General Officer Staff

General Officer Staff ( Heneralna starshyna). The hetman's senior officers in the Hetman state (1648–1782). Its members were the general quartermaster, two general judges, the general chancellor, general treasurer, two general osauls, the general flag-bearer, and the general standard-bearer. They were elected by either a general Cossack council or the Council of Officers or were appointed by the hetman or, after 1725, the Russian government. All these titles, except for the general treasurer,, existed before 1648, when they designated the most senior officers in the Cossack army.

After 1648 these officers constituted a council (similar to a cabinet) that advised the hetman on the conduct of all affairs, helped formulate and execute policy, planned and directed military affairs, and ruled the state during an interregnum or in the hetman's absence; at times the council acted as the highest appellate court (eg, for charges of treason) (see also General Military Court). Individual officers presided over the central administrative, judicial, and financial institutions or were personal deputies and envoys of the hetman. Their importance grew as the hetman's authority was eroded from 1709 by the Russian government, and by the mid-18th century they were in the forefront of the movement among the Cossack starshyna for incorporation into the Russian imperial gentry. The members of the General Officer Staff were remunerated for their services either by large land grants, or money, or in kind.

Gajecky, G. The Cossack Administration of the Hetmanate, 2 vols (Cambridge, Mass 1978)

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