Cultural Mechanisms of Integrating the Ukrainian Cossaсk Elite into the Imperial Nobility
In this article, the author explores the degree of effectiveness of cultural mechanisms implemented in the integration of the Ukrainian Cossack elite into the all-imperial nobility. According to the author, the mid-eighteenth century became a milestone in updating cultural integration mechanisms. Using multiple examples, the author demonstrates how the Cossack elite actively broke away from their cultural provincialism, sending their children to educational institutions of the imperial capitals, and subsequently replenished and formed the imperial noble intellectual elite. The author explains such changes by the influence of European ideological transfer, which led to the transformation of the worldview of the Russian ruling elite, and then, during the reign of Peter I, to the transformation of the Russian imperial court into one of the leading courts of Europe. The result of the said sociocultural processes was the transformation of the capital’s cultural and educational institutions into new centres for attracting leading Western professors and Ukrainian youth, who were looking for opportunities for creative and professional self-realisation. According to the author, another important incentive for the Cossack elite was the political ascent of two ordinary Ukrainian Cossacks, the brothers Alexei and Cyril Razumovsky. The Razumovsky brothers became a part of the new nobility, who ascended to power during the reign of Elizabeth Petrovna. For this reason, they became a key cultural channel of the new European worldview for the Cossack elite of Little Russia and an important resource for entering imperial educational institutions and forming the imperial nobility from the Cossack elite. Further, a debatable opinion is expressed in the text of the article, according to which the “Enlightenment discourse” characteristic of Russia and Europe of the time became the main cultural mechanism for the integration of the Cossack elite. According to this “Enlightenment Discourse”, at the top of the hierarchy of rationality, there was an enlightened cosmopolitan, an imperial nobleman, a member of a supranational community. The author maintains that the existence of such cultural mechanisms allowed the Cossack elite to break away relatively easily from their former Cossack identity.
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