruthenian Councilthat was formed in the mountainous area of Sambir circle.The council was chaired bya peasant but included a number of rustic gentry from several villages, and onceagain members of the the rustic gentry were proportionately more involved than the peasants. 12 In the circle’s lowlands both the rustic gentry and peasants abstained fromtaking part in the Ruthenian Council. 13  In the 1860s, with the return to the constitutional system and with the granting of freedom of the press and of association, the issue of the rustic gentry’s nationalaffiliation was raised in public debates for the first time. During the 1860s the num-  7 Antoni Schneider,  Encyklopedya do krajoznawstwa Galicyi po wzgl  ę dem historycznym, statystycznym, topograficznym, orograficznym, handlowym, przemyslowym, sfragistycznym …, vol.2, pt. 7: 288, 289 (Lviv: Drukarnia J. Dobrza ń skiego, 1874); Ivan Franko, “Zapysky ruskohoselianyna z pochatku XIX v.,”  Zapysky Naukovoho tovarystva imeny Shevchenka 115 (1913): 157. 8 Franko, “Zapysky ruskoho selianyna,” 155–66; Zofja Strzetelska-Grynbergowa, Staromieskie :  Ziemia i ludno  ść (Lviv, 1899), 330, 545–50. 9 The case of Onufer Stebelsky is described in my monograph  Idiomy emansypatsii: «Vyzvolni» proiekty i halytske selo v seredyni XIX stolittia (Kyiv: Krytyka, 2007). 10 Narrative testimony can be found in Mykhailo Zubrytsky’s autobiography, preserved in theManuscript Division of the Lviv National Scientific Library (hereafter VR LNNB), fond (hereafter f.) 206,  sprava (hereafter spr.) 922,  papka (file, hereafter p.) 27, arkush (folio, hereafter a.) 3.Marriages between members of the rustic gentry and peasants were recorded already at the end of the eighteenth century: see, e.g., the Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine in Lviv (hereafter TsDIAL), f. 201, opys (hereafter op.) 4a, spr. 635. 11 See my Idiomy emansypatsii , passim. 12 TsDIAL, f. 180, op. 1, spr. 4, a. 51. 13 TsDIAL, f. 180, op. 1, spr. 4, a. 184.  94  Andriy Zayarnyuk     ber of Ruthenian deputies in the Diet was higher than it was in following decades. Asa rule, circle and, later, county (German:  Bezirk  ) administrations were manned byAustrian bureaucrats and had not yet been taken over by the Polish nobility. In the1860s the villagers of Sambir circle were represented in the Diet by a Ruthenianwhose election may have been backed by the administration. Already in 1861 thenewspaper of the Polish “democrats” (the mostly urban-based opponents of the partyof large landowners) published a rebuke directed at Ruthenian politicians that wasallegedly written by Ruthenian petty gentry from a particular village. 14 The Ruthen-ian side replied that most rustic gentry supported the movement. 15 A number of rusticgentry were involved in the Polish uprising of 1863, but there were peasant volun-teers as well. The fate of these participants in the uprising’s aftermath was equallyunenviable, and Ivan Franko claimed that it contributed to the decline of pro-Polishattitudes among the rustic gentry. 16  The elections of 1870 were the first ones in Sambir county to be manipulated infavour of the Polish candidate after the Polish landowning nobility made a deal withVienna to secure the crownland’s autonomy and their own political dominance there.These elections give us a glimpse into the rustic gentry’s behaviour in the newconditions that were shaping the confrontation between the two national camps. In thesmall landowners’ curia in the Staryi Sambir-Sambir electoral district, a Polishcandidate, Micha ł Popiel, ran against the Ruthenian Yuliian Lavrivsky, who hadrepresented the district’s villagers in the Diet in the 1860s. Both candidates were fromthe petty gentry and both of them had connections to the area. But Popiel’s werestronger—he was born and grew up in one of the local gentry villages. Since theelections were held in two stages, much depended on the profile of the one or twodelegates village communities ( Gemeinde ) sent to vote in the county centre. Somemixed (peasant and gentry) villages and the purely gentry village of Silets, sent Greek Catholic priests, who voted for the Ruthenian candidate. The rustic gentry’s delegatesvoted for Popiel, with the exception of one from the village of Berezhnytsia. 17  In the 1870s the rigging of elections in favour of Polish candidates by the admin-istrative authorities of the newly autonomous crownland became a commonlyaccepted practice. The number of Ruthenian deputies shrank, and peasant deputiesdisappeared from the Diet. At first, reports to the Ruthenian patriotic press from theSambir area complained about “selfish peasants guided by outside influence.” 18 Butonce the populist trend in Ruthenian politics gained momentum, blame was laid onthe leaders— local educated patriots—and later on the rustic gentry. In 1877 thearea’s rustic gentry, with the exception of the Silets and Kulchytsi communities, wasdescribed as “decisively hostile towards the Ruthenian cause.” 19 Nonethelessneighbouring mountainous Turka county (part of Sambir circle before the admin-istrative reform), which was equally densely populated by members of the rusticgentry, continued electing Ruthenian candidates throughout the 1870s. In this case 14 Mykhail Kropyva, “Iz Ozymyny, blyz Horodyshcha kolo Sambora,” Slovo , 1861, no.10. 15 “Iz Sambora,” Slovo , 1861, no.10. 16 Ivan Franko, “Dovbaniuk,” in his  Zibrannia tvoriv u p’iatdesiaty tomakh vol. 16,  Povisti taopovidannia (1882–1887), 207–208, ed. O. Ye. Zasenko (Kyiv: Naukova dumka, 1978), 207–208. 17 TsDIAL, f. 165, op. 1, spr. 299. 18 [A voter,] “Iz Sambora,” Slovo , 1874, no. 43. 19 “Iz Sambora,” Slovo , 1877, No.41