Rozumovsky, Kyrylo

Image - A portrait of Hetman Kyrylo Rozumovsky. Image - A portrait of Kyrylo Rozumovsky. Image - A portrait of Kyrylo Rozumovsky. Image - Hetman Kyrylo Rozumovsky burial monument (by Ivan P. Martos). Image - Restored Hetman Kyrylo Rozumovskys palace in Baturyn (1799-1803) (photo V. Mezentsev, 2008). Image - The reconstructed palace of Hetman Kyrylo Rozumovsky in Baturyn. Image - Church of the Three Saints (1761) in the village of Lemeshi, Chernihiv region (funded by Hetman Kyrylo Rozumovsky; designed by Ivan Hryhorovych Barsky).

Rozumovsky, Kyrylo [Розумовський, Кирило; Rozumovs’kyj] (Razumovsky, Kirill), b 29 March 1728 in Lemeshi, Kozelets company, Kyiv regiment, d 15 January 1803 in Baturyn, Konotop county, Chernihiv gubernia. The last hetman (1750–64) of the Hetman state. He was brought to Saint Petersburg as the brother of Oleksii Rozumovsky, Empress Elizabeth I's favorite, and then sent to study in Germany (1743–5). He was named a count in July 1744, and after his return to Saint Petersburg he was appointed president (1746–65) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Elizabeth and the Russian government agreed to restore the office of hetman under the pressure of Oleksii Rozumovsky and other Ukrainian nobles, and Elizabeth chose Kyrylo for the position. The choice was sanctioned by the Cossack starshyna's Hlukhiv Council of 1750.

Rozumovsky arrived in the Hetmanate's capital of Hlukhiv in July 1751 with Grigorii Teplov, his adviser and the administrator of his chancellery. Under Rozumovsky the Hetman state once again had a measure of autonomy. Elizabeth gave Rozumovsky authority over Kyiv and the Zaporizhia in November 1750 and shifted supervision of Little Russian (Ukrainian) affairs from the Russian Senate to the College of Foreign Affairs, thereby signifying her treatment of the Hetman state as a separate state rather than a Russian province.

Rozumovsky sought to rebuild the Hetmanate as an independent state. During that process two main political currents emerged within the upper echelon of the Cossack starshyna. The conservative current had as its spokesmen Andrii Bezborodko, the general chancellor, and Mykhailo Skoropadsky, the general treasurer, who sought to preserve the traditional Cossack order and make the Hetman state more like the noble-dominated Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The reformist current, led by the future general chancellor Vasyl Tumansky and his brothers, consisted primarily of young members of the Cossack starshyna, many of whom had studied in Western Europe. They sought models for the Hetman state in the Western European states and proposed a system of enlightened absolutism with a hereditary monarchy (the Rozumovsky dynasty) and a constitutional parliament (general assembly). The reformists became increasingly influential in the 1760s, and in 1764 (most likely with Rozumovsky's support) they tried to present their views to the Russian government.

During Rozumovsky's hetmancy the Hetman state was divided into 20 counties; a system of land courts, city courts, and pidkomorskyi courts was established; and the position of viit in the larger towns was occupied by members of the Cossack starshyna. The starshyna's political rights were expanded, and they assembled to confer more frequently. At their 1763–4 general assembly in Hlukhiv they discussed major issues and projects for state reform and adopted shliakhetstvo (nobility) as their official name. Rozumovsky extended the possibility of becoming a starshyna to non-Cossack estates, such as the clergy and the burgher elite. In 1760 he restricted the mobility of the peasantry. During his frequent stays in Saint Petersburg the Hetman state was ruled by the starshyna.

The vivification of Ukrainian political life and thought during Rozumovsky's hetmancy was due in no small measure to his own activities. He tried, in vain, to convince Saint Petersburg to grant the Hetman state the right of diplomatic ties with the European states, fostered the development of trade and industry, and once again made Baturyn the capital of the Hetman state. He also reformed the Cossack army according to a project drawn up by Col I. Kuliabka of Lubny regiment, and planned to establish universities in Kyiv and Baturyn under his patronage.

The wide-ranging program for modernizing the Hetmanate, Rozumovsky's participation in it, and the political activation of the Ukrainian nobility were completely at odds with the aims of the Russian government, and in the 1750s the government began limiting the Hetmanate's economic and political rights. In 1754 the Hetmanate's finances were brought under imperial control, and import and export duties in the Hetmanate were abolished. In 1755 the border tariffs between Russia and Ukraine were removed. In 1756 the supervision of Little Russian affairs, including control over the hetman's appointments of colonels and other officials and his distribution of hereditary estates to his relatives and supporters, was returned to the Russian Senate. In 1761 the Senate took over control of Kyiv from Rozumovsky. The government of the new empress, Catherine II, intensified Russian centralist policies with respect to Ukraine even further.

Rozumovsky's own social policies, aimed at transforming the Hetmanate into a nobility-dominated state, created greater social disparities and conflicts, and his dynastic plans met with concerted opposition from many members of the new nobility. Those difficulties were compounded by the losses Ukraine suffered as an unwilling participant in the Seven Years' War. Catherine II used Rozumovsky's petition to make his descendants hereditary hetmans as a pretext for forcing his resignation in November 1764, and placed the Hetmanate under the control of the Little Russian Collegium. Rozumovsky was compensated with the rank of field marshal, an enormous pension, and many estates in Ukraine, including the towns of Hadiach and Baturyn. He subsequently traveled in Germany, France, and Italy (1765–7) and led the life of an aristocrat in Saint Petersburg (1766–76), Baturyn (1776–85, 1794–1803), and Moscow (1784–94).

Wassiltschikow, A. Les comtes Alexei et Kiril Razoumovski (Halle 1883)
Borshchak, I. Slidamy het’mana Rozumovs’koho u Frantsiï (Munich 1957)
Kohut, Z. Russian Centralism and Ukrainian Autonomy: Imperial Absorption of the Hetmanate, 1760s–1830s (Cambridge, Mass 1988)

Oleksander Ohloblyn

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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