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Imperiia: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Kharkiv and Vasili Karazin

Vasily Karazin (1773-1842) was a Russian intellectual and founder of Kharkiv University. Karazin was born in the Kharkiv province in the Empire and was educated in St. Petersburg where he was exposed to enlightenment thought. The picture shows a statue of Karazin erected in 1905 to celebrate the centenary of the university. The Kharkov University (using the Ukrainian form of the name) is a symbol of Ukrainian nationalism. It is where the first Ukrainian political party was formed in 1900. Karazin is a symbol of the Ukrainian nationalist movement, which lasted throughout the nineteenth century and began in places of education, such as Kharkiv University. It was here where intellectuals were exposed to European enlightenment ideas of nationalism and identity, which sparked the search for an independent Ukraine. The University inspired intellectuals to return to their Ukrainian roots and search for an identity distinct from Russianness.

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