Розглядається зміст ідейно-публіцистичної боротьби українофілів та великодержавних кіл Російської імперії навколо запровадження української мови в початкову освіту українського народу в 60–80-ті рр. XIX ст.
Ключові слова: українська мова, «общерусский культурный язык», просвіта, прогрес, українська публіцистика, російська публіцистика, українофіли.
This article examines publicistic debate of 1860–1880s about status and place of the Ukrainian language in the primary education. There were two conflicting positions towards the idea of progress in Russian Empire. The supporters of introduction of Ukrainian language into primary education believed that its use would stimulate productive mental activity of people and therefore give them opportunity to resist Russian influence. As an example they brought the situation with the Russian language in Halychyna. The conservatives regarded a bilingual separation as pernitious. They believed that the union based on the Russian languagewould also contribute to the development of literature and education. In 1860s official circles regarded the position of Ukrainian activists as a sign of political separatism. Responding to this claim Ukrainian activists stressed that the position of conservatives does not stem from European ideas of statehood and nations. There were evidences of progress based on recognition by State of language diversity and use of native languages in the primary education. Thus for conservatives the issue of «Russian language» was contraversive since it was on one hand a tool for education and culture, and on the other hand, «Ukrainian» (Little Russian) was a regional language.
Keywords: Ukrainian, «Common Russian language», education, progress, Ukrainian publicism, Russian publicism, ukrainophiles.