Yefim (Fyodorovich) Karskiy (Belarusian: Яўхім (Фёдаравіч) Карскі, Russian: Ефим (Фёдорович) Карский), Russian: Евфимий (Феодорович) Карский) (older name form); 1 January 1861 (20 December 1860) – 29 April 1931) was a Belarusian-Russian linguist-Slavist, ethnographer and paleographer, founder of the Belarusian linguistics, literary studies and paleography, a member of numerous scientific institutions, author of more than 100 works on the linguistics, ethnography, paleography and others.
Karskiy was described by his contemporaries as a person extremely industrious, accurate, self-organised, reserved in behaviour, was acclaimed as a scientist of the highest integrity. Karskiy's input into the contemporary Slavistics, especially into the Belarusian branch, was immense. The first significant revisions of Karskiy's views on the development of the Church Slavonic and Russian languages were proposed much later, by Viktor Vinogradov. One of the best known works of Karskiy is Belarusians.
Karskiy's seminal seven-volume work Belarusians is considered to be the "Belarusian philology encyclopedia, unique by the extent and depth of the material", "uncomparable to any other study of Slavonic people in exhaustiveness". This work was the first to scientifically disprove the concept of the linguistic identity between the Russian and the Old Belarusian language, and from this argued for the existence of a distinct Belarusian nationality, presenting to a wider world the richness of the Belarusian traditional culture. This work "opened the eyes of Belarusians to see themselves as a real nation", putting them (in the beginning of the 20th century) "unexpectedly at the head of all the Slavonic people in the scientific knowledge about their language"
Karskiy's views of the ethnic history and areal of Belarusians were revised by V. K. Bandarchyk (c. 1998–1999). The significant amendments to the Karskiy's history of the oral folk lore were made by A. S. Fyadosik (c. 1998) and others.
For his teaching and research activities, Karskiy was given the civil rank of "real state’s counsellor" (?). Decorated with orders of St. Stanislaus III grade (1889) and II grade (1899), St. Anna III grade (1895) and II grade (1903), St. Vladimir IV grade (1911), various medals. In recognition of his research on the Belarusian ethnography, he was awarded the Great Golden Medal of the Russian Geographical Society (1894), the Golden Medals of Batyushkov of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1898, 1902), Minor Lomonosov Prize of Russian Academy of Sciences (1901), Batyushkov Academical Prize (1910), Akhmatov Academical Prize (1913).
In 1964, the memorial of Karski was opened in the building of the Lasha School.
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Yefim Karskiy was born in Lasha (Grodno Uyezd of Grodno Governorate, now in Hrodna Voblast, to the family of teacher F. Novitskiy and Orthodox deacon’s daughter M. Novitskaya. Initially, he bore the family name of his mother, Novitskiy. With his family, he spent his childhood years in Navahradak (at Yatra and Byarozavyets) and Minsk (at Volma) regions of Belarus.
- c. 1870s – studied in Folk School (Russian: народное училище) at Yatra, (Navahradak Uyezd).
- 1874 – c. 1880s – studied in Minsk Ecclesiatical School, later in Minsk Seminary.
- 1881 – became interested in ethnography, leaving ecclesiastical studies and entering Nezhin historical-philological institute.
- 1883 – published his first philological research paper, in the "Russian Philological Courier".
- 1885 – graduated from the Nezhin historical-philological institute (1885) in the field of Russian and Slavonic philology, supervised by Professor R. F. Brandt.
- 1885 – moved by the absence of the scientific development of the Belarusian language, he published his first major scientific work Review of Sounds and Forms of Belarusian Language (1886).
- 1885–1893 – taught Russian and Church Slavonic languages and Russian literature in the Vil’na Liceum No.2, also worked as the secretary of the Liceum in 1885–1889 and as elected member of the Resources Committee in 1890–1892.
- 1888 – published "Grammar of Old Church Slavonic Language as Compared with Russian Language". Until the very October 1917, this grammar had been re-published 19 times.
- 1891-09-17 – successfully passed his magister’s examination.
- 1893-02-01 – began teaching Russian language in Warsaw University. Later also taught Slavonic paleography, Russian dialectology, Church Slavonic grammar.
- 1893-10-23 – successfully defended his magister’s thesis "To the history of sounds and forms of the Belarusian talk" in Kiev University. This was the first dissertation in history, concerned with the Belarusian language.
- 1894-06-26 – was elected for the position of associated(?) professor of Warsaw University, chair of Russian and Church Slavonic languages and history of Russian literature.
- 1897-02-14 – was promoted to the position of the ordinary(?) professor of Warsaw University.
- 1898–1900, 1903 – studied the local talks of the Belarusian people, both by the literary artefacts and by ethnographical tours, esp. to the Grodno, Vil’na, Minsk regions.
- 1901 – became associated member of Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences, dept. of Russian language and literacy.
- 1902 – published the first map of the ethnic areal of the Belarusians.
- 1903 – published the first volume of his seminal work "Belarusians".
- 1905-01-01 – became an editor of journal "Russian philological courier" (Russian: "Русский филологический вестник").
- 1905–1910 – rector of Warsaw University, elected twice, in 1905 and in 1908. By the anecdotal evidence, refused the position in protest against the policies of the (supposedly reactionary) Minister Kasso.
- 1915–1916 – conducted pedagogical work in the Rostov University (ex-Warsaw University).
- 1916-10-08 – elected for the full member of Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences, with specialisation in ethnography and linguistics. Moved to Petrograd.
- 1916 – c. 1918 – taught in the Petrograd University, later Leningrad University.
- 1917 Founder member of the Commission for the Study of the Tribal Composition of the Population of the Borderlands of Russia
- 1917, December – participated in the First All-Belarusian Congress in Minsk, elected Honorary Chairman. Barely managed to avoid the arrest in the following dispersal of the Congress, returned to Petrograd.
- 1918 – forced by the economic ruin in Petrograd, moved to Minsk. Appointed the teacher position at the Belarusian Courses for Teachers of Minsk Region (then headed by Yazep Lyosik), later transformed into Minsk Pedagogical Institute.
- 1919-03-14 – removed from the position of professor of the Minsk Pedagogical Institute.
- c. 1919-05-05 – arrested by the Extraordinary Commission ("Cheka"), luckily, not for long.
- c. 1919 Fall – moved to Petrograd.
- c. 1919–1920 – partially (~20%) published "Belarusians" in Belarusian language in the newspapers "Zvon" and "Byelarus’".
- 1920 – became an editor of journal "News of the Academy of Sciences of USSR. Digest of Dept. of Russian Language" (Russian: "Известия АН СССР. ОРЯС")
- 1919 – ? – taught in the Petrograd University, later Leningrad University.
- c. 1920–1921 – participated (together with Picheta, Dyla) in preparing the opening of the Institute of Belarusian Culture ("Inbyelkult") in Myensk.
- c. 1920–1930, September– became the Head of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
- 1921, Summer (or in 1919, Summer)– permanently moved to Petrograd, never to see his homeland again.
- 1922 – became a full member of the Institute of Belarusian Culture. Donated his library to the newly created Belarusian State University.
- 1924 – participated in the First International Congress of Slavonic Geographers and Ethnographers in Prague.
- 1926 – made scientific visits to Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia. His scientific reports of these visits was highly appreciated by the USSR Academy of Sciences. However, his reports had political repercussions.
- 1926, December – he refused the instructions given him by the Vice-Head of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
- 1927 – became the target of a sharp political critique, in the newspapers "Zvyazda" (Myensk) and "Pravda" (Moscow). His membership in the USSR Academy of Sciences was put under question (13 April 1927). Despite of enjoying a certain amount of political patronage he wasn’t given the room in the pressto defend himself.
- 1929, January – was elected for the member of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
- 1930, September (or in 1929) – abruptly removed from the position of the Director of the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, St Petersburg.
Karskiy was the author of at least 100 significant scientific works. Some of the major ones are listed below. It is worth noting that in case of the older publications, the actual dates of the publications may be different than the dates on the front pages.
- Обзор звуков и форм белорусской речи. – Москва, 1886. – Известия Историко-филологического Института в Нежине, том X.
- Грамматика древнего церковнославянского языка сравнительно с русским (курс средних учебных заведений). – Вильна, 1888–1900, Варшава, 1901–1916, Сергиев Посад, 1917.
- К истории звуков и форм белорусской речи. – Варшава, 1893. – Магистерская диссертация.
- К вопросу о разработке старого западнорусского наречия. – Вильна, 1893.
- Что такое древнее западнорусское наречие?. – Труды Девятого археологического съезда в Вильне, 1893.
- О языке так называемых литовских летописей. – Варшава, 1894.
- Особенности письма и языка Мстиславова Евангелия. – Русск. Филолог. Вестн., 1895.
- Образцы славянского кирилловского письма с Х по XVIII век. – Варшава, 1901.
- Очерк славянской кирилловской палеографии. – Варшава, 1901.
- Славянская кирилловская палеография. [S.l.], 1928.
- Work re-published in: Карский Е. Ф. Славянская кирилловская палеография. Moscow, 1979.
- Белорусcы. Т. I. Введение в изучение языка и народной словесности. – Варшава, 1903.
- Work re-published: Белорусcы. Т. I. Введение в изучение языка и народной словесности. – Вильна, 1904.
- Белорусcы. Т. II. Язык белорусского племени. В. 1. – [S.l.], 1908.
- Белорусcы. Т. II. Язык белорусского племени. 2. Исторический очерк словообразования и словоизменения в белорусском наречии. – [S.l.], 1911.
- Белорусcы. Т. II. Язык белорусского племени. 3. Очерки синтаксиса белорусского наречия. Дополнения и поправки. – [S.l.], 1912.
- Белорусы. Т. III. Очерки словесности белорусского племени. 1. Народная поэзия. – Москва, 1916.
- Белорусы. Т. III. Очерки словесности белорусского племени. 2. Старая западнорусская литература. – Петроград, 1921.
- Белорусы. Т. III. Очерки словесности белорусского племени. 3. Художественная литература на народном наречии. – [S.l.], 1922.
- Complete work re-published: Белорусы: Т. 1 – 3. – Москва, 1955–1956.
- [KUC 2006] p.15,19—23. E.g., noted by A. Tsvikyevich.
- M. S. Derzhavin, [Bulakh 2006] p. 10
- Boris Lyapunov, [Bulakh 1981] p. 31
- [YanuTsvir 2001] p. 19
- Belarusian historian Vitawt Tumash, [KUC 2006] p. 23
- Proceedings of General Meeting of Russian Academy of Sciences on May 5, 1919, §141
- acc. to [YanuTsvir 2001]
- acc. to [RublSkal 2006]
- [Bulakh 1981] Булахов М. Г. Евфимий Федорович Карский: Жизнь, научн. и обществ. деятельность / Под ред. В. И. Борковского. – Мн. : Изд-во БГУ, 1981.
- [YanuTsvir 2001] Янушкевіч Я., Цвірка К. Яўхім Карскі і яго "Беларусы" // Карскі Я. Беларусы / Я. Карскі; Уклад. і камент. С. Гараніна і Л. Ляўшун; Навук. рэд. А. Мальдзіс; Прадмо. Я. Янушкевіча і К. Цвіркі. – Мн. : Беларускі кнігазбор, 2001. – ( Беларускі кнігазбор; сер. II. Гісторыка-літаратурныя помнікі). ISBN 985-6638-26-7.
- [KUC 2006] Курцова, Унучак, Чаквін. Прадмова да першага тома працы Я. Ф. Карскага "Беларусы" // Карский, Е. Ф. Белорусы: 3 т. Т. 1 / Уступны артыкул М. Г. Булахава, прадмова да першага тома і каментарыі В. М. Курцовай, А. У. Унучака, І. У. Чаквіна. – Мн. : БелЭн, 2006. ISBN 985-11-0360-8 (Т.1), ISBN 985-11-0359-4.
- [RublSkal 2006] Рублевская Людмила, Скалабан Виталь. Околонаучный спор. Злополучная командировка профессора Карского // Беларусь сегодня, #12 (22422), 20.01.2006 – 
- [Rulex 2006] [Н. Т.?] Карский [1890s-1900s?] // Большой русский биографический словарь. – Электронная репринтная версия. – .
|Director of the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography