Baturyn – the idea of a hetman capital Cover Image
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Baturyn – idea hetmańskiej stolicy
Baturyn – the idea of a hetman capital

Author(s): Paweł Krokosz
Subject(s): History
Published by: KSIĘGARNIA AKADEMICKA Sp. z o.o.
Keywords: Baturyn; Left-bank Ukraine; Hetmanate; Russia in the 16th-18th centuries; Ukrainian Cossacks; Ivan Mazepa; Kyrylo Razumovsky; Zaporizhian hetmans

Summary/Abstract: The capital city of a state is a place of considerable importance – it is the centre of politics, economy, culture and religion. This was also the case in the Ukraine where the first independent contemporary Ukrainian state was formed in the middle 17th century thanks to Bohdan Khmelnytsky, the Zaporizhian hetman. The extremely complex political situation was not conducive to the state-building process and in the following years the Ukrainian lands were peculiarly divided along the line marked by the Dnieper river into the so-called Right-bank Ukraine subordinate to the Polish Republic and the Left-bank Ukraine controlled by Russia. This division was accompanied by the emergence of two hetman seats of authority. At the turn of the 18th century the capitals of the Zaporizhian hetmans dependent on Russia were located in many places, inter alia in Subotiv, Chyhyryn, Baturyn and Hlukhiv. However, it was Baturyn – the city located at the Seym river which until the second half of the 17th century constituted an extremely important frontier in the defense system of the borderlands of the Polish Republic – was to play the most important role. All of this happened thanks to the activities of two hetmans. One was Ivan Mazepa who in his attempts to create an Ukrainian state independent from Russia at the beginning of the 18th century followed his great predecessor, Bohdan Khmelnytsky. The other was Kyrylo Rozumovsky who in the middle of that century attempted to save the last shards of autonomy granted to the Ukraine by the Russian rulers. During hetman Mazepa’s tenure Baturyn was not only the political centre of all Ukrainian lands, but it was also an important cultural and religious centre. Its vibrant development was interrupted in 1708 during the Great Northern War when in his attempt to achieve independence from Russia, Mazepa supported the Swedish king, Charles XII. At that time, czar Peter I sent strong military units to Baturyn which burned the city and murdered its inhabitants. After these events, the hetman capital was located in Hlukhiv until 1750. It was not until the decision made by the Elizaveta Petrovna, the Empress of Russia that the languishing city of Baturyn regained the status of a capital and was granted to the hetman Kyrylo Rozumovsky. Soon after this, thanks to his activities the city was rebuilt – new houses and manufacturing plants were constructed, and there were plans to open a university as well. Eventually, the plans to restore Baturyn to its former glory which it enjoyed during Mazepa’s times failed, and so did the attempts to preserve the autonomy of the Ukraine within the Russian empire.

  • Issue Year: 2013
  • Issue No: 05
  • Page Range: 13-63
  • Page Count: 51
  • Language: Polish