Voivode of Ruthenia

Principality of Ruthenia

The Principality of Ruthenia (Red Ruthenian: Ruśke Knjaziwstwo, Ruthenian: Kniastwa Ruskaje, Księstwo Ruskie) was a Ruthenian state established in 1658. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth borders shifted with various wars and treaties, sometimes several times in a decade, especially in the eastern and southern regions. The Principality of Ruthenia was planned at various times. Following the death of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky (1657), the new Cossack commander Ivan Vyhovsky decided to renew allegiance to the Polish Commonwealth and to break with the Treaty of Pereyaslav. The result of this decision was the conclusion of the Treaty of Hadiach, which established the Great Principality of Ruthenia as a third entity alongside the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish Crown lands, within the Commonwealth. The agreement nullified the Union of Brest within the territory of the Principality of Ruthenia. The creation of Principality of Ruthenia, proposed in the 1658 Treaty of Hadiach was intended to be a full member of the Commonwealth, which would thereupon become a tripartite Polish-Lithuanian-Ruthenian Commonwealth.

Treaty of Hadiach

The specific features of the Treaty of Hadiach were:

  1. creation of The Principality of Ruthenia or The Grand Principality of Ruthenia (Polish: Wielkie Księstwo Ruskie) from Chernihiv Voivodeship, Kiev Voivodeship and Bratslav Voivodeship (The Cossack negotiators had originally demanded that Ruthenian Voivodeship, Wołyń Voivodeship, Bełz Voivodeship, Podole Voivodeship, Pińsk Voivodeship, Starodub Voivodeship, and Owrucz Voivodeship be included as well), which would be governed by a Cossack ataman, 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 Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth);
  3. the Principality would be connected with the Commonwealth by the common king. There would be only one national parliament (Sejm) and one foreign policy;
  4. admission to the Senate of Poland of Orthodox ecclesiastic members: the Archbishop (metropolita) of Kiev and other Orthodox bishops (of Lutske, Lviv, Peremyshl, Kholm, and Mstsislau) 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 Principality - the Union of Brest would be dissolved on the territory of The Principality of Ruthenia;
  5. ennoblement of Cossack elders (Cossack starshyna). Each year the ataman 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 anmesty for previous crimes would be decreed.

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