The last lover of the Empress – Іван Корсак

He had a strange dream last night. He saw a bishop, very similar to the metropolitan Arceniy, it was as if the last conversation with him continued.

“There will be time to gather stones, Peter” – Arceniy hadn’t changed since that time, only his face was grey as in the darkness – “you only need to believe and live.”

A dispute broke out at the father’s council when they were discussing priest Vladimir who shared troubles and joy with the Cossacks.

“Resignation will save us” – the priest said and the council began to boom indignantly and discomposedly, but the bishop didn’t pay attention – “we’ll not compare ourselves with enemies, spill Christian blood.”

The word of priest had always been a law for veteran Cossacks, but now they were ready to shred him.

“He is a spy from Moscow! He is a ban-dog!”

“Brothers” – Kalnyshevskiy said at last – “we are not strong enough to start a fight. Hear my grey head… If you die here, even as heroes, who will have children, who will run the show here…Foregners?”

Kosh Otaman was silent, then he added cap in hand, “Moses with his people was going away from captivity for forty years, but you may do this even longer. I prefer not to talk what these gadders will do with Sich. Let your heart say you where to go…”

The oldest went to Tekeli the next day, Solovki waited for Kosh Otaman, Turuhansk expected clerk Ivan Globa, and military judge Pavel Globa had to get in Tobolsk.

Different people went to Sich as midges – they were bringing out ammunition, flags, archives of Zaporozhian military chancery, they earthed cannons. Many people came in the church; they were not praying but packing silver and gold from ornaments in their sacks in a hurry.

Cossacks managed to save only the icon of Saint Sich Pokrova.

“Go where you heart says,” Kosh Otaman advised his sworn brothers.

First of all they went to Tekeli.

“General, let us preserve fish, because your people took away everything. General didn’t grudge fish.”

Cossacks went in tens by day and in thousands at night from Sich to Turkish lands.

There weren’t enough carts, of course, so they went on foot, crossing themselves and greeting their land. “In 1775 nearly 5000 Cossacks left Zaporozhye and went to Turkish lands,” contemporaries wrote.

Rather big hordes went to the Dniester firth, to the town Akerman. Local pasha understood the trouble, helped with food and others, allowed to become Kosh Otaman. Cossacks who got used to campaigns, divided into units, and forty dignified Cossacks were chosen to go to a sultan with deputation.

Sultan didn’t deny a request, guaranteed belief, military order, helped with clothes and gave island of Saint George in the mouth of Danube for Sich, and steppe near the southern tributary in addition. Cohort got usual ammunition – mace, horse-tail and gonfalon, patriarch from Konstantinopol laid hands on them.

People were going to new Sich from Ukraine, Cossacks and their families were plodding along far prairie roads under hot southern sun – they brought the icon of Saint Sich Pokrova there on foot.

Arrivals had their troubles on their land, quarrels and disagreements till they divided the booty. Public prosecutor prince Vyasemskiy took two hundred thousand tithes, prince Potyomkin took one hundred and fifty thousand, and each Russian nobleman got a thousand and a half tithes at least if he carried three Russian peasant families there. Four and a half tithes of Ukrainian land were shared in all.

Other troubles were smaller: prince Potyomkin got much temporality, and when Cossacks went to Turkey as refugees from prince Grigoriy, “arrivals from Slavonic provincial chancery major Grigoriy Borsenko and Commissar Ivan Deryaev stroke out all icons in silver ornaments in the church and took with them. They took also silver gates, bowls and other things in empty Zaporozhian sacristy.” P. Korolenko described this so, paying attention to details. Cossacks’ cemeteries were destroyed; prince Vyasemskiy used gravestones and crosses for a basement, building the estate. P. Korolenko told about steward of prince A. Vyasemskiy’s estate, too who was an owner of village Pokrovskoye, Ivan Roselnlantser who “broke the biggest bells in that church, and sold copper to Jews in Poland, 11 roubles for a pood”…


She couldn’t keep her anxiety and triumph in a voice from showing this time, she even set her teeth not to show joyful smile, it was in vain; the empress was dictating a secret order,

“The main Polish rebel Kostyushko and his secretary Nemtsevich, adjutant Phisher must be sent to Saint-Petersburg. As this secret is very important and is brought under the foreign name, you have to tell from the very beginning that this is major-general chevalier Miloshevich, injured in Warsaw, his documents are inclosed. I order strictly to have control over him…to bring Kostyushko by himself and to… guarding officer must fix his eyes on him from morning till night, and nobody among grassroots can see him and talk to him.”

There was one more victory, one more step in the creation of a great myth of her empire and of truly Catherine the Great. Rebellious Poland is suppressed, its national leader Tadeush Kostyushko is captured. How, such notability… Famed brigadier of America who had built inaccessible West-Point, which was then famous all over the world, he was declared a freeman of France by the French convention, now he was its usual prisoner, he would become prisoner of Petropavlovsk fortress.

Tadeush Kostyushko had difficulties in unlucky fight near Matseevich. Battle with Russians which had begun at dawn, was with varied success in the afternoon, and multiple advantage of artillery of Russian general Phersen made rows of Polish cavalry thinner.

Kostyushko was going as hard as one could lick on the field of honour, nestling to the mane of horse; he was rushing to the other flank, subconsciously avoiding explosions of cannon-balls, which were hacking autumn land and raised it into the sky as black columns with a painful groan. He avoided fire of cannons, but the bullet of muskets stroke down his horse – and it was rolling with its rider on the field. Russian cavalry hurried to Tadeush, seeing this.

Overpowering pain, Kostyushko put a barrel of pistol into the mouth and pulled the trigger.


Russian cavalry came up at this moment, one of them shot at him, the second piked him, and the third bited with a sword.

“This Polish farter has good boots” – the first was taking off the boots from Kostyushko who lost consciousness. The second turned inside out his pockets and exulted at gold watch. The third was taking off seal-rings and whistled in surprise, seeing an inscription on them.

It was written on seal-rings: “Motherland – to her defenders”.

Kostyushko awarded his swore brothers with such seal-rings instead of medals.

The empress knew how difficult it was to suppress the flame of rebellion, sometimes they overdid there.

They shot civilian population in Kobryn and Malorita, were bringing babies impaled on bayonets, and Suvorov forbid to bury the dead Poles in Warsaw suburb to intimidate – what to do: war is war.

Russian general von Klugen would write about those events, “Our soldiers fired into the crowd. They were trigger-happy – and screaming of women, cries of babies horrified. It’s right that shed human blood raises to intoxication… “No quarter to be given,” – our soldiers cried and killed everybody without distinguishing neither age nor gender…”

The empress had to appreciate Suvorov’s contribution; decree was already prepared about presenting him with parish Kobrino, with 13279 men bonds.

She thought that the third division of Poland had to be the last forever, and the throne of proud Polish kings would take place in john instead of chair.

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