Mykola Prokopovych Vasylenko (14 February 1866 – 3 October 1935) was a Ukrainian academician historian and law professor, important public and political figure. He was a temporary Otaman of Council of Ministers (Prime Minister of Ukraine), minister of Education, and director of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine).
Mykola Vasylenko was born on 14 February [O.S. 2 February] 1866 in a village Esman (today a small settlement of Hlukhiv Raion). He finished a progymnasium in Hlukhiv and a full gymnasium in Poltava. After that Vasylenko studied at the history and philology faculty of Yuriev University (University of Tartu). In 1890 he defended his scientific work "Critical overview of literature from the history of regional assemblies" and became a candidate of Russian history.
Since 1890 Vasylenko worked as a teacher of history in Kiev gymnasiums, simultaneously working for the Historical society of Nestor the Chronicler. At the same time he attended lectures of Volodymyr Antonovych, Volodymyr Ikonnikov, Oleksandr Lazarevsky and others in Kiev University. Vasylenko also was co-editor and published his scientific works in magazine "Kievskaya starina" (Kiev olden). In 1893-94 there appeared his first fundamental scientific works particularly the monograph "Servitude and the issue of servitude in Southwestern Krai".
During 1903-05 Vasylenko was a researcher for the Kiev Governorate Statistic Committee. He also was a member of Kiev Old Hromada as well as other public and cultural societies. Vasylenko was a sympathizer of the 1905 Revolution in Russian Empire and during the period he edited a newspaper "Kievskie otkliki" (Kiev feedbacks). For illegal fundraising to help workers of Saint Petersburg and Kiev, support of 1905 sappers revolt in Kiev, connections with revolutionary leaders, publication of articles of "anti-state" content in "Kievskie otkliki", Mykola Vasylenko was convicted to a year in prison which he served in Kresty Prison (Saint Petersburg). During his detention in Kresty, Vasylenko studied law and eventually passed the test of the Justice faculty program of Novorossiya University (Odessa University).
In 1909 he was admitted to Kiev University as an assistant professor (privatdozent). At the time Vasylenko was a member of secret public organization and political alliance, the Society of Ukrainian Progressors. In 1910 he received the academic degree of Master of Law. However, due to "political unreliability" the imperial administration prohibited him to teach in higher educational institutions. Therefore, Vasylenko worked as a fellow barrister for the Odessa court chamber.
Around that time in 1910 Vasylenko joined the Constitutional Democratic Party that agreed to Ukrainian language in schools, courts, churches and promoted only the cultural autonomy of Ukraine. Affiliation to Kadets affected relationships of Vasylenko with activists of Ukrainian national-liberation movement.
After the February Revolution on initiative of Mykhailo Hrushevsky, Mykola Vasylenko was invited to the Central Council of Ukraine on position of deputy chairman, but he did not actively participated in the council's sessions. On March 24, 1917 the Russian Provisional Government appointed Vasylenko as a curator of the Kiev school district and on August 19, 1917 he became a deputy minister of Education in the Russian Provisional Government. Vasylenko was supporter of evolutionary development of system of the Ukrainian National Education that did not correspond to the policy of Ukrainiazation of education, established by the I and II All-Ukrainian Teachers congresses and carried out by the General Secretariat of Education (General Secretariat of Ukraine).
- "Василенко, Николай Прокофьевич". Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary: In 86 Volumes (82 Volumes and 4 Additional Volumes). St. Petersburg. 1890–1907.
- Mykola Vasylenko at the Kiev University website
- Mykola Vasylenko at the Encyclopedic handbook Kiev (web version)
- Mykola Vasylenko at the Heritage of Ukraine portal (Spadshchyna Ukrayiny)
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