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February 23 marks the 130th anniversary of the birth of Mikhail Piotukhovich, the famous Belarusian literary critic

February 23 marks the 130th anniversary of the birth of Mikhail Piotukhovich, the famous Belarusian literary critic
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The famous Belarusian literary critic, critic and teacher M.N. Piotukhovich was one of the active participants in the formation and development of Belarusian literary science.

Mikhail Piotukhovich was born on February 23, 1891, in the village of Aleksinichi, Senno district, Mogilev province (now Senno district, Vitebsk region) into the family of an Orthodox priest. By family tradition, he received his secondary education at the Mogilev Theological Seminary. In 1917 he graduated from the Institute of History and Philology in Nezhinsk and continued his studies at the Department of Russian Language and Literature at Petrograd University, where he was sent to prepare for a professorship. In 1920, for family reasons, he was forced to move to Odessa, where his wife's relatives lived. In this city, he worked in various administrative and pedagogical positions.

In connection with the formation of the BSSR and the beginning of the process of Belarusianization, M.N. Piotukhovich returned to his homeland in 1921 and took up scientific and pedagogical activities. Until 1934 he lived in Minsk, he worked as a teacher of Belarusian literature at a pedagogical college. After the opening of the Belarusian State University in February 1922, Mikhail Piotukhovich was invited to lecture on the disciplines “Belarusian Literature”, “Western European Literature” first with the rank of associate professor, and since October 1926 with the rank of professor. In May 1926 he became Dean of the Faculty of Education.

The scientific career of M.N. Piotukhovich as a critic and researcher of Belarusian literature began in the 1920s. His first works appeared in print as early as 1921. In September of the same year, the scientist became a member of the scientific and terminological commission, in February 1922 - a researcher, in 1925 - an active member of Inbelkult, in 1929 - a full member of the Academy of Sciences of the BSSR. Having a great ability to work, he simultaneously worked in Inbelkult at the Department of the History of Belarusian Literature and at the Institute of Literature and Art of the Academy of Sciences.

The scientist was under the threat of reprisals because of his “non-proletarian origin” and suspicion of national democracy in the early 1930s. Therefore, he decided to leave Belarus and together with his family in 1934 (according to other sources in 1936) moved to the Caucasus. He lived in Ordzhonikidze, worked as a teacher of Slavic studies (literature) in the North Caucasus and North Ossetian pedagogical institutes. However, the repressions did not escape him either: on January 9, 1937, M.N. Piotukhovich was arrested and sent to Minsk, where he was subsequently shot. According to the decision of the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR, he was rehabilitated on December 27, 1957.

For his creative path, Mr Piotukhovich managed to do a lot. The research activity resulted in numerous scientific articles and a number of books devoted to Belarusian literature and folklore.

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His scientific works, his review of the literary and ideological currents of the 19th – 20th centuries were of significant importance in the methodological searches of that time. The legacy of M.N. Piotukhovich was highly appreciated by the domestic scientific community and provided him with an honourable place in the history of Belarusian literary criticism.

Information about Mikhail Piotukhovich can be found in the electronic catalogue of the National Library of Belarus and the online encyclopedia “Belarus in persons and events”.

Bibliology Research Department

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