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Cossack era

Cossacks have the human and natural right, one of its main principles is: the people have always the right to protest against the oppression and enjoy their old rights at the pertinent moment.

Pylyp Orlyk Right Derivation of Ukraine

Settling of boundary lands

For centuries the settled population of Ukraine tried to settle steppes. Rich untouched lands on the south always attracted new and new settlers. An issue of distant lands of Podniprovya, which now subjected not to the Grand Lithuanian Princedom but to the Polish Kingdom, had been considered at Lublin Seym of 1569. With the development of bread market the landed classes of gentry using their relations at court tried to get possessions in the east. To develop the agriculture the landed gentry proposed to newcomers liberation from the tribute payment for 10, 20 and 30 years long. By the end of the XVII century the magnates possessed the major part of lands having forced out petty and mean gentry. Very often armed conflicts between families broke out. Among the most powerful families were captive Ukrainian families of Vyshnevetskys, Ostrozkys, Zbarazkys, Koretskys. The Polish families of Zamojskys, Konetspoljskys, Sobeskys, Pototskys also had a great influence. In area extent their country estates were practically the largest in Europe. Inasmuch the lands of such magnates in area and population extent outnumbered some princedoms of that time Western Europe, their holders very often used to be called kings.

One of the most specific ways of management at borderlands was the Cossacks. The most courageous settlers moved to the south taking risks of Tatar invasions. In the area of the Wild Field they organized hunting and fishing outings and also tended a herd. As a matter of fact during such campaigns the Cossacks formed the first elements of organization. The most experienced Cossacks were elected as leaders atamans, in order to hold the line from Tatars and to cooperate in campaigns they united in camps gangs. Sometimes these gangs attacked the Tatar caravans or merchants. Gradually the Cossacks initiated to establish steady places of settlement in the steppe - Siches in which small groups of Cossacks lived.

Thus by the last quarter of the XVI century the Cossacks remained most likely a certain way of life and occupations but not a social status. Somehow or other, the border sergeants kept in touch with the Cossacks. Thus, the Cossacks accompanied the merchants in steppes. From this time the Cossacks became as a separate armed formation.

With the increase of cruel Tatar invasions the armed Cossacks spread much more. Local representatives of the Polish government promoted this process, they had been in the black out of sudden attacks on the Tatar camps and caravans. With the course of time the border clashes became of political significance. First written chronicles about Cossacks date back to the end of the Xv century. Among them are the complaint letters of Tatar khans addressing Cossacks. To avoid conflicts with the Osman Empire, the Polish government tried to apply first restrictions on sallies in Tatar uluses already in 1540, though it had no effect.

The history of the first decades of Cossacks had experienced many prominent leaders. Thus, Ostafij Dashkovych, the Kyivan and Cherkasky head (1514-1535), took a remarkable place in the history of Cossacks. Dashkovych, probably was of the Turkic origin and was known for campaigns with Cossacks on Tatars as well as the Moscow Princedom at the head of the Tatar army. Though, the final formation of the Cossacks was connected with Dmytro Vyshnevetsky. A risky knight hero, rich prince, the first leader of Cossacks had a nickname of Bajda (from Tatar - light-hearted man). The Prince Dmytro was born in the town of Vyshnevtsi on Volyn in the family county estate of Vyshnevetskys. In 1550 his name always appeared in memorials about the Ukrainian borders. In 1552 together with Bertran Pertvych he realized a campaign on Ochakiv and at the same time, at the beginning of 1550, Dmytro Vyshnevetsky founded a stronghold on the island of Khortytsya, which had become the first Zaporozhyan Sich. Little by little Dmytro Vyshnevetsky distinguished himself by successful campaigns on Tatars at the head of Cossack troops. Several times the Cossack army helped the Moscow tsar during invasions on the Turkish fortress at mouth of the Don River. According to the legend Bajda died as a hero being in Turkish captivity. The witness of this fact Genoa diplomat Hrillo testified that they cut off the hand and then, as the Prince Dmytrij damned the Muhammadan faith, killed him with an arrow.




A prominent warrior, beloved leader of Cossacks, glorified in Ukrainian poems, he was a real menace for Tatars and Turks. Just Vyshnevetsky was fated to be the first Hetman in Ukraine and founder of the Zaporozhyan Sich.

The historians have always disputed about Dmytro Vyshnevetsky. Was he a Lithuanian or Moscow condottiere and seeker of adventures, as the famous French investigator Shantal Lemersie Keliege considered, or a protector of Ukraine from enemies. No doubts he was a real patriot of his land, protector of the Orthodox faith, and hadnt betrayed it even being subjected to terrible tortures.

Serhij Makhun, Unbeaten spirit of historical patron of the Zaporozhyan Sich, The Day, 111, 23.06.2000



Elevation Cossacks

By the end of the XVI century the Cossacks were quite numerous. Thus, in 1600 the population of Kaniv counted 960 inhabitants and more than 1300 Cossacks with families. The glory about military deeds of Cossacks had been spread beyond the bounds of Podniprovya. In spite of the animosity to Cossacks, so characteristic to the gentry and royal power, after several unsuccessful attempts to subject Zaporozhyan Sich the Polish King decided to use their military force. Hoping to recruit Cossacks the king Syhizmund August sanctioned in 1572 the formation of the detachment consisting of 300 Cossacks at the head of the Polish gentry Sadovsky. In its turn, payment of the royal treasury was appointed to Cossacks. Though very soon this detachment was disbanded, its appearance had become an important event of the Cossacks authority recognition. The second attempt to form a similar detachment was realized by the royal government in 1578. The King Stephan Batorij assigned the payment to 600 Cossacks permitting them to settle in Trakhtymyrov their hospital and arsenal. In turn the Cossacks agreed to recognize appointed gentry as their leaders and to refrain from self-willed attacks on Tatars. These Cossacks were called registered. The main task of the registered Cossacks was to protect borders. Probably, the Polish government accounted on registered Cossacks to limit Zaporozhtsi. To 1589 about 3 thousand Cossacks were counted.




Already by the end of the XVI century Cossacks was not a miracle, exotic phenomenon for Europe. Ukraine being a member of Rzicz Pospolyta, played an important role in international relations of the states of Ancient World. And regardless the fact that Cossacks were subjects of the Polish King, very often they carried out independent policy.

Thus, after several successful campaigns in the 80s of the XVI century (first of all after the capture and destroy of the Turkish fortress Bendery of 1583) the Vatican diplomacy decided to involve Cossacks in the Hole League the union of Christian states, troubled with intensification of the Turkish expansion in Europe.

Serhij Makhun, Cossacks recruits of European states, The Day, 87, 23.06.2000



Though the Polish monarchy failed to avoid a conflict in this way. In 1591 the first Cossacks rebellion broke out. The king granted the lands to Kryshtof Kosynsky for his service. Before he had time to occupy these lands Yanush Ostrozky, Bilotserkovsky headman and captive heir of the glorified family, took these lands for his own. Understanding uselessness of court action against the powerful magnate, Kosynsky took revenge, having attacked with his Cossacks county-estates of Ostrozky. With the course of time the tide of troubles had been spread probably unexpectedly also for Kosynsky himself. Peasants and Cossacks of Bratslavshchyna, Kyivshchyna and Volyn started to take revenge for their private insults. In the struggle by the Pyattsi River the rebellion was smashed but the revolted were easily punished. Registered Cossacks were forced to make obedience on faith of the Queen, and Kosynsky had to bow from the waist three times in front of all the members of the family of Ostrozkys and to beg them pardon. Later he was killed in an accidental clash under obscure circumstances. Though, as it had been cleared out, the reason of the conflict was not only the status of Cossacks but also particular relations of Poland and Ukraine. That is why as only one conflict was settled another revolt broke out. This time Syveryn Nalyvajko was at the head of Cossacks. Again, the reason of the conflict was misunderstanding between the Cossack leaders and Polish magnates. After long campaigns, in particular in Moldova, realized by Cossacks in support of the Polish forces in Fifteen years long war, the Cossack army under Nalyvajko remained without means of subsistence. As the result, Cossacks began to attack manor county-estates that resulted in troubles. It was important that Cossacks received powerful backing from Zaporozhtsi. As Orest Subtelny noted, among obscure determined goals of rebellions was also establishment of the land in Ukraine that could be ruled by Cossacks themselves. With the course of time the adherents gave up Nalyvajko and convinced the rebellions to lay down arms. Having taken advantage of the chaos Poles invaded the camp and perpetrated slaughter. Nalyvajko was taken to Warsaw and killed. The first after the defeat of revolt Seym of 1597 announced Cossacks military criminals and enemies of the state.

At the same time while the Polish government struggled with the rebellions, the Cossacks possessions had been greatly enlarged. The prominent Cossacks on the border of the XVI-XVII centuries possessed significant county estates at the border with the Wild Field, courageously moving forward the deepness of steppe. According to the results of the Polish investigators at the beginning of the XVII century above 9 thousand Cossack yards existed that is more than 50 thousand people who lived in accordance with the Cossack right, ignoring the norms of Rzicz Pospolyta. The Cossacks realized their influence with the increase of their participation in military campaigns of the Polish Crown. At this moment appeared a leader, who had determined the historical fate of the Cossacks in Ukraine.

Petro Konashevych Sahajdachny originated from poor gentry family from Sambora on Galicia. He studied in the Ostrozka Academy and joined Cossacks with time. Having distinguished himself during the famous sea campaign on Kafa he was elected a Hetman. Using his power and authority, Sahajdachny made Cossacks recognize his supremacy and introduced severe military discipline. Convinced that Cossacks continued to yield to pressure of Rzicz Pospolyta he took important steps for reconciliation with the Crown, and in the wars with Moscow and the Ottoman Empire achieved fame of the prominent military leader and raised the authority of Cossacks as a military organization.

Though the most significant merit of Sahajdachny was his contribution on the development of the Ukrainian society. During the time of his ruling Cossacks considered to be leading representatives of their nation. It was him who had united the military force of Cossacks with the politically weak church and the cultural highest ranks of Ukraine. This union was formed in an effective way: in 1620 Sahajdachny along with the whole Zaporozhyan Kosh solemnly joined the Kyivan fraternity. This step had to demonstrate that Cossacks henceforth gave support to the religious and cultural interests of Ukraine. That year Sahajdachny together with the Orthodox priests invited to Kyiv a Jerusalem patriarchy Feofan to sanctify new Orthodox hierarchs. Poles threatened to seize the patriarchy as a spy that is why Hetman provided him the guardians. In this way the Cossacks entered into the social life of Ukraine, having instilled a new context to it. This Hetman was popular so much, that when he died crowds of Kyivites came to the funerals. The head of the Kyiv Fraternity school Kasiyan Sakovych called Sahajdachny a wise leader and devoted protector of the Orthodoxy and related his activity with the traditions of Kyivan princes.




In October of 1620 the Turkish army had captured Khotyn and this time the sultan was more decisive. All the Osman Empire prepared for a new war. 6000 thousand camels and 3000 big galleys were to transport military supplies. The army comprised about 400 thousand people. Light shock in Warsaw was substituted for hysterical panic after the Tsetsorsky devastation.

Finally, by hook or by crook about 40 thousand soldiers were assembled near Lviv with 38 guns. The army went to meet Turks. It was characteristic that the magnates refused from the campaign only the prince Zaslavsky and the voevode Leshchynsky came to the commander Khodkevych with their armies. Their allies were the Ukrainian Cossacks.

The Cossack Council agreed to help to Ricz Pospolyta under conditions to hold to definite terms. To discuss these terms Petro Sahajdachny left for Warsaw on negotiations.

Ihor Tymofefyev, World War I on a European scale The Day, 193 09.10.98


For a definite period of time Sahajdachny, using severe methods, managed to maintain precarious peace between Cossacks and Poles. Though the confrontation was increasing, Cossacks didnt recognize supremacy of the king and even dared to conclude some diplomatic agreements. Moreover, the relations of Cossacks and Poles were intensified with religious conflicts. And, at the beginning of 1625 one after another Cossack revolts broke out, at first, under the direction of Mark Zhmajla and then of Taras Tryasylo. Now unlike previous statements, the Cossacks appealed to struggle for faith and old freedoms. With a variable success Cossacks struggled against the Polish army, signing new and new agreements on registered Cossacks number and their rights. In 1635 in outskirts of steppe Poles built a fortress Kodak that was to block the Cossacks way to Ukraine, though the same year Cossacks under the direction of Ivan Sulyma destroyed the fortress. After that the Cossack wars continued at the head of Yakov Ostryanytsi, Dmytro Huni, Pavlo But. But all these revolts had been severely stifled and for some period of time unsteady serenity prevailed in Ukrainian lands. Though it was obvious, to unleash the conflict in a peaceful way would be impossible.

Liberation war

A new epoch in the history of Ukraine had changed the map of Ukraine and reformed the division of forces on political arena of Eastern Europe. It was a mass revolt under the direction of Bohdan Khmelnytsky. The revolt transformed into a liberation war for the right of nation to determine its fate. Events of 1648-1656 up to the present moment a subject of fiery discussions of scientists, though all of them admit, that they had become the most radical turning point of the Ukrainian history since the times of Kyivan Rus Baptism.

Bohdan Khmelnytsky was born in 1595 in the family of a Ukrainian gentleman Mykhajlo Khmelnytsky who served for the Polish magnate. Mykhajlo had got a farm Subotiv for his service. He sent Bohdan to Jesuits school in Yaroslav where he gained quite a good for that time education mastering the Polish and Latin languages. In 1620 in the struggle of Tsetsora between Poles and Turks the farther of Bohdan died and Bohdan himself was taken prisoner. Having spent two years in prison, Khmelnytsky came back to Subotiv, signed up for registered Cossacks, married and occupied with the enlargement of his possessions. As a prosperous and cautious Cossack he avoided any participation in revolts of 1625 and 1638. In 1638 due to his good relations with the government he was appointed a clerk of the Zaporozhyan Army and in 1646 went with the Cossack embassy to the king Vladyslav IV.

In 1646 when Khmelnytsky was absent in Subotiv the Polish gentleman Daniel Chaplynsky with the support of local magnates invaded Subotiv, killed the younger son of Khmelnytsky and abducted his wife. When numerous appeals appeared to be of no use wrathful Khmelnytsky decided to excite rebellion against Poles and to head it. In January of 1648 he ran away to Zaporozhyan Sich with his adherents. For a short period of time Khmelnytsky gained the support of Cossacks chased away Poles and obtained the Hetman status. Henceforth, it was Khmelnytsky who determined the history of Ukraine for the nearest nine years.

Taking into consideration the fact that the grave disadvantage of Cossacks in the struggle with Poles was the absence of cavalry, Khmelnytsky addressed Crimean Tatars with the proposal to unite together against Poles. It was the best moment. At that time the relations between Poles and the khan were very intensive and the famous commander Tuhaj-bej was sent at the head of 4 thousands army to Cossacks for help. In spring of 1648, Poles being aware of Khmelnytskys plans sent their army to the south to stifle a rebellion from the very beginning.

In the middle of April on the Yellow Waters the Polish leading 6-thousand detachment met with the united Cossack-Tatar detachment. On May 6 after long struggles, during which several detachments of registered Cossacks, sent to Poles for help, came over to Cossacks side, the Polish advance-guard was defeated. Staggering by defeat, the Polish commanders turned the 20 thousand army in escape. Though on May 20 (Khmelnytskys army increased up to 15 thousand excluding the Tatar cavalry) Poles had been entrapped by Korsun and again came off second-best. Khmelnytsky took many officers and grand magnates prisoners, captured Polish cannonry. Before the struggle the king Vladyslav IV died. Rzicz Pospolyta had lost the king, commanders and the army.

Poles were astounded by Cossacks victories. Favorable conditions had been created for Khmelnytsky and in June the Cossacks made their demands to the leader of the Polish gentry Adam Kysel: to enlarge the register to 12 thousand, to regulate conflicts between the members of Uniat and Orthodoxies in contradictions for temples. Though, both sides comprehended the tactical character of these negotiations and gathered force simultaneously. A decisive struggle took place on September 23 of Pylyavtsi on Podillya. Khmelnytsky again demonstrated his commander talent and Poles had been completely defeated. Total value of captured by Khmelnytsky equipments and other property had been valued at enormous for those times 7-10 million gold coins. The victory opened for Cossacks the way to the west deep into the Polish lands. At the beginning of October the Cossack-peasant army made an ambush of the city of Lviv and practically possessed the city but due to enormous ransom and unwillingness of Khmelnytsky to destroy Lviv the city was rescued. After the victory of Zamostya the advantageous position of Khmelnytsky over the Polish army was obvious. Though Cossacks were weak after numerous struggles. The army suffered epidemics and lack of food, and Khmelnytsky had to bury the hatchet with Poles. According to the concluded agreement the number of registered Cossacks increased and restored the rights of self-governing and free outlet to the sea. By the beginning of January 1649 Khmelnytsky triumphal came back to Kyiv at the head of the victorious army. Excited crowd and Orthodox clergy greeted him as a Ukrainian Moses who has liberated his nation from the Polish slavery. Negotiations initiated in Zamostya were continued in February 1649 in Pereyasliv. Though this time it was not a leader of rebellious Cossacks in front of Poles but a confident owner of Rus.

It was very difficult for both sides to adhere to a truce. In spring, Khmelnytsky began to accomplish his army, the Crimean khan Islam Hirej III with detachments of Tatar cavalry came in Ukraine. In the second half of May 30 regiments, comprising 120-150 thousand soldiers were gathered near Kyiv. The royal army was smaller and comprised two detachments: the 25-thousand army of Yan Kazymyr and 15 thousand at the head of Yarema Vyshnevetsky. When in June Khmelnytsky approached Starokostyantyniv with his army, the army of Vyshnevetsky had to retreat to well protected Zbarska fortress. Cossacks took in siege Zbarazh and when the royal army came to Poles for help, Khmelnytsky suddenly attacked the army of Yan Kazymyr of Zborov and encircled it. But under the pressure of the Tatar khan Khmelnytsky was forced to reject the idea of complete defeat of Poles both of Zborov as well as Zbarazh and to conclude truce with Poles. On August 18 an agreement was signed according to which the register determined in 40 thousand Cossacks, on the Polish army and Jews was put a ban to be on the territory of Kyivshchyna, Bratslavshchyna, Chernihivshchyna, governmental offices on these lands could be held only by Cossack leaders and the Orhtodox gentry and the Orthodox metropolitan took place in Senate. From the point of view of previous achievements of Cossacks the Zborivska agreement was of great importance. But as Poles considered that they yielded to the greats and Cossacks were convinced to obtain too little it had not been fulfilled completely. Zborivski events intensified also the relations between Khmelnytsky and khan. Using the Tatar army turned always into numerous problems for Cossacks. Been afraid of the Cossacks enforcement Tatars were disposed to the agreement with Poles. After signing the Zborivsky truce the Khan forced Khmelnytsky to participate in a long campaign in Moldova where Cossacks suffered great losses.

At the same time the Seym didnt agree with the conditions of the Zborivsky agreement and in 1651 the Polish army encroached upon Ukraine. Both armies met near Berestechko on Volyn. The Polish army counted 150 thousand soldiers, including 20 thousand experienced German mercenaries; Ukrainians mobilized only the 100-thousand army supported by the 50 thousand Tatar cavalry. The struggle initiated on June 18 continued for two weeks and was ended by terrible defeat for Khmelnytsky. The key reason of it was the fact that Crimean Tatars abandoned the battlefield at a crucial moment. But this grand struggle cost for Poles too much they initiated negotiations of Bila Tserkva. It was clear, that signed on September 28, 1651 Bilotserkivsky agreement was not so advantageous for Cossacks as Zborivsky.




After concluding the Zborivsky agreement in 1649 the relations between Ukraine and Poland remained very intensive. Accomplishment of new big Polish troops at the boundary with Hetmanshchyna, Moldavian campaigns of Khmelnytsky, unwillingness of peasants to subdue to supremacy caused inevitable renovation of the war between the Cossack Ukraine and Poland. The Seym took a decision on establishment of 50-thousand regular army and convocation of the pospolyt movement. The region near Starokostyantyniv was chosen first as a dislocation of the Polish army and then the village Sokal. In turn Khmelnytsky announced the formation of the army in Bila Tserkva. The Polish government had accomplished the biggest army as never before. The delay of khan prevented Khmelnytsky to catch the royal army and permitted it to take advantageous stands of Berestechko.

Electronic encyclopedia of the Ukrainian Cossacks


However, Khmelnytsky was not going to accept humiliating conditions and initiated to form a new army. On May 1, 1652 Cossacks attacked the 30-thousand Polish army near Batoh and defeated it. When the news had been spread all over Ukraine, peasant revolt broke out in Ukraine. Since this moment Khmelnytsky faced a problem being present in all Ukrainian-Polish conflicts in what way the Ukrainian nation is to decide on it destiny.

Khmelnytsky considered that without the external support the Cossack army would be doomed to the Polish army pressure. The region rolled in revolts and rebellions; practically all resources of Cossacks were exhausted. The union with Tatar appeared to be very dangerous thats why Khmelnytsky started to look for a new ally. Probable assistance of a powerful Turkish khan was rejected at once and Khmelnytsky was inclined to the union with the Moscow tsar.

Pereyasliv agreements, signed by Khmelnytsky on January of 1654 with the Moscow tsar remain up to nowadays one of the most debatable episodes of the Ukrainian history. Nevertheless, Pereyasliv agreement had epochal consequences. But the help of the Russian tsar turned into the subordination of Ukraine and the liberation war gradually evolved into the war of Moscow with Poland for Ukrainian lands. In spring of 1654 the Moscow army at the head of Vasyl Zolotarenko marched in Byelorussia and won over a considerable part of the territory. Later, in autumn the struggles moved to southwestern Ukraine. Poland suffered disaster and devastation. In summer of 1655 taking advantage of the war of Poles on the south and east Swedes attacked from the north having occupied a great part of Poland. Khmelnytsky evaluated the Swedish invasion as a good opportunity for complete devastation, but tsar willfully broke off relations with Swedes and began a war against them, signed a truce with Poles. The Cossack delegation was not allowed to negotiations. Panic and despair came over Cossacks strife and conflicts separated their leaders. In 1657 Khmelnytsky died without finishing his begun struggle.


For a long period of time the Ukrainian history was groundlessly called a ruin after the death of Khmelnytsky. A problem of Khmelnytskys successor aggravated conflicts in the Ukrainian society. Khmelnytsky before his death guaranteed the mace to his son Yurij. But a 16-year-old boy was not ready for such responsibility and in 1657 Ivan Vyhovsky was elected Hetman. The new Hetman showed his sympathy to foremen. Within the foreign relations he was inclined to establish an independent Ukrainian princedom. But Ukraine was too weak to make this step, thats why Vyhovsky concentrated on finding counterbalance to Moscow influence on Ukraine. With this purpose he consolidated relations with Poland. However the conditions accepted by Vyhovsky couldnt be suitable for Cossacks. Zaporozhyan ataman Yakiv Barabash and colonel Martyn Pushkar assembled troops against Vyhovsky. A civil war had begun in Ukraine.

The first wave of clashes finished by the victory of Vyhovsky. This result permitted him to develop his foreign policy oriented on the intimacy with Poland and in 1658 after long discussions the Ukrainian and Polish ambassadors approached a compromise decision reflected in Hadyatsky treaty. According to this agreement Kyivshchyna, Bratslavshchyna and Chernihivshchyna formed a Russian princedom and parallel with Poland and Lithuania had become the third equal in rights member of Rzicz Pospolyta with a wide autonomy. A Ukrainian aristocrat Yurij Nemyrych took an active part in elaboration of this treaty.




Generally known heroes and anti-heroes of the XVII century were not an exception in the society. Energetic ambition, ability to complicated political intrigues and courage on the verge of folly marked many colonels, priests of that time. One of these extraordinary people was Yurij Nemyrych. His origin, education and way of life distinguished from that Ukrainian image traditionally imposed on us.

Klara Hudzyk, Ukrainian musketeer Yurij Nemyrovych, The Day, 168, 4.09.1998


One of the grounds to sign Hadyatsky agreement was a significant victory of Cossacks over the 150-thousand Moscow army of Konotop. Though Vyhovsky couldnt profit advantages of the victory of Konotop and reconciliation with Poles. Several colonels accused Vyhovsky that he had sold Ukraine and raised in rebellion. Foremen elected the son of Khmelnytsky Yurij a Hetman. But this fact created new problems in 1659 Yurij Khmelnytsky signed a deformed edition of Pereyasliv agreement according to which the Moscow military detachments allocated in Ukraine and Cossacks couldnt wage wars and assume foreign relations without the permission of tsar.

In 1660 a new war broke out in Poland for the ruling in Ukraine. The Ukrainian society appeared to be split. Cossacks divided into adherents of the Moscow and Polish policies though their influence was limited by the Right-bank and Left-bank Ukraine. Nobody of the Ukrainian leaders could repeat successes of Khmelnytsky neither Petro Doroshenko, nor Ivan Samojlovych, nor Ivan Bryukhovetsky. Ukraine was decaying more and more influenced by constant wars. According to Andrusivsk treaty, concluded between Poland and Moscow in 1667 Ukraine was divided between Poland and Moscow. Soon, after signing the agreement of Eternal Peace between Poland and Moscow in 1686 the struggle for the self-determination of the Ukrainian nation had stood practically still.

Hetman ruling of Ivan Mazepa was the last outbreak of the ancient Cossack fame. By the end of the XVII century, when long Polish-Russian wars turned into retake of the Right-bank by Poles and establishment of the autonomy of the Zaporozhyan Army, only one third of the territory remained to the supremacy of Hetmans. This Left-bank region Ukrainians used to call Hetmanshchyna. By the end of the century these lands experienced serenity. Between 1687 and 1708 during Mazepas ruling no inner wars had been waged on the territory of the Left-bank Ukraine. Even though national demands of the Ukrainian leaders had been weakened considerably in respect with the past years Cossack leaders were decisive to defend their rights and the autonomy for their land. Moscow desired to establish the direct governing in Ukraine. At this time a prominent tsar reformer Petro I came to the throne.

Being an experienced and sophisticated person, Mazepa directed a considerable part of his own profits at the development of the religion and cultural institutions. He had built a number of splendid churches all over Hetmanshchyna, sometimes they were called Mazepas churches, or Cossacks baroque. During Mazepas ruling Kyivan Mohyla Academy had built new buildings and increased the number of students by 2 million. Moreover he had established many schools and printing houses.

For a long period of time Mazepa and Petro I maintained friendly relations, but in 1700 by the beginning of the Northern War these relations had been intensified. During the war tsar laid down unprecedented conditions for Ukrainians. For the first time Cossacks had to carry wars exceptionally in the interests of tsar. Instead of protecting their land from direct enemies Poles, Tatars and Turks the Ukrainians had to struggle against the Swedish army in distant Livoniya, Lithuania and Central Poland. When Petro I tried to consolidate the actions of his troops he appointed at the head of Cossack detachments the Russian and German commanders, and the Cossacks moral had been loosen. Mazepa had to look for the protection of Swedes and in 1709 when the Polish and Russian forces met by Poltava Mazepa was on the side of the Swedish king Karl XII. Petro I got to know about the action of new traitor Mazepa with astonishment. After several days of Mazepas escape to Swedes the prince Menshykov invaded the capital of Hetmanshchyna with the Russian army and killed all the residents: 6 thousand people, women and children.




Hetman Mazepa falled into disrepute of a traitor. His name was cursed and anathematized in all Russian Orthodox churches. Though recently another tendency had appeared an attempt to idealize an unrehearsed Hetman and to justify his actions. Both extremes are not acceptable today because in order to re-realize the history of Ukraine and for the development of its state system the truth deprived of the political context is need.

Heorhij Melnychuk, Mysterious plan of Ivan Mazepa, The Day, 143 06.08.99


The struggle of Poltava had been finished by the victory of Russians. All Ukrainian attempts to be independent of Russia had been put in end. The Ukrainian autonomy was out of the question. Escaping the pursuit of the Russian cavalry Mazepa and Karl XII took refuge in Moldavia, which belonged to Turkey. On September 21, 1709 near the town of Bendery a broken-hearted 70-year-old Mazepa died.

The Russian power had been finally established in Ukraine after complete collapse of Zaporozhyan Sich in 1775. The last ataman an 85-year-old Petro Kalnyshevsky had been imprisoned in Solovetsky cloister to 1801 until a young emperor liberal Oleksandr I liberated him. Being deaf and blind he died there in 1803 and was buried on the cemetery of the cloister.

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