H. Nadtoka, І. Tarnavskyy, І. Horpynchenko «Polish Question» and the Roman Catholic Church in Ukrainian Lands in the Russian Empire (1864–1914)

DOI: 10.20535/2307-5244.53.2021.248455

Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University

National Technical University of Ukraine «Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute»

Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University

The study is dedicated to clarifying the essence of the «Polish question» in
secular and confessional terms and its evolution in Ukrainian lands under the
rule of the Russian Empire in the period between the Polish Uprising of 1863
and the First World War.
The combination of the Polish secular and Polish confessional (Roman Catholic)
directions of the national liberation movement, that is, in a certain sense, of
two independent problems, in the presented article is relevant due to several circumstances.
Firstly, the Poles retained the status of the main representatives of
the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine. Secondly, represented mainly by Poles,
the RCC objectively became the ideological and organizational center of the
Polish national revival. Thirdly, under severe repression, the RCC in Ukraine
was revived primarily by the efforts of Poles and in synchrony with the Polish
liberation movement.
Based on a broad range of the sources from national archives, namely the
Russian State Historical Archive (located in St. Petersburg) and archival press
materials of that time, the main stages and trends in the evolution of «Polish
question» have been reconstructed within a chronological framework from 1863
to 1914. Within the author’s concept of patterns of Polish People struggle for national
liberation, it has been revealed that having endured the troublesome tsarist
repressions, especially in the first post-revolt decade, Polish society in Ukrainian
lands under the rule of the Russian Empire managed to preserve its national
identity and to start the process of national revival with the ideological support of
the Roman Catholic Church. Its active phase occurred in 1905–1907 and lasted
in latent forms during the reaction before the beginning of the First World War.
The historical events of the period demonstrated the failure of all the models
of coexistence with the Poles implemented in Russia: repressive, restrictive and
compromising (pacifying) models. The reasons for the failure of tsarist government
assimilation policies and, at the same time, for raising Polish liberation
capacity-building potential were also caused by the loyal attitude from the local
people to the Polish struggle, especially in the Right-Bank Ukraine.
Keywords: «Polish question», Roman Catholic Church, Ukrainian lands
under Russian Empire, assimilation policies, «depolonization of Church», Polish
national rebirth.

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