From an Orthodox noble family that had fled the Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth to Sloboda Ukraine and registered with the Zaporozhian Cossacks, Evarnitskii became their most committed historian. After studying with Sumtsov at Kharkov University, he began excavating in the region of the Dnepr rapids when he wasn’t traveling to lecture on Cossacks. He taught briefly at Kharkov University where in 1885 he stood accused of advocating south Russian separatism. Moving to St. Petersburg to teach at the pedagogical institute, he made friends with renowned artist Ilya Repin, who used Evarnitskii as the model for the scribe in his painting “Cossacks write a letter to the Turkish Sultan” (pictured here). He landed a position at St. Petersburg University, from which he was expelled in 1891 for his Ukrainophilism, sent to Central Asia where he excavated for three years. In 1895 he began lecturing at the University of Warsaw, moving quickly to Moscow University. In 1902 the Ekaterinoslav zemstvo invited him to curate the archeological museum left to them by philanthropist-merchant A. N. Pol’, the driving force behind the iron industry in the area. Following the Bolshevik Revolution he organized a Department of Ukrainian Studies at the newly opened university in Ekaterinoslav. Today the museum is named for him. NB: He changed the spelling of his name to Iavor- when he discovered that his family had fled from that region.
The son of a priest, Nikolai Fedotovich began his studies first in law in Kiev, where he came under the spell of B. V. Antonovich and turned his attention to archeology. After a brief stint in the Kiev courts in 1891, he moved to Moscow where he worked in the archives of the Ministry of Justice and then to state archives in Warsaw. Returning to Kiev and teaching at the Polytechnic Institute, he joined the editorial board of “Kievskaia starina” and became particularly active in museum work. In 1899 in concert with the convocation of the 11th Archeological Congress in Kiev Beliashevskii helped to build the Kiev Museum of Art and Science. Elected to the First State Duma from Kiev Province in 1906, he helped to organize the Kiev Society for the Protection of Monuments of the Ancient and the Arts in 1910; in 1918 he wrote the first Law of the Ukrainian Republic on the protection of monuments of history, culture and art and was active in the All-Ukrainian Committee for the Protection of Antiquities and Art in Ukraine. During the Great War, the Academy of Sciences dispatched him to Galicia and the Bukovina to protect the archeological finds behind the military front.