Zadunaiskaia Sech

Sech’, Zadunaiskaia


(Trans-Danubian Sech’), an organization of former Zaporozh’e Cossacks; existed from 1775 to 1828 within the Ottoman Empire, at the mouth of the Danube River.

After the tsarist regime abolished the Zaporozh’e Sech’ in 1775 and distributed the Zaporozh’e lands to pomeshchiki (gentry landowners), many Zaporozhtsy fled beyond the Danube into Ottoman lands. Most were poor cossacks (golota), who had worked in the fisheries on the lower Dnieper and Iuzhnyi Bug; some were rich cossacks, mainly the fisheries’ proprietors, who were threatened with ruin by the flight of the golota and the subsequent loss of the fishery profits. The Ottomans allotted the Zadunaiskaia Sech’ a small area located on the right bank of the Danube.

The Zadunaiskaia Sech’ was but a pale semblance of the Zaporozh’e Sech’. It was cut off from the homeland, it had lost the economic advantages the Sech’ had enjoyed on the Dnieper, and it was subject to heavy military conscriptions. Moreover, it had to help suppress national liberation movements among the Orthodox peoples oppressed by the Turks—for example, among the Greeks and Bulgarians. Thus, the cossacks grew dissatisified and yearned to return to their homeland. In May 1828, at the beginning of the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29, the Trans-Danubian Zaporozhtsy, under Ataman O. M. Gladkii, went over to the Russian army near Izmail and fought against the Ottomans. After the war, they were formed into the Azov Cossack Host.