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(The numbers link directly to the sections.)
(140) Second "Little Russian Board". (141) Turkish War 1734‑1740 and its Serious Consequences for the Ukraine of the Hetmans. (142) Hetman Cyril Rozumovsky. (143) Growing Importance of the Cossack Officers (Starshina) Class. (144) His Reforms of the Courts of Justice. (145) Abolition of the Hetmanship. (146) Peter Rumiantsev, General Governor of Little Russia. (147) Abolition of Ukrainian Autonomy. (148) Importance of the Period of the Hetmans.
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Even during Hetman Apostol's life the Russian government decided not to allow a new election of Hetman but to return to the system of the "Little Russian Board". On his death‑bed Hetman Apostol, according to Cossack tradition, handed over his power to the General Cossack Officers. But after his death an order came from St. Petersburg to the Russian resident, Naryshkin, to take over the power. A new "Little Russian Board" was decided upon and approved by the Empress Anna. It was composed of six members, three Russians and three Ukrainians from among the General Cossack Officers. They were to sit "on equal terms", Muscovites on the right side and Ukrainians on the left side of the table. In spite of formal "equality" a Roman member of the Board, Prince Shakhovsky became actual "ruler". The "Little Russian Board" received instructions to govern the country according to the "Confirmed Articles" of Hetman Apostol. Prince Shakhovsky received additional secret instructions from the Empress Anna: he was to encourage a closer relationship between Ukrainians and Muscovites such as mixed marriages, and prevent any drawing together of Cossack Officers and Ukrainian nobles from beyond the Dnieper or the White Russian nobles.
One of the first steps of the new Ukrainian government was a renewed attempt to codify Ukrainian law. This was in a somewhat chaotic state. The Lithuanian p440 Statute of the Sixteenth century published in Ukrainian and White- official languages was officially recognized. Municipal courts made use of the German Municipal Law, the "Magdeburg Law". In the Cossack courts of the Regiments and of the Hundreds, Ukrainian Common Law was administered according to ancient Cossack usages and precedents. This latter conception of the law also influenced other courts and prevailed in Ukraine. Still misunderstandings and conflicts between the courts often ensued owing to the different systems and different conceptions of law. Hetman Skoropadsky, shortly before his death, published an Universal in May, 1721, creating a special commission of Ukrainian Lawyers to revise all the codes which were in use in the Ukraine with a view to compiling a general code in the Ukrainian language. His death and the appointment of the "Little Russian Board" interrupted this revision of the law. Hetman Apostol had in view a revision of the codes in his "Confirmed Articles" but only had time to publish the "Direction with Regard to Procedure and Appeal in Ukrainian Courts". After Hetman Apostol's death Prince Shakhovsky received orders from St. Petersburg to create a special Commission of twelve members to codify the Ukrainian Law. This time the translation was to be made into the Russian and not the Ukrainian language. The Commission was to sit in Moscow but after two years it was transferred to Hlukhov. It was composed of the best authorities on Ukrainian Law, both clerics and laymen. The Commission sat for fifteen years and only in 1743 completed the compilation of the Code. Before the code was completed practical necessities urged the publication in 1734, of a short handbook on procedure in Ukrainian courts, compiled by one of the Ukrainian lawyers, and known under the name of "Handbook of Abridged Law". Though not officially recognized, this handbook had a wide application in Ukrainian courts.
From the beginning of the activities of the second "Little Russian Board" with Prince Shakhovsky at its p441 head, conflicts arose with the Cossack Officers who wished to have a Hetman. Shakhovsky, having reported the situation to St. Petersburg, received secret instructions according to which he was to spread among the population the opinion that the Hetmans were the cause of all the burdens and taxation of the population and that they and the Ukrainian government were responsible for all the wrong doing and injustices.
Prince Shakhovsky did not rule the Ukraine for long. He was recalled in 1736 and Prince Bariatinski was put in his place, but he also remained only a short time. During the whole existence of the second "Little Russian Board" the "rulers" as they were called, succeeded one another with rapidity. It was very much like the period of the first "Little Russian Board" with an arbitrary rule of different Russian (Muscovite) officials and generals. These were the years of the cruel regime of Empress Anna Ivanovna, when all the power was in the hands of her favorite, the German Biron. The whole Russian Empire trembled before the so‑called "Secret Chancellery" whose victims were numbered by thousands and tens of thousands. The activities of the "Secret Chancellery" also extended to the Ukraine, where this terrible institution found many victims.
Once again, as in the time of Tsar Peter, the Russian government did not take into account Ukrainian laws or usages and interfered in almost all spheres of popular life, causing offence and violence to the population. In 1734, for instance, the previously confirmed election of the Mayor of Kiev was cancelled and the order given that a Muscovite and not a local burgess of Kiev should be elected as Mayor. New elections were ordered but, notwithstanding the presence of the Russian Governor, a burgess of Kiev was again elected, a Ukrainian by the name of Voynich. The Russian government again refused to confirm the election and only when Shakhovsky himself informed the Senate in St. Petersburg that among the Muscovites resident in Kiev it was impossible to p442 find a candidate, did the Empress confirm the election of Voynich.
The second "ruler" of the Ukraine, Prince Bariatinski, once arrested the whole municipality of Kiev. Having seized on this occasion all the ancient charters of the city granting privilege, beginning with those of the Lithuanian Princes down to the Muscovite Tsars, he sent them to St. Petersburg. In his letter to the Russian government he advised them "not to return those documents, in order that the burgesses might in time forget what was written in those charters and, not having the text at hand, would not be able to refer to their rights and privileges". Not only Russian administration but also Russian generals and favorites who had estates in the Ukraine interfered in Ukrainian affairs. They behaved like conquerors in a conquered land and often terrorized the Ukrainian administration into executing their openly unlawful and arbitrary wishes.
The heaviest burden that fell on the Ukraine in this reign was the war against the Turks, which broke out in 1735. The Ukraine was the chief base from whence this war was carried on and the population had not only to send out Cossacks but to take upon themselves the provision of the whole Russian army and furnish the whole transport of men and oxen. The war lasted six years and was very incompetently conducted, bringing no results whatever.
The war opened by the campaign of the united Russian and Ukrainian armies in Crimea in 1735. By its inefficient organization and incompetent conduct, it recalled the Muscovite Crimean campaign of the end of the Seventeenth century under the Tsarevna Sophia. As at that time, the campaign was begun too late in the year and the army was compelled to return half way because of the heat and the lack of fodder in the burned steppes. The Ukrainians also had lost 12,000 horses. In the spring p443 of 1736 a new campaign was started with an army of 54,000 led by Field Marshal Münnich. Some 16,000 Cossacks were called up, but only 12,000 appeared, insufficiently armed and half of them horseless; the rest had deserted. The united Russian and Ukrainian army penetrated into the Crimea and even took , the residence of the Crimean Khan. Soon, however, the conquerors were compelled to retreat in haste because of lack of food and fodder, and of epidemics in the army. During this campaign, Münnich lost half of his army. Especially heavy were the losses of the Ukrainians, whom Münnich used without any consideration and completely neglected their needs.
The vast plans of the Russian generals again gave no results. In spite of the fortifications of the frontier which had cost Ukrainians so many sacrifices, the Tatars broke through into the Ukraine, early in 1737. They crossed the Dnieper on ice near Perevolochna, defeated a Ukrainian-Muscovite detachment led by General Lesliea and for several days were masters of Poltava and Mirhorod Regiments' territories. They killed and took prisoner about 7,000 men and women, burned down hundreds of villages and carried off 10,000 horses and 150,000 cattle and sheep. The Russian Commander-in‑Chief started in 1737 a new campaign in two directions, against Azov and against Ochakov. The Ukrainian Cossacks, including this time also the Zaporogians and those from Slobidska Ukraine, took part in the campaign. The Ukrainian army was about 50,000 men strong. The capture of the fortress of Ochakov was the only result, whereas the losses were immense, the Ukrainians alone losing 5,000 men. Very soon Ochakov had also to be abandoned because of epidemics and lack of food. During the retreat many thousands of men were lost together with about 40,000 horses and oxen that had been requisitioned in the Ukraine.
These great sacrifices, however, did not stop Münnich from undertakings, all conducted according to the same incompetent methods. Making preparation for the new p444 campaign of 1738, he ordered the mobilization of 15,000 Cossacks and 50,000 peasants for transport service and requisitioned 46,000 oxen. The country was already exhausted. The Russian minister Volynski, having traversed Ukraine that spring, reported to Biron: "before entering the Ukraine I could hardly have imagined how devastated the country is and what masses of population have perished. Even now so many are mobilized for service in the army that there is no one left to sow the fields sufficiently to keep the population provided with grain. Many fields lie fallow as there is no one to work on them and no cattle because the oxen which they use for tilling here are all requisitioned and lost. In the Regiment of Nizhin alone, 14,000 oxen were taken and how many in other regiments, I have not exact information". But Biron, Münnich and other Germans who ruled Russia, did not care in the least for the interests of the population and continued their policy without stopping to consider the sacrifices which primarily fell on the Ukraine.
The Turko-Russian war was carried on according to the same inefficient methods and always with great losses and sacrifices at the expense of the Ukraine. In the summer of 1738, the Russian army again penetrated into the Crimea and once more was compelled to retreat in consequence of the lack of food supplies. It was not until Münnich had transferred the war to Moldavian territory and defeated the Turkish army near Khotin, in 1739, that the Turks showed any inclination to begin peace negotiations. In this campaign the Ukrainian Cossacks, especially the Zaporogians, played an important role. Austria, Russia's ally in the war, having concluded a separate peace, Russia very soon did the same. According to this peace treaty Turkey renounced her pretentions to the territory of the Zaporogian Cossacks (present provinces of Katerinoslav and Kherson) which remained in the possession of the Zaporogians as before. This was the only result of a war which lasted almost six years and cost such enormous sacrifices and entailed such great effort.
p445 For the Ukraine of the Hetmans the consequences of this war were very heavy, as a great number of human lives, Cossacks as well as peasants, were lost. Great quantities of cattle had perished and the land became impoverished. Newly found official records show that during the six years 157,000 Cossacks were mobilized for active service and 205,000 peasants for transport service. Some 23,000 of these were killed, which for a population of one million, constitute an important percentage. Horses alone perished in numbers of 47,000. The Ukraine had losses amounting to about one million and a half rubles — a colossal sum for that time. The Russian government never paid for the requisitioned cattle nor for food and fodder. Agricultural production in the Ukraine was at a low ebb, the grain harvest having diminished almost ten times, and the Cossacks and peasants being either killed or mobilized or fled to other parts of the Ukraine. In spite of this, in the year 1737, 75 Russian regiments were quartered on the Ukrainian population, 23 of them being cavalry regiments; in 1738 again 50 Russian regiments were all provided for by the local population. The Turkish war dealt such a blow to the welfare of the population that even 25 years later, in 1764, Cossack Officers complained that the Cossacks and peasants were very much impoverished and ruined in consequence of that war and only slowly and with difficulty were recovering ground. Being unable to cope with the difficulties that befell them, they fled in all directions. Even in the first years of the war the frontier administration reported to the Russian government that in a short time the towns and villages of the Right Bank of the Dnieper under Polish government were overcrowded with refugees from the Left Bank.
Empress Anna died in 1740. Her reign was a very gloomy period, not only for Ukraine but also for the whole of Russia, a period of indiscriminate domination by Germans with the cruel Biron at their head. Anna Ivanovna p446 left the throne to her niece Anna Leopoldovna, Duchess of Brunswick, with Biron as regent. But Biron was very soon replaced by Münnich and in a few months Anna Leopoldovna herself was put aside and the Russian throne occupied by Elizabeth, daughter of Peter I. Her accession signified the downfall of the Germans and the coming of Russians to power. At the same time it signified the beginning of a better era for the Ukraine. Before her accession to the throne Elizabeth had a close friendship with a Ukrainian, Alexis Rozumovsky, whom she later married. Alexis Rozumovsky was a common Cossack from the Koselets Regiment in the province of Chernigov, who because of his beautiful voice was taken to St. Petersburg to be singer in the Court Chapel choir. He was soon taken notice of by Elizabeth because of his personal beauty and very soon became intimate with her. He also took an active part in the court revolution which procured Elizabeth the crown. She lavished her favors on Alexis Rozumovsky and gave him the highest position in the empire. But he did not abuse his high position. He was a very quiet and unassuming man who never interfered or made enemies. In this he differed very noticeably from other favorites of whom there were so many in Russian history of the Eighteenth century, when the Russian empire was ruled almost without an interruption by five women in succession. Rozumovsky knew how to interest Elizabeth in the Ukraine. In 1774 she visited the Ukraine on a pilgrimage to the sacred places of Kiev. She was welcomed by the population and she returned this courtesy by showing considerable interest in the affairs of the country. The Cossack Officers approached her in Kiev with a petition for a renewal of the post of Hetman. Next year a Ukrainian delegation came to St. Petersburg with a fresh petition. Elizabeth gave her promise. She even found the candidate chosen for the Hetmanship which was Alexis Rozumovsky's younger brother, Cyril. He was at that time abroad finishing his education and only his coming of age was awaited so that he might occupy the high post.
p447 In the meantime certain changes for the better were introduced into the Russian regime in Ukraine. When in 1746 the "ruler" Bibikov, president of the "Little Russian Board" died, his post was left unoccupied. Russian regiments quartered on the population were taken out of the Ukraine while free trade in grain was again allowed. A new election for the Kievan Metropolitan was permitted in 1745 after the Metropolitan seat had been vacant for several years. Archbishop Raphael Zborovsky was elected and this was confirmed by Elizabeth. Finally, in 1747, Empress Elizabeth's manifesto announcing an election for Hetman was published. Early in 1750 the election of Cyril Rozumovsky took place in Hlukhov with traditional pomp, he being, of course, the only candidate since everyone knew Elizabeth's wish.
The new Hetman was only twenty‑two years old. He had been a simple country lad and was tending his father's cattle in the pasture when his brother started on his fairy-tale career in St. Petersburg. Every care was taken about his education; he was sent abroad to finish his studies in France, Italy and Germany. Returning in 1745 to St. Petersburg he was nominated, at the age of eighteen, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In a few short years he was Hetman of the Ukraine. Elizabeth gave him as his wife her niece, Naryshkin.
The young Hetman resembled in character his eldest brother, Empress Elizabeth's husband: he was very quiet and gentle. Accustomed to the life at St. Petersburg court, he nevertheless loved his native country, the Ukrainian language and popular songs, though everything now seemed to him somewhat provincial compared with the life he had led in St. Petersburg. He felt dull in Hlukhov and took every opportunity to go to St. Petersburg and remain there as long as possible. He endeavored to transform his residence at Hlukhov into a miniature St. Petersburg: he introduced Italian Opera, coffee houses, French schools for boys and girls and French fashions. p448 His new palace was built in the Versailles style and the town was adorned with several other beautiful buildings among which the sumptuous palace of the General Cossack Chancellery was especially conspicuous. Not satisfied with Hlukhov, Hetman Rozumovsky began to erect magnificent buildings, among them a University building in Baturin where he wished to transfer his residence; Baturin being beautifully situated on the high bank of the river Seim. But the abolition of Hetmanship in 1764 put an end to all his plans.
Notwithstanding his longing for the court life in St. Petersburg, Hetman Rozumovsky took all possible care for the welfare of his country making use of his court connections and of the Ukrainian sympathies of Empress Elizabeth. He arranged for Ukrainian affairs to be again transferred to the Foreign Ministry; and that Kiev as well as the Zaporogian Cossacks should be included in the Hetman's administration. He found it difficult to defend Ukrainian financial autonomy as the Russian government had introduced a close supervision over Ukrainian finance. Free trade between the Ukraine and Russia was established. Hetman Rozumovsky also did not succeed in obtaining the right to carry on free relations with foreign powers, nor in exempting the Ukraine from participating in Russian wars. The Ukrainians were obliged to take part in the Seven War against Frederick II of Prussia, and several thousand Cossacks lost their lives in the battles of Küstrin, Jägersdorf and others. Several popular songs have preserved for us echoes of this war.
During Hetman Rozumovsky's rule, the Cossack Officers acquired a decisive influence on Ukrainian national politics. During the Hetman's frequent absences in St. Petersburg the country was officially ruled by the General Cossack Officers, as indeed also happened during his residence at Hlukhov. The Cossack Officers p449 definitely looked upon themselves as the leading and privileged class of the nation. Hetman Rozumovsky's rule gave them hope of retaining their political influence. The periodical assemblies of the Cossack Officers in Hlukhov which again came into being under Hetman Rozumovsky, tended to become regular sessions of the Ukrainian Parliament. During one of these sessions a memorandum from a group of Cossack Officers was circulated, a copy of which has come down to us. It may serve as a proof of the extent of the political and social aspiration of the Cossack Officer's class about this time. The authors of the memorandum well remember the former Cossack glory and bemoan the disappearance of the former warrior spirit in the Ukraine. They idealize the olden times "when we had Cossack General Rada (General Cossack Councils)". It is clearly to be seen that the authors' ideal was a constitutional and parliamentary form of government for the Ukrainian Free Cossack State as opposed to Russian-Muscovite authoritarian rule. The authors of the Memorandum, however, stand for purely class rule: in their opinion all political power should be concentrated in the hands of the Cossack Officers who were evidently to become Ukrainian nobles. Some reforms would be necessary, but these reforms were to be of a kind to strengthen and develop the rights and privileges of the ruling class in the State. Reform of the judiciary, for instance, would be necessary but again in the direction of concentrating all the judicial power in the hands of the Cossack Officers.
It was during Hetman Rozumovsky's rule that the reform of the courts of justice, begun in the time of the Hetman Apostol, was carried out. The reform was accomplished fully in the spirit of the wishes of the Cossack Officers. The commission of Ukrainian lawyers which completed in 1743 the Code of Ukrainian Law, based it chiefly on the old Lithuanian Statute, though using parts of the German Magdeburg Law and the Ukrainian p450 Common Law. The Code comprised chapters on the rights of the governing sovereign power, on the privileges of the nobles, on military service, Penal and Civil Law, on the right of Private Property and on breaches thereof, on the order of civil procedure, on legacies and inheritance, on municipal , in the relations of landlords and serfs, on the rights of foreigners, and on the position of dissenters in the Ukraine. The whole Code was not confirmed by the Russian government though it was widely and unofficially in use in the Ukraine after 1743. Hetman Rozumovsky succeeded in carrying out, in 1760, the reform of the courts of justice. The whole territory of the Ukraine of the Hetmans was divided into twenty-nine judicial districts. In every district there was a Civil court and a court of landed property. In each of the ten chief regimental towns there was a Penal court which took the place of the former Regimental courts. All judges were elected from among Cossack Officers. A General court composed of two judges and ten elected deputies from the Cossack Regiments constituted the highest Court of Appeal or Tribunal in the country. The Lithuanian Statute was clearly the basis of this reform.
In 1763 Hetman Rozumovsky called in Hlukhov a General Assembly which confirmed the judicial reform. By giving over the jurisdiction entirely into the hands of the privileged class this reform further strengthened the position of the Cossack Officers who about this time became completely transformed into an aristocratic class.
About this time a great change in the position of the nobility in Russia was to be observed. Formerly entirely dependent on the good will of the Muscovite Tsar and deprived of every right, Russian nobles succeeded in getting from Empress Anna certain social privileges. They were, for example, freed from compulsory State service and secured certain hereditary rights of succession. During Empress Elizabeth's reign there was a great advance in the emancipation of the Russian nobles and in the acquisition by them of rights and privileges. p451 Under Elizabeth's successors these changes in the position of the Russian nobles were fixed by special legislation. This could not influence the new Ukrainian nobles, Cossack Officers, who soon observed that the Russian nobles, without actually possessing the political rights which Ukrainian nobles enjoyed in consequence of Ukrainian autonomy, in fact had far more social and economic privileges and advances than they in the Ukraine. The Ukrainian nobles were still partly in the hands of the peasants and common Cossacks. Further, they were still far from having control of the peasant labor even on their own lands. Under Hetman Rozumovsky the number of free peasants was considerably diminished, most of them being now actually attached to the land. There then remained but a short step to turning them into downright serfs according to Polish or Muscovite fashion. Social change under Hetman Rozumovsky had thus a reactionary character.
We should also mention Hetman Rozumovsky's attempts to introduce a military uniform into the Ukrainian army as well as military drill according to Central and West European models. In all Cossack regimental schools, besides the general instruction of Cossack youths, military drill and special military instruction were introduced throughout the Ukraine. We have already mentioned Hetman Rozumovsky's plans for a University in Baturin. But the days of the Hetman's rule were already numbered.
Empress Elizabeth died in 1761. As her heir and successor she designated her nephew, Peter III, a son of the Duke of Holstein and Elizabeth's only sister Anna, Tsar Peter's eldest daughter. After a short reign Peter III was deposed by a palace revolution and killed; his wife, a German princess of Anhalt Zerbst, seized the Russian throne under the name of Catherine II.
The new Empress was in favor of centralization and her first intention was to abolish all autonomous powers p452 and special arrangements within the limits of the Russian empire. In a letter from Kiev she wrote: "never in her life had she seen a province whose population were so hateful to her as in the Ukraine". According to her plans the Hetmanship, as the most conspicuous outward sign of Ukrainian independence, was to be abolished in the first place. Even Hetman Rozumovsky's active part in the palace revolution which secured the throne to Catherine could not save him from this fate. Catherine II's intentions may be clearly seen from the secret instruction to the General-Procurer of the Senate, Prince Viazemski, which expressed the political programme of the new sovereign. "Little Russia and Poland", we read in this instruction, "are provinces governed by privileges which have at one time been granted to them; it would be unwise to attempt to cancel these privileges at once; but we cannot consider these provinces different from the rest and rule them differently. This would clearly be foolishness. These provinces as well as Smolensk must be brought by easy and careful methods to feel Russian and be tamed".
Ukrainian nobles as if foreseeing the new sovereign's intentions took certain steps which, contrary to their expectation in fact, served to further Catherine II's plans. Among the Cossack Officers, late in 1763, a plan materialized for making the Hetmanship hereditary in the Rozumovsky family. A petition to the Empress was drawn up and signatures were being collected. Catherine II, informed of this, summoned Rozumovsky to St. Petersburg and asked him to abdicate voluntarily. He offered no opposition and thus Catherine II's wish was fulfilled. Shortly before she had written in a letter: "the word 'Hetman' must disappear; least of all, no person should be elected to occupy this position".
At the end of 1764 an Imperial manifesto was published according to which it was made known that Hetman Rozumovsky having voluntarily abdicated, for the good of the Ukrainian people and in their interests the Hetman government in the Ukraine would be replaced p453 by a "Little Russian Board" with a President at its head, having the functions of a Governor General. The Board (Kollegia) was to be composed of four Ukrainians and four Russians and to the post of Governor General, in whose hands all the power was actually concentrated, a Russian General, Peter Rumiantsev, was nominated.
Rozumovsky received from Catherine II an enormous pension and great landed estates in the Ukraine to which he retired as a private individual. He lived for forty years more but to the end of his life never interfered in public affairs.
Rumiantsev received from Catherine II secret instructions outlining the programme of his policy in the Ukraine. These instructions show that Catherine very well understood the weaknesses of political and social life in the Ukraine of the Hetmans. She begins by pointing out that although the Ukraine was a very rich and fertile country, richer than any other part of the Russian Empire, it had not given much regular revenue to the Central Government, at least not under the late Hetman, and that because of its autonomy. Further she drew attention to the mutual dislike existing between Ukrainians and Muscovites, especially evident among Cossack Officers who, "actuated by erroneous ideas of their would‑be rights and liberties, keep alive in the population sentiments of hatred against the Muscovites and mistrust of the Russian government". Thus the General Governor's immediate task was to remove all differences and peculiarities of the Ukrainian administration and put it on an equality with all the other imperial provinces.
The best method of achieving this was to reform the administration and the judiciary in order that all might see that the Russian administration was better than that of the Ukrainian government. "When the population p454 sees that they are delivered from petty tyrants, they will be thankful and reconciled to the new order". This, as we see, was the old tried method of Russian policy in the Ukraine playing on class antagonism, and assuming the role of a would‑be protector of the populace against the dominant class of the Cossack Officers, in order to undermine the political autonomy of the Ukraine. The Muscovite government used this method when Peter I made it his leading policy during the Eighteenth century towards the Ukraine; and it was the same policy that Catherine II was now recommending in her instructions to Rumiantsev.
This, however, did not at all signify that Catherine II had at heart the interests of the popular masses. On the contrary, in the same instruction, she points out as one of the worst instances of the mismanagement of the Ukrainian government that there were still free peasants in the Ukraine. She recommends Rumiantsev to take all possible steps to remedy this evil and to attach all hitherto free peasants to the land they live on and give them over into the power of their landlords as serfs. Recommending Rumiantsev to act as would‑be protector of the popular interests against the encroachments of the Officers, Catherine II ordered him at the same time to watch closely the officers themselves and put down without delay any signs of the opposition or discontent appearing among them.
Rumiantsev arrived in the Ukraine early in 1765. Following the practice of the Hetmans he chose Hlukhov as his residence. Rumiantsev possessed in the Ukraine great and very well administered estates. He was familiar with the internal conditions of the country and to some extent felt himself bound by its interests. As a basis for policy he followed Catherine's advice expressed in her instructions: "to endeavor to root out from the Ukrainian population any idea of being a different people from the Muscovites". It must be admitted that Rumiantsev carried out his political programme very cleverly and consistently. During his twenty years' rule of the country p455 he succeeded without great upheavals in bringing the Ukraine of the Hetmans also imperceptibly to the status of an ordinary imperial province.
The chief basis of the national economy of the Ukraine was, as we know, agriculture. The character of land ownership was thus of fundamental importance. But landed property in the Ukraine of the Hetmans, far from being settled or stabilized, was constantly in a state of flux. The tendency was for the land to become concentrated in the hands of the Cossack Officers as it was continually passing out of the possession of small holders, such as common Cossacks and peasants, and being distributed by the Hetman to his Officers out of the State Land Fund. In the former cases the land changed hands in a lawful manner by buying and selling or when, by order of the government, the peasants were turned into serfs and their lands given to their landlord. But because the Cossack Officers wielded so much power, in addition to lawful methods, they constantly adopted unlawful ones and even violence. The various political changes, wars, and irresponsible Russian interference, all constantly upset the economic conditions and the land ownership in the country. Consequently the question of landed property in the Ukraine was a very complicated one. In order to obtain a true picture of land distribution Rumiantsev had to hold another inquiry, as the results of the 'Inquiry into landownership" made in 1729‑1731 under Hetman Apostol were already antiquated, the progress of land concentration having made great strides in the thirty years. The chief object of the inquiry ordered by Rumiantsev was a census of the population but it included in addition a description of the landownership and its distribution, the number of estates, their dimensions down to the smallest homesteads, as well as the income of their owners and the number of horses and cattle. Rumiantsev's orders were to explain to the population that the object of the census was to free the population from the excessive taxation of the Cossack Officers. The census took two years, 1765‑1767, p456 and resulted in an immense mass of statistical material filling over a thousand folio volumes. There is no evidence that this material served any practical purpose. Volumes valuable to historians lay quietly in archives forgotten by all and part of them perished. In the sixties of the Nineteenth century some volumes of Rumiantsev's census were discovered in the archives of a local administration office in Chernigov where the rest of the Ukrainian State archives were being preserved. Since their discovery Rumiantsev's statistical material has been the object of scientific investigation by a number of Ukrainian historians, which is not yet complete. Compared with analogous sources of Central and Western Europe, Ukrainian statistics are thought to be the most complete known. They give a full picture of economic conditions in the Ukraine of the Hetmans in the Eighteenth century and their evolution.
One of the first changes of practical importance introduced by Rumiantsev concerned the billeting on the population of the Russian army stationed in Ukraine. Instead each household had to pay a monetary tax which brought into the Russian treasury a quarter of a million roubles. Rumiantsev also introduced some order into the system of requisitions during the Turkish war of ‑1774. He also introduced the first regular postal service in the Ukraine. On the whole he took care of the economic interests of the country with which he was bound as an owner of great estates. Notwithstanding, he also directed his policy according to Catherine's instruction in the question of landownership and serfs: peasants in the Ukraine were deprived of their personal liberty and jurisdiction over them was given to their landlord. Himself a great landowner, Rumiantsev understood and shared the interests of the landowner class and these interests became the basis of home policy in the Russian Empire.
What was the attitude of the Ukrainian population towards the abolition of Ukrainian autonomy and the new regime as announced by Rumiantsev's nomination p457 to Governor General? The popular masses met the new order with tacit obedience. The changes affecting them amounted to a final loss of personal freedom and the multiplication of working days for the landlords. As they had for long been excluded from all participation in political life and from exercising any influence on public affairs, the happenings in high political spheres did not penetrate to their consciousness. The popular feeling found merely passive expression in a multitude of popular songs which have come down in great numbers to our day, bitterly bemoaning the loss of freedom and complaining of the prevalence of wickedness and injustice in the world. But further than passive complaints the popular masses did not go, and during the last half of the Eighteenth century we only know of one open armed uprising of peasants in Poltava province against their landlords where the military force had to be sent to put down the uprising.
The Cossack officers as a class also accepted very quietly the abolition of Ukrainian autonomy. Their economic interests and their social privileged position were not disturbed by the political change but remained well assured. Their ambition was now to have equal rights with the Russian aristocracy whose position as a class, as we know, had become more dominating and privileged since the accession of Empress Anna. And the Ukrainian patriots of the time were right in accusing the Cossack Officers of indifference toward the abolition of Ukrainian political autonomy and of merely wishing to derive material benefits from it.
We cannot, however, say that the abolition of autonomy was carried out entirely without protest. As soon as the bulk of the Cossack Officers fully realized the significance of the political change they were witnessing and had time to feel the heavy hand of the Russian Governor General, they began to deplore the loss of autonomy. Very soon a convenient occasion presented itself for giving expression to their sentiments and wishes before the central government. Catherine II called in p458 Moscow a special Commission to revise the laws and compile a new Russian Code. The Legislative Commission was composed of elected delegates from all classes of the population excepting only the serfs. Thus nobles, clergy and Cossacks, Slobidski as well as Zaporogians, sent representatives with special instructions expressing their wishes. The Commission was supposed to be a sort of Parliament with legislative foundations. Catherine II herself drew up instructions for their work in a very liberal spirit. The Ukase concerning the Legislative Commission awakened many hopes in the Ukraine of the return of the lost autonomy. In many places the delegates received instructions demanding the recall of the Hetman and the return to autonomy. In the Regiment of Nizhin (Chernigov province) the instructions given by the electors to their representatives were so categorical that Rumiantsev informed of this, cancelled the elections, arrested the delegates and brought them before a court-martial which condemned the eleven delegates to death for high treason. Catherine, however, pardoned them all and tried to modify Rumiantsev's conduct, which did not accord with her liberal instructions to the Legislative Commission.
The Commission began its sessions in Moscow in 1767. The chief representative of the Ukrainian autonomists was Gregory Poletika, a delegate of the nobles, and Cossack Officers of the Lubni Regiment. In connection with the sittings of the Commission, the movement for the restitution of autonomy in the Ukraine was increasing and spreading. The Commission, however, did not sit for long. Catherine's liberal enthusiasm soon cooled down and, making a pretext of the beginning of war against the Turks, she dissolved the Commission and never called it again.
War against the Turks broke out in and lasted for five years. It interrupted Rumiantsev's reforms in the Ukraine, more particularly as he was nominated commander-in‑chief of the Russian army. The Ukrainian forces had to take an important part in this war, including p459 the Zaporogians as well as the Registered Cossacks. The war was better prepared than that under Empress Anna and Münnich and was conducted with great energy. The Russian and Ukrainian forces occupied the whole of Crimea, Moldavia and Wallachia, defeating the Turks in several pitched battles and extending military operations beyond the river Danube into Bulgaria. The Sultan was compelled to sue for peace which was concluded in the summer of 1774 in Kuchuk-Kainardji. Russia obtained a part of the Black Sea coast and the Crimea was declared independent of Turkish vassalage. The Crimean Khan found himself actually under a Russian protectorate. A few years later the Russian government, taking advantage of internal disorder among the Tatars, deposed the last Khan and annexed Crimea in 1783.
Thus at last was accomplished the task which had occupied the Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland and Muscovy for centuries and in which the Ukraine was always in the vanguard to receive the blows and offer stubborn resistance. At last the nest of vultures was destroyed which for three centuries had rendered impossible any permanent colonization of the rich Ukrainian steppe and any degree of peaceful life on the Ukrainian border by destroying settlements, taking the population prisoner and selling them into slavery. Russia and the Ukraine obtained free access to the Black Sea. Following on this, the Russian government expedited the reforms which had for their object the extermination of Ukrainian particularism and what remained of Ukrainian autonomy on these lands. The next victims of this policy were the Zaporogian Cossacks whose stronghold the Sich, fell in 1775, very soon after the Turkish war and was destroyed by the Muscovite army.
Rumiantsev returned to the Ukraine and continued his reforms. In 1781 the Ukraine of the Hetmans was divided into three provinces or governments, Chernigov, Novhorod-Sieversk and Kiev, which constituted Little Russia under a Governor General. ceased to be p460 the capital. Russian administration and courts of justice were introduced in each province which in turn was subdivided into districts.
At the beginning of her reign Catherine had expressed her wish to turn all Ukrainian peasants into serfs. Some of them were free and possessed land of their own; most, however, though personally free, had to work a certain number of days for the landlord in return for the land they held from him. The Ukrainian nobles (Cossack Officers) often enough had asked to have the peasants reduced to serfdom as in Russia, but the Russian government was not anxious to meet their wishes so long as the Ukrainian nobles showed aspirations for autonomy. However, in 1775, the Ukrainian nobles of a certain number of Regiments sent a petition to the Empress declaring their loyalty to the Russian sovereign and government and asking that the Ukrainian Cossacks' ranks should be put on a par with the corresponding ranks in the Russian military and civil service, and also requesting for the recognition of their estates as their hereditary property and that the landlords should be given power over the persons and property of the peasants living on their land, that is, that the peasants should be turned into serfs. Catherine published the necessary ukase in 1783 declaring that the peasants should be attached to the land and the landlords confirmed in the possession of the lands they had occupied at the time of the last census.
At the same time the old Cossack military organization was also abolished. Ten former Cossack Regiments and three volunteer regiments were transformed into ten regular cavalry regiments of the Russian army, called carbineers with the obligation to serve for six years under very severe military discipline. In future these regiments were to be recruited from the Cossacks who remained a special class of the Agricultural population, distinct from the peasants as being small free-holders, but obliged to serve in the carbineer regiments on special conditions.
In 1785 the Russian "Charter of the Freedom of the p461 Nobles" was also applied to the Ukraine. According to it the nobles were free from compulsory State service; they had a right to a certain degree of corporate self-government and held provincial and assemblies for the election of their corporate representatives called "Marshals of the Nobles". They had also the right of direct petition to the sovereign and generally became the first and only privileged class in the Russian Empire. The Russian autocrats chose the class of nobles to be the exclusive support of their autocratic power and sacrificed to them the interests of all other classes of the population, especially the peasants. The Ukrainian nobles now had equal rights with the Russian nobles. The price they paid for it was the loss of political autonomy and of all the traditions of the Ukrainian Cossack State founded in the Seventeenth century by Bohdan Khmelnitsky.
In the following year (1786) the abolition of the remaining peculiarities in Ukrainian landownership was completed by the secularization of the estates belonging to the Church. All Ukrainian monasteries and the Academy of Peter Mohyla had to surrender their lands and the peasants attached to them. The Kievan monasteries alone gave up 50,000 peasants. The secularized lands were partly sold by the Russian government and partly distributed as grants among Muscovites. A great number of monasteries were closed; the rest being given small subsidies from the Russian government. The secularization of Ukrainian monasteries was a great blow to popular education, as the monasteries had maintained the best schools; it also ruined the printing presses in the Ukraine which were also mostly connected with monasteries. It took the ground from under the feet of the Kievan Academy and the provincial colleges connected with it. Indirectly it also ruined the paper industry in the Ukraine which was dependent on the monastic printing presses, especially that of the ancient Pecherski Monastery in Kiev.
Of all its former institutions the Ukraine of the Hetmans retained only its former judicial system, administered according to the Lithuanian Statute and Magdeburg Law, adapted to Ukrainian life under the Hetmans. However, though the outward forms of political autonomy were abolished, there still remained deeply embedded in Ukrainian life as the pledge of a new national revival the tradition of national independence, which after the fall of the old Kievan Princedom, had revived in the Cossack State. For more than two centuries the Ukrainian people had, at least in one part of their ethnographic territory, the possibility to a certain extent of living an independent existence and could build up their life and culture according to their own ideas. During this time and especially at the beginning under Khmelnitsky, Doroshenko and Mazepa, the conception of an independent and united Ukraine gradually developed as a practical ideal for which generations of Ukrainians fought and died. In consequence of unfavorable political circumstances, and through lack of inner solidarity, the Ukrainians did not succeed in preserving their political independence. Still they had often enough asserted their determination to have their own independent political life. The aspirations of their national leaders expressed in a series of quite remarkable treaties, concluding with Orlik's constitution of Bender, had shown that they were on a level with advanced contemporary political ideals. We can safely assert that the Cossack State preserved the Ukrainian nation from assimilation with neighboring nations akin to them in culture as, for example, with the Poles; or in religion, as with the Muscovites. After the centres of national culture in Galicia and Volynia were destroyed and had disappeared, the Ukraine of the Cossacks with her cultural centre in Kiev remained the only home of national culture and Orthodox faith for all the Ukrainian territories. Though limited and often curtailed, the autonomy of the Ukraine of the Hetmans provided a shelter for the development of Ukrainian p463 art and letters. About the end of the Seventeenth century and during the first half of the Eighteenth century the standard of Ukrainian culture was so high that life under Mazepa, Skoropadsky, Apostol and Rozumovsky was comparable with that of any civilized country in Western or Central Europe. At that time the Ukraine became a radiating centre for the whole of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Even Muscovite terrorism and their policy of depleting the moral, physical and economic resources of the Ukraine, adopted after Mazepa's downfall, could not for a long time destroy this culture.
It is sufficient to cast merely a superficial glance at the state of education, schools and material culture of the Ukraine of the Hetmans in Eighteenth century before the abolition of autonomy to become convinced of the truth of our affirmation about Ukrainian culture of that time. The Left Bank of the Dnieper, the Ukraine of the Hetmans, together with the Slobidska Ukraine (present provinces Chernigov, Poltava, Kharkov and the south districts of Voronezh) had a population of not more than one million and a half. Their cultural centre was Kiev with Peter Mohyla's Academy, which reached its culmination under Mazepa. At the beginning of the Eighteenth century there were in the Academy more than two thousand students. After a short period of ill‑fortune directly after the Poltava catastrophe when in consequence of Peter I's repressions the number of students fell down to 160, the Academy revived again and in the years 1715‑1717 had about one thousand students. In the year of the abolition of Ukrainian autonomy there were 1,600 students. The Academy was open to children of all classes: sons of Hetmans and Cossack Officers, as well as children of common Cossacks; burgesses and peasants also were admitted. The students were not drawn from Ukrainian territories only, for among them were many Serbs, Montenegrins, Bulgarians, Rumanians and Greeks. Among the students of the Academy we see representatives of several generations of almost all the known families of Cossack Officers of the Seventeenth and p464 Eighteenth centuries. Among the teachers of the Academy we might name several well-known churchmen and authors like Theophan Prokopovich, Stefan Yavorsky, Joseph Krokovsky, Gabriel Buzhinsky, Arseni Matsievich, Sulvester Kuliabka, George Konisky — all of whom were bishops known as learned theologians, remarkable preachers and authors of important works. Among the lay pupils of the Academy we might instance the philosopher Gregory Skovoroda, political men, historians and artists such as: Basil Grigorovich-Barsky, Gregory Poletyka, Peter Symonovsky, Dimitri Troschinsky, A. Vedel, Dm. Vellansky and P. Hulak-Artemovsky. It was a real "Alma Mater" of several generations of Ukrainians.
Provincial Colleges came into existence as extensions of the Kievan Academy. That of Chernigov was founded in 1700, Kharkov in 1726 and Pereyaslav in 1730. Though the Academy and the Colleges retained their original theological and scholastical character, Latin and Greek were very well taught and interest in classical literature, poetry and drama was great. To meet the requirements of modern times, the teaching of mathematics and modern languages was introduced. The acting of classical tragedies and comedies by the students was very much practised. Besides Greek and Latin or up‑to‑date pseudo-classical plays, lively and amusing short plays were written and acted in the living Ukrainian idiom.
However, the teaching in the Kievan Academy and provincial Colleges failed to satisfy many of the Ukrainian youths who followed the old traditions and frequently went abroad to European Universities to complete the education begun at Kievan Academy. In the first half of the Eighteenth century we know of several hundreds of young Ukrainians, not only sons of Cossack Officers, but sons of clergy, common Cossacks and burgesses going to French, German, Italian and English Universities. Especially numerous were the Ukrainian students at Koenigsberg, Halle, Leipzig and Strassburg. p465 About the middle of the Eighteenth century plans were made to found a University in Baturin and in 1760 Hetman Rozumovsky started building. He also intended to transform the Kievan Academy into a second University. In a memorandum presented by Cossack Officers to Empress Catherine II in 1764, we find mention of the desire to have a Ukrainian University. Rumiantsev himself made plans to transform the Kievan Academy and the College of Chernigov into Universities. Ukrainian nobles of the districts of Kiev, Pereyaslav, Starodub, Chernigov, , Nizhin and Baturin in their instructions to their delegates to the Legislative Commission of 1767 expressed their wish to have a University. The Russian government, however, refused to consider any project for a University in the Ukraine and was especially opposed to a University at Kiev, even when the suggestion came from the Governor General Rumiantsev himself. The Russian policy was not to tolerate a Ukrainian University. It was owing entirely to the intervention of Catherine's special favorite, Potemkin, that the project of founding a University in Katerinoslav was confirmed by the Empress. But Potemkin very soon died (1791) and the project was never carried out. Under Catherine's successors the Ukrainian nobles in 1801 again asked for a University in Chernigov or in Lubni. But the Ukraine of the Hetmans did not obtain a national University until the fall of the Russian Tsar's Empire when a University in Poltava was founded. Slobidska Ukraine, however, obtained permission to open a University in Kharkov, in 1805, and the local nobles and burgesses furnished the funds for it. A pupil of the Ukrainian philosopher Skovoroda, Basil Karazin, who had an influence over Tsar Alexander I in the first liberal years of his reign, obtained his permission.
The Russian government brought about the downfall of the Kievan Academy as well as the extension Colleges in Chernigov and Pereyaslav. In 1783 teaching in Russian was introduced and "special care was to be taken of p466 Muscovite pronunciation" in the Academy. The teaching was limited exclusively to theological subjects and the provincial Colleges were turned into seminaries for priests. Instead of a centre of learning for all classes of the population, the Kievan Academy became exclusively a clerical school where not only most of the teachers but also many students were sent from Muscovy to keep down Ukrainian particularism. After the end of the Eighteenth century no Ukrainian was allowed to occupy the Metropolitan see of Kiev, and as few Ukrainians as possible obtained bishoprics in the Ukraine, Muscovites being nominated to these posts.
The period of the Hetmans in the Ukraine was also the period when art flourished. In architecture besides foreign artists such as the Italian, Rastrelli, and the German, Schedel, Ukrainian architects were active such as: Stepan Kovnir, Ivan Gregorovich-Barsky, I. Yanovksy, and a number of others. Besides monumental architecture in stone, of churches, palaces and other buildings in European styles of baroque, rococo and Empire, wooden architecture of churches, purely Ukrainian in style, flourished. Among many examples of these which have been preserved to our day, the Church of the last Zaporogian leader Kalnishevsky in Romen, now transferred to Poltava, and the beautiful Zaporogian cathedral in former Samara (now Novomoskovsk) are especially well known. In 1800 an Imperial ukase forbade the building of churches in the Ukrainian style and this order lasted over a century. Ukrainian painting of the Eighteenth century can boast of names such as Lossenko, Dimitri Levitsky, Borovikovsky, whose adorn the galleries of St. Petersburg, Moscow and some in Europe. Among Ukrainian sculptors Kozlovsky and Ivan Martos, Canova's pupil, are especially famed. Ukrainian music, which since the end of the Seventeenth century was played at the court of the Muscovite Tsars by Ukrainian "" (bandura players), organ players and singers, was distinguished by the names of Bortniansky, Vedel and Berezovsky.
p467 Among Ukrainian graduates of West European Universities during the Eighteenth century, several distinguished themselves as mathematicians, scientists and in medicine. Many of them were professors in the newly founded University in Moscow. Among Ukrainian philosophers the name of Gregory Skovoroda is best known. Early in the Seventeenth century knowledge of foreign languages was general among Cossack Officers, and private libraries, mostly in French, were not seldom to be found. A Ukrainian cleric Gregory Vinsky, from Chernigov, who in the second half of the Eighteenth century had by chance migrated to Muscovy as a teacher in an aristocratic Muscovite family, wrote in his interesting memoirs that his Ukrainian education alone kept alive in him the sentiments of humanity and prevented him from descending to the low level of the surrounding coarseness and lack of culture. The family life, customs and manners of the Muscovite nobles were loathsome to him, their treatment of serfs roused his indignation and only "his love of books and of reading acquired in the Ukraine" helped him to keep up his spirits amidst the conditions usually prevailing in Muscovy.
Nowhere perhaps was the state of culture in the Ukraine of the Hetmans more evident than in the contemporary system of education and number of schools. From statistics in different archives we have information that in 1748, for instance, on the territory of the seven Cossack Regiments — about the three remaining Regiments we have no information — there were 866 schools, that is, one school per thousand of population. In 1767 in the Chernigov Regiment alone there were 143 schools, that is one school per 746 persons. In Slobidska Ukraine in four Regiments there were 124 schools. This does not include monastic schools. The most remarkable thing about the Cossack schools was that the population maintained them at their own expense: the village community invited the teacher, made a contract with him, paid him, provided his food and lodgings and took care of the school building. In places where the population was p468 scattered the children of isolated homesteads were taught by so‑called "Itinerant clerks" (mandrovani diaky), who stayed for some time in one place then, having brought the pupils to a certain stage, moved on somewhere else doing the same, and again moved to still another place returning and revisiting their pupils, thus keeping up the teaching over quite an extensive area. In every village there was the so‑called "hospital" (spytal) where poor and solitary old people lived, and orphans attending school. The high cultural level astonished foreign travellers in the Eighteenth century as formerly it had astonished Paul Deacon of Aleppo in the middle of the Seventeenth century. Joseph , an English traveller, in his "Travels Through the Ukraine in the years 1768‑1770"1 who went mostly through Chernigov province, wrote that visiting the villages he was astonished to see them so very much like English villages in any county of England. He wrote of the character of the Ukrainian population which he found very quiet and amiable. Another English traveller, Edward Clarke,2 who traversed the Slobidska Ukraine in 1800 wrote in his book: "Ukrainians differ altogether from the inhabitants of the rest of Russia . . . They are a more noble race; stouter and better looking than the Russian, and superior to them in everything that can exalt one class above another. They are cleaner, more industrious, more honest, more polite, more courageous, more hospitable, more truly pious, and of course less superstitious. Their language only differs from the Russian as the dialect of the meridional provinces of France does differ from that spoken near Paris. The third nation with whose dwelling I have compared the cottages of Malo-Russia: that is to say, having a Welsh exterior, a Norwegian interior, and the gardens and out‑houses of English peasantry".
p469 These opinions are by no means exceptional but are typical of the general impression of all foreign travellers, English, German and French, who happened to visit the Ukraine of the Hetmans at the time of her autonomy or soon after its abolition. The superior culture compared with the dominant Muscovite neighbors during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries of the Cossack State was the pledge of national revival at the threshold of the Nineteenth century. Just when it was thought that Ukrainian national life was extinguished for ever, Ukrainian tradition re‑awoke and reinforced by the influx of modern western ideas, formed the basis of the Ukrainian national movement of our time.
1 Joseph : "Travels Through the Ukraine in the Years 1768‑1770" — London 1772.
2 Edward Clarke: "Travels in Various Countries of Europe" — London 1810.
a Despite the Scots name, Yuri Fyodorovich Leslie (Юрий Фёдорович Лесли) was Russian: his ancestor Alexander Leslie of Auchintoul († 1663) had settled in Russia and become naturalized. Several generations of the family served the Russian government as military officers.
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