Vasilii Zlatarskii embodies a political-archeological nexus that pits an acceptable nationalism against imperialism when the empire under assailment is the Ottoman. Son of a Bulgarian activist, Nikola Zlartarcheto, Vasilii was sent to Petersburg for his education, and then to Berlin to train in archeology. He returned to Sophia where he helped to turn the higher school into the university in 1904, and establishing a Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in 1911. An historian, he used archeology to establish a Bulgarian identity independent of the Ottoman Muslims, returning it, as it were, to its Slavic and Byzantine heritage. During the Great War, when Bulgaria allied with the Central Powers, he joined the troops in Macedonia for purposes of excavating. Widely published and respected, he was a member of the Russian Archaeological Institute in Constantinople, the Moscow Archaeological Society, the Finno-Ugric Commonwealth in Helsingfors, a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts, the School of Slavonic Studies at the University of London, and the Seminarium Kondakovianum in Prague. He also received an honorary degree in Slavic Philology from Kharkov University in 1907.
The oldest of four brothers, all of whom had tangential associations with archeology, Fedor was a Byzantinist, best known as the director of the Russian Archeological Institute in Constantinople, which opened in 1894. Uspenskii was particularly interested in studying the Slavic lands of the Ottoman Empire via the Institute, especially their Orthodox artefacts. Although the guns of August, 1914, forced the closure of the Institute, Uspenskii took his archeological ambitions to the Russian Army on the Caucasian front, where it was enjoying success against the Turkish forces. Planning for a Russian victory, he dreamed of a Russian liturgy being prayed in the Hagia Sophia.
The son of a classical philologist, Mikhail Ivanovich followed and exceeded by becoming a scholar of international repute, interlacing the cultural influences in the southern region of the Russian empire. A student of Scythia, Hellenism, and Rome antiquity, his “Iranians and Greeks in South Russia” (1922) remains a canonical work on ancient history. Prolific even before his emigration to the United States after the Bolshevik Revolution, he began shaping the field from Russia. Although he wrote also in German and was a member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, his anti-German stance during the Great War prevented his acceptance there. He served as president of the American Historical Association in 1935.
Best known as one of the founders of the Kadet Party in post-1905 Russia, and very briefly the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the first Provisional Government after Nicholas II’s abdication, Miliukov became an archeologist for a few years by happenstance. Twice exiled from Moscow in the 1890s because of his participation in political protests at the university, where he had studied and then taught history, Miliukov went to Riazan for two years, where he worked on the local Archival Commission, and then later as a history professor at the University of Sophia. In both places he joined with locals and participated in excavations, and presented his findings at three archeological congresses. He attended as a representative of the Riazan Archival Commission and a history professor from Sophia.
Boris Farmakovskii was one of Imperial Russia’s most respected archeologists of classical antiquity, best known for his work reconstructing Olvia in situ. He served briefly as the secretary of the Russian Institute in Constantinople, and on the Archeological Commission from 1901. From Simbirsk, his father worked for Vladimir Ulianov’s, and the two boys were acquainted. He also taught at the Higher Women’s Courses. After the Revolution, he was active in transforming the Imperial Archeological Commission into the Institute for the History of Material Culture, which he hoped would be removing the state from interfering in academic endeavors.