Little Russian Secret Society

Little Russian Secret Society ( Malorosiiske taiemne tovarystvo). A political organization active in the early 1820s in Left-Bank Ukraine. It was organized and headed by Vasyl Lukashevych, marshal of the nobility of Pereiaslav county. Although precise information about the society is not available, from the testimony of many leading activists of the Decembrist movement it appears that the society's main goal was to gain independence for Ukraine. The society had its ‘catechism,’ which to the question ‘Where did the sun rise?’ prescribed the reply ‘In Chyhyryn.’ A number of landowners from the Poltava region, including S. Kochubei, V. Tarnovsky, and the Oleksiiv brothers, belonged to the society and were arrested in 1826 in consequence. Lukashevych and the society developed contacts with some professors of the Nizhyn Lyceum and some residents of Kyiv and other towns of Left-Bank Ukraine, as well as with clandestine Polish organizations, but probably avoided closer ties with Russian Decembrists. During the tsarist investigation in Saint Petersburg in 1826 Lukashevych denied that such a society had ever existed. All its members were released quickly, but Lukashevych was confined to his estate in Boryspil for the rest of his life.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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