Hetman Ivan Mazepa was one of the most famous and enigmatic Ukrainian leaders. Although there have been controversial assessments of his reign as hetman of the Cossack Hetman state, he has remained a symbol of Ukrainian independence. The period of his hetmancy has justifiably been known as the Mazepa renaissance. Mazepa's political program had become evident during his service to Hetmans Petro Doroshenko and Ivan Samoilovych in the 1670s and 1680s. He was a firm supporter of a pan-Ukrainian Hetman state, and his main goal as hetman was to unite all Ukrainian territories in a unitary state that would be modeled on existing European states but would retain the features of the traditional Cossack order. Initially Mazepa believed that Cossack Hetman state could coexist with Muscovy on the basis of the Pereiaslav Treaty of 1654 and he actively supported Muscovy's wars with Turkey and the Crimean Khanate and sent his forces to help those of Tsar Peter I. However, Peter I not only interfered in the Hetmanate's internal affairs and mercilessly exploited the population in his belligerent pursuits, but embarked on a policy of annihilating Ukrainian autonomy and abolishing the Cossack order and privileges. When Peter's intentions became clear, Mazepa, supported by most of his senior officers, began secret negotiations in 1706 with King Stanislaus I Leszczynski of Poland and then with Charles XII of Sweden, and forged with them an anti-Muscovite coalition in 1708. Mazepa's efforts at organizing a broad anti-Muscovite front in Eastern Europe proved unsuccessful, and his and Charles XII's defeat at the Battle of Poltava on 8 July 1709 sealed Ukraine's fate. Having condemned Mazepa as a traitor, Peter I ordered the Russian and Ukrainian churches to anathematize him. Thereafter, imperial, both Russian and Soviet, propagandists and historians did their utmost to vilify this Ukrainian patriot and statesman... Learn more about Ivan Mazepa and other actors of the fateful Battle of Poltava (1709) by visiting the following entries:

MAZEPA, IVAN, b 20 March 1639 in Mazepyntsi, near Bila Tserkva, d 2 October 1709 in Bendery, Bessarabia. Hetman of Ukraine in 1687-1709. Educated in Western Europe, Mazepa entered in 1669 the service of Hetman Petro Doroshenko. Later he served under Doroshenko's rival in Left-Bank Ukraine, Ivan Samoilovych. In 1682 he was appointed Samoilovych's general osaul, and on 25 July 1687 he was elected the new hetman by the Cossack council that deposed Samoilovych. Mazepa contributed to the development of Ukraine's economy, particularly its industry. He also supported Ukrainian scholarship and education (the transformation of the Kyivan Mohyla College into the Kyivan Mohyla Academy, the establishment of Chernihiv College). Under his hetmancy literature flourished, and Mazepa himself wrote some verse. He was a generous patron of painting and architecture, who funded many churches built in the Cossack baroque style. Although Mazepa was able to establish a new and loyal senior Cossack officer stratum, he also faced considerable opposition from many members of the Cossack elite, and even open rebellion (especially by Petro Petryk, Vasyl Kochubei, and Ivan Iskra). Mazepa's many attempts to secure the rights of the Cossacks as an estate, the burghers, and the peasantry could not stem the growth of social discontent caused by endless wars and abuse of the population by Muscovite troops stationed in Ukraine. Mazepa's alliance with Peter I also caused onerous responsibilities and losses to be inflicted on the population, in particular as a result of the Great Northern War and Muscovite exploitation in Ukraine. Consequently Mazepa was deprived of the popular support he needed at a critical juncture in Ukrainian history when he forged the anti-Muscovite coalition with Poland and Sweden in 1708...

Ivan Mazepa

PETER I, b 9 June 1672 in Moscow, d 8 February 1725 in Saint Petersburg. Muscovite tsar from 1682 and first Russian emperor from 1721; son of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich. In 1696, after deposing the Muscovite regent, his half-sister, Sofiia Alekseevna, Peter conducted an aggressive, expansionist foreign policy that affected the Hetman state, Slobidska Ukraine, and the Zaporizhia throughout his reign. He exploited Ukraine economically and militarily as part of Muscovy's participation in the Holy League against the Ottoman Empire; the expansionist Russo-Turkish wars of 1695-6 and 1710-13; the Great Northern War with Sweden (1700-21), by which Russia gained a foothold on the Baltic Sea coast; and the war with Persia (1722-3), which fortified Russia's hold in Transcaucasia and the Caspian Sea littoral. Those wars exacted a heavy human and economic toll in Ukraine. Peter's internal reforms had as their goal the modernization and Europeanization of Muscovy. His cultural revolution provided a sound basis for the further expansion of Russian absolutism and imperialism. In Ukraine Peter's policies until 1708 continued the Muscovite tradition of the gradual erosion of regional sovereignty, although the Hetman state still remain largely autonomous of Russia. This changed dramatically after Hetman Ivan Mazepa and Otaman Kost Hordiienko sided with Charles XII of Sweden in 1708-9, particularly after the Battle of Poltava (July 1709). After defeating the Swedes and their Cossack allies, Peter initiated a reign of terror in Ukraine and instituted administrative measures to bring the Hetman state more directly under Muscovite rule...

Peter I

KOCHUBEI, VASYL, ca 1640, d 25 July 1708. Statesman. Under Hetman Petro Doroshenko he carried out diplomatic assignments such as the mission to Adrianople in 1675. Under Hetman Ivan Samoilovych he was the supervisor of the General Military Chancellery and in 1685 his envoy in Moscow. He helped Hetman Ivan Mazepa to come to power. Under Mazepa he was general chancellor (1687-99) and general judge (1699-1708), and on occasion he served as acting hetman. Kochubei led the Poltava Cossack officers' opposition to Ukraine's participation in the anti-Turkish coalition at the end of the 17th century, which culminated in Petro Petryk's rebellion against Mazepa and Tsar Peter I. This affected his hitherto friendly relations with Mazepa. Mazepa's love affair with Kochubei's daughter, Motria Kochubei, further strained relations between the two men in 1704. Upon learning of Mazepa's secret negotiations with King Stanislaus I Leszczynski of Poland, Kochubei and the colonel of Poltava, Ivan Iskra, denounced Mazepa's political plans to Peter, possibly in the hope of winning the hetman's office. Peter initiated an investigation, which found nothing to prove Kochubei's accusations. Trusting Mazepa, Peter had Kochubei and Iskra arrested and taken to Vitsebsk where, under torture, they were forced to recant. Peter had them returned to Ukraine and beheaded. They were buried at the Kyivan Cave Monastery...

Vasyl Kochubei

CHARLES XII, b 17 June 1682 in Stockholm, d 30 November 1718 in Fredrikshald, Norway. King of Sweden from 1697. In the Great Northern War (1700-21) against the coalition of Russia, Denmark, and Saxony (headed by the Polish king Frederick Augustus II), Charles conquered Denmark, occupied Poland, and forced Augustus to abdicate. In the course of the war with Russia Charles entered into negotiations with Hetman Ivan Mazepa (initially through the mediation of the new Polish king Stanislaus I Leszczynski, then directly), which were soon formalized in a Ukrainian-Swedish alliance. In the fall of 1708 Charles advanced into Ukraine, where in 1709 he suffered defeat by Russia in the decisive Battle of Poltava. With the remainder of his army and his Ukrainian allies led by Mazepa Charles found refuge in Turkish territory at Bendery, Moldavia. After Mazepa's death in October 1709 Charles negotiated an alliance with Hetman Pylyp Orlyk and the Crimean Tatars and induced the Tatars, for a time, to engage in war with Russia (the Prut campaign)...

Charles XII

BATTLE OF POLTAVA. The turning point in the Great Northern War (1700-21) between Sweden and Muscovy (later Russia). After the main Swedish army entered Ukraine, Hetman Ivan Mazepa openly sided with Charles against Peter. However, because of the harsh winter of 1708-9 and a series of military defeats the situation of the Swedish army in Ukraine became precarious. The assistance Charles XII expected from Turkey and the Crimean Khanate did not materialize, and the Polish army of King Stanislaus I Leszczynski and a Swedish corps were forced to remain in Poland. Charles's only success at that time was enlisting the support of Otaman Kost Hordiienko and his army of 8,000 Zaporozhian Cossacks in April 1709. In early May 1709, on Ivan Mazepa's advice, Charles XII decided to capture Poltava. Peter I arrived to relieve the town and decided his army of 42,500 soldiers and 102 cannons would attack the Swedes. Cossack forces loyal to Peter under the command of Hetman Ivan Skoropadsky cut off possible Swedish retreat to the Dnipro River between Pereiaslav and Kremenchuk. Charles had 31,000 men but only 4 cannons; 6,000 of his soldiers were engaged in maintaining the siege or guarding the Vorskla River rear. The Swedish army was defeated at Poltava, and thousands of soldiers were forced to capitulate and surrender. Charles XII, Ivan Mazepa, and Kost Hordiienko and a contingent of 3,000 Swedes and Cossacks fled to Turkish-occupied territory. The Battle of Poltava resulted in Russian military rule in the Hetman state and increasing curtailment of its autonomy...

Battle of Poltava


ORLYK, PYLYP, b 11 October 1672 in Kosuta, Ashmiany county, Vilnius voivodeship, Lithuania, d 26 May 1742 in Iasi, Moldavia. Cossack statesman and hetman-in-exile. A nobleman of Bohemian ancestry, in 1699 he became a senior member of the Hetman state's General Military Chancellery and in 1706 Hetman Ivan Mazepa appointed Orlyk general chancellor. In that capacity he was Mazepa's closest aide, facilitated Mazepa's secret correspondence with the Poles and Swedes, and assisted Mazepa in his efforts to form an anti-Russian coalition in Eastern Europe. After the defeat at the Battle of Poltava in July 1709, Orlyk fled abroad with Mazepa and became a leader of the first Ukrainian political emigration. After Mazepa's death, on 16 April 1710, Orlyk was elected hetman, with the backing of Charles XII of Sweden, in Bendery. The chief author of the Constitution of Bendery, he pursued policies aimed at liberating Ukraine from Russian rule. He gained the support of the Zaporozhian Host, concluded a treaty with Charles XII in May 1710, and sought to make the Ukrainian question a matter of international concern by continuing Mazepa's attempts at establishing an anti-Russian coalition. In 1711-14 he led Cossack campaigns against the Russians in Right-Bank Ukraine. Despite initial victories they ultimately failed. Orlyk and a part of his General Officer Staff emigrated in 1714 to Sweden, in 1720 to Silesia, and in 1721 to Poland. From 1722 until his death he was interned in Turkish-controlled territories--in Salonika until 1734, then in the Budzhak, and finally in Moldavia...

Pylyp Orlyk

The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries associated with the reign of Hetman Ivan Mazepa and the Battle of Poltava (1709) were made possible by the financial support of the MICHAEL KOWALSKY AND DARIA MUCAK-KOWALSKY ENCYCLOPEDIA ENDOWMENT FUND at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (Edmonton, AB, Canada).

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