Assoc. Prof. Аndrii Chutkyi, DSc.
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Ukraine)
Abstract. The paper discusses the life of Konstantin Nikolov, a Bulgarian from the town of Gorna Oryahovitsa, during his study at the Kyiv Institute of Commerce (1909 – 1915). The very “insignificance” of this person allows for some wider generalizations, given the fact that precisely such people best reflect the society as a whole. For this reason, the study of ordinary people’s biographies has become an important focus of modern historiography. Nikolov’s student years illustrate some aspects of contemporary Bulgarian history and exemplify the experience of Bulgarian students in the Russian Empire before and during the World War I.
The present study is based on archive materials previously untapped by scholars. It also involves some documents relative to Svitozar Drahomanov, who was of Ukrainian origin but spent his childhood in Bulgaria and studied at the Kyiv Institute of Commerce along with Nikolov, as well as documents regarding a trip to Bulgaria by Czesław Madej, another student of the same institute.
The study demonstrates that archives of different Kyiv-based higher educational institutions should be explored for more valuable materials regarding Bulgarian-born students, which may help draw a fuller picture of Bulgarian-Ukrainian relations in the field of education and culture. This, in turn, will contribute to a deeper understanding of the history of Ukrainian higher education in the early 20th century. It will also provide a wider perspective on the phenomenon of Bulgarians studying abroad before and during the World War I, including the life situations of the students during this period which proved crucial for the whole European civilization.
Keywords: history of Bulgaria; Kyiv Institute of Commerce; micro-history; World War I; students