Journal article Open Access
Vitalii V. Makarchuk
The article deals with the conditions for the transformation of the legal status of the Registered Cossacks in the XVIII century. The gradual process of liquidation of the Ukrainian Hetman state and the final integration of the Ukrainian society and the Cossacks into the imperial structure of the society of the absolute monarchy - the Russian Empire - is illustrated.
The research is based on the legal acts of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the kings of the Polish–Lithuanian State, the Ukrainian Hetmans and hetman authorities, treaties and international treaties, as well as on the acts of the Moscow tsarists and the legislation of the Russian Empire.
Since 1654, the Pereiaslav Agreement and the articles of the hetmans with the Moscow tsarist agreements concluded on its basis became the constitutional source of the legal status of the Registered Cossacks. After all, it was the treaty articles that declared the military-political alliance of Cossack Ukraine with the Moscow state and were determined the Registered Cossacks as the basis of the armed forces of the Ukrainian Hetman state and guaranteed the inviolability of the Cossack rights and freedoms.
The study found that the Institute of Registered Cossacks in Ukraine became a kind of analogue of the contract military service. However, its peculiarity is that military service recruiting in the studied time was mostly carried out by the aggressor countries, which entered a register of military service with the local Ukrainian Cossack population. It was the Cossack population whose duty was to protect the borders of the state in the remote places. And it was only in the period of the Ukrainian hetman state (the Zaporozhian Army), which lasted from the middle of the 17th to the end of the 17th century, that the Registered Cossacks served to its own Ukrainian state. The Registered Cossacks was the second largest population group, after the peasants, during the entire period of the existence of the Ukrainian Hetman state. It was the Cossacks who made the basis of the armed forces of the then Cossack Ukraine. In addition to military service, the ordinary Cossacks, being a significant part of the population of their cities and towns, participated in the restoration of their fortifications and were involved in public works – constructed public buildings, fortifications etc.
At the same time, the institutional and social structuring of the Cossacks is clearly noted during the period of the Ukrainian Hetman state. Also, the social category of the Cossacks forms a holistic system with its structural elements – the ordinary Cossacks, the government officer and a significant military community.
However, the legal status of the registered Cossacks in these states was not constant, it changed under the influence of the following factors: the need to involve the registered as a force to carry out military campaigns against the enemy; border guard; performance of police functions on the territory of the settlement of the Ukrainian (Cossack) population; restraining military forces of the neighbouring countries, etc. A comprehensive analysis of the logic, nature, and evolution of the legal status of the Registered Cossacks in the conditions of its functioning in various institutions and in coexistence with diverse legal systems of Europe and Asia remains a pressing issue.