Cossack starshyna, or simply starshyna (officers). General title applied to persons holding positions of authority in a Ukrainian Cossack regiment and in the administration of the Hetman state (1648–1782). The starshyna was divided into the General Officer Staff and regimental and company staffs.
A regimental starshyna consisted of a colonel, an oboznyi (quartermaster, artillery commander), a judge, a chancellor, an osaul (aide-de-camp, the colonel's closest aide), and a khorunzhyi (flag-bearer, protector of the regimental banner). A company staff consisted of a captain, company or town otaman (lieutenant), a scribe, an osaul, and a flag-bearer.
Often the term ‘Cossack starshyna’ was applied to the entire social elite of the Hetman state, including the notable military fellows, who did not hold government or military posts.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]