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(The numbers link directly to the sections.)
(110) Ukrainian Cossack State of the Second Half of the Seventeenth Century. (111) Its Territory and Its Constitution. (112) Hetman. (113) Cossack Officers (Starshina) and Cossack Council (Kosatska Rada). (114) The Army. (115) Finance. (116) Trade. (117) Social Classes and Their Mutual Relations. (118) Zaporogian Sich. (119) Education and Culture.
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When we speak of the Ukrainian Cossack State of the Seventeenth century, which was brought into being as a result of Bohdan Khmelnitsky's uprising, of its frontiers, its constitution and its political and international position, we must bear in mind that this State passed through various phases, in about thirty years of its independent existence, that is, from Bohdan Khmelnitsky's uprising in 1648 until Doroshenko's downfall in 1676. At the moment when Poland and Muscovy partitioned it between them, the Ukraine was very different from what it was on the eve of Bohdan Khmelnitsky's uprising. In his Treaties with Poland, that of Zboriv in 1649 and the Treaty of Bila Tserkva in 1652, Bohdan Khmelnitsky had obtained political autonomy for the Ukraine within the bounds of three provinces, Kiev, Chernigov, and Braslav, that is, the present provinces of Poltava and Chernigov on the Left Bank of the Dnieper. The Treaty of Bila Tserkva, it is true, restricted the territory to the Kiev province only, but already after Khmelnitsky's victory of Batih, the provinces of Braslav and Chernigov were again occupied by the Cossacks. Having broken with Poland in 1654, Khmelnitsky intended to unite all Ukrainian territories under his power. He also annexed the southern part of White Russia which formed one White Russian Cossack regiment. This was important from a strategic point of view involving the protection of the Northern frontier. It was also important from an economic p344 point of view since it facilitated Ukrainian exports which up to then had mostly passed through the ports of the Baltic. We know that Khmelnitsky had declared Stary Bykhov, on the Dnieper, a free port. In spite of stubborn resistance on the part of the Muscovite government, the Ukrainian Hetmans retained as long as they could the White Russian lands, even after Hetman Vyhovsky's fall. In the year 1657 the nobles of the district of Pinsk declared their union with the Ukraine; at the same time Ukrainian troops occupied East Volynia also in consequence of an invitation from the local gentry.
Notwithstanding the acknowledged protectorate of the Muscovite Tsar, Bohdan Khmelnitsky ruled the Ukraine as an independent sovereign. When, after the Treaty of Andrussovo (1667) the Left Bank of the Dnieper alone remained definitely with Muscovia, the Ukraine continued to be an independent State organization within Muscovy. The character of this dependence and the nature of Ukrainian relations with Muscovy were determined afresh at the election of each new Hetman by a special Treaty concluded between the Hetman and the Muscovite government. The basis of these recurring treaties were so‑called "Articles" of Bohdan Khmelnitsky. But in every new Treaty there were certain changes, almost always in the direction of a curtailment of Ukrainian autonomy and limitation of the Hetman's power. The relationship between the Ukraine and Muscovy brought about by these Treaties should in our opinion be characterized as vassal dependence of the Ukraine on Muscovy. This dependence still left a wide measure of autonomy to Ukraine: the Cossack State had its own monarch elected by Ukrainians who, after the election, took an oath of allegiance to the Tsar. The newly elected Hetman concluded a formal Treaty with the Muscovite government. Ukraine had its own army, finance, administration, judiciary and law‑making machinery. Until 1686 the Ukrainian Church was quite independent of the Muscovite Patriarch.
Notwithstanding the restrictions and his dependence on the Tsar, the Hetman still had very wide powers. He was able, for example, to make grants of land as a reward for service or for military merit. He also made nominations to posts in the State service. Thus the Cossack officers were entirely dependent on the Hetman's will. They had, however, a very important weapon against the Hetman if they were dissatisfied with him: they could denounce him in Moscow for treason. Thus it was essential that the Hetman should have the confidence of the Tsar and assured connections among the members of the Muscovite government in order to protect himself from danger from this quarter. Thus Hetman Samoylovich secured the nomination of Sheremetiev as head of the Muscovite garrison in Kiev, to whom he gave his daughter in marriage. He did all he could to place his relatives or his faithful followers in the most important positions in Ukraine. Even the newly elected Metropolitan Prince Gedeon Chetvertynsky was a relative of his. But when he carelessly damaged his relations with the Muscovite government his enemies in the Ukraine took advantage of this and prepared his downfall as well as the downfall of all his family. Hetman Mazepa with his extraordinary gift of winning people, knew how immediately to gain the sympathy and confidence of the Muscovite Tsar Peter, and this safeguarded him for the immediate future against all accusations and denunciations which were showered on him by his countrymen even more than on any other Hetman. On the other hand, with his adroit home policy he acquired, as time went on, such authority among the Cossack officers that he could rule the country with almost unlimited power, caring nothing for the Articles of the Treaty signed on his accession, nor for the dissatisfaction of individuals.
However, it was seldom that a Hetman ruled arbitrarily; his power was, in fact, limited. According to old tradition among the Cossacks, the Hetman conferred on important questions with the General officers of the p346 Cossack Headquarters and the Colonels. Sometimes also the rest of the regimental officers took part in the assembly. It became habitual for all the Cossack officers (starshina) to meet regularly together in the Hetman's residence several times in the year, usually at Christmas, Easter and other important feasts. It was on these occasions that the sessions of the Council of Cossack Officers took place. The most important affairs were here investigated, such as the defence organization of the country, candidatures to the more important posts in the government, and all the more or less important questions of an administrative, judicial or economic character, or the question of the State Monopoly on spirits. On the whole the Council of the Cossack Officers recalled by its character and functions the Council of Lords of the Great Princedom of Lithuania when it embraced Ukrainian and White Russian territories, the Council of Muscovite Boyars, or the Senate of the West European States.
The General Cossack Council, called "Generalna Rada", began to function during the epoch of the "Ruina" when the Hetmans were so often deposed or elected, and various political changes occurred. Some of these "Generalna Rada", the one in Korsun of 1657, for instance, called "Seim" by contemporaries, but this name was not generally accepted and the old name "Rada" (Council) was preserved. Most of these Councils were of a haphazard character in the matter of representation, number of delegates and procedure. Those matters depended on the occasion and the political circumstances of the moment. At any rate, it is possible to trace the course of the transformation of the former Cossack Rada, a purely military assembly, into an organ of State at which general questions were debated. Also with regard to representation an important change took place in the same direction. Along with Cossacks, other classes of the population were represented, such as the clergy, burgesses and even peasants, as was the case on the p347 "Chorna Rada" (Black Council), and the General Council were called together more frequently during the rule of Hetman Peter Doroshenko, who was, so to speak, the most constitutional of all the Hetmans.
On the Left Bank of the Dnieper the General Cossack Council had already at the time of Hetman Mnohohrishny lost its original character of a democratic assembly expressing the will of the Cossacks. Even if such a Council were called together as on the occasion of the election of a new Hetman, it was merely an additional solemnity to sanction the decision made de facto by the Council of Cossack officers. In the Eighteenth century the General Cossack Council was nothing but a fiction.
The Ukrainian Cossack State retained the military organization created at the time of the revolution of Bohdan Khmelnitsky and maintained it from military necessity. Even the official name of the State was "Zaporogian Army"; in this form it lasted as late as the Eighteenth century. The title of the Head of the State was: "Hetman of His Majesty the Tsar's Zaporogian armies of both banks of the Dnieper". This gave expression to the Tsar's supremacy and the Hetman's aspirations to the lost Right Bank of the Dnieper. The Central government consisted of a body of General Staff Officers presided over by the Hetman. Their number included: the General Secretary, the Head of the Military Administration, its chief Standard Bearer, the Bearer of the Ensign, the Hetman's two aides-de‑camp and the two Judges. These posts in the Cossack army date from the beginning of the Seventeenth century. Each of these Cossack officers had his special functions. The General Secretary was head of the Hetman's Chancellery. He conducted diplomatic relations and carried out the functions of the Foreign Minister; by foreigners he was called Chancellor. The General Secretary was next in status to the Hetman, and a General Secretary such as Vyhovsky, who held this post during the whole rule of Bohdan Khmelnitsky, contributed very much to the importance of this office. He was also the Keeper of the p348 State Seal: it was his privilege to have it in his custody and affix it to the more important documents. The Head of the Military Administration besides being Commander of the Cossack Artillery, had concentrated in his hands the whole military affairs of the country, and, in modern terminology, he should be called the War Minister. He had his own chancellery with its secretary and his complete staff with its Aide-de‑camp, Standard bearer, and Steward.
There were two General Judges. During the Seventeenth century they usually had under their jurisdiction cases which came directly to them, mostly complaints addressed to the Hetman. Later on, in the Eighteenth century, the General Judge or Judges became the Highest Court of Appeal in the country. General Judges had their insignias: "The Judge's Rod", a symbol of office which they received on their election and surrendered on leaving their post. There were two General Ossavuls (Aides-de‑camp) as well as two General Khorunzhy (Standard bearers) and two General Bunchuzhny (Bunchuk bearers). The office of General Ossavul had no sharply defined functions. Bunchuky is the horsetail-ensign carried before the Hetman in ceremonies. Its holders were mostly employed to carry out different important missions of the Hetman. Foreigners called them Hetman's aides-de‑camp. The Standard bearers and the Bunchuk bearers had also ceremonial functions. During the Eighteenth century the office of the General Under-Treasurer was added to the governing body whose duty it was to administer the State Finances.
Each of the General Cossack officers, besides his normal functions, carried out different missions, civil or military, for the Hetman. The whole body of the General officers acted as the Hetman's government, being at the same time his Headquarters in military affairs and his Cabinet of Ministers. The General officers were usually elected in the General Cossack Council at the same time when the Hetman was elected p349 or in the Council of the Cossack officers and sometimes they were nominated by the Hetman.
The Ukraine of the Left Bank of the Dnieper was divided into ten military districts called Regiments. All the Cossacks living in one territorial district formed one military unit or Regiment, which numerically corresponded more or less to a modern division. These ten Regiments were: Kiev, Chernigov, Starodub, Nizhin, Priluky, Pereyaslav, Lubny, Hadiach, Mirhorod and Poltava. The territory of the Kiev Regiment included, besides the small territory on the Right Bank around Kiev, also the districts of Oster and Kozelets in the Chernigov province. At the head of every Regiment stood the Colonel who also was, at the same time, military commander and leader in war‑time of his Regiment as a military unit, and civil Head of the administration of the district. He was supported by the staff of the Regimental Officers of the Headquarters, only their functions and authority were limited to one Regiment. Thus there was the Regimental Secretary, the Polkovy Obozny or Head of the Regimental quarters and of the Regimental Artillery, the Regimental Judge and the Regimental Ossavul and Khorunzhy.
A regiment was subdivided into ten or twenty smaller districts called Hundred. The military and administrative authorities of a Hundred were the Obozny, the Ossavul, the Khorunzhy. There was, however, no Judge in the Sotnia, the Sotnyk (Head of the Hundred) having the functions of the judge for his Hundred. Cities and towns which had the right of municipal self-government confirmed by the Tsar were exempt from the Cossack jurisdiction: non-self‑governing towns, smaller places and villages, were under the local Cossack jurisdiction.
According to the Treaty with Muscovy of 1654, the Rolls of the Registered Cossacks were fixed at 60,000. Later on, especially as the Ukraine of the Right Bank fell away, there were, according to the Articles of 1669 p350 and 1687, 30,000 Registered Cossacks. Besides the Cossacks, the Hetmans had several regiments of paid soldiers called "Kompaniytsi" or Volunteers; in the Ukraine of the Right Bank, under Doroshenko, they were called "Serdiuky", on the Left Bank the usual name was "Kompaniytsi". They were composed of mercenaries, at first mostly foreigners: Germans, Poles, Serbs, Rumanians and others. Under Hetman Vyhovsky an attempt was made to organize a regular mercenary army. It was then that many thousands of Serbs entered Ukrainian service. Later there was no such mass enrolment of foreigners, but still among the officers there were several Serbs, Greeks and Rumanians who occupied even high posts such as that of colonelcy. The Cossack army fought on foot though the campaigns were made on horseback and each Cossack had to join his unit mounted and provide his own horse. When fighting, the Cossacks alighted and attacked the enemy or defended the trenches on foot. The Cossack cavalry were few in number, which explains to some extent the constant presence of Tatar horse in the wars of Khmelnitsky, Vyhovsky and Doroshenko. The Cossack artillery was well developed and fairly effective. Besides the "General artillery", every Regiment possessed its own artillery.
Concerning the Finance of the Cossack State, it must first be pointed out that after the Revolution of Khmelnitsky in 1648, the Hetman had at his disposal all the former royal domains in all three provinces, Kiev, Chernigov and Braslav. These domains brought in to the Hetman's treasury about 100,000 gold ducats yearly. In the second place the Hetman disposed of confiscated property of the Roman Catholic Church and of the lands of the Polish magnates and those Ukrainian nobles who fled, never to return. The unsettled revolutionary character of the time was, it is true, far from propitious for the renewal of the regular farming of these lands, but still in many places it was renewed and we have documentary p351 proofs that in several places: "rents and taxes on honey-bees, cattle grazing" and such like "were collected for Khmelnitsky", that is into the State Treasury which was at his disposal. Concerning the taxation of the population, we know from the Treaty of Pereyaslav of 1654 with the Tsar, that Khmelnitsky intended to re‑enforce the taxes according to the former scale for the taxation of the peasants and the urban population, exempting Cossacks, clergy and nobles. But he did not success in carrying out this scheme. Generally speaking, all the agreements with the Muscovite government about taxation remained on paper. Later on Hetman Brukhovetsky was the first to attempt to collect them. Attempts were then made to collect the taxes directly into the Moscow State Treasury through Muscovite officials and we know that this attempt had unwelcome consequences for the Muscovite government and was abandoned. Among the chief sources of revenue of the Ukrainian State Treasury were the duties collected on foreign goods at the Ukrainian frontier and direct taxes on spirits such as ale, mead and brandy. Duties and taxes on spirits brought about 100,000 gold ducats yearly. The chief expenses were the army and diplomatic relations, which cost considerably, as it was customary for foreign ambassadors to be entertained by the Ukrainian government so long as they remained on Ukrainian territory. In the year 1656 was added the office of "Hetman's treasurer", who administered the Hetman's treasury, or as it may be termed, the State Treasury. Tax‑Collectors were called "inductors" or "exactors". In every Regiment there was a Regimental Treasurer.
Important sources of State income were also the sums derived from the taxation of the flour mills which was very well organized, and from the iron mines, the owners of which paid fairly high taxes on the iron ore quarried in their mines.
One of the privileges of the Cossacks was free brewing and selling of spirits. But the financial necessities p352 of the State compelled the authorities to tax the brewing and distilling industry as well as manufacturers of tobacco and tar. During the rule of Hetman George Khmelnitsky, a State Monopoly on spirits was introduced. The Cossacks retained the right to brew ale, mead and to distill brandy but were not allowed to sell them. Besides the Cossacks, burgesses of enfranchised towns had also the right of free brewing and distilling. The Council of Cossack officers in 1669 at Baturin decided to introduce monopolies on spirits, tobacco and tar. Licenses were sold to private individuals as well as to organized bodies. For instance, the Regiment of Lubny bought a license to sell spirits, tobacco and tar within the territory of their Regiment as well as to collect flour-mill taxes, all for the sum of 17,000 gold ducats paid yearly into the State Treasury. Fixed prices for licensed goods were introduced over the whole of Ukrainian territory. The products of these industries were sold only wholesale in great quantities, brandy not less than 100 gallons at a time; ale and mead were free from restrictions.
Monopolies were very unpopular with the Ukrainian population and during Mazepa's rule an attempt was made to abolish them and replace them by fiscal impositions on breweries, distilleries and places of sale, inns, etc. Mazepa himself was very much against the policy of monopolies, but it was found necessary after a year's experience to return to monopoly as the other method proved to be inconvenient and brought the State little revenue.
Direct trade-relations with foreign countries, interrupted during the period of the "Ruin", were taken up again in the last decades of the Seventeenth century. We know that, before the Revolution of 1648, Ukrainian agricultural products were exported from the Baltic ports, chiefly from Krolevets (Koenigsberg) and Gdansk (Danzig). At that time this export enriched Polish magnates, owners of great estates in the Ukraine. Now the p353 young Ukrainian aristocracy, Cossack officers (Starshina) and Ukrainian burgesses took their place. Direct commercial relations with Austria, Prussia and Sweden were very soon renewed. The chief products exported were: corn, flax, hemp, cattle, wax, honey, bacon, tallow, hides, tobacco. Imported goods were: textile goods such as fine cloth and fine linen, metal objects and articles such as scythes, objects of luxury, musical instruments, books, groceries,a expensive wine, etc. The chief ports for Ukrainian exports were now, besides Koenigsberg and Danzig, also Riga and Breslau, whence Ukrainian products were shipped to Sweden, England and Holland. Lively trade relations were also maintained by land with Poland, Lithuania, Austria, Muscovy, Crimea, Turkey and the Balkans. The chief centre of commerce in Ukraine now became the town of Starodub in the province of Chernigov, and rich local merchants carried on foreign trade on a great scale. The Cossack officers were also actively concerned with foreign trade.
The erroneous idea that the Khmelnitsky Revolution of 1648 abolished all social distinctions in Ukraine, long prevailed in popular memory. Many years after Hetman Khmelnitsky, the traditional belief was still alive that in his time all the privileges of the nobles and, generally speaking, all the differences between the gentry and the common people were "cut down by Cossack swords". This phrase was set down on the pages of an historical document and greatly influenced subsequent Ukrainian historical writings. From the middle of the Nineteenth century the same view was maintained by Ukrainian historians of the uniform social structure of the Ukrainian population after Khmelnitsky's revolution. More exact study of contemporary documents, however, has shaken this opinion. We now know for certain that the Ukrainian State, at the time of Khmelnitsky, was based on classes and that its social differentiations corresponded almost exactly to the social order which had p354 existed in the Ukraine under Polish domination. Only the position of certain classes was changed by the Revolution as well as their mutual relations.
Khmelnitsky's uprising found in the Ukraine the following principal social classes: nobles, Cossacks, clergy, burgesses (urban population on the whole) and rural population or peasants. We should also mention the thin stratum of magnates, great landowners, in whose hands immense estates were concentrated. The Revolution of 1648, which had as its object the abolition of the domination of the magnates, swept it out of the Ukraine and it never returned. Though the wrath of the insurgent popular masses also turned against the middle and smaller noble landowners the country gentry, who were subjected to sharpest outbursts of popular temper, many of them Ukrainians by origin, were from the very beginning of the uprising among the ranks of the Cossacks. With the passing of years most of the gentry went over to the Cossacks. By this conduct of the Ukrainian nobles, their position in the Ukraine was, so to say, saved and legalized. This we constantly see in all the Treaties which Khmelnitsky concluded with Poland before the final rupture, the insertion of a clause granting an amnesty for the nobles who took part in the uprising. Also in the Treaty of Pereyaslav of 1654 with Muscovy, one of the first articles stipulates that the rights and privileges of the Ukrainian nobles should be maintained within the territory of the Cossack State. They preserved even their own law administration as established by the Lithuanian Statute. These nobles, numerically few compared with the Cossacks, were soon absorbed by the rising aristocratic class of Cossack Officers.
Khmelnitsky's Revolution was essentially carried out by the Cossacks. Together with the remaining Ukrainian nobles they now built up the Ukrainian State and took up the position of the organizing, ruling and economically strongest class. But a differentiation within the Cossack class very soon took place. Already towards the end p355 of Khmelnitsky's rule, the class of Cossack officers arose from amidst the Cossack mass, and very soon practically all the power was concentrated in their hands. At first the Cossack officers were composed of men who had risen in consequence of their talents, military merit and the services rendered. This gave them the necessary authority and general recognition. They were joined by those nobles who either because of their education or former military and State experience came to occupy high posts in the Ukrainian State. In time, however, high offices in the Ukrainian State began to be occupied not in consequence of general appreciation shown by election, but by the nomination of the Hetman or the Colonel or the choice of a narrow circle of Cossack officers. Thus Cossack officers gradually became a class apart, access to which was getting more and more difficult to common Cossacks. A common Cossack must have shown special talents and rendered extraordinary service in order to become an officer. Long wars concentrated considerable wealth in the hands of the Cossack officers and this also raised them above the common Cossacks and gave them new power and prestige. From the first they began to concentrate great landed estates in their hands, the only secure basis of wealth at that time. Farming their own lands for the export of corn, or breeding cattle, or keeping bees for the very profitable export of wax and honey, these new landowners were obliged to have recourse to compulsory labor, and the only means of securing labor available at that time was to attach peasants to the land. Cossack officers endeavored to obtain grants of land from the Hetman out of the lands in the possession of the State and for greater security they also applied to the Tsar for confirmation of these grants. On the other hand, the Ukrainian State not being rich enough in cash to pay the officials adequately, a system was introduced of paying them by lending them an estate or a mill for the duration of their office. Thus to each State office an estate was attached, greater or smaller, according to the importance of the office. These were the so‑called p356 "rank estates". From the Hetman down to Regimental and Hundred officers, an estate was attached to every office. The Hetman received "for the mace" the whole district of Chihirin. The Hetman of the Left Bank of the Dnieper, from Brukhovetsky on, disposed of the district of Hadiach. It was further customary to let the officer continue to hold the estate in his possession after he left office, especially as a reward for long service, and another estate was then attached to the office from the State funds. Thus Cossack officers very soon became a class of great landowners who, to a certain extent, took the place of the former nobles. Henceforth, the social policy of this class was directed towards widening and securing land possessions and the right to dispose of peasant labor.
Naturally, this separation of Cossack officers from the mass of the Common Cossacks and their privileged position provoked the dissatisfaction of the latter. Thus the Common Cossacks or "Chern" opposed every political plan or change that came from the Cossack Officers (Starshina) even if it were in the interests of the national and political independence of the Ukraine, since they saw in such plans not the advantage of the State but only that of the privileged class of Cossack officers. The Muscovite government very skilfully exploited this social antagonism. Muscovy took upon herself the role of protector and defender of the Common Cossacks and of the Common people as a whole against the "arbitrary" actions of the Cossack officers. Thus, by such means, the Muscovite government had been able to nullify the military victory of Vyhovsky. But practically, the Muscovite government, in confirming by charters the Hetman's grants of land to Cossack officers, contributed to the strength and importance of this class. Various ambitious demagogues, as we have seen, also took advantage of this class antagonism. They especially found support in the Zaporogian Sich, a hotbed of all the dissatisfied, unsettled elements. Sometimes this class antagonism broke out in an acute form as, for instance, in 1663 after p357 the so‑called "Chorna Rada" or Rabble Council in Nizhin. By degrees, however, the Cossack officers succeeded in asserting and maintaining their leading position and in gradually strengthening their social and economic dominance over all other classes in the Ukrainian State.
After Mazepa's time and as a result of his policy of transforming the Cossack officer class into a nobility, a new category of Cossack officers came into existence: these were the "Bunchukovi tovaryshi" or Bunchuk-officers. This rank was created comparatively late and was mentioned for the first time in 1685, in an "Universal" of Hetman Samoylovich. Later on they became more and more general. These officers were without precise office or functions and were attached to the person of the Hetman and at his disposal for carrying out his various military and administrative commissions. In war time they were not returned to the military unit to which they belonged, but remained with the Hetman and fought under his "Bunchuk". They were exempt from service and regimental duties as well as from jurisdiction of the General Judge and the Hetman himself. This rank was usually granted as a reward for certain merits and mostly to persons who had occupied certain offices in the Cossack army, for instance, a "Sotnyk" (Head of a Hundred). To be placed "under the Bunchuk of the Hetman" was considered an honor and we know of cases, in the Eighteenth century of "Bunchuk-officers" being nominated directly to the office of a Colonel or of a General officer. Sometimes they commanded considerable Cossack detachments in war. There was also analogous to the "Bunchuk officers", a certain number of "Ensign officers" attached to each Colonel, who were exempt from service in their Hundred and placed at the disposal of the Colonel to be employed by him for his various commissions of a military, administrative or judicial character. In the Eighteenth century in every Regiment, there was a fixed number of "Ensign officers", nominated by the General Headquarters on the presentation of the Colonel.
p358 The urban population in the Ukraine of the Left Bank of the Dnieper did not succeed in securing for themselves an influential or leading part in the Ukrainian State. They were not numerous and in small towns were hardly to be distinguished from the ordinary agricultural population. There were about a dozen enfranchised towns which were exempt from the Cossack administration and jurisdiction having their own self-government and their courts of justice. Kiev had received its charter from King Stephan Bathory in 1585; Chernigov, Nizhin, Starodub, Novhorod Sieversk, Mhlyn, Pochep and Pohar held charters from King Sigismund in the years 1620‑1625; Oster, Koselets and Poltava received their franchise from the Hetmans. These towns obtained possession of considerable landed property, fields, meadows and forests. They also had the right to impose certain taxes such as duties on foreign goods, taxes on the artisan's guilds, inns, public houses, public baths, mills, breweries, tile-kilns, bridges, public weights and so on. The revenue from these taxes went to maintain municipal offices and the officials. In order to augment their income enfranchised towns had the right to establish fairs. Burgesses were entitled to brew brandy, ale and mead. They had to look after the fortifications of their town and its means of defence. A municipal court, presided over by the mayor, was empowered to administer justice also over foreign merchants within the precincts of the town. Under Polish rule appeal from the Municipal Courts was made to the governor of the province and to the king. Judgments were given according to the Codes, called "the Saxon" and "the Order", compiled on the modle of the German "Magdeburg Law".
Under Muscovite protection the towns had had their franchises confirmed by the Tsar. Their old courts of justice remained in power. The mayor was elected by the "free votes" of the whole town population and confirmed by the Hetman. The courts remained as of old and their jurisdiction extended also to the peasants who lived within the precincts of the town. p359 Appeal was to be made to the Cossack Regimental court of justice and then to the Hetman. The Municipal courts gave judgment in cases of penal and civil law. All deeds of sale and purchase of lands or houses were entertainedº in the municipal books. Both codes of Municipal Law, the "Saxon" and the "Order", as well as the Lithuanian Statute, served to guide the judges in their decisions. Though in practice severe laws were mitigated, there was a tendency to render judgment according to inward conviction and not according to the formal letter of the law. The presence of the population as witnesses introduced vitality into the courts.
The Cossack administration showed a tendency to encroach on the affairs of municipal self-government and the burgesses were constantly on the alert to defend themselves against these encroachments. But in spite of this, municipal life in the Cossack State had full opportunity for free development within the limits of their franchise. The German "Magdeburg Law" had, on the other hand, a certain influence upon the Cossack jurisdiction, especially in the interpretation of the law and the procedure in the courts. All the towns in the Ukraine of the Left Bank were gradually organized on the model of the enfranchised towns, only of course, they were dependent on the Cossack authorities.
The clergy in Ukraine did not form a separate caste. With the exception of the monks the Orthodox clergy were married and had families. Parish priests and bishops in the Ukraine were usually elected by the laity, the clerical authorities merely giving canonical sanction. Tradition and recollections of their common struggle for the Orthodox faith under Polish oppression strengthened the part played by the secular elements of the population in Church affairs. Cultural and national services rendered by the Orthodox Church, especially by the monasteries, gave them great authority in the eyes of the population and justified the interference of the Church in political life especially, as we have seen, on the part of the Ukrainian bishops. The Hetmans, beginning with Bohdan p360 Khmelnitsky, from the very commencement of his rule, granted charters to the monasteries confirming their rights to landed possessions and to the labor of the peasants settled on their lands. The "Universals" of Bohdan Khmelnitsky containing these grants of peasant labor to certain monasteries, played an important part in the development of serfdom in the Ukraine. The protection thus given to the monasteries was entirely justified in the eyes of the contemporary population: the monks not only held in their hands the education and learning of the time, they prayed for the Cossack Army and the Cossack State and, in those times of sincere faith, this was a very important function within the understanding of all the population. Thus every Hetman "Universal" containing grants for monasteries contained the words: "because they pray for us, for the Cossack Army".
The Ukrainian Orthodox clergy were quite satisfied with the protection of their rights and those of the Orthodox Church obtained from King Wladislaus. Thus they, and especially the high clergy among them, were completely loyal to the Polish government and very distrustful of the Muscovite protectorate. Very proud of their Orthodoxy, preserved by a hard struggle against the pressure of Roman Catholicism, as well as of their culture and learning superior to that of the Muscovite Church, the Ukrainian clergy feared the interference of the Muscovite Patriarch in their affairs. During the rule of Bohdan Khmelnitsky, Silvester Kossiv, the Metropolitan of Kiev, was openly in sympathy with Poland as was his successor Dionisiy Balaban. The next Metropolitan, Joseph Tukalsky, was Doroshenko's friend and a warm supporter of Ukrainian independence. After his death the Muscovite government made every effort to obtain influence over the Ukrainian Church and succeeded, as we have seen, under Hetman Samoylovich in 1686.
The bulk of the Ukrainian population consisted of peasants. At the time of the Cossack uprising under Khmelnitsky, they were serfs and worked for their landlords, p361 mostly Polish nobles. The peasants in the Ukraine were much dissatisfied with their position as serfs, though their duties were lighter than those of the Ukrainian peasants in the Western provinces of Galicia and Volynia. Not only were their duties lighter, but in other respects they were better off since the proximity of the free steppes gave to the more hardy opportunities of escaping to the Zaporogian Sich. The population was accustomed to comparative liberty and were irritated by minor evidences of their dependence on the landlords. They especially disliked the agents of the landowners, their stewards, overseers, intermediaries and collectors of different taxes who often were Jews. We know how the Ukrainian peasants also joined in the Cossack uprisings, especially how unanimously they supported that of Bohdan Khmelnitsky, believing that the Cossack victory would not fail to bring them liberty and independence. Their hopes were far from being fulfilled. We know how, in the Treaties of Zboriv and of Bila Tserkva, the Cossack chiefs disregarded their interests, being concerned merely with securing their own Cossack rights and privileges. However, when Khmelnitsky definitely broke with Poland and the danger of the return of former Polish landowners was removed, the peasants thus became free agriculturists, small landowners, paid taxes to the Ukrainian State Treasury, and were subject to the Cossack administration. In consequence of frequent wars the way was open to many of them to become Cossacks: those who liked the military profession and were well enough off to provide their own horse, arms and means of subsistence, could easily obtain entry on the Cossack Rolls. The peasants in the Ukrainian State were distinguished from the Cossacks not so much by their respective rights as by the duties they bore to the State: the Cossacks defended it by their arms while the peasants paid taxes to the State Treasury either in money, produce or labor. At first the Cossack class was not entirely separated from the peasants; every peasant could become a Cossack if he wished to and were sufficiently rich. Military service p362 was very hard and dangerous and entailed great expense. Thus a Cossack ruined by frequent campaigns often returned to the status of a peasant, farmed his land and carried out his duties to the State in a quieter and securer way, whereas a rich peasant enrolled himself or his sons as Cossacks. At the end of the Seventeenth century, however, the Hetman authorities began to prohibit such transferences and the Cossack class became more and more closed to the peasants.
Already under Khmelnitsky there were, as we have said, noticeable changes for the worse in the position of the peasants. We have already mentioned the charters given by him to the monasteries granting not only lands but securing to them also the labor of the peasants on these lands. These peasants were not allowed to enter the Cossack army even during the general mobilization. The duties they had to fulfil for the monasteries were, of course, infinitely lighter than the former serfdom of the Polish landowners, but they created a precedent. Very soon the Cossack officers also began to receive from the Hetman grants not only of empty stretches of land but of populated areas: this meant that the inhabitants of these territories were bound to their new lords by definite duties and became their dependents. Later we find it clearly stated in the Hetman charters that the inhabitants of such and such places granted to a new owner were to perform for him the "usual duties". On the other hand, owners of empty stretches of land wishing to populate them invited free peasants, helped them to start their farms, gave them the necessary stock of cattle and implements and in return imposed on them certain duties called by a characteristic word "obeisance". These duties usually took the form of helping the landowner on extraordinary occasions such as harvest, haymaking, building of dikes and so on. Later on when the landowners extended their farming not only for their own use but for export, they demanded from the peasants regular work during a fixed time involving a definite number of days. Thus gradually, a return was made to p363 the former condition of serfdom, though the number of days did not exceed two in a week. As late as 1701, Mazepa's Universal forbade exacting from the peasants work more than two days in a week.
Almost until the end of the Seventeenth century there were in Ukraine of the Left Bank many unpopulated areas which the Hetmans granted freely to anyone undertaking to populate them. There was also no lack of settlers: refugees from the Right Bank of the Dnieper came in masses and there was also, as we have seen, the practice of enforced removals of the population from the Right Bank to the Left. The new settlers, receiving from the landowner their stock and all possible help with regard to the building and equipping of their new homesteads were, of course, more dependent on him than the local population who had lived there of old.
Thus gradually and slowly, the social conditions which existed in Ukraine before the revolution of Khmelnitsky, were regaining ground with the inevitable, relentless sequence dictated by the general tendency of the economic development prevailing at that period throughout the whole of Europe. The Ukraine stood in close economic relation to neighboring countries, and was compelled to pass with them through the stages of transition from the feudal order to capitalism.
In order to complete the picture of the structure and life in the Ukrainian Cossack State under the Hetmans, it is necessary to recall the Zaporogian Sich which was closely connected and played an important part, especially in the last decades of the Seventeenth century, after Khmelnitsky's death. In the first half of the Seventeenth century the Zaporogian Sich was the outpost of the Ukraine against the Turks and the Tatars and at the same time a reservoir of all the active and hardy elements discontented with Polish dominion. On account of this the Zaporogian Sich was the starting point of all Cossack uprisings against Poland. It was also from here that p364 Khmelnitsky led his revolution. The constant wars made by Khmelnitsky provided a complete outlet for the energy of the warlike Zaporogians and the alliance of the Hetman with the Turks and the Tatars diverted their attention from the southern frontiers of Ukraine. Under Bohdan Khmelnitsky's iron hand the Zaporogians were a docile instrument of the Ukrainian government and did not interfere in politics. But after his death, the Sich at once became the centre of opposition to the Hetman's power and to the ruling class of Cossack officers (Starshina). The Zaporogians began to interfere in political life in the Ukraine, putting forward their candidates for the office of Hetman. The Muscovite government at once took advantage of their attitude and found in them very useful allies against the policy of the Ukrainian Hetmans of defending Ukrainian independence. The Muscovite Tsar opened direct relations with the Sich sending there his emissaries, money, presents and munitions; and the Zaporogians, having no political insight into national policy, supported the Muscovite government in all conflicts against the Ukrainian Hetmans. They gave support to Pushkar against Vyhovsky, to Brukhovetsky against Somko, to Sukhovy and Khanenko against Doroshenko, to Petrik against Mazepa. The Zaporogian leader of the period, Ivan Sirko, was a typical representative of the Zaporogian Sich during the time of the "Ruin". A hardy warrior, he had no notion of national policy and acted without any guiding principle. He sided sometimes with Muscovy, sometimes with Poland; at one time he helped Doroshenko, at another he dealt him a blow from behind at a decisive moment. The Cossack officers once arrested Sirko and sent him to Moscow as a seditious person and dangerous rebel. They feared that Sirko, as once Brukhovetsky, would try to get the Hetman's mace for himself. The Muscovite government let him return to the Ukraine where he continued his destructive and anti-national activity. He died in 1688. According to the Treaty of Andrussovo of 1667, the Zaporogian Sich was to remain doubly dependent on both Poland and Muscovy. p365 According to the "Eternal peace" of 1668, the Zaporogians were relegated to the Muscovite Tsar alone. They very much appreciated this dependence at a great distance on a far‑away Tsar and feared the near Hetman: thus they enjoyed greater freedom. Mazepa alone, having established his authority beyond all dispute, understood how to manage the Zaporogians, though at the beginning of his rule they tried to oppose him, hence their role in the adventure of Petrik. At the end of the Seventeenth century, when the united Muscovite and Ukrainian forces were engaged in war against the Turks and Tatars, the Zaporogians played an important part as the vanguard of the allied armies.
After the consolidation of the Ukrainian State, the inner life of the Zaporogian Sich also took on a more settled and organized aspect. It definitely took the form of a small, purely democratic Republic, where the will of the sovereign people was represented in the General Cossack Council (Generalna Rada) of the type of the old Slavic "viche". This assembly elected their officers for one year: "Koshovyi Otaman" (the Leader of the Camp), a secretary or "Pysar", a Judge and other officials. The country about the Zaporogian Sich, a vast territory corresponding to the present province of Katerinoslavb and Kherson, belonged to the Sich; here in peace-time they hunted and fished and had their farms. The Zaporogians had no definite political and national conceptions, they firmly held to their own ideal of Cossack freedom and independence, upheld both in and outside the camp by strict discipline and ascetic rules. Having realized this striking instance of a military democratic Republic, they were devoted to their secular traditions. Through the whole period of its existence the Zaporogian Sich was extremely popular over the whole extent of the Ukrainian territories, whose population constantly supplied Zaporogian ranks with the most active, energetic, independent and warlike men who left their families, p366 breaking all attachment in order to join this unique Chivalrous Order, accepting their hardy and ascetic life which was full of danger and privation.
This sketch of life in Ukraine in the last decades of the Seventeenth century would be incomplete without survey of the contemporary culture and learning. Kiev as of old, was the centre of cultural life and the Academy founded by Peter Mohyla continued to be a seat of learning. It had been started in 1616 as the School of the Kievan Brotherhood and had been reformed in 1631 by Peter Mohyla on the plan of West European Universities. Latin was the chief language, preposition and Ukrainian played only a secondary part. Students of the Kievan Academy belonged to all classes of the Ukrainian population, sons of the titled nobility as well as those of the common Cossacks and peasants. As an extension of the Kievan Academy, Colleges were founded in Vinnitsa, in Podolia, and in , in Volynia. Among the early teachers, Silvester Kossiv, later Metropolitan of Kiev, and Innocent Gisel should be named: the latter, a German from Prussia, and a convert to the Orthodox faith, was a life-long Head of the Academy and a conspicuous man of learning in the Ukraine.
The Kievan Academy was from the first richly endowed by high ecclesiastics as well as by Cossack Hetmans. Wars against Poland, about the middle of the Seventeenth century, and especially the period of the "Ruina" disorganized the normal life of the Academy: most of the students were constantly leaving for the army; the buildings and property of the Academy were greatly damaged and partly destroyed by fire, neglect, and general ruin. But the setting in of comparative tranquillity after 1670, led to the flourishing period of the school. Gifted and learned men succeeded one another as Heads of the Academy, Lazar Baronovich, Yoaniki Haliatovsky, Varlaam Yasinsky, Joseph Krokovsky — all of them celebrated men of letters and learning. From p367 among the former pupils of the Academy a number of well known preachers, poets, dramatic authors and artists such as Anton Radivilovsky, Simeon Polotsky, Stefan Yavorsky, Dmitro Tuptalenko, Theophan Prokopovich and a number of others should be mentioned. The students were mostly sons of Cossack officers, though the Academy remained accessible to all classes, and besides the sons of Hetmans, there were students from among common Cossacks, peasants and burgesses.
About the middle of the Seventeenth century the Muscovite authorities began to invite professors and pupils of the Kievan Academy to important posts in Moscow. Thus they became pioneers of European education and learning in Muscovy. At the same time they introduced Ukrainian influence in all spheres of cultural life in Muscovy; in the church, in schools, in literature and arts. Former pupils of the Academy became mentors of the sons of Muscovite Tsars. They founded schools and printing offices, created the beginnings of the theatre and inculcated European ways of living. At the beginning of the Seventeenth century, about Tsar Peter's time, almost all the bishoprics of the Muscovite Church were occupied by Ukrainians. The reform of the Muscovite Church by which a Synod of bishops was substituted for the former Muscovite Patriarch, was carried out by two Ukrainian bishops, Theophan Prokopovich and Stefan Yavorsky.
The brilliant development of culture and learning in the Kievan Academy had, however, its weak side, characteristic of the period: the learning was too much separated from life, it was too scholastic. Also, having been founded for the special purpose of defending the Orthodox Faith and Church, the Academy was chiefly a theological school devoted to questions of Christian dogmas and Church life. Latin, Greek and Slavonic were the chief languages studied as well as being the medium of studies. The Ukrainian living language was neglected; its lengthy development was too much bound up with the ancient Slavonic language used in Church; and the living popular p368 speech was only seldom and unwillingly introduced into literature. Thus there existed in use at the period two parallel languages in Ukraine, the artificial literary, and the living popular speech. It is in the latter that Ukrainian people created a treasury of unwritten literature, beautiful epics, the so‑called "Dumy of the Cossacks", charming lyric songs, and even dramatic poetry, which took the form of short dramatic pieces in the popular idiom and the so‑called "interludes" between acts of mystery-plays, which themselves were written in the pompous and heavy artificial language. Ukrainian popular speech was, however, in use in the pulpit by popular preachers. We find it also on the pages of Ukrainian chronicles, memoirs and diaries of the Cossack period, and in everyday correspondence. Its use in literature, however, was considered to be a sign of "undeveloped taste and of bad form". Teachers of Rhetoric in the Academy warned their pupils against introducing the popular idiom "of laborers and shepherds" into serious literature. Thus the Church, State offices, Courts of Justice and schools used the artificial, stiff, unwieldy and pompous language which because of its divorce from real life was destined ultimately to fall into disuse.
After a comparatively peaceful time had begun in the Ukraine of the Left Bank, a wealthy class of landowners, the Cossack officers, was fairly well advanced in formation, and burgesses, owing to flourishing foreign trade, were fast growing prosperous, we see a remarkable flourishing of the arts. First of all we notice in architecture an enthusiasm for building, especially churches. Not only Hetmans, but Colonels and even lesser Cossack officers erected beautiful churches, monasteries, school buildings and so on. Ukrainian architecture of that period is mostly baroque, presenting quite original and peculiar features. A number of beautiful churches and monasteries which have been preserved to this day adorn Kiev, Chernigov, Pereyaslav, Novhorod-Sieversk and many other towns and places, sometimes even insignificant villages. Together with architecture, painting also flourished, p369 especially the adornment of the interiors of the churches. Portrait painting was also popular. The influence of foreign masters, especially Italian, was considerable. Engraving was very much developed as well; it was specially flourishing in the printing office of the Kievan Pecherski monastery, where a school of engravers was formed by artists such as Mihura, Tarasevich, Shirsky, some of them pupils of Kilian in Nuremberg. The most flourishing printing offices of that time in the Ukraine were those of Kiev, Chernigov and Novhorod-Sieversk, which among them printed a considerable number of books in Latin, Church-Slavonic, Ukrainian and Polish, which circulated not only in the Ukraine but also in Muscovy, Poland and the Balkans.
Among the artistic crafts flourishing in the Ukraine at that period, were foundries for copper and tin. The Ukraine had celebrated masters who cast church bells, guns, kettles and all sorts of utensils employed in the distillery of spirits and in households. Centres of foundries were Kiev, Starodub, and Novhorod-Siversk. Glass blowing also rose to great heights about the end of the century of which many samples have been preserved in Ukrainian museums. Paper making, which naturally accompanied printing activity, also flourished. Among other crafts wood carving attained a very high artistic development as we can still see in the beautifully carved church iconostases or screens which separate the sanctuary from the main body of the Church, many of which are still preserved in the churches for which they were carved. Carpet weaving and silk hand-woven textiles were also produced and the many examples which have been preserved are outstanding in their beautiful design, well preserved colors, and the high artistic quality of their workmanship.
When the agitation and turmoil of the period known as the "Ruin" (Ruina) had abated, we see Ukrainian youths renewing the old custom of going abroad to finish their University studies. During the Lithuanian and Polish periods, sons of the nobles and wealthy burgesses, p370 even sons of Common Cossacks, went abroad and studied at famous Universities. In the Ukraine no prejudice had ever existed against West European culture as being heretical and dangerous for the Orthodox as was the case for instance, in Muscovy, where Tsar Peter I had to use such draconian measures in order to make the Muscovite Boyars send their sons to Europe for education. Ukrainians went there of their own accord and were none the worse for having stayed in Roman Catholic and Protestant schools. For example, a well known Ukrainian churchman, Prince Joseph Kurtsevich who, at the beginning of the Seventeenth century studied in Padua became, after his return to Ukraine, Archimandrite of the Zaporogian Monastery in ; later on he was Bishop of Vladimir and Brest; then having accepted a bishopric in Muscovy, he ended his life in exile. At the end of the Seventeenth century another well known Ukrainian churchman, Theophan Prokopovich, finished his studies in the Jesuit College in Rome, which was no hindrance to his becoming a professor at the Kievan Academy. A great number of foreigners, surgeons, merchants, soldiers and scholars settled in the Ukraine. Ever since Khmelnitsky's time there had been a considerable in‑coming of Southern Slavs, especially Serbs; thousands of them entered the Ukrainian army and at the end of the Seventeenth century, we know of a great many Cossack officers of Serbian origin. At the beginning of the Eighteenth century this intercourse with Serbia was even closer. There were many students from Serbia in the Kievan Academy, some of them remaining in the Ukraine and occupying responsible posts. There was also a considerable Greek and Rumanian immigration into the Ukraine. The Ukraine was attractive to the Southern Slavs and to Orthodox believers in general who were oppressed by the Turks. Beside the Muscovite Tsar, the Ukrainian Hetman was considered a protector of Orthodox Christians persecuted by the Mohammedans.
One of these eastern visitors, a Syrian, Paulus Diaconus from Aleppo,c who travelled in Ukraine in 1654‑ p371 1655, has left us in his diary an enthusiastic description of Ukraine. He was struck not only with the flourishing agriculture and material well-being of the population, but also with the high level of education in all classes. He noted that "even villagers can read and write and are able to follow the church service and the singing". He also tells us that "village priests considered their duty to instruct orphans and not let them run the streets and become vagabonds". "Women in Ukraine", he continues, "are able to follow church service and use their prayer-books, and nuns in the convents of Kiev are all taught reading and writing and some of them are very proficient in learning". He proceeds to give a description of churches in Kiev, their architecture and interior adornment. He also was struck by the civilized, friendly and hospitable population of Ukraine, especially in contrast to the Muscovites. He spent about a year in Moscow, where he had an opportunity of observing the life of the upper classes, even at the court of the Tsar. During his stay in Moscow he felt "as if his heart were padlocked, all his thoughts were repressed because no one is able to feel free and joyous in Muscovy". When he again entered Ukrainian territory his "soul as well as the souls of his travelling companions overflowed with joy and their hearts expanded", because Ukrainians were "all friendly and did not treat us as strangers".
The Ukraine of the Hetmans gave the same impression of being a highly civilized land to other foreign travellers in the late Seventeenth and early Eighteenth centuries under Mazepa's rule. A Muscovite traveller, a priest Ivan Lukianov, visiting Ukraine in 1701, left a description of the beautiful building of Ukrainian towns Hlukhiv, Krolevets, Baturin, Nizhin and especially Kiev. He also was very much struck with the acknowledged independent position of Ukrainian women both in domestic and in public life. The Danish diplomat, Justus Jule, whose travelling description dates from 1711, even after the ruin of Ukraine by the Muscovites in 1708‑1709, was also struck by the material ease and civilization of the country. p372 He noted the attractiveness of the Ukrainian population and the cleanliness of their white-washed and thatched cottages which reminded him of Denmark. He was struck with the general politeness of the population and also noted that women were using prayer-books in church.
Thus even the incomplete and limited political independence of Ukraine, at the end of the Seventeenth century, enabled the population, despite devastating wars and ruin, to develop the best sides of their national character and attain a high standard of civilization and culture, infinitely superior to that of Muscovy, which put Ukrainians on the same level as most civilized countries in Europe. There is no doubt that one factor in producing the vitality and comparatively high level of civilization at this period was the circumstance of being allowed, to a certain extent, to arrange their life according to their own ideal and national genius.
a I suspect a mistranslation here. Possibly candles are meant (the Ukrainian word бакалія may be translated as either), although if Ukraine exported tallow and wax, it would seem that there would be no need to import candles. I have not seen Doroshenko's original Ukrainian text.
b The province of Yekaterinoslav roughly corresponded to today's Dnipropetrovsk (Sicheslav) oblast.
c The text as printed, "Paulus Diaconus", is a mistake. The man in question is of course not Paulus Diaconus — the only personage regularly known by that name is Paul the Deacon, the famous Lombard chronicler of the eighth century, a very thorough account of whom is given by Hodgkin, Italy and Her Invaders, VI.70‑80 — but rather Paul of Aleppo, a Syrian Orthodox archdeacon (1627‑1669). I have not seen Doroshenko's original Ukrainian text, but I suspect he called him "the deacon Paul" there, leading the translator astray. His name will be given more fully, and pretty much correctly, on p468.
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