Decline of ukrainian statehood and culture (1712-1783)
Decline of ukrainian statehood and culture (1712-1783)
Decline of ukrainian statehood and culture (1712-1783)
Lipich Vitalii Form 11-V School 1
After defeat of Mazepa, tsar Peter intensified his efforts to subjugate
Ukraine. Hetman Skoropadskyi had his powers restricted by Russian supervisors.
His residence was transferred from Baturyn to Hlukhow near Russian border,
where two Russian garrisons were stationed to ensure his loyalty to Moscow.
Ukrainian population became burdened by plundering Russian military
units, dispersed throughout the country. Cossacks were sent to work on
construction of canals near St Petersburg, connecting river Volga with Baltic
Sea, where they died in thousands from hunger, exhaustion and sickness. Many
Cossack colonels were replaced by Russian nationals.
In 1722, tsar appointed a council called "Little Russian
Collegiate", controlled by senior Russian officers and headed by brigadier
Velmyaninow, to monitor and audit hetman's activities and decisions. This, for
practical purposes, transferred all powers to Russians, leaving Cossack hetman
and his officers only with empty titles.
Hetman Skoropadskyi was very upset by such situation; he became ill and
died in 1722. tsar Peter used this opportunity to abolish the office of hetman
altogether. He directed Cossack colonel Polubotok to perform hetman's duties
under supervision of Velmyaninow and refused to agree to Cossack requests to
elect new hetman.
Russian occupiers continued to persecute and impoverish Ukrainian
population. They kept sending more Cossacks to work on construction of canals,
connecting Caspian Sea with Baltic Sea, where some 20000 Cossacks perished
during years 1721 to 1725.
Polubotok was an honest and energetic man. He managed to improve law and
order within Cossack establishment and to improve living conditions of the
population. However this did not please Russian authorities, who relied on disorder
and corruption to maintain their grip on Ukraine. They feared Polubotok's
growing popularity and his efforts to re establish Hetmanate.
Velmyaninow complained to tsar that Polubotok was not complying with his
directives. Consequently Polubotok was arrested and interrogated under torture
in Petropavlowsk fort, near St Petersburg. He died there, as a martyr for
Ukrainian cause in autumn 1724, in spite of tsar's belated efforts to save him
and to reconcile with Cossacks. tsar Peter died soon after, at the beginning of
Ukraine was thus left at the mercy of Velmyaninow and his henchmen. As
for Cossack colonels, some were in prison near St Petersburg and others, who
were not already replaced by Russians, kept quiet and to scared to resist.
tsar Peter was succeeded by his wife Catherine. Faced with possible war
with Turkey, she needed Cossacks and wanted to return to them some of their
former freedoms. However she faced a stiff opposition from the "old
guard" in Russian government, therefore Cossacks received only few minor
concessions. Catherine died in spring 1727 and the grandson of tsar Peter,
Peter II became the emperor of Russia.
The new Russian government sacked Velmyaninow and his "Little
Russian Collegiate", released Cossack colonels from jail and appointed 70
year old Danylo Apostol as Cossack hetman. On 1st October 1727 Apostol was
formally accepted by Cossacks by ceremonious election in Hlukhow.
Although reporting to Russian "resident" Naumow, new hetman
managed to carry out considerable improvements in Ukrainian situation. His
loyalty to Moscow was ensured by presence of one of his sons as virtual hostage
in St Petersburg.
tsar Peter II died in 1730 and his aunt tsarina Anna became the ruler of
Russia. When hetman Apostol fell ill and became paralyzed, she refused to hand
over his powers to Cossacks and ordered Russian "resident", prince
Shakhowski to form a council, consisting mainly of Russians, to take over.
Hetman Apostol died in January 1734 and later in that year Zaporozhtsi in Sitch
decided to come over from Turkish to Russian side.
With Ukraine becoming almost a province of Russia, russianization of
political, religious and cultural life intensified. Intermarriages with
Russians were encouraged and any efforts to regain independence were brutally
suppressed. Cossack colonels were kept under constant observation and subjected
to house Searches at the slightest sign of disloyalty. Even any attempts to
obtain justice were punished; when, in 1737, Kyiv's city counselors tried to defend
their rights against Russian excesses, they were all jailed. Things were so
bad, that when in 1740 an English general Keith was temporarily appointed in
place of a Russian administrator, people were amazed by his human behavior and
Times were hard for the top layer of Ukrainian society, but even harder
for middle and lower classes and peasants, who suffered most from Russian
exploitation. Cossacks were being forced to fight for Russia against Turks,
Tatars and Poles for small rewards, and often for nothing.
Under such circumstances, yearning for the return of Hetmanate autonomy
persisted. The possibility of this to happen occurred after the end of war with
Turkey in 1740 and death of tsarina Anna in 1741. A short regency of Anna II
was terminated by a palace revolution, whereupon the daughter of Peter I,
Elizabeth was installed on Russian throne.
Elizabeth was sympathetic to Ukrainian cause because, prior to becoming
tsarina, she befriended and fell in love with a handsome son of a Cossack court
choir singer, Oleksiy Rozumowskyi. She married him after her coronation.
While visiting Kyiv in 1744, she agreed to promote Cossacks' request to
re install hetman's office and proposed Oleksiy's younger brother Kyrylo
Rozumowskyi for this position.
Twenty year old Kyrylo, who studied abroad, returned in 1746, married
into royal family and was bestowed with many orders and titles. In 1747 Russian
senate was requested to take steps toward re establishment of Hetmanate.
In February 1750, ceremonious formality of election of new Cossack
hetman took place in Hlukhow, followed by celebrations and festivities. In
spring of 1751 hetman Kyrylo Rozumowskyi, again with great ceremony and parade
was installed as hetman.
Unfortunately, being brought up in St Petersburg, Rozumowskyi was a
stranger to Ukraine and ways of life there. His Russian advisor Teplow was
unsympathetic to Ukraine's newly won autonomy and did all he could to hinder
its development. Rozumowskyi himself was bored with life in Ukraine and preferred
to spend most of his time in St Petersburg.
It could be said that, during this period, Ukraine was divided into
several parts such as Left Bank consisting of Hetmanate and Slobidshchyna,
Zaporozhian Sich, Right Bank, Halychyna (Galicia), Wolhynia, Bukovyna and
The Hetmanate included areas around Poltava, Lubny, Peryaslav, Kyiv,
Nizhyn, Chernihiv, Hlukhiv and also areas, which are at present parts of
Russian Federation, around Starodub, Pochep and Mhlyn.
The neighboring areas centered around Kharkiv were called Slobidshchyna
meaning free (from serfdom) lands also referred to as Sloboda Ukraine. They
included Izyum, Balakleya, Akhtyrka, Sumy and, presently Russian areas around
Bilhorod, Ostrohozhsk and Sudza. Originally these lands were settled by
adventurous people, who tried to establish themselves free from Polish and
Russian domination. They formed Cossack regiments for protection from Tatars
and for some time were able to lead an independent life, because they served as
a buffer from Turks and Tatars. However later they fell under direct Russian
rule; the autonomy of Loboda Ukraine was abolished under Catherine II in 1765.
To ensure lasting domination over these two parts of Ukraine, Russians
tried to suppress Ukrainian culture. They disallowed Ukrainian language in
books, schools and theaters. The church and government were controlled by
Moscow and the only way for a person to advance was to speak Russian and to be
loyal to Moscow.
While Ukraine on the east side of Dnipro (Left Bank) was being
russianized, the western Ukraine consisting of Galicia Wolhynia and Bukovyna
(areas around Lviv, Ternopil Lutsk and Chernivtsi) was under Polish influence.
Polish authorities were preventing not only national, but also economic
development of Ukrainians. The Orthodox Church was being gradually taken over
by Polish dominated Catholic Church.
Between western Ukraine and, Russian dominated, parts on east side of
Dnipro was a large territory on Right Bank, partly de-populated by recent wars
involving Cossacks, Poles, Russians, Turks and Tatars. Gradually, Polish
nobility began to return, reclaimed their landholdings and started to exploit
Ukrainian peasants as serfs. The resistance to this, at first, was in the form
of outlaw gangs, said to have robbed the rich to help the poor. Some of the
gang leaders were even considered as folk heroes, such as Olexa Dowbush, who
operated between 1738 and 1745. There were also uprisings by so called
Haydamaks, generally during hostilities between Poland and Russia. The biggest
uprising was in 1768. Haydamaks, led by Maxym Zaliznyak and Ivan Honta,
captured Umanj and killed many Polish oppressors and their Jewish
collaborators. They expected help from their Orthodox "brothers" from
Russia. However Russians made peace with Poland, captured Zaliznyak, Honta and
many other Haydamaks handed them over to Poles. Those, who were not immediately
tortured and executed, were tried in Kodno and sentenced, in most cases, to
The Transcarpathian Ukraine (areas around Uzhhorod and Mukachiv) was
under Hungarian rule. Overwhelmingly rural in character Transcarpathia had a
Ukrainian Ruthenian peasantry, a powerful Hungarian nobility and a substantial
number of urban and rural Jews. Ukrainian population there did not display much
enthusiasm for independence but managed to retain their language, customs and
Cancellation of Hetmanate was decided by tsarina Catering II, who ruled
Russia from 1762, after short reign of her husband Peter III. Hetman
Rozumovskyi resigned and, in his place, on November 1764, tsarina re installed
"Little Russian Collegiate", under presidency of Graf Rumyantsev.
Rumyantsev's policy was to eliminate all remaining traces of Ukrainian
autonomy and separatism, to introduce serfdom of peasants and to integrate
Ukraine with Russia. This was resisted by Cossacks and population at large.
In 1767 tsarina ordered election of deputies from all parts of Russian
Empire in order to be informed what kind of government people want. The
deputies from Ukraine declared their desire for Hetmanate autonomy. This
angered Rumyantsev and he sent out his officers to persuade electors to elect
deputies supporting his government; people who resisted were jailed. However in
spite of all efforts of Russian authorities, the popular sentiment for return
of Hetmanate system continued.
In 1772 Galicia and, two years later, Bukovina were annexed to Austro
Hungarian Monarchy, which has somewhat improved conditions of Ukrainians (Ruthenians
in the contemporary terminology of Galicia). In 1774 the Uniate church (renamed
to Greek Catholic church) was, by imperial decree, equalized in status with
Roman Catholic church. Educational reforms in 1775 allowed for instructions in
Ukrainian language. However on balance government policies favored the Poles.
The Cossack stronghold, Zaporozhian Sitch, was subservient to Moscow and
was utilized for raids on Crimea and Turkey. During Turkish war, which started
in 1768, several thousand Cossacks supported Russians in battles on land and
Sea. Their efforts were rewarded by eulogies from tsarina but little else and
restrictions of Cossack freedoms continued. Their lands were being colonized by
Russians, Serbians and other foreigners with aim of creation of so called
Novorossiya or New Russia state in the south of Ukraine.
After end of Turkish war in 1775 the Cossacks were being gradually
disarmed and in the Summer of that year, Russian general Tekeli surrounded
Cossacks in Sitch itself with superior force and demanded abandonment of their
fortress. Faced with such overwhelming odds, Cossack chief Kalnyshevskyj
surrendered. Sitch was destroyed and abolished by tzarist edict of 3rd August
1775. Kalnyshevskyj and other Cossack leaders were exiled to Siberia.
The Cossack lands were granted to Russian nobles; Cossacks were told to
disperse and settle in towns and villages or to join Russian forces. Many
Cossacks escaped and settled in Turkey near Danube delta; in 1778 they were
formally accepted under Turkish rule.
By end of 1780 all districts, which were formerly under Hetmanate, were
incorporated into Russian regime. In 1783 all Cossack regiments were
transferred to Russian forces; peasants were prohibited to leave their
landlords, which made them serfs on their former land. Ukrainian church
autonomy was abolished and church property was transferred to Russian treasury.