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The Road to Pereiaslav

Ukrainian and Muscovite Understandings of Protectorate, 1620-1654
La voie vers Perejaslav. Les compréhensions ukrainienne et moscovite du protectorat, 1620-1654
Brian Davies
p. 465-493


L’article revient sur l’arrière-plan politique et culturel des accords de Perejaslav de 1654, qui plaçaient l’hetmanat de Bogdan Hmel´nyts´kyi sous la protection du tsar Aleksej Mihajlovič — décision qui eut des conséquences imprévues et de grande importance sur le futur politique de l’Ukraine, et qui reste controversée encore aujourd’hui. Il soutient que la conclusion des accords de Perejaslav doit beaucoup moins au discours sur les liens historiques, de nature religieuse et politique, entre Ukrainiens et Moscovites et sur l’unité originelle de la Rus´ (ce discours, alors tout récent, manquait encore de cohérence et de conviction) qu’à des considérations militaires : le tsar Aleksej désirait associer les cosaques d’Ukraine à sa campagne en Biélorussie et en Lituanie. L’article fait valoir par ailleurs qu’aucune des deux parties n’avait, à la veille de l’accord, d’idée précise et concrète sur la façon dont le protectorat redéfinirait les souverainetés respectives de la Moscovie et de l’hetmanat. Les modèles de protectorat existant alors impliquaient en effet un ensemble de conditions que Hmel´nyts´kyi n’était pas en mesure de reproduire, étant donnée sa situation stratégique, et que rien n’avait préparé les tsars de Moscou à accepter.

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Texte intégral

  • 1 Zenon Kohut, “Facing Ukraine’s Russian Legacy: Politics and History in the Late Kuchma Era,” Harrim (...)

1At a rada held at Pereiaslav in January 1654 Bohdan Khmel´nyts´kyi and the cossack starshyna placed the Hetmanate under the protection of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich. Their intentions in so doing, the intentions of Tsar Aleksei in accepting, and the political consequences for Ukraine of taking on protectorate status have continued to generate sharp controversy among Ukrainian and Russian historians. Even the question of whether the 350th anniversary of the Pereiaslav Agreement should be celebrated or mourned sparked widespread public debate in Ukraine in 2004.1

2The following attempt to reconstruct the events leading to the 1654 Pereiaslav negotiations was prepared in the course of writing a monograph examining Muscovite military development in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It is concerned solely with trying to understand the shifting strategic calculations that finally led to the negotiations at Pereiaslav and it has no interest in weighing in on questions of the historical injustice or justice of the Pereiaslav union. Rather it argues that discourse about the historical religious-political kinship of Ukrainians and Muscovites and the original unity of Rus´ had much less influence upon efforts to negotiate the tsar’s protectorate than did military considerations; that Moscow was unprepared to acknowledge protector “responsibility” until quite late — the summer of 1653 — and then changed its position largely because it now saw alliance with the Hetmanate as assisting other strategic projects of higher priority than vassalizing Ukraine; and that neither side came to Pereiaslav with a firm and concrete idea as to how protectorate would redefine the respective sovereignties of Muscovy and the Hetmanate.

Early discourse on Ukrainian-Muscovite affinity

  • 2 Tezisy o 300-letii vossoedineniia Ukrainy s Rossiei, 1654-1954 gg. [Theses regarding the 300th aniv (...)

3Of all the interpretations offered in the past to explain the 1654 Pereiaslav agreement, the CPSU Central Committee’s 1954 Theses about Pereiaslav as the culmination of a natural and inevitable process of “reunifying” the Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox Rus peoples appear today the least convincing when we observe how insubstantial discourse about such a project had been before the Khmel´nyts´kyi Revolt.2

  • 3 Serhii Plokhy, The Cossacks and Religion in Early Modern Ukraine (Oxford, New York: Oxford Universi (...)
  • 4 Ibid., 288-290.

4Serhii Plokhy’s recent study of the confessionalization of the Ukrainian Orthodox church and its impact on Ukrainian political thought takes note of the “unity of Rus´” rhetoric coming out of the L´viv Brotherhood and the scholars around Prince Kostiantyn Ostrozky in the 1590s, for example, but finds no sign it had any impact on Muscovite religious and political circles and comes to the same conclusion reached by Edward L. Keenan, that “there are hardly sufficient grounds to posit the existence of any program of ‘reunification’ in sixteenth-century Muscovy.”3 In the 1620s growing alarm about the Polish Crown’s support of the Uniate Church and marginalization of the Orthodox Church provoked Bishop Isaia Kopyn´skyi and Metropolitan Iov Borets´kyi to elaborate upon the themes struck by the L´viv brethren in letters (1622, 1624) sent to the Moscow patriarch and the tsar; these letters spoke of the natural brotherhood of the Little and Great Rus´ peoples and asked the latter to take thought of their suffering younger brethren as Joseph showed generosity to Benjamin. Borets´kyi’s letter even accepted that the new Romanov dynasty descended from the Riurikids and thereby from Vladimir and the princes of Kiev.4 But the notion that the historical kinship of Ukrainian-Muscovite Rus´ justified and necessitated not only the tsar’s assistance to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine but Ukrainian abandonment of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and political union with Muscovy as yet had no deep roots in Ukrainian culture. It would take another three decades of propaganda work by the bishops and especially further church and cossack estrangement from Polish rule before it would be seriously entertained by a large part of Ukrainian society.

  • 5 Ibid., 291, 293, 296, 297.

5Getting the Muscovite tsar and patriarch to recognize their obligations to protect the Ukrainian Orthodox people also required a long struggle, for the Muscovite Orthodox Church after the Troubles was inclined towards “self-isolation, suspicion, and vigilance towards the surrounding world” and reluctant to recognize that Ukrainian subjects of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth could be true Orthodox at all (for this reason the rebaptism of Ukrainian immigrants was often insisted upon). In Muscovite discourse in the 1630s Ukrainians were still Litovtsy or Liakhy [Lithuanians, Poles], or Cherkasy if they were cossacks, but they were not yet considered russkie [Russians] despite the efforts of some Ukrainian churchmen to promote Muscovite acceptance of the terms Little Rus´ and Great Rus´ as expressions of shared ethnopolitical and religious heritage.5

  • 6 S.M. Solov´ev, Istoriia Rossii s drevneishikh vremen [History of Russia from the Earliest Times], k (...)

6Furthermore, rapprochement with the Zaporozhian Host was discouraged by recent memories of the humiliations Muscovy had suffered at Ukrainian cossack hands during the Troubles and during the Smolensk War. As evidence that the Host was already interested in negotiating the tsar’s protectorate some have pointed to Zaporozhian Hetman Petr Konashevich Sahaidachnyi’s decision in 1620 to notify Moscow the Host “want to serve him, the Grand Sovereign, with their heads [their lives], as before, as they served previous Great Russian sovereigns” and to seek the tsar’s blessing for a campaign against the Crimean Tatars, which the Polish king was forbidding them to do. “In spring we will all go to Zaporozh´ia and all petition the Grand Sovereign, that the Sovereign would show bounty to us as his bondsmen (chtob nas gosudar´ pozhaloval kak svoikh kholopei).” But it is more likely Sahaidachnyi was attempting a temporary tactical rapprochement with Moscow in order to alarm King Zygmunt III and press him to expand the cossack register and permit raids on the Tatars. It was unlikely that this overture would be entertained seriously by the tsar, given the great damage Sahaidachnyi’s cossacks had inflicted on Muscovite towns and villages in their raids of 1618-1619. The tsar sent Sahaidachnyi a token gift of three hundred rubles but refused to approve an attack on the Crimean Tatars.6

  • 7 Brian Davies, Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea Steppe, 1500-1700 (London, New York: Rout (...)

7Muscovite suspicion of Ukrainians continued to be displayed in its policy on the resettlement of “cherkas” refugees. In 1638 Hetman Iatsko Ostrianyn defected to Muscovy with an entire polk of about a thousand men and was given permission by the tsar to found his own fortified settlement at Chuguev on the Donets River. Its relations with neighboring Muscovite garrisons and their voevody soon became strained, however, and the Chuguev colony broke up in 1652 when Ostrianyn’s regiment, angered at harassment at the hands of Muscovite officials and swayed by Polish propaganda, mutinied against him and returned to Ukraine. Hence the Military Chancellery preferred to resettle immigrant Ukrainian cossacks as corps cossacks or ranger atamans serving alongside Muscovite servicemen in the garrison towns of the emerging Belgorod Line. It also permitted settlement at Belgorod Line towns to small numbers of Ukrainian townsmen and peasants who had skills as millers, distillers, smiths, or saltpetre-makers, for which they were usually awarded privileges of duty-free trade. But the Military Chancellery tried to channel most arrivals through one border station, Putivl´, for vetting and policing purposes, and to avoid concentrating too many Cherkas colonists too close to the Ukrainian border — it considered this a potential security problem — and resettled many of them farther east along the Line, at Korocha, Valuiki, Voronezh and even as far as Kozlov. In some Line districts where there were enough cherkasy, they were allowed to settle together in special suburban colonies (cherkasskie slobody) under their own elected atamans, but their atamans in turn had to answer to a special Muscovite syn boiarskii charged with keeping them under surveillance. The town governors and neighboring Muscovite servicemen often doubted the loyalty of Cherkas colonists and jailed them for insubordination or had them transferred to Kazan´ and other garrisons farther east. As of 1647 there were still only about 2,500 adult male Ukrainian refugees enrolled in service in fourteen districts of the Belgorod Line. Ukrainian migration into southern Muscovy and Sloboda Ukraine would not take off until Khmel´nyts´kyi’s revolt against the Commonwealth was well under way.7

The Khmel´nyts´kyi revolt and Muscovite strategic interests, 1648-1652

8Appeals on the basis of religious and ethnic affinity were therefore not enough; convincing the tsar to intervene required that he be made to see real strategic gain from it and minimal risk. I.B. Cherkasskii and Ivan Gramotin may have seen some opportunity in it, but the government as a whole was preoccupied in the 1620s-1630s with the mission of recovering Smolensk and Lithuanian west Rus´.

9Even the outbreak of the Khmel´nyts´kyi Revolt and his early military successes against Polish forces did not change this thinking. Tsar Aleksei’s government still hoped to preserve the 1634 Polianovka Armistice with the Commonwealth and even build upon it to form an alliance with the Commonwealth against the Crimean Tatars (as Adam Kysil was proposing, in order to press the khan into abandoning Khmel´nyts´kyi); it viewed the recent passing of Władysław IV (May 1648) as an opportunity to achieve such an alliance and perhaps even the election of Tsar Aleksei to the Polish throne. Meanwhile Khmel´nyts´kyi’s own alliance with the Crimean Tatars caused it great anxiety, for it raised the possibility the Tatars could raid Muscovite border towns from the territory of the new Hetmanate, circumventing the Belgorod Line. Moscow was further troubled by Khmel´nyts´kyi’s negotiations with Ottoman envoys over the possibility of placing the Hetmanate under the sultan’s protection, which at the least suggested Khmel´nyts´kyi was playing a double game and was not in earnest about alliance with Muscovy.

10The record of Ukrainian-Muscovite diplomacy reveals why circumstances did not favor a Muscovite pledge of protectorate until the spring of 1653.

  • 8 Mykhailo Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´. Volume Eight: The Cossack Age, 1626-1650, trans. Mart (...)

11In early 1649 Khmel´nyts´kyi made his first serious attempt to recruit the tsar as ally by sending Patriarch Paisios of Jerusalem and Col. Syluian Muzhylovsky to Moscow — Paisios to make the argument for honoring Orthodox religious solidarity, Muzhylovsky to propose that if the tsar invaded western Seversk he would “recover” this territory for Muscovy while protecting the new Hetmanate’s northern flank against the Lithuanians. But Moscow was not ready to accept this proposal. It considered it too risky to break armistice with the Commonwealth at this time, especially given that the cossack revolt might yet fail; and above all it remained uneasy about Khmel´nyts´kyi’s alliance with the Crimean Tatars and his new oath of fealty to the sultan. In the first months of his revolt Khmel´nyts´kyi had found Tatar support indispensable — not only for his military struggle against the Poles, but for his diplomacy, for reminding the Muscovites they risked future conflict with the Tatars and perhaps even the Turks if they failed to accept the alliance he proposed to them. But the events of summer 1649 cast doubt on Khmel´nyts´kyi’s ability to control his Tatar allies: the khan had accepted Polish bribes and lifted his siege of Zbarazh, which forced Khmel´nyts´kyi to accept an unfavorable armistice with the Poles (signed at Zboriv in mid-August), and Tatar chambuly had ceased raiding Polish-controlled territory and were now taking most of their human plunder from Khmel´nyts´kyi’s Hetmanate. Khmel´nyts´kyi was not in the position to protest this lest his alliance with the Tatars collapse altogether. He still needed their assistance; the Zboriv Armistice was unpopular with his colonels and unlikely to last, and he still had to station Tatar detachments near some Ukrainian towns of questionable loyalty to the Hetmanate.8

Mykhailo Hrushev´skyi, History of Ukraine-Rus´. Volume Nine, Book Two, Part One. The Cossack Age, 1654-1657. Trans. Marta Skorupsky; edited Andrzej Poppe and Frank Sysyn, (Edmonton and Toronto: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, 2008), p. iv.

12Under these circumstances it was not difficult for Moscow to imagine Khmel´nyts´kyi’s dependency on the Tatars eventually pressuring him to join the khan in attacks on southern Muscovy or at least leaving him unable to stop such attacks. The khan and the sultan were already protesting Don Cossack raids on their territory as intolerable provocations, and in May 1650 an envoy from the sultan put Khmel´nyts´kyi on notice he was expected to deter such Don Cossack raids or even undertake retaliatory attack on the Don Host as the price for continued support from the Khanate and the Porte. Moscow had received report that Khmel´nits´kyi’s son Dem´ka was camping on the Mius´ River with five or six thousand men, awaiting Tatar reinforcements before attacking the Don Cossack settlement at Cherkassk. In reality Khmel´nyts´kyi was trying to avoid being held to this commitment. But Moscow still had reason to worry about the security of its southern frontier as long as large Tatar forces were operating in Ukraine, for Tatar attacks out of Ukraine could circumvent the Belgorod Line. There was intelligence from Crimea confirming that the khan and his mirzas recognized that they

  • 9 A.A. Novosel´skii, “Bor´ba Moskovskogo gosudarstva s tatarami vo vtoroi polovine xvii veka” [“The s (...)

cannot in any way pass across the steppe with an army to attack the Sovereign’s Borderland towns, because a strong wall has been erected and deep ditches dug, and many towns have been built behind the wall and many troops established in the towns. But when the khan’s sons go with troops to Hetman Bogdan Khmel´nitskii, to aid him against the Poles […] [they] can attack the Sovereign’s Borderland towns from the Lithuanian side.9

13Although appearing to accept Adamy Kysil’s proposal that he join the Tatars in an attack upon Muscovite Seversk, Khmel´nyts´kyi had no desire for such a campaign and in April 1650 sent Samiilo Bohdanovich-Zarudny to Moscow to ask the tsar to continue taking a firm line against the Commonwealth “so that all the needs of Orthodox Christians on both sides of the border are met” and the Uniate Church dismantled in Ukraine. Bohdanovich-Zarudny declared:

Hetman Bohdan Khmel´nyts´kyi and all the Zaporozhian Host greatly desire to be united in alliance with Orthodox Christians [i.e., the Muscovites] […] And the hetman and the whole Zaporozhian Host have long contemplated that they want to serve His Tsarist Majesty. Today, too, they maintain that they will do for His Tsarist Majesty whatever pleases him, the Sovereign.

  • 10 Mykhailo Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´. Volume Nine, Book One: The Cossack Age, 1650-1653, tr (...)

14Bohdanovich-Zarudny reportedly expressed the hope that “the hetman and the Zaporozhian Host would, for the sake of the Orthodox Christian faith, unanimously insist that they should be free from subjugation to the Liakh faith and bound in unity with the Orthodox Christians under the high hand of his Tsarist Majesty.” Bohdanovich-Zarudny explained that the hetman had signed peace with the king under duress and still feared the Poles. One should take note here of the vagueness of his appeal — which speaks of some kind of alliance and of “serving” the Sovereign, but not explicitly as subject — as well as of the fact that this wording is itself a paraphrase of Bohdanovich-Zarudny’s address by the secretaries of the Ambassador’s Chancellery. Bohdanovich-Zarudny evidently made little impression when weighed against intelligence about the Polish-Tatar rapprochement and reports that the Zaporozhian Host was harboring the Pretender Timofei Akundinov.10

  • 11 Ibid., 141-143; Valerii Stepankov, “Problema viboru protektsii mizh Moskov´skoiu derzhavoiu i Osman (...)

15Khmel´nyts´kyi therefore received the Ottoman envoy Osman Aga at Chyhyryn and declared his submission to the Porte (late July 1650). This did not preclude that he would renew negotiations with Moscow ; rather, it appears to have been a shorter-term maneuver to avoid having to accept alliance with the Poles and joining the Tatars against the Muscovites, for it was immediately followed by his military intervention in Moldavia. In order to provide reason to decline the Crimean khan’s request that he participate in an attack on Muscovy, Khmel´nyts´kyi now proposed instead a cossack-Tatar invasion of Moldavia. The initial objective of this invasion was to overthrow Hospodar Vasile Lupu and replace him with Moise Mohila, first cousin of Kiev Metropolitan Petro Mohila. When this no longer appeared achievable, the objective became forcing Lupu to affiance his daughter Roksanda to Khmel´nyts´kyi’s son Tymysh. If this could be achieved it would not only establish the Khmel´nyts´kyis’ dynastic claim to the Moldavian throne but secure the Hetmanate’s western flank and put the Poles further on the defensive. It might even reduce the danger of a Lithuanian invasion of the Hetmanate by making Lithuanian Grand Hetman Janusz Radziwiłł, husband of Lupu’s eldest daughter Elena, brother-in-law to Tymysh Khmel´nyts´kyi. The Moldavian project had the further utility of testing the Ottoman sultan’s willingness to offer further concessions in order to keep Khmel´nyts´kyi’s vassalage and rewards for abandoning alliance with Poland against the Porte and for leaving Vasile Lupu in power. In fact Sultan Mehmet IV soon bestowed these concessions despite his reluctance to see his vassal Lupu’s power challenged; in December 1650 he recognized Khmel´nyts´kyi as a vassal prince free of tribute obligations (though still bound to remain in friendship with the khanate and to send his army where the sultan commanded). At Istanbul Colonel Antin Zhdanovych received an imperial rescript declaring the Zaporozhian Host would be taken under “the wing and protection of our Sublime Porte,” protected from Tatar raiding, and given military support against its enemies. The terms of the sultan’s protectorate, then, encouraged Khmel´nyts´kyi to expect considerable continuing independence for the Hetmanate as well as continuing Ottoman pressure on the Crimean khan to maintain good relations with him11.

16The sultan’s protectorate pledge never delivered meaningful military assistance however, and by rejecting the alliance proposed by Kysil and launching operations in Moldavia Khmel´nyts´kyi had given King Jan Kazimierz justification for resuming war against the Hetmanate. In autumn 1650 the king began preparing for a Polish invasion of Ruś Czerwona coordinated with a march upon Kiev by Lithuanian forces under Radziwiłł and strikes out of Moldavia by Lupu.

  • 12 Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 146-147, 221.

17These events led Moscow to reexamine its policies and give greater attention to strengthening relations with the Hetmanate. In letters brought to Moscow by Metropolitan Gabriel of Nazareth and the Muscovite starets Arsenii Sukhanov in December 1650 Khmel´nyts´kyi again requested an alliance against the Poles. He pointed out that he had demonstrated the value of his friendship by rejecting alliance with the Commonwealth and redirecting the Tatars against Moldavia. He also implied that if the tsar failed to support the Hetmanate he might be forced to seek further protection from the sultan to the disadvantage of Muscovite interests in the region.12

  • 13 VUR, n° 1, p. 7 and n° 2, p. 11; L.V. Cherepnin, Zemskie sobory Russkogo gosudarstva v xvi-xvii vv.(...)

18Khmel´nyts´kyi could take some encouragement from signs that Muscovite diplomacy towards the Commonwealth had grown more truculent in 1650. The tsar had now chosen to cast recent Polish breaches of protocol (omission of certain of his titles, the publication in some recent books of insults to his honor) as affronts so grave as to threaten the peace signed at Polianovka in 1634. He demanded a compensation of 500,000 zlotys and the execution of Wiśniowiecki and other slanderers of his honor. He even insisted now upon the return of Smolensk if peace was to be preserved. He threatened the king and the Sejm with the prospect of a Muscovite-Swedish military alliance, and he reminded them “the Ukrainian Hetman has petitioned the Grand Sovereign to take him, with all the towns, under his lofty hand, as the Zaporozhian Ukrainians’ Orthodox faith is perpetually persecuted and mortally endangered by Your Highness and the Commonwealth.” In February 19-28 1651 the tsar convened a Church Council and, in separate session, an Assembly of the Realm (Zemskii sobor) to discuss these affronts as well as the charge that King Jan Kazimierz was conspiring with the Crimean khan to invade Muscovy. The tsar’s report to these assemblies noted that Bohdan Khmel´nyts´kyi and the entire Zaporozhian Host had asked to be taken “under the Sovereign’s lofty hand as subjects” (takzhe i zaporozhskogo getmana Bogdana Khmel´nitskogo prisylki ob´´iaviti, chto oni b´iut chelom pod gosudarevy vysokuiu ruku v poddanstvo).13 The Church Council answered : it endorsed the breaking of the armistice with Poland and the alliance with the Zaporozhian Host in the event Warsaw refused to grant the tsar’s demands. The response of the Assembly of the Realm was not recorded or has not survived.

  • 14 Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 224.

19Yet Tsar Aleksei chose not to take action upon the Church Sobor’s verdict — he would not break the Polianovka Armistice until another two years had passed — and he did not even inform Khmel´nyts´kyi of the assemblies’ decision or of his intentions regarding intervention in Ukraine.14

  • 15 VUR, n° 50, p. 100-101.

20A telling shift in policy towards Cherkas immigration occurred at this time. Henceforth the governors of Putivl´, Briansk, and Sevsk were instructed to actively encourage it by propagandizing that all Ukrainians seeking relief from Polish oppression should prepare their families for resettlement in Muscovy rather than cling to vain hopes that the king would make peace with Khmel´nyts´kyi.15

  • 16 This was subsequently crossed out, however, the tsar having apparently decided that the hetman woul (...)

21This suggests that Tsar Aleksei still anticipated the defeat of Khmel´nyts´kyi and the disintegration of the Hetmanate and was prepared to offer Muscovite protectorate over the Zaporozhian Host only in terms of providing a haven for Ukrainian refugees on Muscovite soil. Further indication of this is the instruction the tsar gave his envoy Larion Lopukhin, sent to the hetman in January 1651 to request he turn over all correspondence that might show the king was in collusion with the Crimean khan to attack Muscovy. In the original draft of this instruction Lopukhin was also authorized to inform Khmel´nyts´kyi that if Muscovy and the Commonwealth went to war the hetman and his colonels could cross the border and find haven in Muscovy, with stipends and land grants, as had been arranged for Ostrianyn and other prominent refugees in the past.16

22In spring 1651 Jan Kazimierz led an unusually large Polish army into Bratslav and Volhynia while Janusz Radziwiłł made preparations to march on Kiev from Lithuania. In June the king’s army crushed the cossacks at Berestechko, a victory made possible by the flight of the 50,000 Tatars entrusted with defending the cossacks’ left flank. Radziwiłł’s forces took Kiev on 25 July.

23The defeat at Berestechko forced Khmel´nyts´kyi to suspend operations in Moldavia and step up his diplomacy towards Moscow in hopes of securing Muscovite military aid. Although Moscow continued to distrust Khmel´nyts´kyi and doubt his prospects for survival, and was still not ready to risk war against the Commonwealth, it recognized that it could not afford to close the door altogether on negotiations for alliance with him. Russians had to indicate their readiness to continue such talks at least as a means of showing the Poles they were not intimidated and to counter Polish efforts to push the Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars against Muscovy.

  • 17 Note Bogdanov´s loose use of “subjects” (poddanye), which he applies even to the Don Cossacks. VUR, (...)

24After the defeat at Berestechko the tsar had sent Metropolitan Gabriel back to Ukraine accompanied by Grigorii Bogdanov, a clerk in the Military Chancellery, to remind Khmel´nyts´kyi the tsar had rejected Polish offers of military alliance against the cossacks and the Tatars, and to rebuke Khmel´nyts´kyi for having trusted in alliance with the Tatars. The hetman responded that if the tsar had agreed to take the Zaporozhian Host under his protection he would never have had to ally with the Tatars. Bogdanov testified that Khmel´nyts´kyi’s secretary Ivan Vyhovsky was especially vocal in calling for a Muscovite protectorate, arguing that it would bring the Sovereign new lands and towns, would secure his realm against both Polish and Tatar attack, and might even eventually lead to the subjugation of Poland-Lithuania. Bogdanov contributed further to the impression that protectorate could entail formal political union by alleging that many clergymen, townsmen and cossacks he had encountered on the road out of Ukraine had requested “with tears in their eyes” that the tsar recognize them as his subjects (poddannye).”17

  • 18 Stepankov, “Problema viboru,” 32-33; Iurii Mytsyk, Getman Ivan Vyhovskyi [The hetman Ivan Vyhovskyi(...)

25It is possible Khmel´nyts´kyi was not yet firmly committed to throwing in his lot with Muscovy and still counted on assistance from the Ottomans, for talks with Mehmet Aga continued at Chyhyryn and Khmel´nyts´kyi had reportedly offered to cede Kamianets in return for Ottoman military aid. Vyhovskyi’s correspondence with Moscow communicated the sense that there was a split within cossack leadership, with Khmel´nyts´kyi and some colonels favoring acceptance of an Ottoman protectorate, and Vyhovskyi, Zhdanovich and the cossack rank-and-file opposed to this and in favor of a Muscovite protectorate. But it is also possible this split was imaginary, a chimera with which Vyhovskyi was trying to alarm the Muscovites.18

  • 19 Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 403-404, 465-466.

26The outbreak of partisan resistance in Bratslav palatinate had by now blocked the king’s further advance and forced Radziwiłł to withdraw from Kiev to rendezvous with the king at Pavoloch. In September Khmel´nyts´kyi won a great victory at Bila Tserkva. But if the military situation at the end of 1651 could be called a stalemate, the political situation was more clearly one of major setback for Khmel´nyts´ky: the armistice signed at Bila Tserkva on 18 September cut back the cossack register and restored Bratslav and Chernigov to the Commonwealth, reducing the territory of the Hetmanate to Kiev palatinate. The Bila Tserkva Treaty was also a setback for Khmel´nyts´kyi’s Moldavian project, for if he continued campaigning in Moldavia he risked breaking the armistice with Poland and provoking a new invasion by Hetman Potocki. Vasile Lupu was now in alliance with Poland and there were indications Transylvania and Wallachia were joining the anti-Zaporozhian coalition and the Ottomans were no longer willing to tolerate Khmel´nyts´kyi’s interference in Moldavia.19

  • 20 Ibid., 425-426.

27Khmel´nyts´kyi recognized the Bila Tserkva treaty was unlikely to stand for very long. Its harsh terms were provoking unrest among the rank-and-file cossacks, peasantry, and townsmen, confronting him with the possibility he would have to resume war with the king if he was to remain in power as hetman; yet past experience also showed that going back to war with the Crimean Tatars as his only significant allies would inevitably leave him abandoned and betrayed again. By February 1652 the number of cossacks remaining under Khmel´nyts´kyi’s banner was rumored to have fallen to just 20,000.20

  • 21 VUR, n° 101, p. 208-210; Solov´ev, bk. 5, t. 10, 584-585.

28The failure of Muscovite envoys at Warsaw to obtain satisfaction of the tsar’s grievances against the king and the magnates did give Khmel´nyts´kyi reason to again request Muscovite protectorate, however. Through his envoy Semen Savich and through letters to the governors at Putivl´ and other Muscovite border towns Khmel´nyts´kyi proclaimed his readiness to “serve” the Tsar-without, however, specifying what kind of military/political arrangement he was seeking. The tsar still held back from pledging military intervention in Ukraine. When Khmel´nyts´kyi’s envoy Ivan Iskra again asked the tsar to take the Zaporozhian Host under protection in March 1652, Tsar Aleksei answered he was prepared only to allow the Host to resettle on Muscovite territory along the Donets and Medveditsa and other parts of the steppe.21

  • 22 Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 466.

29In May 1652 the hetman decided to renew his campaign in Moldavia. Crimean Tatar grievances against the Poles and Moldavians had raised his hopes he could bring them back into alliance with him, and the Polish army was demoralized by pay arrears. He calculated that victory in Moldavia might strengthen his position in several ways: it could intimidate Lupu into abandoning his alliance with the Commonwealth and giving his daughter’s hand to Tymysh Khmel´nyts´kyi; it could end Lupu’s efforts to block closer Ukrainian strategic partnership with the Khanate and the Porte; it might enlist Janusz Radziwiłł as a new ally supporting the Hetmanate’s struggle for independence from the Polish crown; and it might even persuade Radziwiłł to help place a fellow Calvinist, Zsigmond Rakoczi, on the Polish throne.22 In late May a Polish army under Kalinowski attempting to block Ukrainian and Tatar forces marching upon Moldavia was massacred at Batih. But Khmel´nyts´kyi was then forced to turn back from Moldavia after failing to take the Polish fortress at Kamianets and noting new signs of wavering among his Tatar auxiliaries.

  • 23 “You know that I, with God’s help, am the master of all matters in the Zaporozhian Host. The hetman (...)

30These events left Moscow uncertain whether the Bila Tserkva armistice was about to break down entirely and the Poles finally crush the Hetmanate, or whether Khmel´nyts´kyi’s efforts to resume operations would require him to accept full dependency upon the sultan and the khan. Vyhovskyi combated these doubts by recommending himself as the tsar’s surest friend and confidant within the Hetmanate, promising to exert all his considerable influence to persuade Khmel´nyts´kyi to abandon the Ottomans and Tatars and place the Zaporozhian Host under the tsar’s protection. He acknowledged there were “many people” urging the hetman to accept full vassalage to the sultan, but he vouched for the hetman’s preference for a Muscovite protectorate, provided that protectorate be offered soon; then southern Muscovy would be secured against Tatar attack.23

31In December 1652 Khmel´nyts´kyi’s envoy Bohdanovich-Zarudny again communicated the hetman’s request that the tsar take the Zaporozhian Host “under his Sovereign lofty hand” and protect it from its enemies. Bohdanovich-Zarudny testified that Potocki, Wisniowiecki, and Koniecpolski were eager to resume war upon the Zaporozhian Host; half the Sejm was with them, and apparently King Jan Kazimierz as well, for it had been discovered that the king had sent agents to Crimea to try to bribe the khan into betraying the Host and joining Commonwealth forces in a spring invasion of Ukraine. The king was assembling an army for this purpose near Sokol´ and Volodimer, and a second army under Field Hetman Janusz Radziwiłł was being formed along the Rechitsa River in Lithuania. Fortunately Radziwiłł’s army was small and mobilization of the king’s army had been held up by the spread of plague through southern Poland. The Khan had given assurance he had rejected the king’s bribes, so Polish and Lithuanian forces were not expected to be operating with a significant number of Tatar auxiliaries. Khmel´nyts´kyi estimated some 300,000 Ukrainians were prepared to take up arms against the invaders — the larger part of them would be needed for local defense and to deter opportunistic Tatar raiding, of course, so Khmel´nyts´kyi’s field army would still need to be reinforced with Muscovite troops. As for the Tatar forces currently in Ukraine, Bohdanovich-Zarudny thought there were about 20,000 Nogais, mostly nomadizing close to the Ukrainian towns, the hetman having allowed this to deter Polish attack upon the towns, and the Nogais content with the arrangement because it allowed them to trade with the townspeople, selling off their captives for food and fodder.

  • 24 Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 511-513 ; VUR, n° 133, p. 239-240, n° 138, p. 244-246.
  • 25 AJuZR 3, n° 335, p. 487.

32The Muscovite government’s initial response was cautious and limited to vague assurances : it would continue mediating between the Hetmanate and the Polish crown while remaining open to further proposals and standing ready to “protect” Orthodox Ukrainians in the event the king failed to satisfy the tsar’s demands and the tsar was forced to go to war against Poland.24 It still held back from offering a protectorate guaranteeing the integrity of the territory of the Hetmanate. On 29 January Tsar Aleksei asked Bohdanovich-Zarudny, “How and by what means are Hetman Khmel´nits´ky and the whole Zaporozhian Host to be under His Sovereign’s lofty hand? And where are they to reside: there, in their towns, or somewhere else? What have you been instructed about this?” Bohdanovich-Zarudny had to reply that he did not know, as the hetman had not instructed him on this matter.25

Summer 1653: the turning point

33What finally moved the Muscovites to pledge the tsar’s protectorate was, first, their perception of the growing danger of a Polish-Tatar alliance capable of destroying the Hetmanate and invading the Muscovite borderlands, and, second, the possibility of exploiting Khmel´nyts´kyi’s desperation in order to bind him to assisting Muscovy with certain other projects. Establishment of a fuller Muscovite sovereignty over Ukraine than Khmel´nyts´kyi had previously sought was not, however, the most important of these projects at this time; Moscow was more preoccupied with obtaining the Hetmanate’s support for the subjugation of Lithuania and the confessionalization of the Muscovite Orthodox Church along Ukrainian lines.

34Khmel´nyts´kyi’s position in early 1653 was actually less secure than Bohdanovich-Zarudny acknowledged.

  • 26 Stepankov, “Pereiaslav 1654 roku,” 99 ; Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 513-514, 535; VUR, n°  (...)

35Since autumn 1652 cholera epidemic and famine had spread across Ukraine, taking thousands of lives and driving thousands more to flee across the border (Khmel´nyts´kyi himself was at one point rumored to have died in the epidemic). The Hetmanate may have lost as much as 40% of its population to this catastrophe. Khmel´nyts´kyi’s army was disintegrating; the number of effectives he could field had dropped from 130,000 to 50 or 60,000 men, and his Crimean Tatar allies were leaving him — just 300 of them remained under his standard, in exchange for regular pay, while the rest were returning to Crimea after plundering the districts he had turned over to them for “feeding.” The hetman’s compromise at Bila Tsirkva, his costly adventure in Moldavia, and his inability to protect his own people against Tatar raiding had done much to alienate the Ukrainian townsmen and gentry and the cossack rank-and-file. There was growing dissatisfaction in the Sich, in the original Zaporozhian Host, which resented its eclipse by the new Hetmanate that had borrowed its name. Alienation from Khmel´nyts´kyi’s leadership was especially advanced on the Left Bank. Some dissident cossacks broke from the Host and formed their own camp at Gorodok Bedrikiv´skii.26

36Khmel´nyts´kyi’s project in Moldavia had broken down irretrievably. Although Vasile Lupu had given Roksanda’s hand to Tymysh in August 1652, Tymysh’s ambitions in Wallachia soon provoked the overthrow of Lupu; Lupu’s successor, Gheorghe Stefan, allied with King Jan Kazimierz, Wallachian hospodar Matei Basarab, and Prince Gyorgy II Rakoczi and drove Tymysh and his cossacks from Moldavia.

37Adam Kysil’s recommendations no longer carried much weight in Warsaw (he would die later in the spring); the Commonwealth’s Ukraine policy was now in the hands of warhawks uninterested in preserving the Bila Tserkva peace (the Sejm had never even ratified the treaty, viewing its terms as too generous and forgiving). King Jan Kazimierz and Crown Hetman Stanisław Potocki cited Khmel´nyts´kyi’s meddling in Moldavia and solicitation of foreign protectorates as violations of the Zboriv and Bila Tserkva treaties and sent a Polish army of 15,000 men under Stefan Czarniecki into the Hetmanate in March 1653, burning ten towns and killing thousands.

  • 27 V.I. Picheta, “Vneshnaia politika Rossii pri tsare Aleksee Mikhailoviche” [“The foreign policy of R (...)

38Tsar Aleksei met with his Duma councilors on 22 February-14 March to discuss preparations for war against the Commonwealth. On 19 March the tsar summoned a session of the Assembly of the Realm for 20 May to begin examining the issue of breaking the Polianovka Armistice and taking the Zaporozhian Host under protection.27

39Various speculations have been offered as to what now pushed the tsar closer to deciding to risk military intervention in Ukraine and war with the Commonwealth. If the tsar was taking Bohdanovich-Zarudny’s reassurances at face value, he may have decided the cossacks were willing to abandon their Bila Tserkva armistice and remained strong enough to be useful allies against the Tatars and the Poles. Conversely, if he was more convinced by other reports out of Ukraine attesting to Khmel´nyts´kyi’s desperate straits, the tsar may have concluded his protectorate could now be negotiated on terms more favorable to the tsar, giving him sovereignty over the lands and towns as well as the cossack leadership of the Hetmanate. Both of these explanations, however, assume that the Muscovite government was confident the Hetmanate would withstand Polish-Tatar invasion.

40A third and more likely explanation was that the tsar was motivated first of all by concerns about the Hetmanate saving itself by throwing itself upon the mercy of the Ottoman sultan and the Crimean khan — and thereby joining them in hostility to Muscovy. Failure at this crucial juncture to offer Khmel´nyts´kyi protectorate might drive the hetman into the closer embrace of the Ottoman sultan, especially now that the Porte no longer had reason to complain of Khmel´nyts´kyi’s meddling in Moldavian affairs and Khan Islam Girei III was still insisting on acceptance of the sultan’s protectorate as the price for full Crimean Tatar military support.

  • 28 Stepankov, “Pereiaslav 1654 roku”; S.V. Lobachev, Patriarkh Nikon [Patriarch Nikon] (SPb.: Iskusstv (...)

41For his part, Khmel´nyts´kyi now had to make a final decision as to whether to stand with the Ottomans or with Muscovy. His past rapprochement with the Turks was currently working to limit his freedom of diplomatic maneuver. This rapprochement had never succeeded in bringing him meaningful Ottoman military assistance against the Poles or guaranteeing the Crimean Tatars would remain reliable allies. Now there were reports of a Polish-Crimean alliance forming against him. But even if Khmel´nyts´kyi had wanted to throw off his vassalage to the sultan he could not afford to end negotiations with the Turks lest this break his peace with the Tatars. Letting Moscow know he remained in negotiations with the Turks had some utility, reminding the tsar of the possible cost to Muscovy of delay on offering Muscovite protectorate; but Khmel´nyts´kyi now had to step up his diplomacy with Moscow, and carefully and surreptitiously, lest the khan get wind a Muscovite protectorate was imminent and join the Poles in invading Ukraine.28

  • 29 Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 548-549; VUR, nos 153, 154.

42On 25 March (NS) 1653 Khmel´nyts´kyi dispatched a new mission (Kindrat Burliai and Syluian Muzhilovsky) to Moscow to announce that he had reopened war against the Poles and requesting again the tsar to take the Zaporozhian Host under his protection and render it military aid against the Poles. Burliai and Muzhilovsky were questioned in the Ambassadors’ Chancellery negotiations on 22 April 1653; on the following day they had an audience with Patriarch Nikon. On 7 May the tsar released Burliai and Muzhilovsky and sent his own mission to Chyhyryn, headed by dvorianin Artemon Matveev and clerk Ivan Fomin.29

43By the summer of 1653 additional developments made negotiation of a Muscovite protectorate and military alliance more urgent for Khmel´nyts´kyi and more advantageous for the tsar.

44First, Czarniecki’s invasion of Ukraine had already shown that the Poles had given up on the armistice of Bila Tserkva; subsequent events now suggested neither Ukrainian nor Muscovite diplomacy could restore the peace. The Poles invaded again in August, in greater force. This Polish army would be halted and encircled in Podol´ia in September, but its failure had the consequence of bending King Jan Kazimierz to accept an armistice with the Crimean Khan (the Zhvanets Treaty in early December 1653). B.A. Repnin’s mission to Warsaw no longer held promise of success, either; in June King Jan Kazimierz and the Polish government rejected the concessions the tsar deemed necessary to preserve the Polianovka Armistice and keep Muscovy out of the war between the Commonwealth and the Hetmanate. The king instead issued his own ultimatum for the Zaporozhian Host to overthrow Khmel´nyts´kyi, lay down its arms, and request amnesty.

  • 30 Plokhy, The Cossacks and Religion, 207-208, 212-220.

45Second, Khmel´nyts´kyi increasingly needed a Muscovite protectorate to restore his own authority within the Hetmanate. The breakdown of his armistice with Poland, Tatar raiding, and the failure of his Moldavian adventure had eroded his support in Ukraine, yet his need to maintain a constant war footing and maximum unity of command made it dangerous for him to submit decisions for ratification by general councils of cossacks; so he tended all the more to decide policy just with Vyhovskyi and his entourage; even consultations with councils of his colonels had become less frequent. To survive, then, Khmel´nyts´kyi needed to autocratize his authority as hetman; and to legitimate hetmanal autocracy he now needed to turn to the Orthodox Church and press it to acclaim him as a divinely elected sovereign. Since the time of Petro Mohyla, however, the Kiev metropolitanate had pursued its own program for protecting the Ukrainian Orthodox flock and had been resistant to ceding leadership to the cossacks and their hetmans, and the current metropolitan, Sylvestr Kosov, still hoped to achieve reconciliation with Warsaw. Khmel´nyts´kyi therefore had to seek consecration as sovereign from elsewhere — from Jerusalem Patriarch Paisios (1649) and from Constantinople Patriarch Athanasios III Patelaros and Antioch Patriarch Makarios (1654).30

  • 31 Ibid., 228, 256.

46Serhii Plokhy argues this was an important factor in finally committing Khmel´nyts´kyi to accepting a Muscovite protectorate. By appealing to the tsar and Patriarch Nikon and invoking the Orthodox unity rhetoric of Boretsky and Kopynsky, Khmel´nyts´kyi hoped to win Moscow Patriarch Nikon’s recognition of the hetman’s authority as patron and protector over the Ukrainian Church. The hetman could then press Metropolitan Sylvestr to recognize his sovereignty in exchange for the hetman’s pledge to safeguard the autonomy of the Ukrainian Church. “Given the choice of submitting to the Muscovite authorities and the patriarch of Moscow, Kosov gave clear preference to Khmelnytsky.”31

  • 32 S. Plokhy, “Krila protektsii: do viznacheniia pravovogo zmistu Pereiaslav´skoi ugodi 1654 roku” [“T (...)

47It is unlikely Metropolitan Sylvestr would knowingly embrace a Muscovite protectorate on terms requiring the Ukrainian Orthodox church’s detachment from the Constantinople Patriarchate and its full absorption into the Moscow Patriarchate. The Orthodox unity rhetoric inherited from Boretsky and Kopnynsky had always spoken of the tsar’s protectorate in terms of his duty to defend the Orthodox faith and therefore to preserve their church’s privileges and liberties; and it is for this reason they spoke of the prestige of Kiev as the symbol of the original unity of Orthodoxy and of Rus´. This rhetoric had recently been revived at Moscow by the emigre Kievan monks Epifanii Slavinetskii and Arsenii Satanovsky, who metaphorized the tsar’s protectorate as an eagle with outstretched wings.32

  • 33 VUR, n° 165, p. 286-287.

48Moscow’s new Patriarch, Nikon, was receptive to this rhetoric, interested in Muscovite-Ukrainian rapprochement as an opportunity to enlist the aid of Ukrainian religious intellectuals in confessionalizing the Muscovite church, and ideally positioned to influence the tsar on the matter. Burliai’s and Muzhilovsky’s appeals for the tsar’s protection may have been given a more enthusiastic hearing at Patriarch Nikon’s court than at the Ambassadors’ Chancellery. On 14 May Nikon wrote to the hetman informing him that the mission of Artemon Matveev and Fedor Lodyzhenskii was on its way to Chyhyryn and Nikon would press the tsar to offer his protection to the Zaporozhian Host. On 25 May the tsar met in special council with his Duma boyars, the Patriarch, the Metropolitan of Krutitsa, and the archimandrites and hegumens of leading monasteries to discuss “Lithuanian and Ukrainian affairs.” In August Khmel´nyts´kyi wrote to Nikon thanking him for his intercession with the tsar.33

  • 34 Lobachev, Patriarkh Nikon, 140; Oleksii Putro, “Patriarkh Nikon — khreshchenii bat´ko Pereiaslavs´k (...)

49It is possible that Nikon already envisioned Muscovite protectorate as preparing the ground for something more than what Khmel´nyts´kyi and Ukrainian churchmen were bargaining for: the eventual subordination of the Kievan metropolitanate to the Moscow patriarchate. In July 1653 a new edition of the Pilot Book (Kormchaia kniga) was issued, revised by Nikon to highlight the text of Jerusalem Patriarch Theophanes’ 1619 investiture of Rostov Metropolitan Filaret as Moscow Patriarch, a text proclaiming the duty of the tsar to preserve the Orthodox faith and “gather” the Orthodox lands.34 At the final negotiations for protectorate at Pereiaslav the text of Buturlin’s representations of the tsar’s understanding of protectorate terms made heavy use of religious rhetoric that may have been inspired by Nikon.

  • 35 VUR, n° 132, p. 259.

50From Moscow’s perspective the most important development of all was occurring not in Ukraine, but in Lithuanian Belarus´. Almost from its beginning, Khmel´nyts´kyi’s revolt against the Commonwealth had inspired uprisings by townsmen, peasants, and newly cossackized elements in Brest, Gomel´, Minsk, Mogilev, Bykhov, Bobruisk and other districts, and detachments of Ukrainian cossacks had entered Lithuania to try to link up these insurgencies with Khmel´nyts´kyi’s operations. The growing political instability in Lithuania seemed to offer the tsar the opportunity to achieve a project long dearer to him than the pursuit of influence over Ukraine: the recovery of Smolensk and the other western territories lost to the Commonwealth in 1618. Khmel´nyts´kyi had even claimed Smolensk was ready to petition to be placed under the tsar’s protection.35

  • 36 AJuZR 8, n° 38, p. 364-365; L.S. Abetsedarskii, “Bor´ba belorusskogo naroda za vossoedinenie s Ross (...)

51King Jan Kazimierz had entrusted Janusz Radziwiłł, Lithuanian Grand Hetman and Palatine of Vilnius, with the tasks of suppressing the revolts in Belarus´ and launching a counter-offensive into northern Ukraine. But Radziwiłł was expected to accomplish this with comparatively small forces — a few thousand Lithuanian gentry militia and German mercenaries. The fighting in Lithuania had been especially savage, and although Radziwiłł had managed to take most of the rebel strongholds by the summer of 1651 he was never able to completely pacify the region, so that fear of renewed rebellion in his army’s rear kept him from sending it into northern Ukraine for extended operations. Furthermore, Radziwiłł, a Calvinist, was a fervid opponent of Polish “military absolutism” and sought to expand his family’s power in Lithuania at the crown’s expense; with Tymysh’s marriage to Roksanda Radziwiłł had become an in-law to the Khmel´nytsk´yis; Radziwiłł had already thwarted Polish interests on occasion, having instigated the first use of the liberum veto to paralyze the Sejm; and it was therefore of considerable interest to Moscow that Radziwiłł began forming a peace party in February 1653 and that Khmel´nyts´kyi had obtained letters Radziwiłł had sent to the Wallachian hospodar expressing his anxiety that the king’s war with the hetman could leave the Commonwealth vulnerable to Swedish invasion. The cossack envoys Burliai and Muzhilovsky apparently strove to convince Moscow that Radziwiłł would remain neutral if Ukrainian and Muscovite forces began operations on the territory of Lithuanian Belarus´. In the summer and fall of 1653 Vyhovskyi wrote of the likelihood that Belarus´ would follow the example of the Hetmanate in accepting a Muscovite protectorate.36

  • 37 Muscovite military deployments in the first months of 1654 offer further evidence that alliance wit (...)

52These reports seemed to identify the most effective way of assisting Khmel´nyts´kyi while serving the tsar’s paramount interest, thus: directing the larger part of Muscovite forces against Lithuania, the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable region, defeat of which would then restore to the tsar Smolensk, Seversk, and the lands of west Rus´. Khmel´nyts´kyi’s cossacks had been operating in Lithuania from 1648 with the purpose of bringing their insurgency to the Orthodox population of west Rus´, so there was good precedent for requiring that Khmel´nyts´kyi support Muscovite army operations in west Rus´ in return for assistance in Ukraine.37

  • 38 This was the first reference in the Muscovite-Ukrainian diplomacy to readiness to accept “eternal s (...)

53In June Matveev and Fomin reported from Ukraine concerning the news of Tymysh’s defeat in Moldavia, Polish and Ottoman activities, and — matters of special interest to Moscow — the state of Ivan Vyhovskyi’s influence within the Hetmanate, his readiness to serve the tsar, and his opinion as to the significance of the hetman’s negotiations with the Ottomans. Vyhovskyi represented that most of the colonels were advising Khmel´nyts´kyi to accept an Ottoman protectorate but that he and Colonel Zhdanovich-Zarudny had so far succeeded in persuading the hetman otherwise. According to the report of Matveev and Fomin, Khmel´nyts´kyi and Vyhovskyi had announced to them on 4 July their request that “we be taken under His Sovereign’s lofty hand in eternal servitude (v vechnoe kholopstvo), and we will serve him, the Grand Sovereign […] with the entire Zaporozhian Host, to our deaths, and will give up our lives for him wherever His Tsarist Majesty commands us.”38

  • 39 VUR, n° 169, p. 323.

54On 22 June, in response to reports that the hetman was continuing to negotiate with the Turks, Tsar Aleksei issued a decree rescript informing Khmel´nyts´kyi he had decided to place the Hetmanate under his protection and was readying his army for war: “We have deigned to take you under the lofty hand of His Tsarist Majesty so that you may not be a proverb and a byword to the enemies of the cross of Christ,” i.e., to spare Ukraine the shame of having to accept Ottoman protection. This rescript was taken to Chyhyryn by stol´nik Fedor Abrosimovich Lodyzhenskii.39

  • 40 VUR, n° 181, 183, 184, p. 360-362, 364-365.

55The hetman responded on 9 August with two letters, one to Nikon asking him to convince the tsar to hasten with military assistance against the Poles, the other to the tsar, assuring him the Ukrainians desired to serve no other sovereign but hoped that the Muscovite army would arrive soon. On 17 August, in talks with Moscow’s envoy Ivan Fomin, Khmel´nyts´kyi promised to send appeals to the Orthodox of Orsha, Mstislavl´, and other districts to rise up against Lithuanian rule and aid the coming Muscovite campaign in Belarus´. The next day, in Fomin’s presence, Khmel´nyts´kyi pledged to serve the tsar with the entire Host if the tsar “would permit me, the hetman, with the entire Zaporozhian Host, to be taken under His Sovereign’s lofty hand in eternal servitude.” He added that if the tsar took the Hetmanate under protection “then the Crimean khan and murzas, who are friends to me and listen to me, would be in eternal servitude to His Tsarist Majesty.” This is another indication Khmel´nyts´kyi intended “eternal servitude” to denote permanent alliance, not formal recognition of the tsar’s full sovereignty over Ukraine.40

  • 41 VUR, n° 194, p. 378-379, n° 195, p. 381-405.

56The next mission from Moscow — Rodion Matveevich Streshnev’s mission of 12 September-7 January 1654 — had the task of assessing the loyalty and military value of the Hetmanate as ally and determining whether Khmel´nyts´kyi understood and accepted that the tsar was offering his protection over the towns and lands of the Hetmanate as well as over its leaders.41

  • 42 VUR, n° 197, p. 406-414; AJuZR 3, n° 343; AJuZR 8, n° 39; Cherepnin, Zemskie sobory, 327-337.

57The Muscovite Assembly of the Realm had deliberated on the Polish and Ukrainian questions as early as May, but it was on 1 October, after hearing the report of Warsaw’s rebuff of Repnin’s final appeal, that the Assembly of the Realm and Boyar Duma formally assented to “undertake war against the Polish king […] and receive the Zaporozhian Host with its towns and lands.” They approved the tsar’s choice of Vasilii Buturlin to head a mission to Ukraine to arrange the terms of protectorate.42

  • 43 Stepankov, “Pereiaslav 1654 roku,” 102-104; G.A. Sanin, Otnosheniia Rossii i Ukrainy s Krymskim kha (...)

58Khmel´nyts´kyi was informed of the Assembly of the Realm’s decision in the second week of November. By the end of the month he saw new reason to hasten to accept the tsar’s offer, for his encirclement of the Polish army at Zhvanets had forced the king to accept vizier Sefergazy Aga’s terms for a Polish-Crimean alliance against the Hetmanate and Muscovy. This treaty was ratified by 15 December. Over the next two days Khmel´nyts´kyi held council with his colonels to weigh its consequences and discuss accepting the tsar’s protectorate; he did not, however, inform Moscow of what he had learned of the Polish-Crimean alliance and in discussions with Rodion Streshnev on 5 January 1654 he still acted as if unalarmed by it and confident the Tatars would step back from allying with the Poles once they learned he had accepted the tsar’s protectorate. He may have calculated that the new Zhvanets treaty of Polish-Tatar alliance would hold no longer than the Zboriv and Bila Tserkva treaties.43

Ukrainian and Muscovite understandings of Protectorate

  • 44 Picheta, “Vneshnaia politika,” 113; VUR, n° 25, p. 66-67.

59Thus far Ukrainian-Muscovite diplomatic exchanges had spoken of the Zaporozhian Host being taken “under the Sovereign’s lofty hand” as “subjects” in “eternal servitude” without defining these concepts more concretely or discussing the actual rights and duties of the Host under the tsar’s protectorate. The notes (zapisi) prepared in the Ambassadors’ Chancellery of the addresses delivered by the hetman’s envoys, as well as the reports (stateinye spiski) from the tsar’s envoys at Chyhyryn, are not verbatim transcripts of exchanges but paraphrased summaries and so leave unclear whether these terms were actually used by the hetman’s emissaries or are Muscovite officials’ understanding of the gist of their remarks. These concepts did not yet appear to have clear meaning to those who were using them, for they were sometimes used inconsistently (as when Grigorii Bogdanov spoke of the Don Cossacks as subjects, poddanye, of the tsar). The rhetoric employed in these exchanges alluded to what we would understand as protectorate and vassalage but the modern terms protektorat, popechitel´stvo, and vassalitet of course never appeared in the discourse. The terms edinoe derzhavstvo or edinoe soedinenie were at one point employed, but only on one occasion in April 1651, and without further elaboration, by a Greek monk the hetman had sent to Moscow.44

60Speculation therefore continues as to the kind of arrangement Khmel´nyts´kyi expected to negotiate with the Muscovites: an alliance; a protectorate founded upon the hetman’s personal vassalage to the tsar; a protectorate founded upon the tributary dependency of the Hetmanate’s inhabitants; or a permanent confederative state? We cannot know his intentions and expectations, but given the history of Khmel´nyts´kyi’s wide-ranging diplomacy and efforts to use the Ukrainian Church to propagandize for his sovereignty as hetman, his immediate need must have been for a union that would bring effective military alliance — enough real military assistance to consolidate Ukraine’s independence from the Commonwealth and deter Tatar invasion — and his optimal ultimate goal might have been a union guaranteeing him acknowledged sovereignty as hetman so that he could build a Ukrainian cossack state strong enough to eventually achieve independence: i.e., a protectorate that treated the Hetmanate as a protégé regime, protected until it reached political maturity.

  • 45 E.I. Kobzarev, “Resheniia Pereiaslavskoi rady s tochki zreniia norm mezhdunarodnogo prava xvii veka (...)

61The understanding of protectorate then gaining currency in Sweden and Western Europe was articulated in Grotius´ De Jure Belli ac Pacis (1625) and based on precedents back to the age of the Roman Empire. The primary purpose of a protectorate treaty was to secure a military alliance between militarily unequal polities; signatories to a protectorate treaty were to be considered semi-dependent allied tributaries — vassals — rather than full subjects of the sovereign providing protection; their own administrative institutions and armed forces were to be left intact, although ultimate authority over the disposition of their armed forces was exercised by the protecting sovereign; the vassal polity was required to pay tribute to guarantee its defense by the protector’s army, but the tribute was to be collected by the vassal power’s own officials; and obligations imposed under protectorate had to respect the corporate privileges of the population of the vassal polity. Historical practice showed that most treaties of protectorate were transitory and were eventually annulled when they no longer accorded with the strategic situation and the population of the vassal polity judged the obligations they imposed outweighed the benefit of the protection they provided.45 Princes and elites considering placing their domain under protectorate therefore had reason to expect the vassalage they were incurring was temporary, securing them the military aid they needed to survive immediate threats to their existence, and that they could take advantage of protectorate to build their power and eventually proclaim and sustain their full independence; i.e., a state under protectorate was a protégé state.

62It is unlikely that Khmel´nyts´kyi and Vyhovskyi were familiar with Grotius, but Eastern European practice did provide precedents for treaties of protectorate and union — in fact a range of possible protectorate and union models, some promising greater advantages to the Hetmanate than others. The difficulty was that they were either impossible for Khmel´nyt´skyi to arrange given his current strategic position, or they were mutable in form and could not guarantee that the autonomy recognized at the start would still be honored in a few years’ time.

  • 46 Taras Chukhlib, “Kontsepsiia polivasalitetnoi pidlegosti B. Khmel´nyts´kogo ta ukrainsko-rosiis´ki (...)
  • 47 S. Plokhy, “Imagining Early Modern Ukraine: The ‘Parallel World’ of Natalia Iakovenko,” Harvard Ukr (...)

63The model of political union most familiar to Khmel´nyts´kyi and Vyhovskyi would have been the 1569 Lublin Union joining the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with the Kingdom of Poland — an act of federation the Lithuanians considered preserved the sovereignty of their Grand Duchy. The example of the Commonwealth provided an additional attraction in that from 1572 it was under an elective monarchy — which allowed the Sejm to elect foreign princes (an Anjou, a Bathory, Vasas) prevented by constitutional contract from exercising absolute dominion or annexing the Commonwealth to their foreign patrimonies. Hence Khmel´nyts´kyi had initially (1647-8) sought King Władysław IV’s recognition of the Zaporozhian Host as a vassal entity [virnist´ piddanstva nashogo z virnoiu ritsars´koiu sluzhboiu] with particular ancient rights and privileges elevating it above other palatinates of the Commonwealth, and after Władysław’s death he encouraged first Tsar Aleksei and then Prince Gyorgy II Rakoczi to seek election to the Polish throne, hoping to obtain from them guarantee of the Hetmanate’s status as a new federate of the Commonwealth.46 Recent work by Natalia Iakovenko suggests that cossack hopes of negotiating reconciliation with Poland on the basis of crown recognition of their “knightly” entitlements to gentry status within the Commonwealth were for a long time in earnest and cossack commitment to Orthodox separatism and Ukrainian nationalism not as ironclad as most traditional Ukrainian historiography has insisted.47 The failure of Adam Kysil’s negotiations and the intransigence of the Sejm and the new king Jan Kazimierz ended Khmel´nyts´kyi’s hopes of negotiating Ukrainian autonomy within the Commonwealth, but the project did not die altogether, for Hetman Ivan Vyhovskyi would revive it in 1659.

  • 48 L.E. Semenova, Kniazhestva Valakhiia i Moldaviia konets xiv-nachalo xix v. Ocherki vneshnepolitiche (...)

64Other models of political union were provided by the Danubian hospodarates (Moldavia, Wallachia) in tributary obligation or vassalage to the Ottoman sultans. While Ottoman understandings of shar´ia did not permit the signing of permanent peace treaties with infidel polities in the Dar al-harb, it was permitted the sultan to issue personal acts from his chancellery (ahdname) allowing infidel rulers to purchase temporary and conditional peace from him in exchange for tribute and thereby move their polities into the Dar al-sulk. Such tributary polities were left considerable internal political autonomy and had some freedom in conducting their own foreign relations, but to remain under protection they had to continue tribute payments and keep up cooperative behavior, and Ottoman willingness to continue protection hinged upon the shifting strategic interests of the sultan and generally had to be renewed by personal decree of each new sultan. Over time the ahdname edicts of successive sultans tended to expand obligations and transform tributary status into more dependent vassal status. Vassalage, confirmed by hattisherif edict from the sultan, marked incorporation of the dependent polity into the Dar al-islam: tribute payment was replaced by payment of the annual kharaj tax; freedom to conduct an independent foreign policy was reduced, and the dependent polity had to contribute forces for the sultan’s campaigns; the vassal ruler had to send a kinsman to the sultan’s court as political hostage; the election of every new vassal ruler had to be confirmed by the sultan; the vassal ruler also had to accept the attachment to his own administration of Ottoman “protector” officials. Moldavia and Wallachia had already been converted into vassal states by the mid-sixteenth century, in part by uncooperative conduct provoking Ottoman disciplinary action and in part by Ottoman manipulation of factional conflicts within their boyar aristocracies. In practice some Danubian vassal hospodars continued to conduct their own foreign policy and send envoys to states within the Dar al-harb, but they could be dethroned for it if the sultan so chose.48

  • 49 Stepankov, “Problema viboru,” 27-33.

65Sultan Mehmet IV appears to have agreed to place the Zaporozhian Host under his protection in 1653 when Khmel´nyts´kyi received special regalia from envoy Mehmet Aga and instructions for administering an oath of allegiance among the Zaporozhian Host. But there was not enough consensus among Khmel´nyts´kyi’s colonels to allow a rada to ratify the agreement, and the terms remaining under negotiation do not permit conclusion as to whether Ottoman protectorate would have resulted in tributary status for the Hetmanate, vassalage, or something sui generis the sultan was willing to allow to exploit the unusual strategic opportunity the new Hetmanate presented. Even the points of Ukrainian tribute and Ukrainian non-interference in Moldavian affairs were unresolved. This may have encouraged Khmel´nyts´kyi to think he could negotiate an effective military alliance without having to place the Hetmanate under the same terms of vassalage as imposed on the Danubian principalities. On the other hand he would have had to consider that under Ottoman practice loose tributary relations tended to give way to tighter vassalage. By mid-1653 he appears to have concluded that accepting the sultan’s protectorate would not actually guarantee significant Ottoman military assistance against the Commonwealth (although the sultan had at one point offered 100,000 troops) or Ottoman pressure to keep the Khanate in alliance with him — either because the sultan was not in earnest or because the khan saw establishment of an Ottoman-protected Ukrainian tributary/vassal state as a threat to his own hegemony on the Pontic steppe.49

66This left the option of negotiating some form of political union — preferably federative and maximizing the Hetmanate’s autonomy — with a power other than the Commonwealth or the Porte.

67But the federation of Poland and Lithuania had been accomplished under very different political circumstances, prepared by centuries of dynastic union and uncomplicated by recent major civil war. Preserving Ukrainian autonomy through federation with some other power with which there had been no previous political association — Sweden, for example, or Muscovy — was bound to be more difficult. This is illustrated in the 1655 efforts of Janusz Radziwiłł to negotiate federative protectorate with Sweden.

68The articles Janusz and Bogusław Radziwiłł submitted to Magnus de la Gardie at Riga on 28 July 1655 offered to place Lithuania under the authority of King Karl X Gustav and award him and his successors the Title of Grand Duke; but they rejected the Swedish-proffered formula “Lithuania under the rule of the Swedish King” and substituted “Lithuania under the protection of the Swedish King.” They agreed to place the Lithuanian army under the command of Swedish generals but Karl X Gustav must acknowledge the Radziwiłłs as Princes of the Holy Roman Empire exercising leadership over Lithuanian political institutions.

69De la Gardie responded with a Swedish bill of Conditions on 10 August that pledged protection of the rights, liberties, and status of the Lithuanians, but only to those signing and adhering to the treaty of protectorate and swearing to recognize the Swedish King and his successors as Grand Dukes of Lithuania and rightful owners of all royal estates of the previous Kings and Grand Dukes of Lithuania; those Lithuanians rejecting the treaty articles were declared to be enemies of the Patria and their estates and property were to be confiscated. The Lithuanian army was to join the Swedish army and Lithuanians were to finance and provision the Swedish army while it was based on Lithuanian soil.

  • 50 Andrej Kotljarchuk, In the Shadow of Poland and Russia: The Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Sweden in (...)

70The Swedish Conditions underwent revision at the hands of the Radziwiłł party. At Kedainai on 17 August 550 Lithuanian nobles, most of them Protestants and clients of the Radziwiłłs, signed twelve Articles of Declaration stipulating that Lithuania was to come under the authority of the Swedish king but with “guarantees that the Grand Duchy of Lithuania shall not be incorporated within the Kingdom of Sweden, but instead will be combined on the same terms as it has hitherto been united with the Kingdom of Poland, Nation with Nation, Senate with Senate, Nobility with Nobility will have equality in everything. Both nations shall preserve their own rights, statutes, and traditions.”50 The Articles of Declaration further stipulated that Sweden could not require Lithuanian forces to wage war against Poland but Swedish forces were obligated to wage war against Muscovy and Ukrainian cossack raiders in order to recover all the Lithuanian territory along the Dnepr lost to these enemies.

  • 51 Ibid., 118-122, 125-126, 135-137.

71Within a month de la Gardie and Bengt Skytte (Swedish viceroy in Livonia) had counseled the king to reject the 17 August Articles on the grounds it was not in Sweden’s interest to accept Lithuania in federation as an equal partner, acquiesce to Lithuanian neutrality in Sweden’s war with Poland, or risk Swedish forces in open war with Muscovy. A Lithuanian army confederatio organized against Radziwiłł by the Pac clan (to force return to negotiations with the Polish king) greatly weakened the Radziwiłłs’ position, as did the submissions to the Swedes of Paweł Sapieha and the Duke of Courland. The treaty that was finally ratified at Kedainai on 23 October was therefore one that had been revised to maximize Swedish advantage. It omitted Sweden’s obligation to wage war on Muscovy yet bound Lithuania to campaign against Poland. The king of Sweden had the right to use both the Lithuanian army and gentry levy at his discretion; the title of Grand Duke was now hereditary within the Swedish royal house and could no longer be bestowed by election; as the royal residence was now outside Lithuanian territory, direct administration of Lithuania was to be in the hands of de la Gardie as royal Governor-General at Riga, assisted by an Advisory Council headed by Skytte.51 By March 1656 the Kedainai Treaty was a dead letter, however. Lithuanian Samogitia (where three-quarters of the Swedish troops were quartered) rose in revolt. In August the Muscovites placed Riga under siege, and in November the Commonwealth and Muscovy signed at Niemiez an anti-Swedish security pact.

72The failure of Radziwiłł’s project for obtaining Swedish protectorate reflected the extremity of Lithuania’s position by 1655: it failed in its aim of saving Lithuania from the advancing Muscovites by bringing more Swedish troops onto Lithuanian soil because Sweden at the time had no strategic interest in risking direct conflict with Muscovy; meanwhile the fact that the Swedes had already established a significant Swedish military presence in Lithuanian Samogitia reduced Radziwiłł’s ability to bargain for greater Lithuanian political autonomy within federation with Sweden.

  • 52 Zenon E. Kohut, Russian Centralism and Ukrainian Autonomy: Imperial Absorption of the Hetmanate, 17 (...)

73Khmel´nyts´kyi faced a similar problem in choosing a Muscovite protectorate in 1653. Tsar Aleksei was finally willing to accept the responsibility of protectorate over the Hetmanate because it offered him Ukrainian alliance in his operations against the Commonwealth, on Lithuanian territory; but the tsar’s reluctance to station significant Muscovite forces on the territory of the Hetmanate left the Hetmanate vulnerable to the Tatar attacks the Hetmanate’s alliance with Muscovy was bound to provoke. The more Muscovite troops subsequently required in the Hetmanate to help protect it from the Tatars and the Poles, the more likely the tsar would insist on reductions in the Hetmanate’s autonomy in recompense. And the lack of precision and stability in the past Ukrainian-Muscovite discourse about protectorate gave the Muscovites great latitude to redefine the terms of protection to their advantage. The Muscovites were eventually likely to exploit this latitude because the concept of federation of equal sovereign powers was more alien to their political tradition than to that of Poland-Lithuania. “In a patrimonial state in which the tsar’s authority was theoretically unlimited and everyone was his servant, if not his slave, there was no place for territorial privilege, corporate rights of social groups, Magdeburg Law, or the Lithuanian Statute — all elements essential to Ukrainian rights and liberties.”52

  • 53 Plokhy, “Krila protektsii,” 3 ; VUR, n° 205, p. 462-464.

74But efforts to chip away at Ukrainian autonomy were not at the top of envoy Buturlin’s original agendum at Pereiaslav, judging from his written instructions; he did take some first steps towards it, probably not as his own improvisation, but as a switch to an alternative agendum prompted by his reading of the relations among Khmel´nyts´kyi and his colonels and of the mood in the Ukrainian settlements he had encountered along his journey. Serhii Plokhy believes this alternative negotiating agendum had been delivered to him only in December 1653 when he had already arrived in Ukraine. Plokhy discerns a shift in Buturlin’s rhetoric on protectorate between his first and second addresses to the Pereiaslav rada on 8 January 1654. In the first address Buturlin employed the understanding of protectorate reflected in the verdict of the tsar’s Assembly of the Realm on October 1: that the tsar recognized the Ukrainians had the right to repudiate the authority of King Jan Kazimierz, because he had violated their religious rights; that the Moscow tsar, as protector of the Orthodox faith, had decided to take Ukraine under his protective hand in order to reestablish the rights of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine; and that in accepting his protection the Ukrainians were acknowledging themselves subjects (poddanye) of the tsar. In this first address Buturlin made no claims about the dynastic rights of the tsar over the lands of Ukrainian Rus´, and his characterization of protectorate was cast in religious terms, as protection of fellow Orthodox against religious persécution — the persecution they had already incurred from the Polish king, and the persecution they were likely to experience if they vassalized themselves to the Ottoman sultan.53

  • 54 VUR, n° 205, p. 464-465. “Pol´skomu koroliu ne vydavat´, a za nikh stoiat´, i vol´nostei ne narushe (...)

75Following this address Buturlin asked for the oath of allegiance from the hetman and his colonels. But Khmel´nyts´kyi and his starshyna asked that Buturlin reciprocate by pledging on the tsar’s behalf (uchiniti vera za gosudaria) that the tsar would not betray them to the Polish king, would stand firm for them, and preserve their liberties and estate privileges (pol´skomu koroliu ne vydavat´, a za nikh stoiat´, i vol´nostei ne narushet, i khto byl´ shliakhtich, ili kazaki i meshchianin i khto b kakom chinu napered sevo i kakie maetnosti u sebia imel, i tomy b vsemu byt´ poprezhnemu). Buturlin responded that he could not do this, as he was a subject of the Sovereign, serving the Sovereign; subjects of the Polish king might give oaths pledging their king’s fidelity, but Polish kings were neither autocrats nor Orthodox believers. Buturlin characterized the cossacks’ request as unseemly (nepristoinoe delo). The colonels answered that they and the hetman understood this but the rank-and-file cossacks would not and would demand an oath from Buturlin. Buturlin responded that if the tsar was to take them under the protection for which they had petitioned they must restrain ignorant people from such unseemly remarks and administer an oath of allegiance to the entire Zaporozhian Host.54

  • 55 VUR, n° 205, p. 467-468; Plokhy, “Krila protektsii,” 3-6.

76When the colonels returned, accompanied by Khmel´nyts´kyi and Vyhovskyi, they gave their oath that they and their lands and towns would remain under the Sovereign’s lofty hand forever (naveki neotstupnym). Then they heard Buturlin deliver a second address that employed quite different rhetoric from Buturlin’s first; Plokhy even sees it as representing a sharp departure in spirit from the Muscovite diplomatic protocols of the period. The rhetoric in this second address invoked historical arguments for the tsar’s dynastic right of sovereignty over Ukraine on the basis of the legacy of St. Vladimir’s authority, the status of Kiev as traditional “capital” of Rus´ princes and tsars, and the principle of the unity of Rus´. The tsar’s protection was likened to the protective shroud of the Virgin Mary and to the double-headed eagle on the tsar’s seal, spreading its sheltering wings over the fledgling in its nest (rhetoric closely resembling that used by Epifanii Slavinetskii, Arsenii Satanovskii, and other Ukrainian churchmen present in Moscow since 1649). Buturlin then invested Khmel´nyts´kyi with regalia brought from Moscow (banner, mace, cap, and vestment), declaring them symbols of the Sovereign’s “permanent and unshakeable” bounty and commitment to “protect all Orthodox under his illustrious tsarist rule (pod ego predsvetliuiu tsarskuiu derzhavu).”55

77This new formulation of protectorate was rhetorically more elaborate but still unclear in its political ramifications. The regalia presented to Khmel´nyts´kyi seemed to represent the tsar’s acceptance of the hetman as his personal vassal; in this sense the relationship being cemented resembled the Ottoman model of tributary protectorate. But Buturlin’s insistences on acknowledging the rule (derzhava) of an autocratic tsar who could not be bound in oath to his subjects and administering an oath of allegiance to the entire Zaporozhian Host (a condition that Moscow would not be able to impose on the Don Cossack Host until 1671) could be interpreted as requiring more, recognition that the Hetmanate was under the rule of the Moscow tsar.

78There are three possible explanations for Buturlin’s revision of protectorate terms at this point in the Pereiaslav ceremonies. If one were still inclined to adhere to the view presented in the 1954 Theses, Buturlin was merely articulating the project of reunification, a project that was historically natural and inevitable and long-held, the product of decades of Ukrainian as well as Muscovite consensual discourse about the natural unity of Rus´. Or one may follow the example of much Ukrainian historiography and consider Buturlin demanding submission to the tsar on terms betraying the Ukrainian national idea under articulation since the 1620s; from this perspective Buturlin was exploiting the Hetmanate’s strategic weakness at that historical moment to “spring” upon the rada a demarche extorting the surrender of Ukrainian independence in exchange for Muscovite military assistance. The third possibility — the point of view this article is attempting to argue — would see Moscow as approaching the Pereiaslav talks still without a clear and firm agenda regarding the future political relationship of the Hetmanate to the tsar’s domains because the tsar remained preoccupied with his project of recovering Smolensk and wresting Belarus´ from Lithuania and interested in the Hetmanate largely as an ally in achieving that project. But when Khmel´nyts´kyi and his colonels asked Buturlin to give an oath on behalf of the tsar affirming that he would stand firm for them and not betray them to the Polish king, they were considered to be expecting more quid pro quo than the tsar was prepared to offer at the time — he was not prepared to commit major forces to the defense of the territory of the Hetmanate — and so Buturlin had to make clear to them the tsar did not acknowledge protectorate as a union of fully sovereign equals.

  • 56 VUR, n° 205, p. 423-490; AJuZR 10, n° 8, xi, p. 445-452 and VUR, n° 245, p. 560-565; VUR, n° 248, p (...)
  • 57 Basarab, Pereiaslav 1654, 25-41.

79The Pereiaslav negotiations did not clarify and “settle” the differences between Ukrainian and Muscovite understandings of protectorate, and the vagueness of the agreement emerging from Pereiaslav actually encouraged both sides to subsequently revise terms of protectorate unilaterally and unofficially according to political and military advantage. Pereiaslav did not even produce a treaty in the formal sense. The protocols of the Pereiaslav “agreement” preserved in the Ambassadors’ Chancellery at Moscow are limited to envoy Buturlin’s report to Moscow, the Muscovite translation of Khmel´nyts´kyi’s proposed terms — the 23 “Articles of Petition” delivered to Moscow on 12 March — and the responding “March Articles” issued by the tsar later in the month and delivered to Khmel´nyts´kyi by Bohdanovich-Zarudnyi and Pavlo Teteria.56 The original of Khmel´nyts´kyi’s Articles of Petition has not been preserved, nor is there a final and binding copy of a treaty, leading many historians to argue that the original text of the Articles of Petition was suppressed and even the tsar’s original March Articles removed and these articles doctored in 1659 by Kiev voevoda A.N. Trubetskoi in order to revise terms of union to Muscovy’s advantage.57 Khmel´nyts´kyi’s Articles of Petition expected the tsar to recognize the Ukrainian hetman’s right to continue conducting his own foreign policy, with the sole qualification that the hetman would keep the tsar informed of major developments; but the tsar’s March Articles responded that the hetman did not have the right to treat with the Polish king or Ottoman sultan without the tsar’s permission. Khmel´nyts´kyi’s Articles of Petition tried to restrict Muscovite voevody and garrisons to Kiev and Chernigov and stipulated that the voevody were not to interfere in civil and judicial administration in those towns, except perhaps to offer hearings on appeal; the tsar’s March Articles confirmed the Ukrainian towns’ right to elected self-government under Magdeburg law but did not explicitly affirm any limit to the number of voevody the tsar could station in Ukrainian towns nor any limitation on their authority.

80The real cause of subsequent Ukrainian disillusionment with Muscovite protectorate had less to do with the contents of the Pereiaslav agreement than with military developments occurring after Pereiaslav. Khmel´nyts´kyi and his colonels had calculated in mid-1653 that embracing Moscow would save them from a two-front war, against the Tatars as well as the Poles. But the tsar’s protectorate came too late to achieve this; by mid-December 1653 Poles and Tatars were in alliance, and by October 1654 they were on the offensive against the hetman. Likewise, Tsar Aleksei’s decision to take the Hetmanate under his protection and abandon the Polianovka armistice was based on miscalculations: that Lithuanian Belarus´ could be quickly seized and held and that this would give the Muscovite-Ukrainian alliance such military preponderance King Jan Kazimierz would have to abandon attempts to reconquer Ukraine; and that report of the Pereiaslav alliance would alarm the sultan and the Crimean khan but they would be induced to resign themselves to it, that Khmel´nyts´kyi and Vyhovskyi would have the diplomatic skill to hold the khan in alliance or at least secure his neutrality.

81The next five years of war against Poland-Lithuanian and the Crimean Khanate would give Moscow reason to further reduce the de facto autonomy of the Hetmanate. Muscovite garrisons and voevody would be established in other Ukrainian towns and Muscovite taxes and levies introduced for their maintenance. The perceived imperatives of voevoda military administration would increasingly conflict with the traditional liberties of these towns. Khmel´nyts´kyi’s expectations that Chernigov and southern Belarus´ would be united with the Hetmanate rather than with the tsar’s domains would be frustrated. Khmel´nyts´kyi never treated the Pereiaslav Agreement as limiting his freedom of action in the diplomatic sphere, for he continued to deal with Sweden even while the tsar was at war with Sweden (just as the Moldavian hospodars had dealt with Poland and other powers despite their tributary subjection to the sultan). This enraged the tsar, but as his threats were not enough to distrain Khmel´nyts´kyi, the tsar punished the Hetmanate by excluding its representatives from the talks at Vilnius in 1656 and suddenly signing armistice with the Poles in order to redirect the Muscovite army against the Swedes.

82These developments brought Ukrainian and Muscovite leaders to view their opposite numbers as irredeemably perfidious. They divided the Ukrainian population, estranged part of the cossack starshyna and rank-and-file from Moscow and eventually drove hetman Ivan Vyhovskyi to restore alliance with the Crimean Tatars and seek reunion with the Commonwealth and the expulsion of Muscovite troops from the Ukraine.

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1 Zenon Kohut, “Facing Ukraine’s Russian Legacy: Politics and History in the Late Kuchma Era,” Harriman Review, 15, 2-3 (May 2005): 19-24; Stephen Velychenko, “1654 and All That in 2004,” Journal of Ukrainian Studies 30, 1 (Summer 2005): 97-122.

2 Tezisy o 300-letii vossoedineniia Ukrainy s Rossiei, 1654-1954 gg. [Theses regarding the 300th aniversary of the reuniting of Ukraine and Russia, 1654-1954] (M.: Gospolitizdat, 1954). For a summary and examination of how the 1954 Theses enforced an official historiographic line for nearly thirty years, see John Basarab, Pereiaslav 1654: A Historiographical Study (Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 1982), 179-187.

3 Serhii Plokhy, The Cossacks and Religion in Early Modern Ukraine (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 285-287.

4 Ibid., 288-290.

5 Ibid., 291, 293, 296, 297.

6 S.M. Solov´ev, Istoriia Rossii s drevneishikh vremen [History of Russia from the Earliest Times], kn. 5, t. 10 (M.: Izd. Sotsial´no-politicheskoi literatury, 1961), 441; Petro Sas, “Diplomatichna misiia Viis´ka Zaporozh´kogo do Moskvi u 1620 r.” [The diplomatic mission of the Zaporozhian Host to Moscow in 1620], in V.A. Smolii, V.M. Gorobets´, et al., eds., Ukraina ta Rosiia: Problemi politichnikh i sotsiokul´turnikh vidnosin [Ukraine and Russia: problems of political and socio-cultural relations] (Kiev: Institut istorii Ukraini 2003), 26, 63-64.

7 Brian Davies, Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea Steppe, 1500-1700 (London, New York: Routledge, 2007), 101-102.

8 Mykhailo Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´. Volume Eight: The Cossack Age, 1626-1650, trans. Marta Olynyk (Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 2002), 527, 538, 556-557, 579-614; AJuZR, vol. 3, nos 195, 196, 224, 245, 256, 262.

9 A.A. Novosel´skii, “Bor´ba Moskovskogo gosudarstva s tatarami vo vtoroi polovine xvii veka” [“The struggle of Muscovy against the Tatars during the second half of xviith century”], in N.N. Pokrovskii, E.K. Romodanovskaia, L.V. Titova, eds., Issledovaniia po istorii ėpokhi feodalizma [Historical research into the feodalism period] (M.: Nauka, 1994), 15; AJuZR 3, nos 282, 285, 305 ; G.G. Litavrin, ed., Osmanskaia imperiia i strany tsentral´noi, vostochnoi, i iugovostochnoi Evropy v xvii veke [The Ottoman Empire and the countries of Central, Eastern and Southwestern Europe in the xviith century] (M.: Pamiatniki istoricheskoi mysli, 2001), 202-203, 206-207; Solov´ev, Istoriia Rossii, 553-554, 571.

10 Mykhailo Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´. Volume Nine, Book One: The Cossack Age, 1650-1653, trans. Bohdan Struminski (Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 2005), 36-41.

11 Ibid., 141-143; Valerii Stepankov, “Problema viboru protektsii mizh Moskov´skoiu derzhavoiu i Osmans´koiu imperieiu u 1648-1654 rokakh” [“The problem of choosing a protector in the years 1648-1654: Muscovy or Ottoman Empire?”], in Valerii Smolii, Valentian Matiakh, et al., Pereiaslavs´ka rada ta Ukrains´ko-Rosiis´ka ugoda 1654 r. Istoriia, istoriografiia, ideologiia [The Pereiaslav rada and the Ukrainian-Russian agreement of 1654. History, historiography, ideology] (Kiev: Institut istorii Ukraini, 2005), 30; V. Stepankov, “Pereiaslav 1654 roku: vitoki, sutnist´, naslidki” [“Pereiaslav, 1654: origins, content, conséquences”], in Smolii, Gorobets´, eds., Ukraina ta Rosiia, p. 96.

12 Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 146-147, 221.

13 VUR, n° 1, p. 7 and n° 2, p. 11; L.V. Cherepnin, Zemskie sobory Russkogo gosudarstva v xvi-xvii vv. [The Assemblies of the Realm in Russia, xvi th-xvii th centuries] (M.: Nauka, 1978), 325-327.

14 Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 224.

15 VUR, n° 50, p. 100-101.

16 This was subsequently crossed out, however, the tsar having apparently decided that the hetman would consider it an unsatisfying offer. VUR, n° 15, p. 26-27, n° 44, p. 93-94, n° 47, p. 96-97; Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 225.

17 Note Bogdanov´s loose use of “subjects” (poddanye), which he applies even to the Don Cossacks. VUR, n° 33, p. 77 ; ibid., n° 52, p. 116-118 ; Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 338-339.

18 Stepankov, “Problema viboru,” 32-33; Iurii Mytsyk, Getman Ivan Vyhovskyi [The hetman Ivan Vyhovskyi] (Kiev: KM Akademiia, 2004), 20.

19 Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 403-404, 465-466.

20 Ibid., 425-426.

21 VUR, n° 101, p. 208-210; Solov´ev, bk. 5, t. 10, 584-585.

22 Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 466.

23 “You know that I, with God’s help, am the master of all matters in the Zaporozhian Host. The hetman and the colonels and the entire Zaporozhian Host listen to me and respect me […] and trust me in everything.” Vyhovskyi did request asylum on Muscovite territory in the event he failed, however. Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 491; VUR, n° 115, p. 221-222.

24 Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 511-513 ; VUR, n° 133, p. 239-240, n° 138, p. 244-246.

25 AJuZR 3, n° 335, p. 487.

26 Stepankov, “Pereiaslav 1654 roku,” 99 ; Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 513-514, 535; VUR, n° 122, p. 229-230, n° 129, p. 235.

27 V.I. Picheta, “Vneshnaia politika Rossii pri tsare Aleksee Mikhailoviche” [“The foreign policy of Russia under tsar Aleksei Mihailovich”], in V.V. Kallash, ed., Tri veka: Rossiia ot Smuty do nashego vremeni. Tom II. xvii veka. Vtoraia polovina [Three centuries: Russia from the Time of Troubles to present day. Vol. II. The second half of xviith century] (M.: GIS, reprint ed., 1991), 117; Solov´ev, Istoriia Rossii, 588.

28 Stepankov, “Pereiaslav 1654 roku”; S.V. Lobachev, Patriarkh Nikon [Patriarch Nikon] (SPb.: Iskusstvo-SPB, 2003), 136-138.

29 Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 548-549; VUR, nos 153, 154.

30 Plokhy, The Cossacks and Religion, 207-208, 212-220.

31 Ibid., 228, 256.

32 S. Plokhy, “Krila protektsii: do viznacheniia pravovogo zmistu Pereiaslav´skoi ugodi 1654 roku” [“The wings of protection : what was the meaning of Pereiaslav agreement of 1654 ?“], Medievalia Ucrainica 4 (1995): 76-85, reproduced online at ; p. 5 of on-line version.

33 VUR, n° 165, p. 286-287.

34 Lobachev, Patriarkh Nikon, 140; Oleksii Putro, “Patriarkh Nikon — khreshchenii bat´ko Pereiaslavs´koi ugodi 1654 roku” [“Patriarch Nikon, godfather of Pereiaslav agreement of 1654”], in Smolii, Matiakh, eds., Pereiaslavs´ka rada, 99, 104-110.

35 VUR, n° 132, p. 259.

36 AJuZR 8, n° 38, p. 364-365; L.S. Abetsedarskii, “Bor´ba belorusskogo naroda za vossoedinenie s Rossieiu” [“The struggle of the Bielorussian people to be reunited with Russia”], in A. Baranovich et al., eds., Vossoedinenie Ukrainy s Rossiei. Sbornik statei [The reuniting of Ukraine and Russia. A collection of articles] (M.: AN SSSR, 1954), 181-183, 187-191, 203-206, 214-215; Hrushevsky, History of Ukraine-Rus´, 549-550; VUR, n° 153, p. 264-266 and n° 195, p. 402.

37 Muscovite military deployments in the first months of 1654 offer further evidence that alliance with Ukraine was valued in Moscow first of all for the support it offered to Muscovite operations in Lithuanian west Rus´, that Moscow did not initially expect to have to honor major military commitments on the territory of the Hetmanate. On 15-18 May 1654 three Muscovite army groups comprising 71,000 troops and 4,000 guns invaded Lithuania with the primary objective of retaking Smolensk and the west Rus´ territories ceded to the Grand Duchy twenty years before. Their secondary objective was to seize other Lithuanian Belarus´ domains north of the Western Dvina and Dnepr. Hetman Khmel´nyts´kyi provided, as pledged, 20,000 mounted and foot cossacks under Colonel I.N. Zolotarenko. Their mission was to push north through Starodub into Lithuania to occupy territory along the line Gomel´-Propoisk-Staryi Bykhov, support the southernmost of the three Muscovite army groups, and protect the Hetmanate from Lithuanian counterattack. Operations in Ukraine in this period involved much smaller Muscovite forces than the fighting in Lithuania. Just one Muscovite corps — A.V. Buturlin’s, from Ryl´sk — was sent into Ukraine for joint operations with Khmel´nyts´kyi’s army; it consisted of only 3,950 Komaritskaia dragoons, 246 deti boiarskie, a few dozen cossacks, and some artillery. It arrived at Kiev on 19 June and rendezvoused with the hetman’s army at Fastov on 11 July. Meanwhile Kiev was garrisoned by roughly 2,000 soldaty and middle service cavalrymen under the command of F.S. Kurakin and F.F. Volkonskii. The total strength of Muscovite forces in Ukraine therefore did not much exceed 6,000 men. Further indication of the secondary importance Moscow accorded the Ukrainian theater at this time was the subsequent decision to order A.V. Buturlin to detach part of his command to reinforce A.N. Trubetskoi’s corps near Lutsk in Lithuania. Thus Moscow saw no need to send great numbers of troops into Ukraine because it expected Khmel´nyts´kyi’s army could afford to spare Zolotarenko’s 20,000 cossacks for the Lithuanian campaign while still securing the Tatar invasion roads, protecting the western flank of the Belgorod Line, and throwing back any new Polish offensive from the west. Cf. Davies, Warfare, State and Society, 115, 117-119.

38 This was the first reference in the Muscovite-Ukrainian diplomacy to readiness to accept “eternal servitude” to the tsar, but the context suggests Khmel´nyts´kyi and Vyhov´skyi were speaking of accepting, at least permanent alliance with the tsar, and at most personal vassalage to him, and using their authority to commit the Zaporozhian Host to assisting Muscovite armies in Lithuania. VUR, n° 166, p. 303-304, 307, 313.

39 VUR, n° 169, p. 323.

40 VUR, n° 181, 183, 184, p. 360-362, 364-365.

41 VUR, n° 194, p. 378-379, n° 195, p. 381-405.

42 VUR, n° 197, p. 406-414; AJuZR 3, n° 343; AJuZR 8, n° 39; Cherepnin, Zemskie sobory, 327-337.

43 Stepankov, “Pereiaslav 1654 roku,” 102-104; G.A. Sanin, Otnosheniia Rossii i Ukrainy s Krymskim khanstvom v seredine xvii veka [The relations of Russia and Ukraine with the Crimean khanate in the middle of xviith century] (M.: Nauka, 1987), 47.

44 Picheta, “Vneshnaia politika,” 113; VUR, n° 25, p. 66-67.

45 E.I. Kobzarev, “Resheniia Pereiaslavskoi rady s tochki zreniia norm mezhdunarodnogo prava xvii veka” [“The decisions of Pereiaslav rada from the point of view of xviith century international law regulations”], in A.N. Sakharov, ed., Istoriia russko-ukrainskikh otnoshenii v xvii-xviii vekakh [History of Ukrainian-Russian relations in the xviith and xviiith centuries] (M.: Institut rossiiskoi istorii RAN, 2006), 101-105.

46 Taras Chukhlib, “Kontsepsiia polivasalitetnoi pidlegosti B. Khmel´nyts´kogo ta ukrainsko-rosiis´ki vzaemovidnosini seredini xvii st.” [The concept of semi-vassalage advanced by B. Khmel´nyts´kyi and Ukrainian-Russian relations in the middle of xviith century], in Smolii, Gorobets´, eds., Ukraina ta Ross´iia, 149-152. Virnist´ piddanstva nashogo z virnoiu ritsars´koiu sluzhboiu: our faithful subjection and faithful knight service.

47 S. Plokhy, “Imagining Early Modern Ukraine: The ‘Parallel World’ of Natalia Iakovenko,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies, 25, 3-4 (2001), 268, 271-272, 275-276.

48 L.E. Semenova, Kniazhestva Valakhiia i Moldaviia konets xiv-nachalo xix v. Ocherki vneshnepoliticheskoi istorii [The Wallachian and Moldavian principalities from the end of xivth to the beginning of xixth century] (M.: Indrik, 2006), 53-57, 90, 101, 128, 143-146, 152.

49 Stepankov, “Problema viboru,” 27-33.

50 Andrej Kotljarchuk, In the Shadow of Poland and Russia: The Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Sweden in the European Crisis of the Mid-seventeenth Century (Sodertorn: Sodertorns hogskola, 2006), 98-103, 104.

51 Ibid., 118-122, 125-126, 135-137.

52 Zenon E. Kohut, Russian Centralism and Ukrainian Autonomy: Imperial Absorption of the Hetmanate, 1760s-1830s (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1988), 66-67.

53 Plokhy, “Krila protektsii,” 3 ; VUR, n° 205, p. 462-464.

54 VUR, n° 205, p. 464-465. “Pol´skomu koroliu ne vydavat´, a za nikh stoiat´, i vol´nostei ne narushet, i khto byl´ shliakhtich, ili kazaki i meshchianin i khto b kakom chinu napered sevo i kakie maetnosti u sebia imel, i tomy b vsemu byt poprezhnemu” [Not to betray them to the king of Poland, to protect them without fail, to observe their freedoms, and that whoever used to be a nobleman or a cossack or a burgess or of any other condition, should keep his status and the possessions he might have, and to preserve everytinhg as it was].

55 VUR, n° 205, p. 467-468; Plokhy, “Krila protektsii,” 3-6.

56 VUR, n° 205, p. 423-490; AJuZR 10, n° 8, xi, p. 445-452 and VUR, n° 245, p. 560-565; VUR, n° 248, p. 567-570.

57 Basarab, Pereiaslav 1654, 25-41.

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Mykhailo Hrushev´skyi, History of Ukraine-Rus´. Volume Nine, Book Two, Part One. The Cossack Age, 1654-1657. Trans. Marta Skorupsky; edited Andrzej Poppe and Frank Sysyn, (Edmonton and Toronto: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, 2008), p. iv.
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Brian Davies, « The Road to Pereiaslav », Cahiers du monde russe [En ligne], 50/2-3 | 2009, mis en ligne le 13 octobre 2012, Consulté le 13 décembre 2017. URL :

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Brian Davies

University of Texas, San Antonio, Department of History

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© École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris.

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