“Are There Nobles in Little Russia”? Status of the Ukrainian “Shlyakhetstvo” in the Russian Empire in the Middle of the 18th Century and the Role of Informal Relations of K.G. Razumovsky

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Abstract. In this article, the authors reconstruct the political status of Hetman K.G. Razumovsky and the degree of influence of his informal relations on the status of the Ukrainian Cossack elite in the middle of the XVIII century. The authors demonstrate that neither the claims of the Ukrainian Cossack elite for the status of “noblemen” nor their children's desire to enter Russian noble schools by the beginning of the 1760s caused significant objections from the Russian ruling elite. The authors explain the qualitative changes in the strategies of elitist integration that occurred only during the reign of Elizaveta Petrovna by the combination of unique circumstances associated with the coming to power of Elizaveta Petrovna that led to the political rise of several unknown families, soon “aristocraticized” and formed the so-called “new nobility”. The informal “connection” between the Ukrainian Cossack elite and the Russian nobility contributed to the official recognition of the Ukrainian Cossack elite as a Malorossiysk nobility. This recognition affected the career and educational practices of the Ukrainian Cossack elite in the second half of the 18th century and ensured its successful incorporation.

Keywords: the history of Ukraine, the Russian Empire, the Ukrainian Cossack elite, Hetmanat, the Noble cadet corps, K.G. Razumovsky, Vorontsov, Elizaveta Petrovna.

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