General Military Council

General Military Council (Heneralna viiskova rada). A principal political body in the Hetman state from 1648 to 1750. It assumed the functions of the Cossack Council, the ruling body of the Zaporozhian Sich, and the general Cossack councils (see Chorna rada); elected the hetman and senior Cossack starshyna; and debated and resolved all (domestic and external) political, administrative, judicial, and military affairs. The council was an example of direct, popular self-rule, similar to the medieval viche. All members of the Cossack estate could participate in it (at times delegations representing burghers, and even peasants, took part); thus the council involved several thousand people. There was no one place of assembly; the most frequent gathering places were by the Rosava River southwest of Kyiv and in Pereiaslav. During the Cossack-Polish War, the council was the supreme legislative body. By a show of hands, it sanctioned the alliance with Muscovy in Pereiaslav (see Pereiaslav Treaty of 1654), with Sweden in Korsun in 1657, and with Turkey in Korsun in 1669. Its powers often coincided and competed with those of the hetman and the Council of Officers, and in the late 17th century its governing powers were lost to them. Thereafter it convened only to sanction ceremonially the election of a new hetman.

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