Factors, Mechanisms, and Resources for Stable Russian Control over Little Russia (The Second Half of the 17th Century)
Keywords:Russian state; Little Russia; Hetmanate; Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; Magdeburg Rights; voivode authority; empire; control mechanisms
The author demonstrates that the existing historical and sociological models explaining the peculiarities of control over the region by means of military forces and centralised bureaucracy, which exercised repressive management practices in relation to local (national) elites, do not correlate with real historical practices. According to the tsarist government’s initial plans, local self-governing corporations (the Zaporozhye Registry Army and cities that were self-governing according to Magdeburg Rights) were to be the main resources for holding sustainable control over the region, including as intermediaries in tax collection. The article notes that this trend intensified during the geopolitical competition over Little Russia (with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Crimean Khanate, and Ottoman Turkey) and as a consequence of the political instability within the Cossack elites and the financial crisis of 1662. As a result, the Russian state could not fully financially support the few enclaves of tsarist (voivoda) administration in the region. Referring to the history of Russian institutions in the region (voivoda offices) in the 1670s–1690s, the author demonstrates the reasons which prevented the tsar’s agents from keeping the region under control and resisting unrest. The article notes that for the sake of preserving even such limited control and maintaining the loyalty of the Cossack elite, the tsarist government did not collect taxes from the local population between 1669 and 1722.