Skip to main content Accessibility help



During the 1920s, Ukrainian publicist Dmytro Dontsov (1883–1973) created “active nationalism,” a political doctrine that later became the ideology of the radical right-wing Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Yet, before World War I, Dontsov was a fervently internationalist social democrat. Much of his shift rightward occurred during the internecine fighting that beset Ukraine from 1914 to 1922, but he had already adumbrated key components of his mature, “integral nationalist” world view prior to this time, from a vantage point well within the mainstream of the day's social-democratic discourse. His incendiary brand of Ukrainian realpolitik used the language of an early twentieth-century Marxism that had become riddled with various “heterodoxies.” Anticipating a world conflict that would favor the Germans and dismantle the Russian Empire, Dontsov advocated a pro-“Western,” anti-“Muscovite” orientation for Ukrainians, and in 1913 spearheaded a controversial program for Ukraine's separation from Russia and integration into “Europe.”

Hide All

1 Camus, Albert, The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt (New York, 1991), 249.

2 For an introduction to the OUN see Motyl, Alexander J., The Turn to the Right: The Ideological Origins and Development of Ukrainian Nationalism, 1919–1929 (Boulder, CO, 1980).

3 Marples, David R., “Stepan Bandera: The Resurrection of a Ukrainian National Hero,” Europe–Asia Studies, 58 (2006), 555–66.

4 On the UPA see Armstrong, John, Ukrainian Nationalism, 1939–1945 (New York, 1955).

5 Motyl, The Turn to the Right, 85, 149–59.

6 Natsionalizm has been republished, with an index and extensive commentary, in Dmytro Dontsov, Tvory: Heopolitychni ta ideolohichni pratsi (L’viv, 2001)—the first in an abortive series of projected volumes covering Dontsov's work. An English translation of excerpts from it can be found in Lindheim, Ralph and Luckyj, George S. N., eds., Towards an Intellectual History of Ukraine: An Anthology of Ukrainian Thought from 1710 to 1995 (Toronto, 1996), 260–69.

7 Dontsov, Der Geist Russlands (Munich-Lochhausen, 1961). An English translation can be found in Volodomyr Bohdaniuk, ed., The Real Face of Russia: Essays and Articles (London, 1967).

8 Dontsov, , Khrestom i mechem: Tvory (Toronto, 1967), 266.

9 Sosnovs’kyi, Mykhailo, Dmytro Dontsov: Politychnyi portret: Z istorii rozvytku ideolohii ukrains’koho natsionalizm (New York, 1974), 7985.

10 Dontsov, , Pidstavy nashoi polityky (Vienna, 1921).

11 Dontsov, “Suchasne politychne polozhennia natsii i nashi zavdannia,” in Oleh Bahan and Iaroslav Radevych-Vynnyts’kyi, eds., Vybrani tvory u desiaty tomakh, vol. 1 (L’viv, 2011), 21–37.

12 Motyl, Turn to the Right, 68.

13 Golczewski, Frank, “Politische Konzepte des ukrainischen nichtsozialistischen Exils (Petliura – Lypynskyj – Donzow),” in Hausmann, Guido and Kappeler, Andreas, eds., Ukraine: Gegenwart und Geschichte eines neuen Staates (Baden-Baden, 1993), 100–18. Golczewski, it should be noted, mischaracterizes Dontsov (not to mention Petliura) as “nonsocialist” during the 1920s.

14 Sosnovs’kyi, Dmytro Dontsov, 124.

16 Hayes, Carlton J., The Historical Evolution of Modern Nationalism (New York, 1931); Alter, Peter, Nationalism (New York, 1994).

17 Zaitsev, Oleksandr, “Ukrainian Integral Nationalism in Quest of a ‘Special Path’ (1920s–1930s),” Russian Politics and Law, 51 (2013), 1132, 13.

18 For a full summary and assessment of the historiography to date surrounding Ukrainian integral nationalism see Zaitsev, Oleksandr, Ukrainskii integral’nyi natsionalizm (1920-ti-1930-ti roky): Narysy intelektual’noi istorii (Kyiv, 2013), 1559.

19 Motyl, The Turn to the Right, 166, original emphasis.

20 Gregor, A. James, Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism: Chapters in the Intellectual History of Radicalism (Stanford, 2009), 88102 and 297–8.

21 Sternhell, Zeev, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution, trans. Maisel, David (Princeton, 1994).

22 Faith Hillis, “Russian Émigrés, European Intermediaries and Fin-de-Siècle Europe's ‘Politics in a New Key’,” paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Boston, Massachusetts, 21–4 November 2014.

23 On the origins of Russian (and Ukrainian) nationalism in Right-Bank Ukraine see Hillis, Faith, Children of Rus’: Right-Bank Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation (Ithaca, 2013).

24 Ibid., 283.

25 Porter, Brian, When Nationalism Began to Hate: Imagining Modern Politics in Nineteenth-Century Poland (New York, 2000), 120–24.

26 Ibid., 129–34.

27 Sternhell, Zeev, The Anti-Enlightenment Tradition, trans. Maisel, David (New Haven, 2010).

28 Engels, Friedrich, Anti-Dühring: Herr Eugen Dühring's Revolution in Science (Moscow, 1959).

29 Gregor, Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism, 163.

30 On stikhiinost’ see Krylova, Anna, “Beyond the Spontaneity–Consciousness Paradigm: ‘Class Instinct’ as a Promising Category of Historical Analysis,” Slavic Review, 62 (2003), 123.

31 Lih, Lars T., “1905 and All That: The Revolution and Its Aftermath,” Kritika, 8 (2007), 861–76; and Lih, “How a Founding Document Was Found, or One Hundred Years of Lenin's What Is to Be Done?Kritika, 4 (2003), 5–49.

32 Lih, “How a Founding Document Was Found,” 15–18.

33 Snyder, Timothy, Nationalism, Marxism and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz, 1872–1905 (Cambridge, 1997), 242.

34 Ibid., 247.

35 Ibid., 249.

36 Dontsov, Pidstavy nashoi polityky, 212.

37 Sosnovs’kyi, Dmytro Dontsov, 66 n.

38 Ibid., 62–7.

40 Borys, Jurij, “Political Parties in Ukraine,” in Hunczak, Taras, ed., The Ukraine, 1917–1921: A Study in Revolution (Cambridge, 1977), 128–58.

41 Sosnovs’kyi, Dmytro Dontsov, 70.

42 Ibid., 76–7.

43 Schorske, Carl E., Fin-de-siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture (New York, 1981).

44 Ibid., xviii and xxxvii. Mykhailo Rudnyts’kyi, “Muchenyk neprymyrennykh idealiv Stanislav Bzhozovs’kyi,” My (1934), quoted in Sosnovs’kyi, Dmytro Dontsov, 76–7.

45 Walicki, Andrzej, Stanisław Brzozowski and the Polish Beginnings of “Western Marxism” (Oxford, 1989).

46 Brzozowski, Stanisław, Listy, vol. 1, ed. M. Sroka (Cracow, 1970), 660; Brzozowski, Listy, vol. 2, ed. M. Sroka (Cracow, 1970), 236; Brzozowski, Legenda Młodej Polski: Studia o strukturze duszy kulturalnej (L’viv, 1910), 106. All quoted in Walicki, Stanisław Brzozowski, 218–19.

47 Dontsov, Shkola a relihiia (L’viv, 1910), 33.

48 Sosnovs’kyi, Dmytro Dontsov, 88.

49 Dontsov, “Za ukrainskii universitet,” Ukrainskaiia zhizn’, 6 (1912), in Bahan and Radevych-Vynnyts’kyi, Vybrani tvory, vol. 1, 173–82, 180.

50 Brzozowski, Idee: Wstęp do filozofii dojrzałości dziejowej (L’viv, 1910), 225, quoted in Kołakowski, Main Currents in Marxism, 544–5.

51 Like the term ukrainstvo, vseukrainstvo refers to Ukrainian nationalism in the broadest, value-neutral sense, with the addendum that it is explicitly inclusive of Ukrainians living in both the Russian and Austrian empires.

52 Dontsov, , “Na cherzi: Do pytannia pro nashu natsional’nu polityku,” Pratsia, 1 (1910), 58.

53 Dontsov, , “Politychnyi moment v Rosii i zavdannia sotsial-demokratii,” Pratsia, 1 (1909), 67.

55 Bauer, Otto, The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracy (Minneapolis, 2000).

56 Dontsov, , “O. Bauer o natsional’noi assimiliatsii,” Ukrainskaia zhizn’, 4 (1912), in Bahan and Radevych-Vynnyts’kyi, Vybrani tvory, vol. 1, 164–6.

58 Dontsov, , “Russkii liberalism i ukrainskoe dvizhenie,” Ukrainskaia zhizn’, 5 (1912), in Bahan and Radevych-Vynnyts’kyi, Vybrani tvory, vol. 1, 167–73.

59 Stryjek, Tomasz, Ukraińska idea narodowa okresu międzywojennego: Analiza wybranych koncepsji (Wrocław, 2000), 123–6.

60 This is a recurring expression in Dontsov's prose. See, for example, Dontsov, “Suchasne politychne polozhennia natsii i nashi zavdannia,” in Bahan and Radevych-Vynnyts’kyi, Vybrani tvory, vol. 1, 21–37, 27; and Dontsov, Die ukrainischee Staatsidee und der Krieg gegen Russland (Berlin, 1915).

61 Sosnovs’kyi, Dmytro Dontsov, 95.

62 Quoted in Sosnovs’kyi, Dmytro Dontsov, 109.

63 Dontsov, “Moderne moskvofil'stvo,” in Bahan and Radevych-Vynnyts’kyi, Vybrani tvory, vol. 2, 17–30, 18.

64 Ibid., 30.

65 Dontsov's comrades in the USDRP emerged entirely unscathed even though, as Sosnovs’kyi suggests, they were some of the worst Moscophile offenders among Dontsov's contemporaries. Sosnovs’kyi, Dmytro Dontsov, 95.

66 Dontsov, “Suchasne politychne polozhennia natsii i nashi zavdannia,” in Bahan and Radevych-Vynnyts’kyi, Vybrani tvory, vol. 1, 21–37.

67 The Fourth Universal of the Ukrainian Central Rada declared the UNR's independence from Bolshevik Russia on 25 January 1918, reversing the Rada's former policy of federation with the Provisional Government, in response to the aggressive posturing of the Bolsheviks and their denial of the Rada's legitimacy.

68 Himka, John-Paul, “Young Radicals and Independent Statehood: The Idea of a Ukrainian Nation-State, 1890–1895,” Slavic Review, 41 (1982), 219–35.

69 The Treaty of Pereiaslav (1654) created the Ukrainian Cossack Hetmanate, and placed it under the military protection of imperial Muscovy in exchange for political fealty to the Russian state.

70 Ivan Franko, “Beyond the Limits of the Possible,” in Lindheim and Luckyj, Towards an Intellectual History of Ukraine, 193–201, 200.

71 Dontsov, “Suchasne politychne polozhennia natsii i nashi zavdannia,” 35, Dontsov's italics.

72 Friedrich Engels, “The Magyar Struggle,” Neue Rheinische Zeitung (1849). at, accessed 16 Nov. 2012.

73 Dontsov, “Engel's, Marx i Liassal’ pro ‘neistorychnyi natsii,’” in Bahan and Radevych-Vynnyts’kyi, Vybrani tvory, vol. 1, 65–89, 75.

74 Ibid., original emphasis.

76 Ibid., 92, original emphasis.

77 Pyotr Struve—a leading Kadet.

78 Lenin, V. I., “Kadety ob ukrainskom voprose,” Rabochaia Pravda, 3 (16 July 1913), in Lenin, V. I., Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, vol. 23 (Moscow, 1961), 337–8, original emphasis. See also the December 1913 editions of Proletarskaia Pravda (in Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, vol. 24 (Moscow, 1961), 209), and O prave natsii na samoopredelenie (in Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, vol. 25 (Moscow, 1961), 281).

79 Lenin, “Kriticheskie zametki po natsional’nomu voprosu,” Rabochaia Pravda (1913) in Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, vol. 24, 125–9.

81 “Ukrains’ka khata,” Encyclopedia of Ukraine, at\U\K\UkraI5nshDAkakhataIT.htm, accessed 17 Nov. 2012.

82 Rada was the only Ukrainian-language daily in the Russian Empire. Originally the official organ of the liberal nationalist Ukrainian Democratic Radical Party, it ran in Kyiv from 1906 until the summer of 1914.

83 Dontsov, “Z pryvodu odniei eresy,” in Bahan and Radevych-Vynyts’kyi, Vybrani tvory, vol. 1, 36–64, 40.

84 Dontsov, “Dzhentl’menam iz ‘dzvonu’,” in Bahan and Radevych-Vynyts’kyi, Vybrani tvory, vol. 1, 190–91, 191.

85 On the ULU see Hagen, Mark von, War in a European Borderland: Occupations and Occupation Plans in Galicia and Ukraine, 1914–1918 (Seattle, 2007), 5471; Oleh Fedyshyn, “The Germans and the Union for the Liberation of the Ukraine, 1914–1917,” in Hunczak, ed., The Ukraine, 1917–1921, 305–22; and Mikhutina, I., “Separatisty iz l’vovskogo kafe: O deiatel’nosti Soiuza osvobozhdeniia Ukrainy, 1914–1915 gg.,” Rodina, 11 (1999), 75–7.

86 Motyl, The Turn to the Right, 83–5.

87 Kvit, Serhii, Dmytro Dontsov: Ideolohichnyi portret (Kyiv, 2000).

88 Shlapentokh, Dmitry, “Dugin Eurasianism: A Window on the Minds of the Russian Elite or an Intellectual Ploy?”, Studies in East European Thought, 59 (2007), 215–36. For in-depth coverage of the modern Russian (and Ukrainian) far right see Anton Shekhovtsov's blog at, accessed 2 June 2014.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Modern Intellectual History
  • ISSN: 1479-2443
  • EISSN: 1479-2451
  • URL: /core/journals/modern-intellectual-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed