Mykhailo Hrushevsky. History of Ukraine-Rus'. Vol. 10: The Cossack Age, 1657-1659.
Another volume of Mykhailo Hrushevsky's magisterial History of Ukraine-Rus' has become available in English translation, thanks to the efforts of the Peter Jacyk Centre for Ukrainian Historical Research at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. It will take its place alongside earlier English-language translations of the History. Currently, volume one is in print, while volumes 2-5 are projected; this sequence, volumes 1-5, covers the time period through the fifteenth century. The translation of volume ten represents something a bit different--the completion of a four-volume subseries (#7-10) within the History; these volumes deal with the early modern history of Ukrainian Cossacks from the fifteenth century through to 1659 and the ratification of the Treaty of Hadiach. Mykhailo Hrushevsky was at work on this, the tenth volume of his history of Ukraine-Rus,' when he died in 1934. When he died, only the first part of a longer intended volume was substantially complete. The original edition of the present translation was further edited and corrected by Kateryna Hrushevska after her father's death. She succeeded in seeing it through to publication in 1936, which was, as Serhii Plokhy has said elsewhere, "nothing short of a miracle" in a Stalinist Soviet Union so hostile to Hryshevsky's historical approach. Its publication narrowly preceded Kateryna's arrest in 1938.
The central historical figure of volume ten is Hetman Ivan Vyhovsky, whose portrait appears on the dust jacket. Vyhovsky succeeded Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky who, as leader of the Cossacks, had attempted to separate from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and to create a permanent autonomous Ukrainian Cossack state. Volume ten explores the tense situation among the Cossacks after Khmelnytsky's death, Vyhovsky's succession as Hetman, and subsequent military efforts and diplomatic negotiations directed at maintaining an autonomous Ukraine. The tension between "bringing Ukrainian life into closer dependence on Muscovite control and the defense of ancient Ukrainian liberties against such restrictions" (65) forms a central theme. Among many other international dealings, the fluctuating possibility of a Ukrainian military alliance with Crimea appears occasionally as an interesting and underestimated subtext. When the volume was initially published, its use of heretofore little studied materials made it a particularly important contribution to the diplomatic history of Ukraine.
Part I chronicles disputes over the election of the new Hetman, Ivan Vyhovsky. Muscovy at first tried to use these disagreements to extend its dominion over Cossackdom. However, in the context of a promising but ultimately failed Ukrainian-Swedish alliance, Moscow apparently held back. The Hetmanate negotiated directly and intensively, not only with the Muscovite capital but also with its military representative in the south, Grigorii Romodanovskii; Vyhovsky's interpretation of these events was that Romodanovskii was not well disposed towards him. The process of selection of the metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in Kyiv also contributed to the renewed growth of tensions with Muscovy.
Part Two presents a detailed and lengthy examination of the internal conflicts and other affairs of the Cossack Zaporozhian Sich. It analyzes the sources of resistance to Vyhovsky's election as Hetman, and illustrates Muscovite efforts to cultivate divisiveness in order to promote its own involvement in Ukrainian affairs and to expand that involvement at the expense of the Hetman's authority. Nonetheless, a military campaign undertaken by Vyhovsky against his internal opponents in June of 1658 led to the death of one of their leaders, Martyn Pushar, and victory for Vyhovsky at Poltava. The battle was not the triumph it might have appeared to be. According to Hrushevsky, it also marked the moment at which massive Ukrainian outmigration into southern Muscovy began; there the migrants would establish the Slobodskaia Ukraina.
The third and final part of the volume begins with the acknowledgement that Vyhovsky's efforts against his opponents nonetheless represented a victory for Ukrainian autonomy and for Ukraine's existing social hierarchy. The chapter however was not closed. Vyhovsky launched further military efforts against persistent opposition to his Hetmanate. Breaking with Muscovy, he also attempted to block Romodanovskii's continuing intrusions in Ukraine. While this did result in the capture of another of Vyhovsky's principal enemies (Barabash), these efforts were otherwise an unfortunate failure. The remainder of part III largely focuses on the various discussions, most significantly between Poland and Ukraine, leading to the Treaty of Hadiach--in the context of which the autonomy to be enjoyed by Ukraine remained a central matter of contention (see, for e.g. 255). Extensive negotiations initially produced a Treaty (dated 6/16 Sept. 1658), which was however amended before it was subsequently ratified by the Polish Diet. Hrushevsky's analysis is critical of the agreement, viewing it as focusing on the rights of the Ukrainian nobility rather than on the role of Cossackdom--an evaluation that remains controversial.
One of Hrushevsky's important historiographical contributions in volume 10 was the uncovering of previously unavailable primary sources. Many of these were from Moscow Archive of the Ministry of Justice (now housed in RGADA (Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts)), but Hrushevsky also referenced archives in Lviv, Cracow and Warsaw. He also made extensive use of printed primary sources. Especially in its latter sections, volume ten is prolific in its quotations from primary documents and from selected secondary sources, sometimes with relatively little interpretation by the author. Nonetheless, the research upon which the volume is based--even if it was less complete than in some earlier volumes in this series--continues to reveal valuable information and important contributions to the history of Ukraine specifically and to the history of eastern Europe as a whole.
As with previous volumes, the English translation of volume ten (by Marta D. Olynyk) is excellent: clear, accurate and readable. In this case, the translation includes some explanations for English-language readers as well as sensible corrections to obscure passages. Two extensive introductions precede the translation. One, by Andrew Pernal, discusses the organization of volume ten; the second, by consulting editor Yaroslav Fedoruk, describes Hrushevsky's final years, which were characterized by increasing surveillance, then arrest and exile by the Soviet government. Helpful addenda by the editors to this English-language edition are three very useful maps (following c), an extensive glossary, and a list of sixteenth and seventeenth century "Hetmans and Rulers." As has become the custom with the translations of earlier Hrushevsky volumes, volume ten includes not only Hrushevsky's bibliography but also extensive addenda to that bibliography. For this volume, the bibliographic addenda include (1) a list of materials published since Hrushevsky's time relating to volumes seven-ten and (2) a much longer list of materials--with some specific references to the Treaty of Hadiach and the Battle of Konotip--that relate to volume ten alone. The latter includes a record of archival primary, published primary and secondary materials in a wide variety of languages, divided into categories of those available before 1934 (even if Hrushevsky was unable to make use of them) and those that have been printed since; they are divided into categories such as "seventeenth-century imprints," "diaries, descriptions, memoirs," "documentary collections," and secondary works. This volume is an invaluable resource that is sure to be put to good use by the historical profession and all those interested in the Cossack Age.
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|Author:||Stevens, Carol B.|
|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2016|
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