Monday, December 30, 2013

Towards A Polish Ruthenian Commonwealth

the proposed Polish-Lithuanian-Ruthenium Commonwealth
to elevate the Cossacks and Ruthenians to the position equal to that of Poland and Lithuania as a "Commonwealth of Three Nations"

this idea was OPPOSED by the Roman Catholic Church,
with the Jesuit Counter Reformation selling out Poland for its geopolitical objectives

File:January Uprising.svg

Polish–Lithuanian–Ruthenian Commonwealth (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Trojga Narodów, Commonwealth of Three Nations) was a proposed (but never actually created) European state in the 17th century that would replace contemporal Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The creation of a Duchy of Ruthenia was considered at various times, particularly during the 1648 Cossack insurrection against Polish rule in Ukraine (see Khmelnytsky Uprising). Such a Ruthenian duchy, as proposed in the 1658 Treaty of Hadiach, would have been a full-fledged member of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, which would thereby have become a tripartite Polish–Lithuanian–Ruthenian Commonwealth. In May 1659, the Polish Diet (Sejm) ratified the treaty with an emended text.[1]

The idea of a Ruthenian Duchy within the Commonwealth was completely abandoned.[2] Canadian historian Paul Robert Magosci believes that it happened due to divisions among the Cossacks and Muscovite invasion[3] which, however, both occurred much earlier than the Treaty of Hadiach was signed. Russian historian Tairova-Yakovleva considers the resistance of the Polish society and the papal pressure as the reasons for the incomplete ratification.

The idea of Polish–Lithuanian–Ruthenian Commonwealth returned during the January Uprising, when in 1861, a patriotic demonstration took place at Horodło. The so-called Second Union of Horodło was announced there, by the szlachta of Congress Poland, former Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Volhynia and Podolia. New Poland, based on the Second Union of Horodlo was to be based on the three nations, and its proposed coat of arms consisted of Polish eagle, Lithuanian Pahonia, and patron saint of Ruthenia, Archangel Michael.

Towards this end was the Treaty of Hadiach

The Treaty of Hadiach (Polish: ugoda hadziacka; Ukrainian: гадяцький договір) was a treaty signed on 16 September 1658 in Hadiach (Hadziacz, Hadiacz, Гадяч) between representatives of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (represented by S. Bieniewski and K. Jewłaszewski) and Cossacks (represented by Hetman Ivan Vyhovsky and starshina (sztarszna, the elders) Yuri Nemyrych, architect of the treaty, and Pavlo Teteria). It was designed to elevate the Cossacks and Ruthenians to the position equal to that of Poland and Lithuania in the Polish–Lithuanian union and in fact transforming the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth into a Polish–Lithuanian–Ruthenian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita Trojga Narodów, "Commonwealth of Three Nations").

The specific features of the Treaty of Hadiach were:
  1. creation of the Duchy of Ruthenia (Polish: Księstwo Ruskie) from Chernigov Voivodeship, Kiev Voivodeship and Bratslav Voivodeship (The Cossack negotiators had originally demanded that Ruthenian Voivodeship, Volhynian Voivodship, Belz Voivodeship, and Podolian Voivodeship be included as well), which would be governed by a Cossack hetman, elected for life from among four candidates presented by the Cossacks and confirmed by the King of Poland;
  2. creation of parallel Ruthenian offices, tribunal, academy (Kiev's Orthodox Collegium would be raised to the status of an academy; a second Orthodox higher institution of learning would be founded; and as many schools and printing presses "as were necessary" would be established), a judicial system, treasury and mint as existed in Poland and Lithuania (see Offices in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth);
  3. the Duchy would be connected with the Commonwealth by the common king. There would be only one national parliament (Sejm) and one foreign policy in the Polish–Lithuanian–Ruthenian Commonwealth;
  4. admission to the Senate of Orthodox ecclesiastic members: the Archbishop (metropolitan) of Kiev and other Orthodox bishops (of Lutsk, Lviv, Przemyśl, Chełm and Mstislav) and elevation of the Orthodox religion and Church to the same level as Catholicism. No Uniate monasteries or churches were to be built in the Duchy - the Union of Brest would be dissolved on the territory of the Ruthenian Duchy;
  5. ennoblement of Cossack elders (starshyna kozatska). Each year the hetman would recommend to the king 1,000 Cossacks to receive a patent of hereditary nobility, and up to 100 Cossacks in each military regiment could be personally ennobled as well.
  6. establishment of a Cossack army, in the form of the Cossack register of 30,000. The officers of these forces would be elected by their own members. The Cossacks' own forces would be supplemented by 10,000 regular mercenaries, paid from public taxes. No other Commonwealth troops were to be allowed in Rus' without the consent of the Cossack hetman, except in the event of war, and then they would come under the Cossack hetman's command;
  7. return of land and property to Commonwealth nobility (szlachta), which had been confiscated by Cossacks after the 1648 Khmelnytsky Uprising;
  8. a general amnesty for previous crimes would be decreed.
History and Importance

Historian Andrew Wilson has called this "one of the great 'What-ifs?' of Ukrainian and East European history", noting that "If it had been successfully implemented, the Commonwealth would finally have become a loose confederation of Poles, Lithuanians and Ruthenians. The missing Ukrainian buffer state would have come into being as the Commonwealth's eastern pillar. Russian expansion might have been checked and Poland spared the agonies of the Partitions or, perhaps just as likely, it might have struggled on longer as the 'Sick man of Europe'" (p. 65).

In spite of considerable Roman Catholic Clergy opposition, the Treaty of Hadiach was approved by Polish king and parliament (Sejm) on 22 May 1659, but with an emended text.[1] The idea of a Ruthenian Duchy within the Commonwealth was completely abandoned.[2] It was a Commonwealth attempt to regain influence over the Ukrainian territories, lost after the series of Cossack uprisings (like the Khmelnytsky Uprising) and growing influence of Muscovy over the Cossacks (like the 1654 Treaty of Pereyaslav).

Hetman Vyhovsky supported the negotiations with the Commonwealth, especially after he suppressed a revolt led by the colonel of Poltava, Martyn Pushkar, and severed relations with Tsardom of Russia for its violations of the Treaty of Pereyaslav of 1654.[3] The Treaty of Hadiach was, however, viewed by many Cossacks as 'too little, too late', and they especially opposed the agreement to return land property to the szlachta. After the 1648 revolt, the Commonwealth was very unpopular with ordinary Cossacks. Rank-and-file Cossacks saw Orthodox Moscow as their natural ally and did not care for alliance with the Commonwealth. Furthermore, Hadiach was too much a deal that merely benefited the elite of the Cossacks—the "starshyna"—who wanted to be recognized as equal to the Polish nobility. Thus, while some Cossacks, among them the hetman Ivan Vyhovsky supported the Commonwealth, many did not, and Cossack unrest continued in Ukraine.[4][not in citation given]

The Commonwealth position was further weakened by a string of losses in the Russo-Polish War (1654–67). The Tsar felt threatened by the Treaty of Hadiach, which weakened his hold on Cossacks. The Russians saw the treaty as an act of war, and even before it was ratified sent an army into Ukraine. Although Polish forces under hetman Stefan Czarniecki dealt defeat to Russian forces at the battle of Polonka, and recaptured Wilno in 1660, lack of other Commonwealth military successes, especially in Ukraine, further undermined Cossack support of the Commonwealth. Vyhovsky's early success at the battle of Konotop in June 1659 was not decisive enough, and was followed by a series of defeats. The Russian garrisons in Ukraine continued to hold out; a Zaporozhian attack on the Crimea forced Vyhovsky's Tatar allies to return home, and unrest broke out in the Poltava region. Finally, several pro-Russian colonels rebelled and accused Vyhovsky of "selling Ukraine out to the Poles."

Unable to continue the war, Vyhovsky resigned in October 1659 and retired to Poland. The situation was further complicated by the Ottoman Empire, which tried to gain control of the disputed region and played all factions against each other. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth was weakened by the rokosz of Jerzy Lubomirski.

In the end, Russia was victorious, as seen in the 1667 Treaty of Andrusovo and the 1686 Eternal Peace. Cossacks fell under the Russian sphere of influence, with much fewer privileges under the Hetmanate than would have been granted under the treaty of Hadiach. By the end of the 18th century, Cossack political influence has been almost completely destroyed by the Russian Empire.

File:BNR (Ruthienie Blanche) Map 1918.jpg 

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