Mykhailo Baludiansky

XIX pageCzekh republic, RussiaScience

Mykhailo Baludiansky (Balugiansky) was born in the village of Verkhnia Olshava of Zemplin Komitat (now Slovakia). He descended from Transcarpathian Ukrainians. Upon receiving primary education, the gifted young man left his native land to pursue his studies. He gained the profession of a philosopher in the Czech Republic and that of a lawyer in Austria. Since 1789, he had lectured at the Hungarian Law Academy in the city of Nagyvard.

In 1804, he accepted the invitation from Russia and arrived in St. Petersburg. At the beginning of his career he held the position of a professor of the political economy department at the Main Pedagogical Institute which was later transformed into the university. M. Baludiansky was elected the first rector of this educational institution on an alternative basis (1819). K. Arseniev, a member of St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences known for his research in the sphere of Economic Geography, was among his numerous students.

In Russia M. Baludiansky was respected as a highly qualified lawyer and economist. Russian statesman M. Speransky called the Transcarpathian scholar a “very wise head.” He involved M. Baludiansky in the work of the Legislative Commission which was engaged in codification of the Russian Empire laws and M. Baludiansky became one of the key executors of this large-scale project. Later, as a result of the tsarist government reprisals against professors who supported liberal M. Speransky he voluntarily resigned from the office of the rector.

Still working in the city of Nagyvard M. Baludiansky joined a clandestine organisation The Society of Freedom and Equality aimed at establishing a federal system, abolishing serfdom on the territory of the Austrian Empire, including Transcarpathia. Upon moving to St. Petersburg, through his Hungarian friends he maintained relations with his compatriots, primarily with Mukachevo ecclesiastical figure and enlightener V. Popovych. He sent various literature and periodicals, actively promoted involving gifted young people into research and teaching in Russia. On Baludiansky’s initiative, The Journal of the Ministry of People’s Education systematically published translations from German and Polish journals as well as original articles on the culture and ethnography of Transcarpathia. More than once he applied to Vienna requesting permission to visit his Motherland but each time he was denied entry under various pretexts.