Seven Betrayals of Ivan Mazepa: Brilliant Strategist or Cunning Adventurer?
Reviews of this historical figure to this day resemble a swing with a large amplitude – from plus to minus and vice versa. Disputes do not subside both in the scientific community and at the level of public understanding of the role of Ivan Stepanovich Mazepa in the history of Russia and Ukraine. One thing can be stated unequivocally – it was an extraordinary person, in front of the bright colors of which artistic fiction of works about Mazepa Ryleev, Pushkin, Byron and Hugo fade. Thin and intelligent, purposeful and ambitious, well-educated Hetman-diplomat with the mind of a philosopher and a romantic poet in the depths of his soul – it’s all about him.
At the end of the XVI century, the Commonwealth was a European state with centralized power and developed gentry democracy. Polish nobility, well-educated and having strong ties to the court, with mockery and arrogance, belonged to well-born people from Little Russia.
In this sense, the fate of Ivan Mazepa is similar to the fate of many Orthodox gentry surnames. At 20, he had already graduated from a Jesuit college and the Kiev-Mohyla Academy (class of rhetoric). He knew Latin perfectly well, except for his native Ukrainian, he was fluent in Russian, Polish, and Tatar, was familiar with the works of Aristotle, Plato, Machiavelli, and often quoted Ovid and Horace. As a supporter of the Hadiach treaty, his father, Adam Stefan Mazepa, was in serious trouble to save his son, he sends him to serve at the court of Jan Casimir.
The youngest Mazepa is appointed as a single, and in 1659 he is already the envoy of the king to the Hetman of Left-Bank Ukraine. But among arrogant courtiers, the clever and ambitious Ukrainian gentry never became equal and had no decent prospects for himself. Taking part in the campaign of Jan Casimir in 1663 to the Left-bank Ukraine, Mazepa leaves the army. This happens next to the White Church – maybe it is at this moment that he is implementing a long-accepted decision to return to Ukraine.
Mazepa enters the service of the hetman of Right-Bank Ukraine, Peter Doroshenko, who quickly saw in this still little-known gentlemanly extraordinary ability and rather quickly appointed him head of his entire office. In order to strengthen the position in the gentry environment and quickly move up the career ladder, Mazepa enters into a marriage with a rich and distinguished widow Fridkevich.
Doroshenko led a triple game. Remaining under the rule of the Commonwealth, he sends Mazepa a message to Samoilovich that he declares his desire to serve the Russian tsar. And soon he instructed Mazepa to go for patronage to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, sending 15 captive Cossacks from the Left Bank as a gift.
Envoys capture Zaporozhye Cossacks. To great surprise, Mazepa comes out of this binding alive. He gets to Samoylovich. Getman of Left-Bank Ukraine transferred him to Moscow, where he was presented to the tsar, and even managed to justify Doroshenko before him. Mazepa is assigned to take draft letters addressed to Hetman Right Bank, and they let him go. Only Mazepa did not reach him – he remained in the Left Bank, where Ivan Samoilovich was the hetman.
First, Ivan Samoylovich, given Mazepa’s scholarship and courteous manners, takes him as a teacher to his sons. But very soon he notices that he has the state thinking, and appoints him to the position of the chief captain. Mazepa surpasses her patron in the mind and level of strategic thinking, but she carefully hides and waits for her moment.
After an unsuccessful military campaign against the Crimean Khanate, Golitsyn accuses Samoylovich of her failure. And then there’s a denunciation of him: abuses his official position, appropriated troop treasury. Chelobitnaya was signed by several people from the Hetman sergeant, among the signatories – Ivan Mazepa. Samoilovich, who served the tsar regularly for 15 years, was exiled to Siberia, and his son was executed. Although in the denunciation of the Hetman truth was partly – about abuse, but only.
After the construction on the throne of the still-young prince Ivan and Peter, Russia was ruled in fact by Princess Sophia and her favorite Golitsyn.