Birth date unknown, in the village of Ros-soshki, in present-day Khristinov Raion, Cherkassy Oblast; died 1768, in the village of Serby, near Mogilev (on the Dnestr). An 18th-century Ukrainian rebel leader. One of the leaders of the Koliivshchina. Son of a peasant of the magnate Pototskii.
Having become one of Pototskii’s court cossacks, Gonta, because of his intelligence and energy, became a senior sotnik (commander of a 100-man unit) and received ownership of two villages. In June 1768, when rebels led by M. Zhelez-niak neared Uman’, the center of Pototskii’s lands, Gonta immediately led the court cossacks over to the rebel side. He and Zhelezniak led an uprising that was suppressed with the help of the tsarist government. The Polish party (nontitled lords) executed Gonta. Many popular legends about Gonta have been preserved. T. G. Shevchenko gave an artistic representation of Gonta in his poem “Gaidamaki.”
REFERENCESAntonovich, V. B. Issledovanie o gaidamachestve po aktam 1700–1768 gg. Kiev, 1876.
Golobutskii, V. A. Maksim Zhelezniak. Moscow, 1960.
Huslystyi, K. Koliivshchina. Kiev, 1947.