Post-Colonial Studies and Ukrainian Marxism

ARTICLES: WHY MARX? Return to the Subject

  • Serhii Hrabovsky
Keywords: colonialism, Ukrainian Marxism, post-colonial studies, social criticism, national-communism, imperialism, European-type colony


The article is devoted to Ukrainian Marxism, its initial stages of development and one of its main areas — anti-colonial and postcolonial research. It continues the discussion on the round table Ideology and Utopia. The Legacy of Marxism and Modern Political Reality (FD, No. 2, 2018). The author notes the attempts of the Ukrainian Marxists to adapt Marx’s and Engels’s main ideas to domestic realities and to criticize a number of these ideas.

The article outlines main achievements of the Ukrainian Marxists in terms of anti- colonial and post-colonial studies. Julian Bachinsky in 1895 in the book Ukraine Irredenta substantiated the objective need to overcome the colonial status of Ukrainian lands and to create Ukrainian independent state.

In 1919, Serhiy Mazlach and Vasyl Shakhray published the book, named To the Wave. In it they wrote that industrial capitalism turned Eastern Ukraine into a developed Russian colony, and its inhabitants — into a modern nation. It prepared the ground for making Ukraine independent.

The expanded political and economic study of the phenomenon of colonialism and the substantiation of the status of Ukraine as one of the “European-type colonies” was given by Mikhaylo Volobuev-Artemov in the article On the Problem of the Ukrainian Eco- nomy, published in the journal Bolshevik of Ukraine (2-3, 1928). Volobuyev stressed: if in the USSR Ukraine will not become a separate economic unit, it will again turn into a colony.

The author believes that the experience of Ukrainian neo-Marxism, which did not simplify the problems of colonialism, reducing it to a racial factor, is very relevant. The ideological resource of postcolonial studies, understanding Ukraine’s specifics as “Euro- pean-type colony” is urgently needed today for in-depth reforms.

Author Biography

Serhii Hrabovsky

candidate of sciences in philosophy, senior research fellow, Department of Philosophical Problems of Ethnic and Nation, H.S. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine


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How to Cite
Hrabovsky, S. (2020). Post-Colonial Studies and Ukrainian Marxism. Filosofska Dumka, (4), 53-70. Retrieved from