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THE DEVELOPMENT OF LIFE STAGES AND WORLD VIEWS OF THE PHILOSOPHER A. S. YASHCHENKO

Автор Доклада: 
Maslova G.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF LIFE STAGES AND WORLD VIEWS OF THE PHILOSOPHER A. S. YASHCHENKO

Maslova Ganna,
Adjunct  of E.O. Didorenko Lugansk State University of Domestic Affairs

 

The article is devoted to one of the prominent philosophers and a creator of the synthetic theory of law and state, whose scientific interests dealt mainly with the problems of philosophy and law – Aleksandr Yashchenko. His name had been long forgotten during the Soviet times due to ideological reasons. It’s analyzed that in his early years of scientific path the scientist made mostly philosophic and legal research, devoted to the nature of power, worked on the fundamental bibliography of Russian works on philosophy and religion. It’s considered that the most remarkable moment in his life was his Berlin period. The works of A. S. Yashchenko currently enjoy great success and are being republished. This article will be useful for philosophy and law professors of higher education establishments and lawyers who try to widen their scientific research potential.   

Ukrainian philosophic and legal science of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century became increasingly characterized by high levels of perceptibility towards ethical and religious concepts, intended for the comprehension of law as a realized freedom, the common interest of legal science towards analyzing its ethical and ontological foundations. Our native legal science has always been distinguished by its high humanistic potential and its predisposition for metaphysical simplifications. At the same time, the philosophy of law was characterized by the fact that such issues as problems of an individual along with existential and historiosophical questions had concentrated at its core. Individual, existence and the meaning of history are the three components that either openly or covertly appeared in every significant philosophical, legal or political work written by Ukrainian thinkers of that time.

Alexander Semyonovich Yashchenko was one of the prominent scientists, whose scientific interests dealt with the problems of philosophy and law and whose name had been long forgotten during the Soviet times due to ideological reasons.

Alexander Semyonovich was born in Stavropol on February 24th, 1877, into a family of a government worker, Semyon Grigoriyevich, and his spouse, Hristina Ivanovna, who were originally from Ukraine. In 1895 he graduated cum laude from his local gymnasium and proceeded to enroll in the Moscow University where he first studied in the mathematics department and later in 1896 transferred to the department of law, from which he graduated cum laude in 1900. Afterwards, Yashchenko remained within the department of the international law where he prepared for the position of professor. During his university years, Alexander Yashchenko met young figures of new Russian culture movements, Valery Bryusov, Jurgis Baltrusaitis, and Georgy Chulkov. Later he met with the writer, Aleksey Tolstoy, poet, Alexander Blok, entertainer, E. Yavorskaya (Baryatinskaya) and with many other intellectuals. A. Yashchenko was part of the literary club of V.A. Morozova, in which he once delivered a report on Dr. Thomas Stockmann of Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People”. Georgy Chulkov reminisces about meeting Yashchenko around that time, who himself frequently gave public appearances in Morozova’s literary club. In the spring of 1903 when Alexander Yashchenko stayed in Paris, Bryusov wrote the following about him to Chulkov, “Yashchenko expressed an interest in meeting you. Write to him. I have liked him ever since I met him”.

In 1905 A.S. Yashchenko was dispatched abroad in order to complete his Master's thesis. In Paris he socializes in the literary and artistic circles, meets professors of the Russian school of social sciences and sends articles to newspapers. Throughout this time he actively collaborated with such liberal journals as “Vek”, “Narodopravstvo”, “Ruskiye vedomosti”, “Put”. Upon his return in 1907-1908 he lectured in the Moscow University as a private docent. After successfully defending his Master’s thesis in order to obtain the position of a professor of the international law at the Moscow University on December 16th, 1908, he in 1909 began to work at Yuriyev University within the department of law philosophy. Yashchenko started out as a private docent and later in September of the same year received the position of an extraordinary professor. During his work in Yuriyev (now Tartu) Yashchenko prepared the thesis for his Ph. D., which he successfully defended on February 1st, 1913 at Moscow University. After this, four years of work ensued in the position of extraordinary professor at Saint Petersburg University. In 1915 Alexander Yashchenko’s large bibliographical work was published as part of “Scientific Notes of Imperatorski Yuriyev University”, which still presents high importance for scientists. It was part of Alexander Yashchenko’s set of works on the history of philosophy titled “Russian bibliography on philosophy and religion since the beginning of writing until now”, intended to be published in 1918 at a Moscow religio-philosophical publishing house “Put”. Throughout the time period from 1917 to 1918 Alexander Semyonovich continued giving lectures, being an ordinary professor at Perm University.

The early years of Yashchenko’s scientific path are characterized by the fact that he spent a significant portion of his time on philosophic and legal research, devoted to the nature of power. He additionally worked on the fundamental bibliography of Russian works on philosophy and religion, of which only part was published.

After the establishment of the Soviet rule in the spring of 1919 A.S. Yashchenko received a “scientific assignment” from Perm University and arrived in Berlin as a member of the first Soviet delegation to serve as an expert on international law throughout the discussions on additional provisions to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Since he did not support Bolsheviks, Yashchenko refused to return to Russia, becoming one of the first Russian “defectors”. 

In the 20-s Berlin became one of the biggest publishing centers of Russian ?migr?s. This was the result of many factors. On the one hand, the end of the civil war and the establishment of sufficient economic tranquility in Russia (the introduction of NEP: New Economic Policy) contributed to the formation of friendly ties between the Soviet Russia and Germany, which was confirmed by signing the Rapallo treaty by both countries in April, 1922. On the other hand, Berlin, because of its proximity to Russia, initially developed into traditional stopping place from which immigrants later relocated to other countries. As of January 1st, 1922 a huge number of Russian immigrants concentrated in Berlin, more than 250000 Russian intellectuals. The immigrants from the very beginning strove to recreate their traditional cultural world of which books were an essential component. The inflation of Mark, the relatively cheap paper and low cost of polygraphic services in Germany contributed to the fact that entrepreneurs coming to Berlin from Russia, not being able to find use for their assets, themselves offered to establish publishing companies abroad. Additionally, the creation of Russian publishing houses was a bridge to the wider audiences composed of numerous writers, critics, publicists and political figures which in its turn gave a possibility of income. Thus the particular situation in which the border between Russia and Germany was yet indistinct contributed to the bilateral cultural ties. The idea of “bridging gaps” enjoyed much popularity with the immigrants in the early 20-s. ?migr?s’ publishing companies attracted by means of their freedom many authors of the Soviet Russia, while in Russia the works of such immigrants as Bunin, Gul, and Shulgin who tried to avoid politics were published instead. Such literary exchange was only possible because Bolsheviks’ censorship of the 1920-s was not yet harsh. Berlin was the first to promote the idea of saving and enlarging the great Russian culture.

From 1920 Berlin becomes a center of information exchange. This was ultimately the result of its role as a publishing center; after the end of the civil war many Soviet writers came to Germany. The earliest publishing houses to open in Berlin in 1919 were “Vrach” and “Moscow”. “Vrach” specialized in publishing medical literature. In the end of 1919 A.S. Zaks founded in Berlin a bookstore “Moscow” whose goal was to assemble all the books, magazines and newspapers published in Russian language abroad. Since the January of 1921 “Moscow” began to function as a publishing house as well. The magazine “Russian Book” became the first experiment of this publishing house. Since 1920 a new publishing house founded by I.P. Ladizhnikov in 1905 in Geneva started to assert itself as a player in the business too. The same year the publishing activities of the house were transferred to Berlin. It specialized in Marxist literature, compositions of Gorky and other writers of the “Znaniya” literary circles. After 1918 the publishing house was acquired by B.N. Rubinstein. The new owner preserved the old name of the company however he changed its goals. From now on, the publishing house’s activities were mostly aimed at copyright protection of the Russian writers abroad. The house offered its readers both published works in Russian (particularly those books which could not be published in Russia due to the censorship regulations) and in foreign languages to familiarize European readers with the works of Russian authors.

The Berlin period remains to be the source of one of the most remarkable moments in Yashchenko’s biography. At that time Alexander Yashchenko befriended V.B. Stankevich and became one of the active members of Stankevich’s political group “Mir I Trud” as well as his magazine “Zhizn” to which Yashchenko contributed articles on social and political matters. Since 1920 A.S. Yashchenko became actively involved with the newspaper “Golos Rossii” and since April 1923 with B.S. Orechkin’s magazine “Russkiy Immigrant” writing on social, political and literary topics. At that time he wrote his book “Berlin Nights. Thoughts on the Russian Revolution” which remained unpublished. In the summer of 1921 Yashchenko began to collaborate with the Christian Youth Union which introduced “Russian Correspondence Courses for Teachers” program. Since the autumn of 1922 the program began to publish its journal “Self-Education Herald” whose editors were N.N. Alexeev, P.F. Anderson and A.S. Yashchenko. At the same time, Yashchenko actively participated in various projects of the then fledging publishing company “IMKA-Press”.

However, Stankevish’s magazine “Zhizn” had soon run out of steam and at that point Alexander Yashchenko in 1921 went on to publish his own bibliographical journal “Russian Book” which was known as “The New Russian Book” from 1922. The activities associated with this journal’s founding and publishing present primary interest in Yashchenko’s Berlin life. The goal of the journal, as stated by the philosopher was “… to gather and unify information on publishing and literary activities in Russia and abroad. We are striving to interconnect foreign and Russian publications by means of “The New Russian Book”. From the start, the journal was published by the then Berlin’s biggest Russian bookstore “Moscow”. In 1921 nine editions of the journal were published. In 1922 Yashchenko along with his journal transferred to I.P. Ladizhnikov’s publishing company.

Throughout the 1921-1923 A.S. Yashchenko becomes one of the central figures of Berlin’s Russian literary life, as newspapers wrote. His journal attains the status of an indisputable reference center on the current Russian literature embraced both by the ?migr? community and the writers remaining in Soviet Russia. During that time period Alexander Semyonovich wrote extensively. He wrote a series of articles designated for his journal’s section “The fates and works of Russian writers, scientists and journalists of 1918-1920-s”. As part of Yashchenko’s efforts, Berlin saw the opening of “The House of Arts” where Russian publishing flourished along with Russian cultural life and where representatives of various artistic and political movements could meet together. The literary parties drew writers, poets, painters and other intellectuals. During the early period of his literary work Yashchenko collaborated with a pro-Soviet newspaper “Nakanune” and after the departure of its founders to the USSR he edited its appendix called “Foreign Life”. In the mid-20s he along with R.B. Gul and S.K. Gogel worked for a German publishing company “Taurus” where he was preparing bilingual dictionaries.

Yashchenko’s journal “The New Russian Book” became an unprecedented chronicle of Russian literature throughout one of its brightest and most critical moments in history. The journal however saw an unexpected and rapid decline as well as literary Berlin in the whole. In the autumn of 1923 the journal dissolved completely, having been published only four more times since January. The immediate reasons for the journal’s end remain unclear; however its connection to the general crisis in the publishing business of 1923 is obvious. By the beginning of 1924 the tendency of Russian publishing houses’ closures in Berlin became more and more evident. To a certain degree, the economic situation in Germany contributed to this. First of all, the stabilization of the German Mark caused the prices go up. Soviet Russia’s censorship policy towards Russians abroad played big part too. It would be a mistake to assume that the end of “The New Russian Book” was solely the echo of the publishing business’s downfall and to overlook the collapse of the very ideological foundations of the journal. The writers, whose works seemed to Alexander Semyonovich to serve as a prerequisite for the welfare of Russian literature, cut their ties with the ?migr? community and returned to Russia. Additionally, the joint efforts of the German government and the League of the Nations yielded their fruits in their attempts to spread the immigrants over Europe more evenly. The cultural center of immigration moved to Paris. Berlin had lost its literary component. Discontinuation of Yashchenko’s journal meant his abandonment of literature as a whole. Having refused from returning to Russia and having not joined any social or literary movement as an immigrant he never went back to literature. However, the hundreds of letters and manuscripts sent to Yashchenko from all over the world remained. This was a massive and priceless archive, the treasures of Russian heritage. With Yashchenko’s permission, the possession of the papers was assumed by B.I. Nikolayevsky, the journal’s worker, who later took them to Paris. Upon Germans’ invasion of Paris they got hold of the bulk of the archive before its disappearing later without a trace. As of today only part of the archive has survived and is preserved in the Hoover Institute in California, USA. Using the surviving documents of the archive R.B. Gul wrote books on F.E. Dzerzhinsky, M.N. Tuhachevsky, M.A. Bakunin and others, the fact that itself speaks for the uniqueness of the archive’s contents and for the writers’ faith in Alexander Semyonovich, a person with untarnished reputation in the ?migr? circles.

A.S. Yashchenko undoubtedly became one of the eminent figures of Berlin’s Russian literary setting of the early 1920-s. The study of Yashchenko’s identity as well as his literary career is impossible without the awareness of the “Russian Berlin”. This very period of “double life” in the history of Russian literature signified an abrupt change in the philosopher’s biography.

By the autumn of 1924 A.S. Yashchenko had started a new phase of his life. First and foremost, he moved to Lithuania and secondly he returned to legal science. He becomes an ordinary professor of the department of law and the head of the department of international law within Kaunas University where he wrote his fundamental work “The Course of International Law”. This appointment was made possible due to Yashchenko’s acquaintance with Augustine Iosifovich Voldemar, a prominent political figure of Lithuania. In the Lithuanian university Yashchenko gave lectures on international law, international private law and international economic law. In 1926-27 he published several articles on Lithuania’s trade agreements in the government’s paper “Litva”. His articles dealing with international relations were published in the magazine “Royal” throughout 1929-30s. Yashchenko also published several works on international law in Lithuanian. During that time several Yashchenko’s friends and colleagues worked in Kaunas University including V.B. Stankevich (in the department of criminal law), P.P. Gronsky (history department) and philosophers V.E. Sezeman and L.P. Karsavin. Nevertheless, Yashchenko disassociated himself completely from the ?migr? community. In the March of 1932 he met A.N. Tolstoy in Berlin. Tolstoy’s diary explicitly describes the atmosphere of that meeting: “Yashchenko has overlooked Russia. That was why he was offended, because he felt he was nobody, “dead” in a way, and Russia made it without him”. Throughout all of his immigrant period Alexander Yashchenko hesitated whether to return to Russia. The traces of his doubts can be seen in the letters sent to him. Many of his friends and colleagues whose literary works Yashchenko had undertaken in Berlin often called on him to come back to the Soviet Russia. Alexey Tolstoy in his letter of January 3, 1927 wrote to Alexander Semyonovich: “We have all been looking forward to your visit to Russia. It would be useful and interesting for you to see how the country is living under an economic blockade and without much complaining it is building and developing its independent industries. Now everything we have is our own products… Our life seems poor and uneventful on the outer side. Should you come from the gleaming Berlin you will definitely feel different here. The cities over here are actually more reminiscent of villages. But we will live through this as well.” Veniamin Belkin warmly wrote to Yashchenko: “When will you visit us at last? If you will indeed, you should first research for some options for yourself because the life is quite harsh here. What would you say about a diplomatic career? You know many languages, you have published books. Get in touch with our Russian mission in Berlin. On second thoughts however I should not dare advise you on anything.” The fate again tossed Yashchenko to Berlin where the scientist died on July 10, 1934.

Yashchenko’s friend and coworker R. Gul recreates the identity of the philosopher in his memoirs: “The professor of international law Alexander Semyonovich Yashchenko was a distinguished figure as well as the complete opposite to V.B. Stankevich, a typical intellectual, detached from the real world. Yashchenko was a healthy person devoid of any kind of fads characteristic of intellectuals. He was of average height, stout, physically strong with a bald skull and an unemotional face. Yashchenko was born in Kuban.” More light on Yashchenko’s persona was shed by his peer, scientist M. Vishnyak, after their meeting which took place in 1909 at Professor P.I. Novgorodtsev’s home. Vishnyak wrote: “The familiar to me people included I.A. Ilyin and S.A. Alexeev. Among the unfamiliar ones my attention was caught by Yashchenko Alexander Semyonovich. He was interested in the problems of federation and was developing ideas close to anarchy. Apart from this he was an utter opportunist. R.B. Gul personally adds that the term “opportunist” (a person adapting to the surroundings) was used frequently by Yashchenko to describe himself. The degree of the applicability of this term may be determined by Yashchenko’s history of literary and public undertakings of the Berlin period.”

The name of Yashchenko Alexander Semyonovich, an outstanding scholar and philosopher was for a long time unknown to the wider circle of juristic scientists in Ukraine. Thus it was not until 1997 that the anthology “Russian philosophy of law: the philosophy of faith and morality” included excerpts of Yashchenko’s works “The Theory of Feudalism. The Expertise of Synthetic Theory of Law and State” published in 1912 in Yuriyev. Later, in 1999 the publishing house “Aleteya” jointly with Saint-Petersburg University of Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs published in its series “Classics of Russian law philosophy” two fundamental works of Yashchenko: “The Law Philosophy of V.S. Solovyov” and “The Theory of Feudalism. The Expertise of Synthetic Theory of Law and State” The works of the philosopher have largely forerun the modern problems of the interconnection of morality and law, particularly in the light of their synthetic unity. However Yashchenko’s name due to several reasons remained in the shadow of such respected Russian authorities on morality and law philosophy as L.I. Petrazhitsky, P.I. Novgorodtsev, B.A. Kistyakovsky, E.N. Trubetskoy, I.A. Ilyin and others.

Alexander Semyonovich Yashchenko was one of the first to propose in his works the idea of synthetic theory of law. The theory could unify the previously diverse perceptions of law which combined certain scientific concepts and ignored the interconnection of the state and law as well as the material and spiritual sides of human life. According to Yashchenko, law, morality and religion are inseparable from each other. Their ties are defined by the objective nature of the absolute good or virtue which additionally stipulates the existence of the subjective plane. Moral activities intended for the absolute good balance the interrelations of society and individual and correspond to the moral consciousness and “sociologically driven laws of community life.” In his law philosophy Alexander Semyonovich Yashchenko continues the traditions of Russian religious idealism (ultimately formulated by V.S. Solovyov) while reckoning with the major conclusions of modern science on the mankind and society.

It should be noted that Alexander Semyonovich Yashchenko was a very versatile scientist. His works include treatises on the philosophy of law, history of political studies, law history, and international law. However his main accomplishments belong to the sphere of the theory of law and state. The works of A.S. Yashchenko currently enjoy great success and are being republished. The main goal of his works Yashchenko considered doing the systematization of the existing law norms and as a consequence the precise definition of the concepts of sovereignty, power, society, law and morality.

Generally, it should be noted that the life of the author proved to be successful despite his ?migr? years. 

The article is devoted to one of the prominent philosophers and a creator of the synthetic theory of law and state, whose scientific interests dealt mainly with the problems of philosophy and law – Aleksandr Yashchenko. His name had been long forgotten during the Soviet times due to ideological reasons. It’s analyzed that in his early years of scientific path the scientist made mostly philosophic and legal research, devoted to the nature of power, worked on the fundamental bibliography of Russian works on philosophy and religion. It’s considered that the most remarkable moment in his life was his Berlin period. The works of A. S. Yashchenko currently enjoy great success and are being republished. This article will be useful for philosophy and law professors of higher education establishments and lawyers who try to widen their scientific research potential.   

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