“What shall we do with Ukraine?”: Stanisław Lesczyński and Hetman Mazepa in 1705


  • Kirill Kochegarov




Northern War; Ivan Mazepa; Stanisław Leszyński; Russian-Ukrainian relations; Franciszek Wolski’s secret mission


In 1705, during the Northern War, Stanisław Leszczyński, who had been elected king of Poland with the support of Sweden, tried to secure the loyalty of Ivan Mazepa, the Ukrainian hetman. The article considers previously unstudied primary sources, introducing such documents as the plan for political reforms in Ukraine that emerged in the immediate milieu of Stanisław Lesczyński, and the record of the interrogation of his agent, Franciszek Wolski, who was sent to Mazepa. Referring to these documents and to previously unknown correspondence between Mazepa and the Russian head of foreign affairs Fyodor Golovin, the author reconstructs the position of the pro-Swedish part of the Polish elite towards Ukraine and Wolski’s secret diplomatic mission. The latter was sent to Zamość at the beginning of October 1705. The secret instruction he was given was published in the 19th century, but we can now analyse it in light of new information about the verbal offers Wolski made to Mazepa. The author demonstrates that the verbal promises to keep Little Russia as part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth under Mazepa’s rule and to appoint Mazepa as prince of Chernigov did not correspond to Polish-Swedish written obligations. Stanisław Leszczyński and his aids asked the Swedish court to transfer Left-bank Ukraine to the direct rule of the Polish king in case Russia ceded it. Considering this fact, it may be concluded that the Polish side tried to avoid any written declarations to Mazepа about keeping Ukraine under his rule after joining Charles XII and his Polish ally. It is very important that Mazepa completely denied any cooperation with Leszczńsiki and the Swedish king even before he got the originals of the secret documents that Wolski left in Lublin. Moreover, the investigation of the event, and the interrogation of Wolski in particular, were carried out under the observation and control of Russian officers at the hetman’s headquarters. It proves that at the time Mazepa had no plans to support Leszczyński or Charles XII, staying loyal to the tsar as before.

Author Biography

Kirill Kochegarov

PhD (History), Senior Researcher, Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

32-A, Leninsky Ave., 119991, Moscow, Russia.




How to Cite

Kochegarov, K. (2018). “What shall we do with Ukraine?”: Stanisław Lesczyński and Hetman Mazepa in 1705. Quaestio Rossica, 6(2), 329–350. https://doi.org/10.15826/qr.2018.2.299



Problema voluminis