Starosta. In Kyivan Rus’ the starosta was a lower government official, usually in charge of a certain department of the princely household. In the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Poland the starosta was a representative of the king or grand duke in a voivodeship. In Galicia and Podilia the general starosta was in charge of a whole voivodeship. By the end of the 16th century, as the power of the nobility had increased, the authority of the starosta diminished. In the Russian Empire the village starosta was the head of the lowest administrative unit, the village community. He was elected for three years by the village assembly. In Galicia and Bukovyna during Austrian rule a starosta was a county captain who supervised the county administration, conducted elections to the county council and the diet, headed the county school council, and oversaw the collection of direct taxes. Under the Hetman government in 1918, gubernial and county starostas were appointees of the central administration. In Polish-ruled Western Ukraine during the interwar period (1919–39), the starosta was an official of the state in the county and the head of the local administration. In Transcarpathia in 1919–39, the starosta was a village head or a city mayor. In addition, elected or appointed officers who conducted the affairs of any type of community (church, artel, etc) were known as starostas.

Encyclopedia of Ukraine