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The Ostrzanin Uprising was a 1638 Cossack uprising against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was sparked by an act of the Sejm (legislature) passed the same year that declared that non-Registered Cossacks were equal to ordinary peasants in their rights, and hence were subjected to enserfment. The uprising was initially led by Cossack Hetman Yakiv Ostranin (Polish language: Jakub Ostrzanin ) but was eventually crushed.


According to a chronicle of 1864 written by Samuil Velichko, Ostranin, who had just been elected Hetman, issued an address to the Little Russian people on the eve of the campaign in March 1638. He declared that he would "go with his army to the Ukraine in order to liberate the Orthodox people from the yoke of oppression and torment of the Polish tyranny and claim vengeance for grievances, ruin and torturous abuse... suffered by the entire Russian populace, living on both sides of the Dnieper."[1][2]

Ostranin also called on the people of Ukraine to join the insurgency and to beware of the Registered Cossacks. His leaflets were spread across Ukraine, reaching as far as Pokuttia. His appeal was carried and distributed by the Cossack elders, bandurists, youth, and according to Ostranin, even Orthodox monks. People began to prepare for an uprising, some going to Zaporozhye, while others sent food, money, and gunpowder.

The rebels left Zaporozhye and divided themselves into three detachments. The first, moving down the left bank of the Dnieper, was led by Ostranin himself. His force took Kremenchug and moved onto Khorol and Omel'nyk. The second body of troops, consisting of a flotilla led by Guney, took the river crossings in Kremenchug, Maksimovka, Buzhin and Chigirin. The third force occupied the right bank of the Dnieper.


Ostranin's force was defeated at the Battle of Żownin, near Żownin in the Kiev Voivodeship. Subsequently the Cossacks elected a new Hetman in the person of Dmytro Hunia. However, soon the uprising was quelled by Polish-Lithuanian forces led by Jeremi Wiśniowiecki and Mikołaj Potocki. After a series of further skirmishes the Cossacks capitulated at the Starzec river. Hunia and some other Cossacks managed to flee to Russia.

In literature

The uprising was described in detail by Szymon Okolski, a well-known Polish historian, theologian, and specialist in heraldry. He witnessed and directly participated in the uprisings, and his field diaries became valuable information source for historians and novelists.

The uprising forms part of the plot of the romanticized historical novel Taras Bulba, written in 1834 by Nikolai Gogol, a Ukrainian-born Russian dramatist and novelist.[3] The book tells the story of an old Zaporozhian Cossack, Taras Bulba, and his two sons, Andriy and Ostap. The three men set out on an epic journey to join other Cossacks and participate in the Zaporozhia Cossack uprisings including the Ostrzanin Uprising.


  1. ...с войском на Украину для освобождения православного народа от ярма порабощения и мучительство тиранского ляховского и для отищения починеных обид, разорений и мучительных ругательств… всему поспольству рода Русского, по обеим сторонам Днепра мешкаючого

    "О ВОЙНЂ ОСТРАНИНОВОЙ ЗЪ ЛЯХАМИ НА УКРАИНЂ МАЛОРОССІЙСКОЙ." Летопись событий в Юго-Западной России в XVII в. / Сост. С. Величко. К., 1864. Т. 3. С. 140. (Russian)
  3. "Nikolay Gogol". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 

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