Slobodskie Cossacks

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Slobodskie Cossacks


the cossacks of the Slobodskaia Ukraine.

The Slobodskie cossacks were the descendants of the Ukrainian cossacks who, as early as the 16th century, settled the Slobodskaia Ukraine. During the 17th century the number of settlers increased. More than 1,000 cossacks, participants in the peasant cossack revolt of 1637-38 under the rebel hetman Ia. Ostrianin, moved into the region in 1638. Many settlers arrived during the War of Liberation of the Ukrainian People of 1648–54; for example, the Chernigov and Nezhin regiments, led by Colonel I. Dzikovskii, settled here, together with their families, in 1652. The Russian government, which had an interest in colonization and protecting the border areas from raids by the Crimean Tatars, allotted lands to the settlers and granted them cossack privileges.

In the 1650’s the settlers were organized into Slobodskie cossack regiments, such as the Ostrogozhsk, Akhtyrka, Sumy, Kharkov, and Izium regiments, which in structure were much like the regiments of the Left-Bank Ukraine and which later underwent much the same evolution. From the second half of the 17th century and especially from the mid-18th century, as the toiling cossacks increasingly came under the oppression of the feudal lords and the feudal state, the starshina (elders) appropriated the cossack lands and enserfed the cossacks themselves. On July 28, 1765, by manifesto of Catherine II, the rank-and-file Slobodskie cossacks were deprived of their privileges and converted into regular host personnel; the Slobodskie cossack regiments were reorganized into regular hussar regiments. At the same time, the cossack starshina was granted the rights that the Russian nobility held, essentially becoming pomeshchiki (large landlords). The Slobodskaia Ukraine was made a part of Slobodsko-Ukraine Gubernia.


Sliusarskii, A. G. Sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoe razvitie Slobozhanshchiny XVII-XVIII vv. Kharkov, 1964.

V. A. GOLOBUTSKII [23–1678–]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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