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In the annals of Ukrainian and world scholarship, Professor Oleksander Mez’ko-Ohloblyn (1899-1992) is noted as a leading Ukrainian historian and skilled organizer of Ukrainian scholarship in the 20 th century. Oleksander Petrovych is one of the most prominent researchers of the Cossack-Hetmanate Government in 17 th and 18 th century Ukraine, particularly the era of lvan Mazepa.
The idea for a new edition of the monograph Hetman Ivan Mazepa and His Era arose in 1998, when the Ukrainian Historical Association created an international jubilee committee for the purpose of commemorating Oleksander Ohloblyn on the occasion of the 100 th anniversary of his birth. At the time, the clecision was made to publish the late historian’s monograph on Hetman lvan Mazepa; People of Old Ukraine, a collection of historical essays, and other pubiished and archival materials. In 1999, on the initiative of the UHA and with the collaboration of other scholarly institutions, several conferences in honor of Oleksander Ohloblyn were organized. A new serial publication, Ohloblyniana (New York, Ostroh: Ukrainian Historical Association, Ostroh Academy University, 2000, 215 p., Vol. I), devoted to the publication of the historian’s works and archival materials, including research on the scholar himself, was initiated. Simultaneously, editorial work commenced on the second, expanded version of the work Hetman Ivan Mazepa and His Era, which was originally pubiished in 1960 as Vol. 170 of Zapysky NTSh in the series Works of the NTSH Historical-Philosophical Section (pubiished by the Organization in Dcfense of the Four Freedoms for Ukraine and the League of Ukraine’s Liberation, New York — Paris — Toronto, 1960, 406 p.)
There were, however, other reasons and stimuli for a new edition of this unique monograph.
Firstly, several months before he passed away, Oleksander Petrovych requested that I make sure, following his death, that historians in Ukraine, especially those of the younger generation, and students be familiarized with his work, in particular with his works devoted to Ivan Mazepa, Petryk, Khmelnytsky, People of Old Ukraine and other research materiał. Thus, I promised to fulfill his wish, his «historiographic last will and testament», and began a systematic effort to have Oleksander Petrovych’s historical works pubiished and accessible in Ukrainę. People of Old Ukraine and Other Essays was issued in 2000.
Secondly, during the Communist era in Ukrainę and in the USSR in generał, party historians depicted Hetman Ivan Mazepa as a «traitor to Ukraine, the Ukrainian people and to fraternal Russia,» while Professor Ohloblyn was portrayed as a «traitor of the Soviet fatherland» and a «falsifier» of Ukraine’s historical past as well as its present. Oleksander Petrovych’s historical works were prohibited in Soviet Ukraine; consequently, historians and other scholars were denied the opportunity to become acquainted with his monograph on Ivan Mazepa and his other research studies on the controversial Hetman. It is significant that this work is appearing in 2001, the year Ukraine is celebrating its 10th anniversary as an independent state.
Thirdly, the fact that Oleksander Mez’ko-Ohloblyn’s monograph was published by the coordinated efforts of the Ukrainian Historical Association (UHA) and the World Scholarly Council of the World Congress of Ukrainians with cooperation from the Ukrainian Free Academy of Sciences in the U.S. (UVAN -U.S.), the Ukrainian-American Association of University Professors (UAAUP), the Shevchenko Scientific Society in Europe (NTSh-E), is not coincidental. It should be noted that Oleksander Petrovych was the first President — and eventually, Honorary President — of the UHA; the first head of the Historical section of UVAN in the U.S. and in time, its President, then Honorary President; honorary member and assistant head of the NTSh Historical-Philosophical Section and longstanding editor of the NTSh Encyclopedia of Ukraine’s «history section»; honorary member of UAAUP and a close advisor to the SKVU Scholarly Council. Professor Ohloblyn was also the first President of the Ukrainian Genealogical and Heraldic Association; honorary Ph.D. and professor of many years at the Ukrainian Free University in Prague and Munich; guest professor at Harvard University and member of other scholarly and academic institutions or organizations. As is evident, Oleksander Petrovych devoted a significant portion of his life in the West toward the development of Ukrainian scholarship in Europe and the U.S. With this new publication, we are hoping, to some extent, to repay a debt of gratitude to Professor Oleksander Ohloblyn for his contribution to the growth of national culture and historical science in the West.
This second, expanded edition of the monograph Hetman Ivan Mazepa and His Era consists of the following sections;
1. Preface by the Editor in English and Ukrainian.
2. Introductory chapter by Lubomyr Wynar and Alla Atamanenko, «Noted Historian of the Mazepa era».
3. Expanded text of the monograph Hetman Ivan Mazepa His Era, with illustrations and amended footnotes to historical and bibliographic sources.
4. Addenda to the work by O. Ohloblyn. This includes certain works by the historian thematically linked with Mazepa: «From the history of Ukrainian governmental policy during the Mazepa era», «The Duma of Ivan Mazepa», «The Bender Constitution of 1710», «New materials on the uprising of Petro Ivanenko (Petryk)».
We are also including the historian’s heretofore unpublished chronology, «The Days of Ivan Mazepa», which Oleksander Petrovych compiled in Kyiv. From historical sources — a letter from Hetman Pylyp Orlyk to Metropolitan Stefan Yavorsky, dated June 1, 1721, which includes important information concerning Mazepa’s secret Ukrainian-Polish and Ukrainian-Swedish negotiations (with the Poles and the Swedes).
5. A separate chapter is devoted to a «Select Bibliography of works on Ivan Mazepa, appearing after 1960 (compiler, Oleksii Yas’).
A name index and an English-language summary conclude our publication. This monograph and other included works by Oleksander Petrovych utilizes the Kharkiv orthographic style, with no stylistic or linguistic changes.
According to Oleksander Ohloblyn, the Mazepa period signals the rebirth of Cossack Ukraine, in its political, cultural and economic aspects following the period of the Ruin. In his work, Oleksander Ohloblyn poses the following key question along with its answer; «Did Moscow — be it White or Red — succeed in defeating Mazepa, as an ideological spokesman for Ukraine’s existence as a nation-state? No, it neither succeeded in destroying nor defeating. Paraphrasing the words of Hrushevsky, death flew its wings over the Ukrainian nation — and it not only survived 250 years of Moscow’s victory at Poltava, but experienced a renaissance, and ideologically, stands on stronger ground vis-a-vis its Moscow opponent, than it did during the reign of Peter the Great. It is for this reason that Moscow continues to this day, with unabated obstinacy and unrestrained hatred, to wage a battle against the name of Mazepa and all that it symbolizes — a war it can never win» (Oleksander Ohloblyn, Hetman Ivan Mazepa and His Era, 1960, p. 7).
Oleksander Ohloblyn expressed these thoughts and prognosis more than 40 years ago, upon completing his monograph about Ivan Mazepa. At the same time, he believed that to a certain degree, our times recall the era of Mazepa, when political and government figures attempted to create an independent Ukrainian State. Oleksander Petrovych was overjoyed by the Ukrainian renaissance in the early 1990s and hoped that the Ukrainian people and its leaders would not repeat the mistakes incurred during the Mazepa period, but rather, would strengthen their independent status as a state.
We believe that the appearance of this new, expanded edition of the historian’s monograph, Hetman Ivan Mazepa and His Era, is very timely in terms of Ukraine’s current situation. It fills in some of the gaps in contemporary Ukrainian and world scholarly literature, as well as presents a dignified memorial to the memory of Oleksander Petrovych Ohloblyn, a prominent scholar of Ukraine, and of Hetman Ivan Mazepa and his era.
Ukrainian Historical Association
Kent, May 27, 2001