Short URL for this page:

[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

[image ALT: link to previous section]
Chapter 24

This webpage reproduces a chapter of

History of the Ukraine
By Dmytro Doroshenko

printed by
The Institute Press, Ltd.
Edmonton, Alberta,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]
Chapter 26

 p507  Chapter XXV

 * * * *

(The numbers link directly to the sections.)

(166) The Ukraine of the Right Bank During the Eighteenth Century. (167) Haidamaky. (168) The Uprising of Kolyiv­shchyna, 1768. (169) Annexation of Galicia by Austria. (170) Church Union in Galicia and its Consequences. (171) Carpathian Rus.

 * * * *

166. The Ukraine of the Right Bank During the Eighteenth Century.

Ukrainians of the Left Bank of the Dnieper, though gradually losing their autonomy under the pressure of Russian centralistic policy retained, nevertheless, the cultured classes in the population who remained the leaders of the national life, and were able to develop and express some part of the national ideal. In 1711‑12 the Ukraine of the Right Bank again came under Polish domination, ruined, exhausted and almost depopulated. Fresh colonization from Western Ukrainian territories then began, accompanied by the restoration of pre‑revolution social and political conditions, as if Bohdan Khmelnitsky's uprising and subsequent events had never occurred. The Ukrainian population was not reconciled to this restoration, but deprived of its leading class the Cossacks, they were only able to express their enmity by an intermittent series of sporadic uprisings against the Polish authorities and land­owners, which went on during the whole of the Eighteenth century, sometimes taking mena­cing forms. These are known in Ukrainian history as "Haidamaky" uprisings. Popular oral tradition preserved the memory of Haidamaky; it was taken up by the Ukrainian literature of the Romantic period, so that also in the eyes of later Ukrainian generations they were transfigured by a romantic halo into a struggle for social, religious, political and national ideals.

167. Haidamaky.

Like the word "Cossack" in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth century, the word "Haidamaky" in the Eighteenth  p508 century is of Turkish origin. The original meaning of the Tatar word "haida!" is "fly!" It has the same meaning in Ukrainian. Thus the name Haidamaka connotes fleeing, hiding, and suggests a disturbance or a panic. The word only came into use in the Eighteenth century. Ukrainians also gave other names such as "kolii", "opryshky", "leventsi", to those who, discontented with the social order, took up arms to attack it. The causes of these uprisings are the political and social conditions into which the Ukraine of the Right Bank relapsed at the beginning of the Eighteenth century, after the interval of sixty years (1648‑1712) which had seen Khmelnitsky's uprising, the unsuccess­ful attempts of Paliy, Orlik and Mazepa's other unfortunate followers to establish themselves on the Right Bank of the Dnieper.

The Polish government, as we have related, again taking a firm footing in the Ukraine of the Right Bank, started colonizing anew. As soon as the Cossack and Swedish wars were ended and the Ukraine of the Right Bank had been surrendered by Peter I to his protege the Polish King, Augustus of Saxony, the descendants of the former Polish land­owners, dispossessed by Khmelnitsky, returned and claimed their estates.

The great Polish magnates, owners of vast estates, were the first to secure their rights. This was easy for them, holding as they did the supreme power in the Polish State. Some of the old families such as Vishnevetsky, Konecpolski and Sobieski, having become extinct, their entire possessions descended or were divided among related families. During the Eighteenth century Ukrainian territory on the Right Bank was concentrated in the hands of a few Polish families such as Potocki, Lubomirski, Jablonovski, Czartoryski, Branicki, Sanguszko, Tyszkiewicz and a few others. Just as before Khmelnitsky's time, the whole political power in Poland was concentrated in the hands of these magnates. Their influence in the government was dominant and the reign of the three last Polish kings contained practically nothing else but the struggle for power of a few great families  p509 among themselves. The Polish "szlachta" or lesser gentry found themselves entirely dependent on them. Only a small number succeeded after their return into the Ukraine at the beginning of the Eighteenth century, in recovering their former possessions. Most of them now received land from the great families as their tenants, or even entered into their service as their stewards, agents and other dependents.

Having once more obtained for themselves vast areas of land, the Polish nobles were again faced with the task of repopulating the country in order to render it productive. In answer to their invitations, promising as of old several free years without any duties, colonists again came from every Ukrainian territory, from Galicia, Volynia, Polissia, even from the Ukraine of the Hetmans, ready to settle down on the vacant lands. Gradually the country again became covered with villages, mostly on the site of the former ruins. Besides Ukrainians, also White Russians and even Poles came. These latter very soon became absorbed into the Ukrainian population, adopting the Ukrainian language and mode of living only, in the case of the Polish peasants, preserving their Roman Catholic faith. The land­owners received them all without asking whence they came, receiving those who had fled from their former landlords, even those who presented themselves "with somebody else's wife and somebody else's oxen". During the first free years, as was promised, no one exacted work from them and they were left in peace to start their farms. Even in the first years of serfdom the duties were not heavy. The landlords were too greatly in need of labor and were ready to make all sorts of concessions and to wait patiently until their new serfs had quite settled down and got their farms going.

But gradually those "free years" expired. Most of the land on the great estates was tenanted by the lesser gentry, the szlachta. Serfdom now pressed more closely on the peasants who, in the meantime, had been accustomed to their freedom. The szlachta, now having the peasants  p510 directly in their power, began to exact from them more and more work on the land. Moreover, with the return of the Roman Catholic clergy, the former unhappy policy of enforced conversion to Roman Catholicism again came into practice. The popular masses became impatient. They reacted against these encroachments and began to show their discontent. Only now there was no one to organize the popular discontent and direct it into ordered channels. The Cossacks were no more, and those discontented with serfdom were reduced to passive resistance or individual protest. Some again took to flight, going to the Left Bank of the Dnieper, into Moldavia, into Turkey; others were not afraid of becoming outlaws, of organizing gangs or joining existing ones and thus carrying on the struggle and taking vengeance on their oppressors. In the country only newly repopulated, there was no lack of unsettled adventurous elements to keep the robber gangs going. They attacked the houses of the Polish land­owners and their agents the Jews, but never touched a peasant. Bearing such distinctions, their unlawful practice took on the character of a social struggle. These outlaws, who gradually became known by the name of "Haidamaky", became very popular with the Ukrainian peasants who began to look on them, if not exactly as their defenders, still as the avengers of their wrongs. They were so many Robin Hoods and certainly as popular.

There was another circumstance that played an important part in the development of the Haidamaky movement: this was the vicinity of the Zaporogian Cossacks. The Zaporogian steppes served the Haidamaky as a refuge whither they escaped to lie in hiding from the pursuit of the Polish authorities, rest from their exploits and plan and organize anew. The Zaporogian authorities, it is true, pursued them and if caught also punished them. But the Haidamaky easily found places of safety on Zaporogian territory in forests, glens, caves and other secret hiding places. Sometimes Zaporogians would, secretly of course, enter the ranks of the Haidamaky.  p511 Now and then they organized their gangs, led them, helped them with money, horses, arms and so on. Finally Haidamaky often enjoyed the sympathies of the Orthodox clergy, driven to this pitch of exasperation by the persecutions which the Roman Catholic Church renewed against them. Thus it is easily understood why the Haidamaky though outlaws, became in the eyes of the Ukrainian population defenders of their religion and nationality and avengers of their social wrongs. And indeed, if in peace time the Haidamaky behaved as highwaymen whose violence, however, was always directed exclusively against the Polish land­owners and their Polish or Jewish agents, in times of popular uprisings or of any active protest on the part of the popular masses they usually put themselves at their head, organizing and leading the uprising and acting as ready troops for the insurgents.

The Zaporogian Cossacks, after their return in 1734 under Russian protectorate, once more became direct neighbors of the Ukraine of the Right Bank. They brought back with them their traditional hostility against the policy of the Polish land­owners and Roman Catholic clergy towards the Ukrainian population. Owing to the support of the Zaporogians, the Haidamaky movement became a sort of well organized continual guerrilla warfare against the Polish nobles and their agents. In addition to the Zaporogians, the Haidamaky found constant support and sympathy on the Left Bank of the Dnieper, in the Ukraine of the Hetmans. Although the population seldom joined their ranks, they constantly helped in every way, affording shelter and providing provisions and arms.

The Polish administration and the land­owners were faced with the very difficult problem of how to organize a defence against the Haidamaky's guerrilla tactics which rendered the exploitation of the Ukraine unsafe. The Polish armed forces were quite inadequate. In 1717 the Polish szlachta, refusing credits in the Seim, succeeded in redu­cing the standing army to a maximum of 24,000.  p512 The size of this force was, moreover, sanctioned by a convention with Russia who was, of course, well pleased with the state of affairs. Poland thus became almost completely disarmed and Russian troops were able, with tolerable impunity, to make armed interventions in Polish home affairs as was the case in 1733 and 1768, or to traverse Polish territory on their way to Turkey (1738) or to Prussia during the Seven Years' War. Whereas one neighbor of Poland, the small State of Prussia, kept an army of 100,000 strong and the other neighbor, Russia, had a standing army of 200,000 men, Poland had actually about 17,000 to 18,000 men. For a considerable State like Poland this was quite an insignificant force. About 12,000 were stationed in Poland, the rest were distributed between Lithuania and the Ukraine, the latter having not quite 4,000 men for the vast territory comprising the present three provinces, Podolia, Volynia and Kiev.

This force was, of course, quite insufficient either to defend the frontiers or to keep order within them. The Polish government made an attempt to organize a militia from lesser and poorer szlachta but it did not lead to anything. An attempt to organize a mercenary militia was also unfortunate: this militia was recruited from all sorts of adventurers and vagabonds who molested the population in peace time and during the troubles invariably went over to the troublemakers. There remained the device which actually was the only means of defence for the Polish landlords in the Ukraine, namely, the so‑called private estate-militia kept by Polish magnates, owners of great estates in the Ukraine. Of old, being accustomed to having their own private troops to settle their private quarrels, they returned to the custom. To have private troops now became an actual necessity as the only means of defending their property. The only human material at their disposal from which to recruit military forces being their serfs, the Ukrainian peasants, and the only method of persuading them to enlist being to let them have Cossack organizations, the Polish magnates were forced to have recourse to the old  p513 Cossack tradition of elected officers and all the peculiar Cossack ways of formation in hundreds and so on. These new "Cossacks" were freed from all other duties, and were allowed to elect their under officers: only the colonel, the leader in change, was to be a Polish nobleman. Some of the Polish magnates thus kept four or five thousand Cossacks by private means on their estates.

Being unable to cope with the Haidamaky trouble the Polish government constantly sought help from Russia, approaching the Russian ambassador in Warsaw or applying directly to St. Petersburg. The Russian authorities gave orders to their frontier authorities and troops to intercept the Haidamaky, not to let them escape over the Russian frontier, to punish those whom they succeeded in seizing and in general to second the Polish government in their struggle with the Haidamaky. The Russian government also gave strict orders to the Zaporogian Cossack authorities to the same effect and these orders were obeyed. On their side, the Polish authorities held the Zaporogians to be the chief instigators of the Haidamaky and made reprisals against the Zaporogian Cossacks whenever they had the opportunity. They often arrested Zaporogians when these crossed the frontier for trading purposes and killed them. Thus about three hundred Zaporogians who came to the fair in Bratslav were seized and executed; another time eighteen Zaporogians coming to Nemirov to buy corn were arrested and hanged. Very often Polish detachments entered Zaporogian territory and destroyed settlements there. This, of course, further embittered their relations.

These hostilities occasionally came to open outbreaks at the first opportunities. An occasion presented itself in 1734. The struggle for the succession after the death of the Polish King, Augustus, the Elector of Saxony, brought about Russian military intervention in Poland. The candidature of Stanislaus Leszczynski, supported by France, had a considerable following in Poland. The Russian government on their side supported the candidature  p514 of the son of the deceased king, the Elector of Saxony, Augustus III. A Russian army entered Poland. Hetman Apostol's Ukrainian Cossacks marched through the Ukraine of the Right Bank on their way to Poland. This aroused false hopes among the population that Russia would wrest Ukrainian territory from Poland and put an end to the domination of the Polish szlachta.

A peasant uprising broke out in the spring of 1734 in the province of Kiev. The insurgents attacked and killed Polish land­owners and Jews and took towns and villages one after another. The uprising very soon spread to Podolia and Volynia. A Cossack officer of the name Verlan, chief of the private Cossack militia of Prince Lubomirski, went over to the insurgents with his Cossacks. He gave out that he had orders from the Empress Anna to exterminate Poles and Jews, and he proceeded to organize the insurgent peasants into a considerable force. He seized and held a number of towns and was mena­cing Lvov. The uprising began to look ominous for Poland. It was only by means of Russian military intervention that it was quelled. Having put Augustus III on the Polish throne, whom the Poles were now compelled to recognize, the Russian army turned against the peasants. They were defeated by the regular forces without any difficulty. The leaders of the uprisings with Verlan at their head, succeeded in escaping to Moldavia. After the Russian army had left, the uprising took the form of guerrilla warfare and went on for several years.

Guerrilla war had thus become chronic. So long as the Polish government had to do with the Haidamaky only, who indulged in armed attacks on estates and country houses of nobles or Jewish quarters of towns, there was no immediate danger of the State. But from time to time the latent discontent among the peasants, never reconciled to their social thraldom, would gather strength, come to the surface, and produce a new outbreak. Then the Haidamaky, always on a war footing, would produce from among themselves organizers and leaders of the uprisings, and the unrest would spread  p515 to wide areas. Thus after sixteen years of guerrilla war, following the uprising of Verlan in 1734 which kept Polish administration pretty busy, a serious outbreak of discontent among the peasants led by the Haidamaky took place in the south of the province of Kiev in 1750 and rapidly spread to all three Ukrainian provinces. Several important towns were in the hands of the insurgents and the Polish army, disorganized and unprepared, was quite unable to deal with the rebels. But the uprising was this time not sufficiently well organized: the Haidamaky were unable to abstain from plundering and often without any plan. The Polish szlachta, land­owners of the three Ukrainian provinces, succeeded in mobilizing all their forces and after prolonged fighting the insurgents were defeated and the uprising quelled.

168. The Uprising of Kolyiv­shchyna, 1768.

The Ukraine was quiet once again. But only eighteen years passed before a new terrible outbreak followed, which surpassed all preceding uprisings in fury. This was the so‑called "Kolyiv­shchyna", the uprising of 1768. Its immediate causes were the social and political conditions of the Ukraine of the Right Bank, but it was also connected with the international economic crisis of the time. The uprising of 1768 coincided with an epoch of disorganization of agricultural production on the great estates, owing to the transfer of the chief corn-exporting centres from the ports of the Baltic to those of the Black Sea. This change caused a temporary disorganization and unsettlement in agricultural production. The ensuing economic crisis also influenced the relations of land­owners and peasants in the Ukraine. The latter, always discontented and impatient with the enforced serfdom, needed very little to unsettle them and bring out agitations and uprising. In the south of Kiev province, repopulated later than other parts, the so‑called "free-years" from serf-duties had lasted longer than elsewhere. Now these free years were at an end. The  p516 population was in a state of unrest and felt even light duties to be an injury. Moreover, next door to them lay free Zaporogian territories where serfdom was unknown.

At the same time religious persecutions here also came to a climax. The Roman Catholic clergy began to exert very severe pressure on the Orthodox population, urging them to conversion. They were supported by the military and civil authorities. The position of the Orthodox Church in Poland was very precarious. The Orthodox parishes in the southern part of the province of Kiev were dependent on the Bishop of Pereyaslav in the Ukraine of the Hetmans and he was not a Polish subject. He ordained priests for this part of the Kiev province. But the Polish authorities hindered by all available means the intercourse of the Orthodox parishes with their bishop. Besides, in order to obtain a parish, the Orthodox priests required the permission of the Roman Catholic dean as well as of the local land­owner. Constant misunderstandings and conflicts were bound to arise. The Uniate clergy, instead of open persecution of the Orthodox Church, adopted tactics of petty interference, encroachments and annoyances of the Orthodox clergy, which rendered their existence almost intolerable. The Uniate Metropolitan of the period even caused violence to be used against them, imprisonment and corporeal punishment. Many of the Orthodox country clergy were forced to recognize the Union of Churches officially, remaining true to their Orthodox faith in secret. Many of the laymen did the same and hated the Uniate rite in their innermost souls. All this, of course, created an atmosphere of mutual distrust and hatred.

About the middle of the Eighteenth century the bishopric of Pereyaslav was held by an active and energetic man, Gervais Lintsevsky. Being unable to visit his diocese, in 1761, he nominated as his assistant the abbot of the Motronyn monastery (in the southern part of the Kiev province), Melchisedek Znachko-Yavorsky. In the person of this abbot the bishop of Pereyaslav had an able and energetic assistant. The abbot Melchisedek  p517 started a lively Orthodox movement, concentrated in several monasteries in the south of Kiev province amidst thick forests, close to the border of the Zaporogian territory. He established a contact with the Zaporogian Sich and received help and support from them. The spirits of the Orthodox population rose under his guidance and many a parish which the Roman Catholics counted as converted, declared for the Orthodox Church. When the Roman Catholic clergy began to put hindrances in his way, the abbot applied to the Orthodox Metropolitan in Kiev. On his way home from Kiev he was seized by the Polish authorities and imprisoned. He succeeded, however, in escaping and took shelter in the Zaporogian Sich. From there he undertook a journey to St. Petersburg and obtained an audience with Catherine II, who promised to help by means of diplomatic intervention in Warsaw.

Having secured this promise, the fearless abbot returned to his Motronyn monastery. At home he found that the Roman Catholic clergy had taken action against him in spite of the law granting religious tolerance passed by the Seim in Warsaw, which was forced on the Poles by the united intervention of Russia and Prussia in 1767.

The abbot Znachko Yavorsky then plotted with the Zaporogian Cossacks with a view to an uprising which he expected Russia to support. An opportune occasion for this uprising was found in the troubles which began in Poland in 1768.

Part of the Polish szlachta, dissatisfied with Russian intervention and the policy of the last Polish king, Stanislaus Poniatowski, formed the so‑called Confederation and declared an open rebellion against their king and government, with Casimir Pulaski at their head. The Polish government had no means of dealing with the Confederation and asked help from Russia. A body of Russian troops entered Polish territory and very soon put down the rebellion.

The political situation so adroitly used by the leaders of the Ukrainian uprising was planned, most probably,  p518 in the Motronyn monastery. At the head of the movement was Maxim Zalizniak. He was a Zaporogian Cossack of these parts of Kiev province. In the spring of 1767, leaving the Zaporogian Sich, he became a novice in the Motronyn monastery where Znachko Yavorsky was abbot. It was from here that, in the spring of 1769, Maxim Zalizniak started the uprising. The nucleus of his force was formed of men who, like him, came from the Zaporogian territory. They were not the regular Zaporogian Cossacks entered on the Rolls but mostly servants who worked on farms and fished in the rivers belonging to the Zaporogians, but they were all well trained in warfare and familiar with Zaporogian ways.

It is believed that the insurgents had a plan to seize the Kiev province by surrounding it on all sides, and as a matter of fact, the uprising did start almost simultaneously in four places on the frontiers of the province under four leaders, of whom Zalizniak was the chief. They were joined by numbers of Haidamaky and peasants. The uprising was directed in the first place against the Polish nobles and the Jews, and all who fell in their hands were slain and their houses and property plundered. The town of Uman was the chief object of Zalizniak's campaign. It was an old Cossack stronghold, was well fortified, and an important trading centre whence lively commerce was carried on with Moldavia and Turkey. The town with surrounding territory was now in the possession of a great Polish family of the name of Potocki. The population was numerous and well-to‑do: there were many rich merchants, some of whom were foreigners. There was a school kept by the Uniate monks of the order of St. Basil. Thus Uman was not only a military and trading centre but also a place of some culture. Potocki's steward had at his disposal only a small military detachment; the chief defence forces consisted of the Cossack militia with the Sotnyk — officer commanding a Hundred — Ivan Honta, at their head. He and Zalizniak were destined to play the leading roles in this tragic Haidamaky uprising and so attract, even to  p519 this day, the attention of both Polish and Ukrainian historians. The former, of course, esteemed him a traitor, whereas in the eyes of Ukrainians he is considered a hero in the struggle for the freedom of his people and a defender of their religion. As such he has a place in Ukrainian literature.

Honta was a peasant's son and had a distinguished military career in the Cossack militia in the service of the Potocki's. For years he commanded the Cossack militia and was rewarded for his services by grants of land which gave him, what at that time, was a great income. He became attached to the szlachta class on account of his material interests and the advantages of his military position. When the news spread of the Haidamaky uprising and their successes, Uman became overcrowded by Polish and Jewish refugees. Honta went against Zalizniak at the head of his Cossacks, but meeting the insurgents he went over to them with his whole detachment. Together they turned against Uman. What were the motives for his conduct? Certainly it was not for personal or material gain. During his negotiations with Zalizniak, Honta became convinced that the uprising had been started with the objects of returning to Cossack rule, defending the Orthodox Church and abolishing serfdom. He, therefore, considered it his moral duty to join the insurgents. Another factor was also important, the traditional loyalty of the Ukrainian population to the king against the nobles. The history of the beginning of Khmelnitsky's uprising was repeated once more. Haidamaky thought to serve the king by fighting against the nobles and the rebellion of the Confederates. The Haidamaky's uprising was thus directed against the szlachta, who were disloyal to the king. The news that the Russian Empress was giving military support to the Polish king against the Confederates also played an important part in the belief of the leaders of the Haidamaky that they were acting loyally towards the king.

Honta's going over to the insurgents, of course, decided the fate of Uman. The town was taken on the  p520 first day and a fearful massacre of Polish nobles and Jews ensued, during which about two thousand persons perished. The victorious Haidamaky called a Rada at Uman at which Zalizniak was proclaimed Hetman, and Honta, Colonel of Uman; the district of Uman was subdivided into Hundreds as in the old Cossack times. The partisans of the Union of the Churches, the Uniates, were offered the choice of returning to the Orthodox Church, or leaving the country. The insurgents made Uman their centre and sent detachments to Podolia, Volynia and Polissia.

But the fate of the uprising depended on the attitude which the Russian government would take. At the beginning, the Russian authorities were quite favorably disposed towards the insurgents, a weakening of Poland through internal troubles being advantageous to Russian policy in Poland. The Russian military expedition sent to Poland against the Confederates, was instructed to treat Ukrainian insurgents mildly, and not to use armed force against them. Thus Russian policy towards the Haidamaky was of a double-faced character and led them to the conviction that they were acting in the interests and according to the wishes of the Russian government.

The situation, however, was immediately changed when one of the Haidamaky detachments pursuing Poles and Jews who had crossed the frontier and taken refuge in the Turkish town of Balta, burned this place. This action brought simultaneous protests from the Sultan, the Crimean Khan and the province of Moldavia. The Turks threatened war. Russia was not yet ready and the Russian government took alarm and lost no time disavowing the Haidamaky. Catherine II, writing from St. Petersburg, instructed Krechetnikov to put an end to the Haidamaky manoeuvre and repress them. Thus the doom of the uprising was sealed. Krechetnikov decided to beguile them and invited the leaders into the Russian camp. They came, not expecting any treason, and then were over­powered, were caught, most of them escaped by scattering. Krechetnikov was instructed to surrender to the  p521 Polish government those of the Haidamaky who were Polish subjects and retain the subjects of the Russian Empress. Thus Ivan Honta, at the head of about 900 insurgents, was handed over to the Poles. They were put to death after cruel tortures to satisfy the fury of the Polish nobles, and this in spite of the intervention of the humane King Stanislaus August.

In punishing the members of the Haidamaky uprising who were Russian subjects, the Russian government chiefly wished to satisfy the Turkish and Polish authorities and persuade them that the Russian government did not sympathize with the Haidamaky and did not feel any responsibility for their doings. Thus the trial, which was intended as a demonstration, took place partly on the Turkish frontier in the presence of the invited Turkish officials and partly on Polish territory. About two hundred and fifty Haidamaky, including the chief leader Zalizniak, were condemned to death and brought to Kiev to be executed. Secret orders were, however, given to the local authorities to commute the death sentence to hard labor and lifelong exile in Siberia.

In this way the uprising was put down, but the causes of popular discontent, persecution of the Orthodox Church and the hard position of the peasants, were not removed. The population was exasperated and nurtured hatred against the Polish nobles and the regime which the szlachta introduced and maintained in the Ukraine. On their side the local Polish administration and the land­owners mistrusted the people and suspected them of preparing a new uprising. Every now and again, solely on the ground of vague rumors, panic would seize the Poles who suspected the Haidamaky everywhere, and a new wave of cruel repressions against the Orthodox clergy and Ukrainian population would arise. The alarm of 1789 in Volynia was particularly serious, when the local administration arrested hundreds of probably quite innocent people of whom many lost their lives in prison without any apparent justification. Amidst this atmosphere of alarm and panic and persecutions, Polish  p522 domination in the Ukraine of the Right Bank came to an end. According to the second partition of Poland in 1793 the provinces of Kiev, Braslav, Podolia and the eastern part of Volynia, were annexed by Russia. According to the third partition of 1795, Russia took the rest of Volynia and the eastern part of Kholm; the greatest part of Kholm province being taken by Austria. The annexed territories were formed by the Russian government into three governments; Kiev, Podolia and Volynia. The Ukraine on the Right Bank thus entered a new phase.

The Haidamaky movement, as a form of active protest against the intolerable condition of life, had analogous phenomena in the history of other Slav people, for example, among the Serbs, where "Haiduki" or "Uskoki" led a guerrilla warfare against Turkish domination. West Ukrainian territories, Galicia and Bukovina, produced a similar movement as protest against the existing social and political order. Here they were called "Opryshky" or "Leventsi". The causes which inspired their activity were the same as in the Ukraine of the Dnieper, namely, the discontent of the Ukrainian people with their political and social position. Active and energetic men found a solution of their difficulties in outlawry and violence against the dominant social classes of an alien nationality and a different religion. Because of this, these men became heroes in the eyes of the people as avengers of their common wrongs. The population sympathized with them and idealized them, in spite of the fact that often it was not only government officials, land­owners, or rich merchants, but also people of humbler position who suffered from the "Opryshky". Among the Galician outlaws, Dovbush was one of the best known and most popular. He lived about the middle of the Eighteenth century. His romantic and success­ful career and his tragic death in especially romantic circumstances, left deep traces in the popular memory which were echoed in a whole cycle of popular songs of which he is the hero. It was after Galicia was annexed by Austria that the "Opryshky" disappeared. Liberal reforms introduced by  p523 Emperor Joseph II brought about an amelioration of the social and economic, as well as religious conditions of the peasants. From that time outlaws became ordinary robbers without the characteristics of revolutionaries.

Although these manifestations of popular discontent had been frequent in all Ukrainian territories under Polish domination, the "Haidamaky" and still less the "Opryshky" were not able to bring about a change for the better in the position of the Ukrainian population in Poland. Already about the middle of the Eighteenth century the Polish State began to show unmistakable signs of a speedy decline. Only wide and far‑reaching reforms of a political, social and religious character could have saved it from downfall. Some of the more enlightened Polish patriots understood at last the necessity for such reforms and were ready to undertake them, but it was now too late. Poland's neighbors, and primarily Russia and Prussia had now for some time looked upon Polish territory as their future spoil. Growing anarchy and internal troubles in Poland, caused by the unwise policy of selfish magnates and the unruly and riotous szlachta, were to the interest of Poland's covetous neighbors; they helped to promote them and only waited for the climax to be reached. An unwise religious policy in Poland, extreme intolerance and persecution of Protestants and Orthodox carried on by the Jesuits and Polish Roman Catholic clergy in general, furnished Prussia and Russia with a convenient pretext for interfering in Polish internal affairs. Since Peter I and the Swedish war, the Russian government had made it their habit to rule the Polish State as if it were their own. The three last Polish kings, both Electors of Saxony, August II and August III, and King Stanislaus Poniatowski, were put on the throne by the aid of Russian military force. The rebellion of the Polish szlachta in 1768, the so‑called Confederation, directed against Russian influence in Polish affairs under King Stanislaus Poniatowski, yielded nothing better than a new Russian armed intervention.

 p524  169. Annexation of Galicia by Austria.

According to the first partition of Poland among Prussia, Austria and Russia in 1772, Austria received Galicia. This was contrary to the plans of the Russian government which, since the Confederation of 1768 and the Haidamaky uprising under Zalizniak and Honta, had maintained a standing army in Poland. The Russian General Krechetnikov occupied Lvov in 1769 and kept a Russian garrison there for three years. The Russian government looked upon the Ukrainian and White Russian provinces of Poland as their legitimate spoil and were not prepared to share them with anyone. The Prussian King Frederick II, however, insisted on drawing Austria into the Partition of Poland even against her own wishes, her expansion being directed to the west and south, towards Germany, Italy and the Balkans. In order to maintain the political equilibrium, Austria participated in the Partition of Poland and declared a wish to take Galicia, as that once temporarily had been under Hungarian domination. The Hungarian throne, now being occupied by the Hapsburg family, it was alleged that the Hapsburgs had the right to all lands which in the past had belonged to Hungary. Russia was very unwilling to surrender Lvov and Eastern Galicia to Austria, and Russian troops evacuated them only under pressure from the Austrian armed force sent out in the spring of 1772. The Austrians occupied Lvov in the autumn of 1772 and proclaimed it the capital of Galicia and Lodomeria (Volodymyria), which were now Austrian provinces.

Galicia came over to Austria in a state of great economic poverty and ruin. The anarchy prevailing in Poland, the strife of Polish magnates one against the other, the Swedish war, the Russian occupation and the ruin of the foreign trade, had all brought the country to a state of great disorganization and impoverishment. The situation of the Ukrainians who constituted the bulk of the population was especially hard. The Ukrainian town population, the burgesses, having lost their importance early in the Seventeenth century, never recovered their  p525 position. The active religious and cultural movement that went on within the religious Brotherhoods in the chief Galician towns was weakened even before Khmelnitsky's time. As long as there remained Ukrainian nobles who held to their hereditary Orthodox religion and rose in defence of the Orthodox Church in local Seims, so long did the burgesses also remain faithful to the Orthodox religion. But the Ukrainian nobles in Galicia, having sympathized with and participated in Khmelnitsky's revolution were left outside the Cossack State which was limited to the provinces situated on the Dnieper. Their position in Galicia became very much weakened; repressions, confiscations of property, political restrictions and exclusions, undermined their resistance. With a few exceptions the Ukrainian nobles in Galicia could no longer resist Roman Catholic pressure and the colonization that inevitably followed in the train of conversion. Religious Brotherhoods in towns were now left alone to fight the battle of the Orthodox Church and succumbed in the struggle; most of them were compelled to recognize the Union of the Churches enforced on them by the government.

170. Church Union in Galicia and its Consequences.

Under the influence of the intolerant and reactionary Polish szlachta, the government constantly limited the rights of the Orthodox Church in Poland. The Seim of 1676 passed a law forbidding religious Brotherhoods in Galicia to maintain direct relations with the Patriarch of Constantinople. This rendered them completely dependent on the local bishops. Orthodox Brotherhoods were thus deprived of their former initiative and compelled to follow the bishops. If, for instance, an Orthodox bishop recognized the Union, they had no means of resisting him: the entire diocese had to follow him. Further, Orthodox believers were forbidden under penalty of death to go abroad, the object of this law being to prevent them from having any relations with their co‑religionists in other countries outside Poland. In carrying out their  p526 plans for enforced recognition and introduction of the Union of the Churches, the Polish government found a very active assistant in the person of Joseph Shumliansky, the Orthodox bishop of Lvov. He was a very energetic man with a literary gift, and not without a feeling for Ukrainian patriotism. He hoped to raise the position of the Ukrainian population in Poland by going over to the Uniate Church. With this object Bishop Shumliansky declared (1677) to the Papal nuncio in Warsaw his readiness to recognize the Union. Shumliansky's plan at first met with great opposition on the side of the Orthodox clergy and the population, especially the Orthodox Brotherhoods. Gradually, however, owing to the clever policy of the bishop and his understanding of and influence over the government, the Union of Churches made great progress in the course of some twenty years. In 1700 it was officially proclaimed in Galicia, and the Uniate Church became the recognized religion of Ukrainians. Even the Orthodox Brotherhood of Lvov were compelled to recognize the fact and adhere to the Union in 1708. The Maniavsky monastery in Galicia, situated in the Carpathian hills, was the only one left that adhered to the Orthodox Church for about a century longer, until closed by the Austrian government in 1785.

Polish politicians who thought that the Union of Churches would be merely a stepping stone to complete Roman Catholicism and thus a means to the polonization and quick assimilation of the Ukrainian population were mistaken. With the exception of the nobles, the Ukrainian popular masses in Galicia, though having accepted the Union of Churches, continued to cling stubbornly to their privilege of the Eastern rite granted by the Pope and did not passes over to Roman Catholicism. Under the guidance of a succession of able bishops the Uniate, or as it is officially called, the Greek Catholic Church, in Galicia had rapidly formed a separate religious organization, as different from the Eastern Orthodoxy as from Roman Catholicism. The standard of culture of the country clergy was considerably raised and a more intimate  p527 control by the bishops of their dioceses was established. Basilian monks took under their care schools and education in general, having introduced the Ukrainian language in the teaching and in their publications. After two or three generations the Galician population accepted the Uniate Church without any reserve and began to look upon it as their national Church. The Uniate clergy maintained and observed the privilege of the Eastern rite as a kind of national sanctum. Indeed, this was the only inheritance that the Ukrainian population of Galicia succeeded in preserving as their own out of the entire wealth of their former independent culture and life. This inheritance served them afterwards as a starting point for their future cultural development and ultimate national "renaissance" in later times. We may safely say that the Uniate or Greek Catholic Church with its Eastern rite was the only thing that preserved the Ukrainian population from being absorbed by the Poles. On the other hand, the Eastern rite of the Greek Catholic Church constituted at all times the bridge that united Ukrainians of Galicia with their Eastern brothers, Ukrainians of the Dnieper, who retained their ancient Orthodox religion. At the same time, as the population of Ukrainian territories, annexed by Russia after the Partition of Poland, returned at once to the Orthodox Church, the population and the clergy in Galicia remained true to the Uniate Church, adopting it as their national Church. The Uniate clergy in Galicia occupied and maintained for a long time a privileged position forming the leading class, which played an especially important part in the national revival in the Nineteenth century.

171. Carpathian Rus.

In dealing with the Ukrainian territory we have not yet said much about its most westerly part, namely the small country called Carpathian Rus or the Ukraine on the western slopes of the Carpathian hills. This part of the Ukrainian population had hardly ever lived the common political life of the other Ukrainian sections with  p528 the exception of some episodes at the time of the Galician Volynian Princedom. Carpathian Rus had, however, maintained relations with neighboring Galicia and even with far away Ukraine on the Dnieper. This contact became livelier when Galicia and Carpathian Rus became parts of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Then Carpathian Ukraine played a definite role in its common cultural life with Galicia.

The Ukrainian population of the Western slopes of the Carpathian Mountains came from the middle Dnieper and settled there not later than the end of the Ninth century. Generally speaking, Slav colonization of this territory preceded the coming of the Magyars and the founding of the Magyar State. The population of the Carpathian Rus had, one might say, no political history of their own: they had no princes, no wars nor treaties in this out-of‑the‑way mountain country. The history of its population is the record of their hard struggle with nature and adverse political and social conditions. The real "heroes" of the Carpatho-Ukrainian history are the simple peasants who through centuries bore on their shoulders the burden of feudal serfdom and severe bureaucratic control of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy without losing either their national aspect and character, or their language and their historic name. The masses supported by their clergy held firmly to their Orthodox faith which, at the same time, was the safeguard of their nationality. The chief religious centres were the St. Nicholas monastery in Munkach, and that of St. Michael, near Marmarosh. The Carpathian-Ruthenian Church was for a long time dependent on the bishop of Peremyshl (Przemysl), as the bishopric of Munkach was only constituted at the end of the Fifteenth century.

The social and economic position of the Ruthenian (Ukrainian) peasants was very hard. They became the serfs of Magyar magnates and even the clergy were bound to perform certain servile duties. The population of Carpathian Rus, surrounded and pressed on all sides by alien neighbors, Slovaks, Hungarians, and Rumanians,  p529 and divided from their kindred in Galicia by the Carpathian Mountains, jealously preserved their national character and never lost the feeling of community of interests and purpose binding them to their race beyond the Carpathian Mountains. Conservative like all mountain populations, Carpathian-Ruthenians preserved many manuscripts, literary evidences, which bear witness to the intimate contact which had existed far back through the ages with Galicia and Kievan Rus. The population of Carpathian Rus had long stubbornly resisted the Union of Churches. It was only at the beginning of the Nineteenth century that the Austrian government succeeded in extending the Uniate Church into the western part of the country: at that period the monastery of Munkach passed into the hands of the Uniate clergy. The bishopric of Marmarosh held out until the middle of the Nineteenth century and it was only after certain reforms were made by the Austrian government for the amelioration of the position of the Uniate clergy, that the Union of Churches made progress in that district. The bishopric of Munkach was made independent of the Roman Catholic bishop's control. The Uniate clergy were given the same rights as the Roman Catholic. A Uniate (Greek Catholic) seminary for priests was founded in Munkach. These reforms resulted in a revival of religious and cultural life in Carpathian Rus, leading ultimately to the national revival there which coincided with that in Galicia.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 1 Jun 22