370 years ago, in May 1648, the battle of Yellow Waters took place. It was the first major victory of the rebellious Cossacks over the Polish troops during the uprising of Bogdan Khmelnitsky.
The prerequisites of the Cossack uprising, and then of the people's war, were associated with the anti-Russian policy of the Polish authorities - religious, national and socio-economic oppression of the overwhelming majority of the population of Western and Southern Russia (Small Russia). Only an insignificant part of the top of the West Russian population was integrated into Polish society and followed the path of polishing and bristling (assimilation). Most of the Russians were considered claps, “cattle” (herd), which they shorn and beat. This caused the Cossack and peasant uprisings, but they were poorly organized, had no external support and the Poles drowned blood riots. However, the contradictions did not go anywhere, only intensified due to the colonialist, anti-Russian policy of Poland. A new powerful explosion was brewing.
The reason for the beginning of the uprising was another manifestation of Polish arbitrariness. The Poles, led by under-warmer Chaplinsky, took away the farm Subotov from the registered colonel of the Zaporozhian Army Bogdan Khmelnitsky, ravaged the farm, according to some information, they spotted his ten-year-old son to death and took the woman with whom he lived after his wife's death. Bogdan had a high education at that time, an enormous military experience, a man who was intelligent and well integrated into Polish society, even had contacts with the king, who tried to limit the appetites of the magnates with the help of the Cossacks. Khmelnitsky began to seek justice and justice for these atrocities, but the Polish judges did not help him. Then Khmelnitsky was thrown into the prison in Mostostin, from which his friends set him free. A personal appeal to the Polish king, whom Khmelnitsky knew from previous times, was unsuccessful.
Khmelnitsky, having learned that he was going to be killed as a possible instigator of the new uprising, in December 1647 of the year went to Bottom (islands below the Zaporozhian Sich), where he quickly gathered a squad of hunters (volunteers) to settle scores with the Poles. With their help, Bogdan raised the Cossacks of the whole Sich. Khmelnitsky was elected hetman of the rebellious Cossacks.
Khmelnitsky was preparing the base of the uprising and fortified the island Butsky. Work to strengthen the camp conducted ataman Fyodor Lyuty. The camp was surrounded by moats and palisades. Now the island could not be taken on the move, he could hold a siege. As the troops grew, other islands and places were also strengthened in order to cover the approaches to the Sich from the north. Throughout Little Russia (Ukraine), people dispersed with letters ("inviting sheets"). Bogdan calls the people to revolt against the Polish oppressors. Cossacks and peasants sent from Zaporozhye to the volost establish contacts with the discontented throughout the region. Folk singers (kobzari) called on the people to go into the army of Bogdan. Registrants were sent to all the regiments of the regiment, who went over to the side of the rebels. They carried Khmelnitsky letters and carried out the corresponding agitation.
On the island and its neighboring islands, on the banks of the Dnieper began to arrive "plastuns", "meadows", "foresters", all sorts of Zaporozhye fishermen, who so strengthened the first detachment of Bogdan that it was decided to attack the Polish garrison, standing in the camp and around it . In the second half of January, 1648, the rebels unexpectedly attacked an enemy unit near the island of Khortytsya. There was almost no fight. Most of the registered Cossacks immediately went over to the side of the brothers. Polish dragoons, having lost more than thirty people in a short skirmish, fled. Together with them in Krylov to Konetspolsky arrived and their commander, Colonel Gursky. Then they surrendered without a fight and the remaining Cossacks of the Cherkasy Regiment. They handed over Khmelnitsky Sich with all the supplies and boats.
Thus, the uprising began, which quickly developed into a people's war of liberation. The fiery words of the first Khmelnitsky station wagon spread throughout Little Russia: “Do not obey your contract officers anymore, like slaves, you, whose fathers did not recognize any panic laws and did not obey any kings ... There is no other way against all those crimes that were committed to you only by force and fear of death to break the Poles ... Go to Zaporozhye to the inaccessible places of the Dnieper Basin, and strike the Poles ... It would be very good if Cossacks and peasants were hit without any delay at once and jointly. "
The words of the station wagon shook all the people, who had long ago saved their hatred against Polish oppressors and parasites - both Cossacks, peasants, and bourgeoisers, all who wanted to break free from the gentry. Zaporizhia Network becomes the core of the uprising. In a very short time, in just two or three months, the first detachments of the rebel army are created in the Sich. Hardened in battles and campaigns, the Cossacks of Bogdan conducted “courses” of combat training — they trained volunteers in hand-to-hand combat, fencing, shooting, and the basics of military tactics.
The news of the uprising did not seriously disturbed the Polish gentry. Emergency measures are being taken to strangle the rebellion in the bud. So that the Cossacks did not break into the lower reaches of the Dnieper covered by unrest. Polish tycoons and Polish authorities organize punitive expeditions against the rebel villages and villages. Barriers and ambushes are inserted against the fugitives. The population is taken away weapon. Courts worked without rest to intimidate people. Especially the Poles were afraid that the Cossacks would come out of the Sich to the "volost" and unite with the rebels in the Dnieper region, and then peasants, tradesmen and Cossacks of the Left Bank and the Right Bank will rise. Garrisons in the Ukraine are increasing. They are replenished with a large number of mercenaries. Each tycoon exhibits their squads. In particular, Jeremiah Vishnevetsky had a whole army.
The leadership of all government forces in Little Russia was handed over to the crown hetman Nikolai Pototsky and his assistant, full hetman Martin Kalinovskiy. 20 February 1648, Potocki conveyed an ultimatum to the rebels. He offered the rebels to seize and betray Bogdan. Otherwise, he threatened: “Know that if you do not fulfill my will, I will order you to take away all your property in the volosts, and cut your wives and children”. Pototsky also frightened the insurgents by the performance of Russian troops and Tatars against them. When the intimidation did not help, the hetman ordered the colonel of the Kanevsky Regiment Regiment to perform in Zaporozhye and suppress the uprising. To help him were given the strength Chigirinsky and Pereyaslav register regiments. Pototsky also publishes a station wagon about the collection of all the crown troops that were in Ukraine, in Bar. Stretching there, they moved to Cherkasy, where the magnate forces were to join them.
To gain time, Pototsky moves from threats to proposals. He offers Khmelnitsky to surrender, and in return guarantees security and promises to return the farm Sabbot. In order to persuade the Cossacks to surrender, the Polish hetman sent his pet, Captain Ivan Khmeletsky, and Colonel Krichesky, who were old acquaintances of Khmelnytsky and knew many of his Cossacks. However, Khmelnitsky well knew the price of all these promises. He sent the Hetman's ambassadors back with the requirements of withdrawing all Polish troops from the Ukraine, liquidating the Ordinance 1638 of the year, and eliminating all Polish gentry from Zaporizhia. He knew that the crown hetman would never agree to these requirements. Bogdan also wanted to gain time.
Search for allies
Khmelnitsky was a good politician. Speaking his teeth to the Polish envoys that he was not a rebel and has no hostile plans against the royal power, but only seeking justice, Bogdan prepared for war and sought external support. He understood that without external support the powerful Rzeczpospolita could not be defeated. After the first victories, while Poland did not come to its senses, it will be necessary to consolidate success, with the support of the interested external force. Knowing that Pototsky was trying to defame him in front of Moscow, Khmelnitsky tried to establish contact with the Russian kingdom. In order to strengthen the long-standing friendship and agree on joint actions, I contacted the Don Cossacks. He also sent representatives with friendly assurances and a request for help to the Crimean Khan.
Meanwhile, the Polish magnates, fearing the intervention of Moscow, tried to negotiate the rebels in front of the Russian government. Messengers from the Polish authorities in Little Russia sent dozens of letters to the Russian border authorities in which events in Zaporozhye were covered in the most black light. For example, it was reported about the desire of the Cossacks, along with the Crimean Tatars to attack the Russian kingdom. The Poles wanted to provoke a conflict between Russia and the Zaporizhzhya Cossacks in order to create distrust of Moscow from the side of the Western Russian population.
Don Cossacks at the request of Khmelnitsky sent for help detachment. Ivan Bohun also arrived, who helped the Don Cossacks to fight with the Tatars and the Turks, who tried to destroy the main city of the Don Army Cherkassk and strengthen themselves in the mouth of the Don. The glory of Bohun as a skillful warrior and a desperate brave man boomed all over South Russia.
The logic of the war said that it is impossible to sit endlessly in the Sich. Potocki hastily assembled troops. Polish punitive sank the rebel villages in the blood. Having crushed peasant speeches, the Poles could go to the Sich. The Cossacks had to go to densely populated areas, to the big cities, where the masses of peasants, Cossacks and burghers would join the rebels. It is necessary to incline the registered Cossacks to their side. The support of all the people is needed. And only then it will be possible to measure power with the crown army. In addition, we need an alliance with the Russian kingdom. The idea of reuniting the two parts of Russia and the Russian people had widespread support in Little Russia.
At the initial stage, a temporary alliance with the Crimean Khanate was also necessary. It was impossible to prevent the union of the Crimea and the Commonwealth. The Cossacks could not win the war on two fronts. The strike of the Crimean horde from the rear ruined the whole uprising. Therefore, two embassies were sent to the Crimea. One headed Klysh, the other - Kondrat Burlyay. Initially negotiations did not produce results. A mediator in the negotiations was made close to Islam Giray III Khan Murza Tugay-Bey, who was given back his son, previously captured by the Cossacks.
In the Crimean Horde was restless. The throne under the khan was reeling. In order to consolidate his power and weaken his dependence on Ports, Islam-Girey dismissed Viseer Sefer-Ghazi-agu, the appointee of the big feudal lords, from his post and replaced Mahmet-aga with a devotee. Dissatisfied to know rebelled, the war began for the throne. Han himself needed support. He sent an ambassador to the Polish king Vladislav demanding a tribute that had not been given for several years. But received a resolute refusal. In this case, the Crimean ambassador is indicatively insulted. When the ambassador asked to be allowed to kiss the royal hand, he was refused, allowing only to touch the edge of the royal cape. Crimean ambassador said he considers it a declaration of war.
Therefore, the Khan needed an ally to punish Poland and at the same time cover the Crimea from a possible Polish strike. The bloody civil war subsided. Sefer-Ghazi swore allegiance to the khan, was forgiven, and returned the position of the Vizier. But the lull was temporary. Bogdan and Zaporozhye foremen knew this. It was decided to make a new attempt. Khmelnytsky went to Giray himself. Negotiations took place in Bakhchisarai. The Khan Murzas were divided: some, encouraged by gifts, entered into a profitable alliance with the Cossacks, others were against the union, since the Cossacks were the old enemies of the Crimean Tatars. Khan himself feared that it was a trap. That the Cossacks are sent by the king and want to lure the Crimean army and bring it under the blow of the gentry army.
As a result, Khmelnitsky, in order to calm Islam Giray, swore on his saber in the presence of all the Khan murz. As a hostage in the Khan's headquarters remained the son of Hetman Timothy. It was a difficult forced step that led to a lot of blood in South Russia. But there was no other way. After that, the Khan agreed to an alliance against Poland. Thus, both sides found a temporary ally against Poland, although they were perennial enemies. To help Khmelnitsky Khan singled out a horde under the command of Tugay Bey, one of the most influential nobles of the feudal opposition group. That is, Giray immediately "killed two birds with one stone". On the one hand, he struck at Poland and was freed from the detachment of a dangerous feudal oppositionist who could be defeated and die. On the other hand, he protected himself from the possible dissatisfaction of Poland and Turkey, they say, the disobedient vassal leads the war, and the khan is not guilty. At the same time, Girey retained the possibility of reconciliation with Poland. He immediately sent a messenger to Pototsky and Vishnevetsky, whom he knew well, with assurances of friendship.
Thus, having concluded an alliance with the Crimean Khanate, Khmelnitsky proved to be a reasonable politician and diplomat. Poland suffered a serious diplomatic defeat; at the height of the uprising, the Cossacks gained a strong ally and secured their rear. Also, the alliance with the Crimea warned Turkey to enter the war on the side of the Commonwealth. Although, as the future showed, the Tatar detachments played a supporting role in the fight against Polish troops, preferring to engage in looting and taking people to full. However, the strategic importance of the union of Zaporozhye and Crimea was obvious. One performance of the Crimean horde against the rebels in the midst of their war with the Poles led the uprising to defeat.
At the end of February 1648, Khmelnitsky left Bakhchisarai. With him was 4-thousand. Tatar horde led by Tugay Bey. 18 April Khmelnitsky was at the Sich. Cossack officers supported Khmelnitsky. Gathered rad. The first made ataman Fyodor Fierce. He spoke of the oppression that the people endure from the Poles, that it was time to free themselves from them. What Khmelnitsky decided on the "military against the Poles deal with the insults and gravity of the Cossacks and all Little Russia from the Poles" and that the Cossacks and all the people support him in this. Koshevoi announced an alliance with the Crimean Khanate. Rada also supported Khmelnitsky. Also elected hetman who will lead the people to the holy war. They became Khmelnitsky.
To be continued ...