A scholar Mykola Mušinka – in touch with the whole world from a herdsman´s hut
Mykola Mušinka was born into a peasant family on February 20, 1936, in Kurov, a Carpatho-Rusyn village in the Eastern Slovak district of Bardejov. He finished the elementary school in his native village and he continued studying on high schools in both Bardejov and Prešov. After his successful graduation at the Charles University in Prague, Mušinka worked for a short time as a high school Russian language instructor. From 1960 to 1972, he joined the newly-established research department of the Ukrainian Philosophical Faculty of Šafárik University in Prešov, where he lectured on Ukrainian history and folklore. Within the years 1963 - 1966, he became a graduate student at the Charles University in Prague and at the University of Kiev in the Soviet Union. However, he had to untimely end his studies because the communist regime accused him of being in illegal contact with Ukrainian dissidents and of being a mediator for publishing their works in Czechoslovakia and in western countries. Yet, in 1967 he managed to gain the equivalent of an American doctorate degree (Kandidatnauk) for his thesis on Transcarpathian folklore at the Charles University in Prague. During the so-called normalization era (1971) he was dismissed from the Prešov University with a strict prohibition of publishing activity. He went to his native village and from 1972 until 1976 he worked in the Kužľov agricultural cooperative (JRD) as a beef cattle herdsman. Interestingly, the Disctrict Committee of the Communist Party of Slovakia in Bardejov forbade him to carry out even this work (supposedly because there were unknown people meeting at his herdsman´s hut, and the ŠtB authorities were unable to monitor them.). From 1976 until June 1990 he worked as a stoker of the Municipal Housing Authority in Prešov. Not long after the rehabilitation (1990) he began working again at his original workplace. In1992 the Academy of Sciences of the independent Ukraine awarded him as the first foreign citizen a scientific academic degree: a Doctor of Philological Sciences (DrSc.). He has been retired since 2003, but he is still active as a scientist, pedagogue as well as a socio-cultural worker. In 2005 the Uzhhorod National University awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor Honoris Causa. Lifelong bibliographical work of Mykola Mušinka represents 73 books (including brochures and it edited anthologies), 260 scientific studies, 1319 popular articles and 466 reviews. Together it comprises 2118 items. His dominant area was Ethnography, but he also devoted himself to literature, art, and history.