Author: Georgy VilkovPublished in the collection "Northern War and Transnistria: History and Modernity". page 128. Publication of PSU. T.G. Shevchenko, type. Printer, Bendery, 2010
The attitude towards the personality of Pilip (Philip) Orlyk in Ukrainian and Russian historiography is extremely ambiguous. If in Ukrainian history his personality is on a par with such symbols as Askold’s Grave, the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, the baptism of Kievan Rus, the Zaporizhzhya Sich, then in Russian history his name is closely connected with the name of the Hetman of Ukraine, odious for many, Ivan Mazepa and those events that befell his fate: a faithful twenty-year service to the Russian throne, the struggle for the complete independence of Ukraine, betrayal of the Russian Tsar Peter I, incitement of the Ukrainian Cossacks to treason, flight to Turkey, inglorious death, long oblivion.
Be that as it may, Pylyp Stepanovich Orlyk is one of the most interesting figures in Ukrainian history. He was born in 1672 in the village of Kosuti, Oshmyany district, not far from Vilna. His father was the heir to an old family of Czech barons, while his mother came from a well-known Belarusian-Lithuanian noble family. Pilip was not even a year old when his father died near Khotyn, and Orlik had to achieve everything in his life with his own labor.
After graduating from the Jesuit school in Vilna, he entered the Kiev-Mohyla Collegium, which soon received the status of an academy. As his biographers noted, at the academy Pilip Orlik was especially interested in philosophical and theological problems and, like the vast majority of students, was fluent in Latin, and was also fluent in many European languages - Polish, Swedish, French, Bulgarian, Serbian, Italian, German and Greek; possessed the magnificent eloquence inherent in the Baroque style; knew how to write letters, memorials, appeals, manifestos and other documents in a clear and logical form. As they said then, he was gifted by God with writing talent.
After graduating from the academy, an educated and literate student was immediately noticed and, under the patronage of the teachers of the educational institution, they were taken to the post of cathedral clerk of the Kyiv Metropolis. Subsequently, he becomes a clerk in the General Chancellery of the Zaporizhian army. Hetman of Ukraine Ivan Mazepa draws attention to Orlyk's abilities, and from that moment Orlyk's career is rapidly going up. He became one of the hetman's closest assistants, took the post of senior clerk, and then manager of the affairs of the general military office, and, finally, in 1706, became the general clerk of the Zaporizhzhya army. Further, Orlyk, like the disgraced hetman I. Mazepa, falls into a whirlwind of military and personal upheavals. In 1709, after the defeat in the Battle of Poltava, Pylyp Orlyk, together with the remnants of the Swedish army and the Zaporozhye Cossacks, arrived in the city of Bender, where in 1710, after the death of Mazepa, he was elected hetman of Ukraine and remained virtually in exile until the end of his days. On April 5, 1710, P. Orlik put everything at stake - his future, the future of his family, wife and five children, his property, doomed himself to eternal misadventures and hardships.
The name of Orlyk is not forgotten in Ukraine: a prize named after Pylyp Orlyk was established, the State Bank of Ukraine issued a coin with his image. In 1993, one of the streets in Kyiv was named after him. In 1997, a stamp with the image of Orlyk was issued, it was published in a series dedicated to the Hetmans of Ukraine. In 2006, a monument was laid to Orlik. In Belarus, in the village where he was born, a memorial plate was installed, a museum-chapel dedicated to him was opened.
On April 5, 1710, at the walls of the Bendery fortress (according to one of the versions, in the second camp of Charles XII - in the bend of the Dniester), in the presence of Swedish military leaders and the Turkish garrison of the fortress, the Cossack foreman Pylyp Orlyk was declared hetman of Ukraine. After the end of the ceremony, he outlined the text of a document known in history as the “Pacts” or “Bendery Constitution”, in fact, titled “Pacts and Constitutions of the laws and liberties of the Zaporozhian Host”. At its core, this document was an agreement between the monarch-hetman and the free Ukrainian Cossacks. In its spirit and democracy in an era when even in the most progressive European countries the main principle of the state system was absolute monarchy, Orlik's constitution can be called unique. It is unique, first of all, in that the idea of dividing power into three branches (legislative, judicial and executive) was formulated not by well-known European philosophers, but by a fairly young newly elected hetman of little-known Little Russia.
According to Ukrainian historians, the constitution of Pylyp Orlyk was the first written constitution in the world, which was 77 years ahead of the US constitution and 81 years ahead of the French constitution, the constitutions of Poland and Spain appeared much later. By the way, the constitution in Russia appeared only in the Soviet period of its history.
The fate of Orlik himself and his offspring, which has come down to us in two versions - in Latin and in the Old Ukrainian language, was not easy. Currently, the original Latin version of the constitution is kept in the historical archives of Sweden.
Orlyk himself, if evaluated objectively, did much more or at least tried to do for the independence of Ukraine than his teacher Ivan Mazepa, who is given much more honors in modern Ukraine. We must not forget that both Mazepa and Orlik will always be controversial figures in the relationship between the official authorities of Ukraine and Russia, since in the history of these two states there are, as it were, two versions of joint historical ties.
The first, most widely interpreted, is the version of Ukraine's development under the wing of its older brother, Russia, that is, the brother who saved the "Outskirts" of the Slavic Orthodox world from being swallowed up by Catholic Poland and Lithuania, as well as Muslim Turkey. And according to this version, Little Russia was forced to historically become the autonomy of Russia and subsequently one of its integral parts. Perhaps this version is the most confirmed by time and factual data, and perhaps it was this development of events that determined the very existence of modern Ukraine. But one cannot ignore the second version, which is currently widely and in detail presented in Ukrainian historiography: despite the help of the fraternal people of Russia, Ukraine has always strived for complete independence not only from Poland, Lithuania or Turkey, but also from neighboring Russia. Proceeding from this, the actions of the same Pylyp Orlyk are evaluated.
Beginning in 1708, when Russian pressure on the hetmanate increased and Peter I's plans to eliminate and enslave the Ukrainian Cossacks and transfer all of Little Russia to the patrimony of Prince Menshikov became known, Pylyp Orlyk became one of the active participants in the creation of the Ukrainian-Swedish alliance. After the defeat of the Swedes in the Battle of Poltava, the flight to Turkish Bendery, and after Orlyk was elected hetman of the right-bank Ukraine, in addition to the constitution, he also announced the oath he signed, in which he pledged to devote all his strength to the struggle for the independence of Ukraine from the foreign yoke, implying including Petrine Muscovy. This is what explains his further actions.
While in Bendery, Orlyk, relying on the support of the Cossacks and an alliance with the Swedish king Charles XII, confirmed by an appropriate diploma dated May 10, 1710, concluded the Ukrainian-Crimean union treaty of 1711 and the Ukrainian-Turkish treaty of 1712, on the basis of which he tried organize an anti-Moscow coalition with the participation of the Don Cossacks-Bulavins, Kazan Tatars and Bashkirs. After an unsuccessful campaign against Belaya Tserkov and the expulsion of the Swedish king from Bendery, in 1714, at the request of Karl Orlik, he moved to Sweden, and in 1720 to Germany. Incognito, he lived for some time in Poland and France, and already from 1722 until his death on the territory of the Ottoman Empire - in Greece, Budjak, Moldova. Throughout his emigre life, Orlik sought support in France, Sweden, Poland, Saxony, Britain, Hanover, Holstein, and the Vatican in resolving the political issue of recognizing Ukraine as an independent state from Muscovy. He even tried to form his own armed forces and raise the New Sich against the Russian Empire. However, all his attempts failed, i.e., despite all his incredible efforts, hardships and hardships endured in exile, the ruined fates of his loved ones, Pilip Stepanovich Orlik did no real harm to the Russian Empire. Apparently, therefore, his name is not as painfully reacted in Russia as the name of the “official” traitor Ivan Mazepa. To Orlik's credit, in spite of everything, he never violated the oath given by him under the walls of the Bendery fortress on April 5, 1710 in the presence of his associates.
Orlik's constitution created the possibility of a compromise between the three main political forces that competed with each other in Ukraine and now, after the defeat in the war with Moscow, are in exile. This is the hetmanate as the main institution of power; foreman as her leading layer; Zaporozhye as the only military force. The conflicting interests of the parties were harmoniously coordinated in this state-legal act, which was supposed to be the constitution of Ukraine and, at the same time, a manifesto of the state will of the Ukrainian nation to the entire civilized world. From this point of view, the Bendery Constitution of 1710 was a creation of collective Ukrainian political thought, the result of those discussions and discussions that took place in exile in the winter of 1709-1710, and perhaps even during the life of Mazepa. There is every reason to think that Pylyp Orlik himself was the editor-in-chief of the Bendery constitution.
The text of the Bendery constitution consists of an introduction (preamble) and 16 pacts. The preamble is an interesting historical and political treatise, which expresses the idea of a primordial attraction to Ukrainian statehood, retells the history of Ukrainian-Moscow relations, starting with the Pereyaslav agreement of 1654 and ending with the “revolution” of Mazepa.
The Constitution defines the independent state of the “Zaporozhye Troops and the Russian People” as an estate elective hetman monarchy of a parliamentary type and defines its borders. The Bendery constitution provided state-territorial, military-political and economic rights, as well as the interests of Zaporozhye. The Hetman's power assumed the main obligations to protect the borders of the state, as well as to clear the cities of Ukraine from Moscow garrisons and various external taxes.
The main attention in the Bendery constitution was paid to ensuring the political interests of the big foreman (“persons fit and deserved in the Zaporizhzhya Army”), i.e., a kind of parliament that opposed hetman absolutism, which was already noted in the preamble to the constitution, where the practice of “former hetmans” was condemned Troops of Zaporizhia”, which went to an alliance with Muscovy.
Parliament was supposed to meet "at the residence of the hetman" three times a year: at Christmas, Easter and Pokrov. Not only gentlemen colonels with their foreman and centurions were invited to these councils, not only general advisers from all regiments, but also deputies from the Zaporizhzhya Grassroots Army.
Each of the permanent members of the General Council had to respect the hetman, and the hetman, respectively, the members of parliament, i.e. "keep them for society, and not for servants." The Constitution also limited the rights of the hetman in the field of legal proceedings, expanded the competence of the General Military Court. Finances, land ownership - everything was transferred to the management of the General Council, while any corruption was strictly prohibited. The hetman had the right “to be content with his dues and parishes, on the mace and face of his hetman’s liege…”, i.e. the hetman was forbidden to receive income from other lands, besides his patrimonial lands.
The Bendery constitution also paid attention to the situation of the broad masses of the people and, in general, to the socio-economic problems of that Ukraine-Hetmanate. The hetman was obliged “not to make hardships, taxes, indemnifications and scourges” for ordinary Cossacks. In general, it was promised to alleviate the situation of the Cossacks and the Commonwealth - "poor people."
This is the main content of the Bendery Constitution of 1710. It did not become the state law of the Ukraine-Hetmanate. The further development of historical events did not allow the plans and dreams of the authors of this epoch-making document to come true, which became a synthesis of the state political creativity of Mazepa's like-minded people, but the influence of the Bendery constitution on the Ukrainian political ideology of the 18th century. no doubt. Hetman Pylyp Orlyk and other leaders of the Ukrainian emigration always, until the end of their lives, recognized the basic principles of this constitution as law for themselves and their political activities. The last survivor, a member of the Mazepa government, Fyodor Mirovich, wrote to Grigory Orlyk that “the ancient rights of the Cossack nation were approved in Bendery when choosing your glorious father, were and continue to remain the highest law of Ukrainian statehood.”
Studying modern critical publications on the Orlik Constitution, one comes to the conclusion that critics unequivocally evaluate this document from modern positions, that is, they take modern constitutional law, the position and structure of modern constitutions as a basis. However, this event happened 300 years ago and it must be considered from the standpoint of those times and those political and historical realities that differed significantly from modern ones.
On April 9, 2010, on the territory of the Bendery fortress, near the eastern wall of the Citadel, a monument made in the form of a book dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the signing of the Orlik Constitution was solemnly unveiled. The event was attended by representatives of the leadership of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, the leadership of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, representatives of numerous public organizations of Ukraine and Pridnestrovie. The fortress museum keeps a photocopy of the original Constitution of Orlyk, made in Kyiv during the exposition of museums and libraries in Sweden, dedicated to the “Poltava” period of Swedish history.
In this context, the very history of the Bendery fortress is also interesting, within the walls of which the fates of the historical characters of Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and other states are intertwined. Gradually, a memorial ensemble grows within its walls, dedicated to the military leaders of the Russian Imperial Army, who influenced the fate of the city and the fortress, or who laid down their lives near its walls. It is planned to build a small memorial ensemble dedicated to the Turkish builders of the fortress, the Swedish king Charles XII, Ukrainian Cossacks.
Of course, not that small part of the Cossacks that came under the walls of the Bendery fortress after the defeat of the Swedish army near Poltava, but that large part that had a significant impact on the development of the history of the Transnistrian region, which for the first time, long before P.I. Panin, stormed the Turkish fortress together with the Moldavian detachments, the part that, as part of numerous Little Russian and campaign regiments in the Russian army, took part in the storming of the fortress in 1770 and gave their lives for its liberation from Turkish rule.