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Russian Empire and Austria-Hungary

Ukraine within the Russian Empire

The beginning of the 18th century was marked by the complication of the domestic and foreign political situation in Left Bank Ukraine. The Northern War between Russia and Sweden for the Baltic Sea coast resulted in the increase of economic pressure on the part of the Tsar's government on Ukrainian manufacturers. There was pressure pn its human resources to participate in the military actions, fortifications and construction. The taxation burden was put not only on the ordinary Cossacks and peasants, but it also reached the social elite.

Ivan Mazepa (1644-1709), who was elected Hetman in 1687, acted on the opportunity of the Sweden invasion in Russian Empire to take a risky step. Together with his confederates and four thousand Cossacks he united with the army of Karl XII in October 1708. An agreement was soon made between Ukraine and Sweden which provided for complete independence of Ukraine from "all foreign possession." Unfortunately, the mass population, which had not been sufficiently informed about the Hetman's intentions, did not support his plans to stir up a rebellion against Peter I. In particular, peasants and common Cossacks feared finding their way to the yoke of Polish szlachta. The mass repression on the part of the Tsar's troops pounced on those suspected of having relations with Mazepa. Hundreds of Cossacks and officers were persecuted, Ivan Mazepa was declared a traitor and his name was anathematized. By the Tsar's order, the officers elected Ivan Skoropadsky (1646-1722) as the new Hetman.

After the defeat of the Swedish Army near Poltava in June 1709 and the capitulation of Karl XII and his allies, the offensive of tsarism against the autonomy of the Hetmanate was executed much more quickly. The highest state posts in the Hetman's administration were given to people devoted to Peter I. In 1709, the Zaporizhian Sich was destroyed. Thousands of Cossacks left for Turkey in search of refuge. The government of Peter I subsequently annihilated all the traces of the Ukrainian state system, and undermined the welfare of the Ukrainian people. During the elections of Ivan Skoropadsky (1708), Peter I refused to sign traditional agreement articles between Russia and Ukraine. The new Hetman was practically deprived of the right to make independent decisions. The next step in limiting the rights of autonomy of Ukraine was the creation of the First Little Russia Collegium (1722), which became the chief managerial authority of the Hetmanate. The measures with regards to the successive liquidation of the local Cossack self-ruling were also taken in Slobodian, Ukraine.

Such tsarist policy inevitably resulted in resistance of national elite where the idea of Ukrainian independence was still alive. It was manifested mostly in the Constitution by Pylyp Orlyk, where the preliminary experience of Ukrainian state existence had been generalized and the future ways of its development outlined. In the mid 1720s, Pavlo Polubotok (about 1660-1724), was appointed Hetman and rose to the defence of the national state system of Ukraine. Yet again, his plans were not supported by the demoralized society torn by social conflict.

In 1750, Kyrylo Rozumovskyi (1728-1803) was elected as the last Hetman of Ukraine. In his domestic policy he reorganized the Cossack army, performed court reforms, and gathered of Cossack officers for meetings . He also tried to pursue an independent foreign policy that favored the transfer of Ukrainian problems from the jurisdiction of Senate to the Collegium of Foreign Affairs. He also applied for the liberation of Ukrainians from participation in military actions outside of Ukrainian territory. Catherine II disturbed this by decreasing Rozumovsky's authority and she decided to completely liquidate the hetmanship. The Second Little Russia Collegium was created in 1764 with the task to completely abolish the autonomy right which was still in use in the Left Bank Hetmanate. The tsarist attack on the remains of Ukrainian autonomy entered its final phase in the 1770s and 1780s. A Manifesto of August 3, 1775, proclaimed the abolishment of the Zaporizhian Sich. By the 19th century, Eastern Ukrainian territories incorporated within the Russian monarchy included the lands of the Left Bank, Slobodian, Right Bank Ukraine, and the region of the South.

The liberation traditions of Ukrainians experienced their renaissance in the early 19th century. It first began in circles of national intellectuals which were mostly made up of Ukrainian writers. The activities of the Brotherhood of Saint Cyril and Methodius were an important point on the path of the consolidation of the national liberation movement. This was an organization created in Kyiv in 1846 by representatives of the Ukrainian national intelligentsia, including Taras Shevchenko who had spread the national liberation ideas in his poetic works. The attainment of state independence of Ukraine and the establishing of it as an equal member of the confederation of independent Slavic countries, with Kyiv as the political center, was the goal of the Brotherhood activities. The demand for the  abolishment of the monarchical system of the Russian Empire and the abolition of serfdom were the closest political requirements of the Brotherhood members. However, the practical activity of such organizations was concentrated on educational and cultural issues and search of the way to raise the economic development of Ukraine.

Ukraine within the Austria-Hungarian Empire

The position of Ukrainians in the lands subject to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th century was not less complicated than of those in the territory of Eastern Ukraine. The population of Eastern Halychyna, Northern Bukovyna and Transcarpathia (mainly peasants) suffered from economic oppression, social oppression and from ethno-national restraints. The expansion of the force of centralized authorities to these territories provided for the stabilization of economic relations between them. By the mid-19th century, the Austro-Hungarian government was influenced by the revolutionary situation in Europe in 1848 and began reforms directed at improving agrarian relations in the country. In particular, the juridical dependence of peasants on the landlords was abolished and the plots of lands were allotted to them. This created conditions for the successive transformation of the peasantry in active political force.

In April 1848, Austria acquired the status of constitutional monarchy, but the declared democratic liberties and national equality of people often remained on paper. Constitutional-parliamentary management was restored only in the 1860s with the adoption of the December 1867 constitution, which guaranteed (at least formally) the equality of nationalities and languages. Separate regions of the empire such as Halychyna (Galicia) received the right of limited authority. The measures taken by the Austrian government favored the intensification of economic life in West Ukrainian lands, and their incorporation into the world system of trade relations.

In the 19th century, there were certain changes in the socio-political life of the region. The activation of the enlighteners' ideas and the furthering of the ideology of romanticism, which was caused by the rise of the liberation movement on the European continent. This favoured the intense processes of national renaissance. The first cultural-educational circles appeared in Peremyshl and Lviv. Interests in the history of the land, language and folklore considerably increased at this time. However, the decisive part in the development of the national movement at that time belonged to the socio-cultural association "Ruska triitsia". The motives of the liberation of the region were seen on the pages of publicists' articles, almanacs, and school textbooks.

The revolutionary events of 1848-1849 had broad resonance in the West Ukrainian lands. The first Ukrainian political organization, the Chief Rus Council, appeared in Lviv in 1848. Its program documents were filled with ideas of autonomy, democracy, and reformation in different spheres of political and intellectual life of the region. Revolutionary events enlivened the Ukrainian national liberation movement in Northern Bukovyna (a series of rebellions headed by Lukian Kobylytsia) and in Transcarpathia.

The development of the national liberation movement in the Western Ukrainian lands was not isolated, but was in close relations with analogous processes in the Eastern Ukraine. There occurred the intense exchange of opinions, ideas, literature, and periodicals. The people of the Ukrainian territory that were separated by boundaries still thought of themselves as one nation.