State Historical and Cultural Reserve «The Field of the Great Poltava Battle»
Ukr Rus Eng
1709 2009

The Ninth Hall Annotation. The myth of Poltava

Right after Poltava events, the creation of heroic myth began. The myth content was changing for many times during the end of XVIII — the beginning of XXI centuries; but the main idea was the same: «the victory was a result of economy development, which was a base of fighting services building»; «the victory fixed reformations, made during difficult war times»; «the victory near Poltava was extremely important for Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian peoples of a newborn empire, firmed their long friendship and military brotherhood»; «the victory was possible due to military skills, with no hard work or blood rivers»; «this victory caused not ruins but happiness».

A myth is a base of any ideology. Poltava events myth was used by Russian Empire ideology formation; later it was changed a little and used for Soviet Union ideology.

According to ideological reasons, Poltava received the status of province (beginning of XIX cent.) and started to turn into the great monument to the Battle of Poltava. There were built many monuments, released a lot of literature connected with the Battle events. In 1909 the first museum of the Great Battle was founded. It was headed by initiator of its foundation — I. F. Pavlovsky, a teacher of political history at Petrovsky Poltava cadet military school, the most famous investigator of Poltava antiques.

At the same time there was created the anti-myth in Ukrainian society. Creators of the anti-myth didn’t have government controls; that is why they used poetry verses, political pamphlets and historical-philosophic editions to show tragic aftermaths of the Battle for Ukrainian independence and people.

The celebration of bicentenary of Poltava battle in 1909 was like a border between Russian and Ukrainian variants of Poltava myth.

On the one hand, the Russian Empire celebrated this anniversary in all corners of its territory, including Poltava, with rich parades in honor of the victory of 1709.

On the other hand, Ukrainian society marked bicentenary of Ivan Mazepa actions against Russian dominance, issuing the essential historical investigations about this historical person and his epoch.

During XX century, the myth and the anti-myth opposition developed and became stronger at a level, opposite to progress of Soviet and Ukrainian Diaspora historiography.

Nowadays, it would be useful for all peoples, who had in their past such tragic periods of common history, to reject any myths. And the first step is to understand goals of the myth and to be tolerant to all participants, who fell in the Battle.

The Hall exposition presents archive documents, rare editions and monographs, which show the process of formation and use of the myth of Poltava; also, the collection describes modern process of that events researching, which is forwarded to extend our knowledge about real events of the Battle and to help to reject any myths in our future.

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«The Field of the Great Poltava Battle»