Petro Doroshenko

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Petro Doroshenko
Петро Дорошенко
Petro Doroshenko 19.jpg
4th Hetmans of Ukrainian Cossacks
In office
October 10, 1665 – September 19, 1676
Preceded by Pavlo Teteria
Succeeded by title surrendered to Ivan Samoylovych
Personal details
Born 1627
Chyhyryn, Kiev Voivodeship, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Died November 19, 1698
Volokolamsk, Tsardom of Russia
Nationality Ruthenian
Religion Greek Orthodox

Petro Dorofeyevych Doroshenko (Ukrainian: Петро Дорошенко, Russian: Пётр Дорофе́евич Дороше́нко, Polish: Piotr Doroszenko; 1627–1698) was a Cossack political and military leader, Hetman of Right-bank Ukraine (1665–1672) and a Russian voyevoda.


Earlier life[edit]

Doroshenko family coat of arms.

Petro Doroshenko was born in Chyhyryn to a noble Cossack family with a strong leadership background. His father, a Registered Cossack, held the rank of colonel, and his grandfather Mykhailo held the bulava in the 1620s as hetman of the Registered Cossack Army.[1]

Though it is not known where Doroshenko studied, there is no doubt that he received an excellent education. Doroshenko became fluent in Latin and Polish and had a broad knowledge of history. In 1648 Doroshenko joined the forces of Bohdan Khmelnytsky in the uprising against the Polish domination of Ukraine. In the earlier stages of the uprising Doroshenko served in both a military and a diplomatic capacity. He primarily served in the Chyhyryn regiment, where he held the rank of artillery secretary, eventually being appointed colonel of the Pryluky regiment in 1657. When Khmelnytsky's death occurred in 1657 Doroshenko supported the election of general chancellor Ivan Vyhovsky as Khmelnytsky's successor. Between 1657 and 1658 he helped Hetman Vyhovsky to suppress the pro-Russian uprising of Iakiv Barabash and Martyn Pushkar, a bloody fratricidal conflict, resulting in some 50,000 deaths.

Hetman Pavlo Teteria promoted Doroshenko to the rank of his chief (general) yesaul in 1663. Doroshenko became the leader of the Cossack starshyna (senior officers) and elements within the ecclesiastical authorities who opposed 1654 Treaty of Pereyaslav. Supported by Crimean Tatars and Ottoman Turkey in 1665, Doroshenko crushed the pro-Russian Cossack bands and eventually became Hetman of Ukraine (Right-bank Ukraine).


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Poland withdrew from the right-bank Ukraine due to numerous peasant and cossack uprisings, whose rebels sought to secure their liberties with military support from countries other than Poland and Moscow. They found it in the realm of the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate. In the beginning the first Hetman recognized by Crimea was Sotnyk (captain) Stepan Opara from the Medvedesky company. However, that same summer of 1665 he was replaced by Doroshenko. In order to strengthen his new position, Doroshenko introduced reforms in hope of winning the respect of the rank and file Cossacks. Doroshenko would often organize general councils where he would listen to the lower classes' opinions.[2] And in order to rid himself of the dependence on the starshyna, the hetman created the Serdiuk regiments which consisted of 20,000 mercenary infantry units who took orders only from him.[3] When his hetmancy began, Doroshenko, like all Right-bank hetmans, followed a pro-Polish line, but he quickly changed this policy upon hearing the signing of the 1667 Treaty of Andrusovo. The treaty officially divided Ukraine between Russia and Poland, with Russia gaining sovereignty over Left-bank Ukraine and Poland acquiring Right-bank Ukraine. Once the news reached Doroshenko, he reportedly suffered a seizure upon learning of Ukraine's partitioning.[2] Doroshenko quickly deserted his pro-Polish position and decided to seek aid from the Ottoman Empire. The Council of Officers was willing to support an alliance with the Turks, and in the fall of 1667 Cossack emissaries were sent to Istanbul to present a proposal for an Ottoman protectorate over Ukraine. The alliance was eventually approved by the council and proclaimed by the sultan Mehmed IV on May 1, 1669.

Hetman Doroshenko leading his troops.

In the fall of 1667 Doroshenko, with Ottoman support, defeated the Polish forces in Podolia, and expelled them from the Right-Bank. With the Right-Bank seemingly secured, Doroshenko and his men crossed into Left-bank Ukraine and supported an uprising against Ivan Briukhovetsky. Following Briukhovetsky's execution the Left-bank regiments proclaimed Doroshenko the hetman of all Ukraine on June 9, 1668. As Doroshenko was reaching his zenith of power after successfully reuniting Ukraine, his numerous enemies united against him. The Poles began supporting rivals for the hetmancy, eventually proclaiming the colonel of the Uman Regiment Mykhailo Khanenko as hetman of Right-bank Ukraine.[2] Soon after the Poles recognized his hetmancy, Khanenko and Jan Sobieski launched a massive invasion onto the Right-bank. Turning to advance against the invaders, Doroshenko appointed Demian Mnohohrishny acting hetman of the Left-bank. While Doroshenko was away, the Muscovite army invaded the Left-bank and took advantage of his absence. The troops forced Mnohohrishny to renounce all ties with Doroshenko and recognize the sovereignty of the tsar. This led to Doroshenko's defeat of Left-bank Ukraine led by Ivan Sirko and voyevoda Grigory Romodanovsky.

As his forces were weakened from the ongoing wars, Doroshenko was forced to rely increasingly on the Ottomans. This was very unpopular with the majority of deeply Orthodox Christian Cossacks.[citation needed] As the Turks were considered the hated infidels of Europe.[4] This would prove to be a serious mistake on the part of the hetman.

In 1672, with a force of 12,000 he aided the 100,000 strong Ottoman Army which invaded Poland and laid siege to Kamenets (it had been captured and sacked) and Lviv. The war ended with the capture of Podolia and the signing of the Peace of Buchach.[5] According to the terms of the treaty, the Podolia voivodeship was turned into an Ottoman province. And the Bratslav Voivodeship and the southern portion of the Kyiv Voivodship were to be recognized as Cossack territory administered by Doroshenko under a Turkish protectorate.[4] But the war left consequences for Doroshenko, devastating his country. The vast Ukrainian territory was laid waste, cities were burned down, and hundreds of people were taken into captivity by the Crimean Tatars.[6]

As the Right-bank faced devastation by the Turkish power, Doroshenko began to lose the respect of his previously loyal civilians because of his collaboration with the "hated infidels." Although the alliance did perform an integral part in his successes, the rest of the population suffered at the hands of the Turks.[citation needed] The situation worsened when in 1674 an invasion was launched by Muscovite and Ukrainian forces under the commands of the hetman of Left-bank Ukraine Ivan Samoylovych and Romodanovsky. The joint forces besieged Dorosenko's capital at Chyhyryn in June 1674 but he was protected by a Turkish army.

The invasion brought the downfall of Doroshenko because the majority of his officers refused to support the Muslim Ottomans against their fellow Orthodox countrymen.[citation needed] Which resulted in most of Doroshenko's regiments to abandon him and join Samoylovych. After a second siege of Chyhyryn, Doroshenko decided to abdicate (September 19, 1676) and surrender his insignia to Samoylovych, who in return proclaimed himself the new Hetman of Ukraine. Doroshenko was arrested and brought to Moscow where he was kept in honorary exile,[4] never to return to Ukraine.[2]

Natalia Pushkina, countess of Merenberg. One of the most charming women of her time

Voyevoda of Vyatka[edit]

In 1676 Petro Doroshenko asked new Russian Tsar Feodor III to forgive him and promised his loyalty. In 1679 he was appointed voyevoda (governor-duke) of Vyatka in central Russia, and after a few years was granted an estate and principality[citation needed] of Yaropolcha in Volokolamsk Uyezd.[7] Petro Doroshenko died in 1698 near Volokolamsk. To this day he remains a controversial figure in Ukrainian history. Some consider him a national hero who wanted an independent Ukraine, while to others he was a power-hungry Cossack Hetman who offered Ukraine to a Muslim Sultan in exchange for hereditary overlordship of his native land.


Among his descendants are Natalia Pushkina, and Dmytro Doroshenko. Natalia would marry the poet Alexander Pushkin, and have a daughter named also Natalia, who was named the Countess of Merenberg following her marriage to her husband, a Nassau prince. Their descendants subsequently married into, amongst others, the Romanov dynasty and the Westminster and Milford-Haven noble families of Great Britain. Dmytro on the other hand was a prominent Ukrainian political figure during the Russian Revolution and a leading Ukrainian emigre historian during the inter-war period.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Doroshenko, Mykhailo, Encyclopedia of Ukraine". Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  2. ^ a b c d Orest Subtelny. Ukraine a History. University of Toronto Press, 1988.
  3. ^ "Serdiuk regiments". Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  4. ^ a b c Paul Robert MagocsiA History of Ukraine. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-0830-5
  5. ^ "Buchach Peace Treaty". Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  6. ^ "A statist during the period of the Ruin". Ihor SIUNDIUKOV, The Day. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  7. ^ "Doroshenko, Petro". Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 

External links[edit]