Matvey Katkov on Vesti.FM: we should not forget about the principle of historicism while assessing the past

Matvey Katkov on Vesti.FM: we should not forget about the principle of historicism while assessing the past

While evaluating the historical events, it is necessary to observe the principle of historicism, the analyst of Vestnik Kavkaza, Matvey Katkov told in the National Question program on Vesti.FM.

The expert emphasized that decisions taken in the past should not be judged on the basis of modern logic. "We have every right to assess the consequences of certain historical events for the present. But in practice, we often face a shift in emphasis when the lpolitical decisions of the past is evaluated on the basis of modern logic. Reflecting this way, we bring to the fore the issues which seem important to us, while neglecting those aspects that are no longer relevant today, but could be of fundamental importance for the society of the past,” the historian said. As an example, he cited the problem of social status, which today is no longer relevant for European countries, but in the past, it was often decisive in making political decisions.

"In my opinion, the weak point in the statement of political adviser to the President of Ukraine Nikita Poturayev is just that he explains the actions of the past based on current realities, in other words, violating the principle of historicism," the expert continued.

“We know from history that the Crimean Khanate really supported the uprising of the Cossacks of the Zaporozhian Army under the leadership of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, but on this basis it’s more than controversial to talk about the ‘historical alliance of Crimea and Ukraine’, especially in the light of 17th century events, when Crimea became the part of the Russian Empire, ” the historian said.

"In the middle of the 17th century, there was a brief period when the part of Right-bank Ukraine fell under Turkish rule. Theoretically, this situation can be called ‘the union of Crimea and Ukraine’, but that was the union of two vassals of the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, at the end of the 17th century, Rzeczpospolita finally regained control of these territories. Left-bank Ukraine became the part of the Russian state in  1654. The issue of Crimea was finally removed from the political agenda following the Treaty of Jassy concluded in 1791, and two years later, in 1793, Right-bank Ukraine became the part of Russia as the result of the Second Partition of Poland,” the historian recalled.

"Mr. Poturayev’s statements are purely political and populist. For what purpose these statements were made and why they were made right now is another matter, but they have not any relation to the history," the historian concluded.