Pereyaslav Rada: why the union of the Muscovite kingdom and the Zaporozhye Sich was beneficial to both sides
In the first half of the XNUMXth century, an extremely difficult situation developed on Ukrainian lands. These territories were part of Russia, Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Poland.
Moreover, the latter had most of them - from the Carpathians to Poltava and from Chernigov to Kamenets-Podolsk.
Administrative and religious oppression of Ukrainians by the Polish gentry in 1648 led to an uprising of the Zaporozhye army, led by Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky.
At the same time, the lack of forces to confront the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth pushed the hetman to conclude very dubious alliances. In particular, with Turkey and the Crimean Khanate.
The latter, by the way, not only did not fulfill the role of an ally, but also carried out regular raids, plundering the lands of the Cossacks.
As a result, by the end of the sixth year of this war, most of the regions now called Ukraine were devastated by the war with the Polish gentry and the “industry” of the Crimeans.
The only option of salvation for Khmelnitsky and the Zaporozhye army was to conclude an alliance with Moscow, with which he, in fact, turned to Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, asking him to accept the Zaporozhye Sich under his protectorate.
In the fall of 1653, the Zemsky Sobor, held in Moscow, decided to include the Left Bank (Dnieper) territories into the Moscow state.
On January 8 (old style), 1654, the Ukrainian hetman convened the Rada in the city of Pereyaslavl. After Khmelnitsky’s long speech about the claims of the Turks and the Polish gentry, the Cossacks, peasants, artisans and other participants in the meeting supported the alliance with Russia with exclamations: “So that you may all be one forever!”
After the Pereyaslav Rada, representatives of the Moscow embassy visited 177 cities and villages of Ukrainian lands to take an oath of allegiance to the tsar from the population. According to some data, 127 males took the oath.
At that time, it was already obvious that war between Russia and Poland had become inevitable. However, this was the plan of Alexei Mikhailovich, who agreed to Khmelnitsky’s proposal.
Firstly, the tsar intended to return the territories lost by Russia after the Time of Troubles.
Secondly, the unification of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania posed a serious threat to the Muscovite kingdom in the external arena.
Thirdly, a huge number of Orthodox Russian people found themselves under the yoke of Polish Catholics.
In general, to declare war on Poland, Alexei Mikhailovich only needed a reason, which was the alliance with Khmelnitsky and the results of the Pereyaslav Rada.
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