Governor-general (heneral-hubernator). A high-ranking official in the civil or military administration in Russia who supervised several gubernias or vicegerencies, or had other special duties. Since he was accountable only to the tsar and the Senate, a governor-general had large discretionary powers. From the beginning of the 18th century, the title of governor-general was given to the commanders of the Russian armies in Ukraine; they also had considerable influence in civil matters, especially in Kyiv. After the abolition of the Hetman state in 1764, Petr Rumiantsev was appointed president of the Little Russian Collegium and governor-general of Little Russia. After a series of administrative territorial changes resulting from the abolition of the Cossack regiments and the introduction of the provincial reforms, Little Russia general-gubernia was re-established in 1802. It lasted until 1835, and for much of this period the post was occupied by Nikolai Repnin. Kharkiv general-gubernia, comprising Kharkiv gubernia and Voronezh gubernia, existed from 1775 until 1796. In 1832 Kyiv general-gubernia was established, comprising the Right-Bank gubernias of Kyiv gubernia, Podilia gubernia, and Volhynia gubernia. Dimitrii Bibikov used this post (1837–52) to further the Russification of the area. It survived the longest of all the general-gubernias in Ukraine, lasting until 1914. The New Russia general-gubernia (1797–1874) consisted of the steppe gubernias of Kherson gubernia, Katerynoslav gubernia, and Tavriia gubernia, and, for shorter periods, Bessarabia and the Kuban. Others were of a temporary nature, eg, Odesa general-gubernia (1905–8), formed because of a state of war or political upheavals in a given region.
The title of governor-general was given to the chief civilian administrator of Galicia and Bukovyna when they were occupied by Russian armies in 1914–17. The administrative center was in Chernivtsi. The first person to serve in this post was Count G. Bobrynsky, followed in 1916 by Gen V. Trepov. In April 1917 this post was taken over by Dmytro Doroshenko.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]
Encyclopedia of Ukraine