Kapnist [Капніст]. A noble family that owned estates in Left-Bank Ukraine. Its members used the title of count, which was granted to their Greek ancestor Stomatello Kapnissis in Venice in 1702; it was not recognized in Russia until the 1870s. Stomatello's brother (?) Basilio (?–1757) enrolled as Vasyl Kapnist in the Russian army during the 1711 Prut campaign of Tsar Peter I. He became a captain in Izium regiment in 1726, the colonel of Myrhorod regiment in 1737, and brigadier of the Slobidska Ukraine regiments in 1751. He was killed during the Seven Years' War near Gross Jägersdorf in East Prussia. Three of his sons—Mykola, Petro, and Vasyl—were Ukrainian patriots. Mykola became the marshal of the Katerynoslav gubernia nobility in 1795. Petro (ca 1750–1826) was a guard officer who lived abroad for 20 years; he returned to Ukraine a convinced republican and established a ‘republic’ on his estate in the village of Turbaitsi, Khorol county. Vasyl Kapnist was a famous poet and civic leader. One of Vasyl's sons, Ivan (ca 1794–1860), was the marshal of the Poltava gubernia nobility and a friend of Prince Nikolai Repnin. He took part in designing a project for the renewal of Ukrainian Cossack regiments in 1831. Later he became the governor of Smolensk and of Moscow. Oleksa (ca 1796–1869), marshal of the nobility of Myrhorod county and a friend of Taras Shevchenko, and Semen (ca 1791–1843), the marshal of Kremenchuk county, were involved in the Decembrist movement.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]
Encyclopedia of Ukraine