Kryvonis, Maksym

Kryvonis, Maksym [Кривоніс, Максим; also known as Перебийніс; Perebyinis] b ?, d November 1648 near Zamość. Prominent Cossack military leader of the Cossack-Polish War. Little is known about Kryvonis’s early years. According to various sources he was either a peasant from Vilshane near Cherkasy or from near Zhytomyr, or a townsman from Ostroh or Mohyliv-Podilskyi. As a Zaporozhian Cossack, he took part in Cossack campaigns against the Crimean Tatars and Turkey. Kryvonis was one of the first to join Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s uprising and quickly became a close associate of the hetman’s. He gained distinction as a cavalry commander in the Battle of Korsun (May 1648). Following Khmelnytsky’s orders, in summer 1648 Kryvonis organized mass peasant uprisings in Bratslav region and Kyiv region and even in Left-Bank Ukraine, and engaged in a series of bloody battles with the Polish nobility’s forces led by Jeremi Wiśniowiecki. He later took part in the fighting in Right-Bank Ukraine, according to some sources as the colonel of Cherkasy regiment. He distinguished himself in the Battle of Pyliavtsi, and was wounded near Starokonstantyniv. Later he took part in the campaign in Galicia, gaining great fame when Cossacks under his command stormed the Vysokyi Zamok castle in Lviv (5 October 1648). He died of the plague during the siege of Zamość. Kryvonis was immortalized in folk songs and legends, some of which claim he was of Scottish descent. Many sources refer to him as Perebyinis. Kryvonis is the hero of Vitalii Kulakovsky’s historical novel Maksym Kryvonis (1983).

Polukhin, L. Maksym Kryvonis—heroi vyzvol'noï viiny ukraïns'koho narodu, 1648–1654 (Kyiv 1952)
Lola, A. Maksym Kryvonis (Kyiv 1957)
Vynar, L. ‘Pytannia pokhodzhennia polkovnyka M. Kryvonosa,’ Ukraïns’kyi istoryk, 1971, nos 3–4

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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