The 150th anniversary of Mykola Mikhnovsky’s birth

March 31,2023 755
The 150th anniversary of Mykola Mikhnovsky’s birth

On this day, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) joins Ukrainians in Ukraine and around the world, in commemorating the 150th anniversary of Mykola Mikhnovsky’s birthday. The renowned freedom fighter for Ukraine’s independence was the first legal theorist of modern Ukraine’s independent nation statehood, and co-organizer of its first military formations.

With the speech Mikhnovsky delivered within the walls of the University of Kharkiv in February 1900, the talented lawyer became the first person in modern history to publicly outline the legal basis for establishing the independent and sovereign Ukrainian state. That speech, and the pamphlet titled “Independent Ukraine” that was subsequently published on its basis, lit the torch of Ukraine’s national liberation movement. In recognition of this contribution, Ukrainians refer to Mykola Mikhnovsky as “the apostle of Ukrainian statehood.”

Also in 1900, Mikhnovsky took part in the founding of the Revolutionary Ukrainian Party in Kharkiv, which became the first Ukrainian political party in the lands occupied by the Russian Empire.

Successful as a lawyer and entrepreneur, Mykola Mikhnovsky devoted time to supporting Ukrainian cultural activities, defending Ukrainian civic activists who were being persecuted in the Russian courts, and helped develop a Ukrainian education system. Before the First World War, he spent several years in the Donbas, where he promoted the Ukrainian national idea to workers and farmers in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

When the Ukrainian Revolution broke out in March 1917, Mykola Mikhnovsky took part in organizing the first units of the Ukrainian National Republic’s armed forces. At the time, most members of Ukraine’s political elite mercilessly criticized him for “excessive radicalism,” but Mikhnovsky remained convinced that the young Ukrainian state required its own army to survive and protect itself from imminent Russian military aggression. Less than a year later, after the First Soviet-Ukrainian War broke out in January 1918, history proved that Mykola Mikhnovsky had been absolutely right.

In the history of the Ukrainian people’s quest for nation statehood, figures like Mikhnovsky symbolize our formidable and indomitable national spirit, which precludes us from surrendering, no matter how hopeless the situation may seem. That is the reason why Mykola Mikhnovsky continues to inspire Ukraine’s defenders to stand strong against Russian invaders today, and why the Armed Forces of Ukraine honor him as one of the army’s founding fathers.

Glory to all the heroes in Ukraine’s history!

Glory to Ukraine!

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