In describing his intended research focus, Mykhaylovskiy first observes that early modern Ukrainian history includes paradoxical cases where several different kinds of elites inhabit a territory simultaneously. In one part of the Ukrainian territory, the elite is represented by a flexible nobility that acknowledge new monarchs, accept new rules and gradually adopts a behavior similar to the social norms which prevailed among the European privileged circles. In the other part of the territory, the elite is dominated by a nobility consolidated around local princes and abstained from any participation in life outside their region of inhabitance. The period when these two elites coexisted is a period of statelessness. However, what historians have not yet addressed is the question of how these elite were connected to the transformation of certain territories into a fully-fledged state.
While at HURI, Mykhailovskiy intends to conduct research that would define the types of elites in the Ukrainian territory at the second half of the 14th through the first half of the 16th century and thereby demonstrate that the type of elite is closely coupled with the success or failure of a state-building project. He will do so by analyzing the nobility’s origin, religious affiliation, property ownership, social status, heraldry, and family relations in order to outline the influence of particular types of elite on the historical processes.