Push and hold

They Were Pioneers

The first exhibits of the Museum of the History of the Ukrainian Special Services at the National Academy of the Security Service of Ukraine immediately transfer visitors into the 16th- 17th centuries.

It was then, according to documentary materials, that the reconnaissance -patrol service of Zaporizhzhya Cossacks was born. The museum materials served as the basis for writing a separate book. Here are some essays from the unpublished book.

Cossacks- Intelligence Men

Ukrainian Cossacks appeared as a separate military-economic stratum and a kind of “order” of professional warriors in the 16thcentury. It was the people’s response to the Polish-Lithuanian feudal lords’ political, economic and national-religious oppression of Ukraine. Free people Cossacks created a powerful military organization that had a distinctive management structure, the center of which was Zaporizhzhya Sich.

The fortified town on the Dnieper rapids was the cradle of the most important institutions of the national statehood. Cossacks that protected the land from aggression of the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire, had an effective reconnaissance and patrol system of the stationary- mobile type. Border Guards watched the terrain from the tops of the “graves” (burial mounds), erected artificial fortifications (redoubts), used light telegraph, through which let the population know about the attack of enemy troops.

Successful were also Cossacks’ campaigns against the Tatars and Turks in the first quarter of the 17th century under the leadership of a talented strategist and tactician Hetman Sahaydachnyi – a supporter of the idea of ​​ formation on the banks of the Dnieper of Cossack state under the leadership of the military and political elite.

… Participants of the Black Sea Cossacks’ trainings would win first of all thanks to the correct organization and professionalism. Painstaking, systematic collection of information about the object of a campaign (the way to the enemy’s camp, the system of fortifications, the armament, equipment of the garrison, etc.) gave them an opportunity not to fight blindly, but to strike at the most vulnerable places. At the same time it was very important to keep secret their maneuvers: Cossacks moved mostly at night, did not make camp fires, did not smoke pipes. They tied horses’ muzzles with ropes or straps to make them silent. Among themselves they spoke in a low voice or whispering.

Information about  “busurmanes”’ plans was collected by small reconnaissance troops who took a “tongue”. A lot of valuable information Cossack officers would learn from former prisoners, including galley men, freed during campaigns or fugitives from Muslim captivity. The experience gained was useful at the “Western Front” – in the fight against Poland, which in 1569 captured almost all ethnic Ukrainian lands. Interestingly, the Poles fighting the Crimea or  Porta, highly valued the military experience of Sich Cossacks: the latter were indispensable as leaders, guides, intelligence men. Hetman Sahaydachnyi’s international authority of a military leader was confirmed by his election as Commander of the Joint Military Forces of the All-European Anti-Turkish “League of Christian Militia” who fought against the “Mohammedan” expansion.

An important milestone in the development of national- political self- identity of the Ukrainian people and its military arts became the Khotyn War of 1621, when the Cossack- Polish army defeated the twice as large Turkish-Tatar army, considered invincible. First Cossacks destroyed the Turkish artillery, and then almost 80 thousand enemies. This war also significantly enriched the forms of intelligence activity, thanks to the great merit of the Cossack Hetman Yatsko Borodavka-Nerodych. His emissaries went to the villages and cities of Kyiv and Bratslav provinces, recruiting people to Cossack ranks. So by mid-June Zaporizhzhya army counted for almost 40 thousand well-armed soldiers. “If the Polish army had been so well armed – wrote in his diary a Polish officer J. Sobieski – it could have competed with the strongest in the world infantry”. The Cossack Hetman for the first time in the history of Ukrainian troops resorted to the tactics of the use of multiple intelligence units, not only collecting information, but also imposing fights on the  enemy’s patrol.

When Cossacks were led by Hetman Sahaydachnyi, they widely used sudden night raids and attacks – the evidence of well-established intelligence activities in the Cossack army. As acknowledged by the Secretary of the Commander of the Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian troops, the Cossacks “in their troops have the discipline of ancient Romans and their military courage and knowledge of warfare will not take second place to any nation in the world.”

Few people know about the heroism of a small Cossack intelligence unit, which in autumn of 1633 saved the population of Podilskyi Dniester Region from being ravaged by Abaza-Pasha’s  25- thousand Turkish-Tatar army. Having failed in the battle with the Poles under the strong walls of Kamyanetz-Podilskyi, the Turks moved along the Dniester to get yasyr (to capture men). The Commander of the Polish Army Stanislav Koniecpolski spread misinformation about 15 thousand Cossacks’ approaching. Abaza Pasha could, of course, have not believed the rumors, but that very night a reconnaissance unit of two dozen Cossacks captured a “tongue” in the Turkish transport and with shooting caused a panic in the enemy’s camp. The danger to join the battle with the “main force” of the Cossacks made the Turks retreat beyond the Dniester.

Ukrainian intelligence officers showed their great masterfulness during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s War with Moscow in the years 1632-1634 (some Cossack regiments fought as part of the Polish army). The Lithuanian Hetman’s Secretary noted an episode of Cossack’s hunting for a “tongue”: “Having crossed the river without being noticed, he was lying in the water near the shore, and when a Moscovite came near the water – he grabbed him by the hair, pulled him into the water and swam with him back”. The same author gave a glowing account of Cossacks’ hardiness and strength: “The skin on their body is like bark on a tree, their contempt for life is absolute…”

Cossacks gained experience in intelligence activity also in countering Warsaw’s expansionist attacks. Among Polish soldiers there were people who served the interests of the “Cossack nation” – passing over important information about the Polish Commandment’s plans. Thus, during the military campaign of 1625, Haiduk(soldier) Syvnytskyi quietly slipped out of the enemy camp and told the officer Marko Zhmaylo about the plan to attack the Cossacks. At night the Cossacks changed the defensive position for a more convenient – it allowed them to survive in the siege and enter into a compromise agreement with the Poles.

Ukrainian Cossacks were both striking and uniting force of the people’s anti-feudal and national- liberation movements. The culmination of years of conflict was the Liberation war of 1648-1657 led by Bohdan Khmelnytskyi. It was at that time that intelligence, counterintelligence and other special measures became really important in the military strategy of the Cossack- Hetman state.

Hetman of Ukraine, an outstanding statesman and military leader Bohdan Zynoviy ​​Mykhaylovych Khmelnytskyi was born circa 1595 in Chyhyryn, Poltava province. Got education at the Jesuit College in Lviv. Apart from the native language, he learnt the Latin, Polish, Turkish and Tatar languages. After two years in Turkish captivity, he participated in campaigns against the Turks and Tatars, as well as in peasant -Cossack uprisings of 1630, 1632, 1637. In October 1645 together with a detachment of Zaporizhzhya Cossacks (about 2.5 thousand swords) he participated in France’s war against Spain. Since 1647 he began preparing an uprising in Ukraine, which broke in 1648 and became the prologue to the Liberation War. Hkmelnytskyi, elected the Hetman, led the army, which consisted of Cossacks, peasants and townspeople, defeated the Poles at Zhovti Vody, Korsun and Pylyavtsi (now the village of Pylyava in Khmelnitskyi region). Ukrainians actually liberated the land from Polish nobles and forced the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to sign the truce. Later the Cossack army was defeated at Berestechko (1651) but the next year it took revenge by defeating 20-thousand Polish army at Batih. The alliance of Warsaw with Tatars made the Hetman for strategic reasons sign the the Pereyaslav Agreement of 1654. It had to legally confirm creation of a sort of confederation, Ukraine and Russia’s military alliance. However, in the monarchical Muscovy, which tended to absolutism, the Ukrainian state was deprived of the right to prospects of development. Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytskyi died July 27, 1657 of apoplexy. He was buried in the church in Subotiv, near Chyhyryn, but in 1664 the Polish governor Chernetskyi ordered to destroy the Hetman’s remains.

… There is no documentary evidence of functioning in Ukraine during the Liberation War of individual intelligence agency (by the way, of military and foreign policy agencies either, which does not deny the existence of military forces or diplomatic relations). But in a chronicle of Cossacks’ times there is a written mention of intelligence activity that contributed to the implementation of strategic plans, and the hierarchy of persons who participated in organizing this work.

The general management of the intelligence was concentrated in the hands of the Hetman. From various sources he received important military-political information. In some cases, B. Khmelnytskyi received and sent emissaries and instructed them. The word “emissary” (from the Latin emissarius – messenger) means a person sent by one state to another with a certain task (mainly- secret). Regimental and even hundreds’ structures of the state power had to collect intelligence. The leading core of the intelligence system was Cossacks: they were able to collect political information during missions to Poland, Lithuania, Muscovy, Sweden, the Ottoman Empire, Crimean Khanate.

The great victory in 1648 at Zhovti Vody was forged not by force of arms alone. “To every and each hostile state – reads the historical chronicle – had been previously sent people to collect by grains the intelligence about the enemy and they promptly reported to their Sotnyks (Captains) and Colonels. The latter rushed to Khmelnytskyi himself, having the best horses ready for the occasion… “In Polish sources there is information about Colonel of Cossack emissaries Stasenko: “Under his leadership in Great Poland there are 80 people, and throughout the whole Poland – 2000 under the command … “

Orthodox priests and monks also played an important role in backroom cases. In August 1648 Khmelnytskyi was invited by clerics to come to Kamyanets-Podilskyi, promising to help capture the city. And in September, when the 100 thousand Ukrainian troops were under Pylyavtsi (near present Starokostyantyniv), Hetman carried out an efficient misinformation operation. He expected approach of the allies – a Tatar detachment – and did not start combat actions against the Poles, whose army counted for more than 140 thousand. 4 thousand Crimeans arrived. Khmelnytskyi sent a priest to the nobles, who “got captured,” and told the Poles that 40 thousand Tatar army had arrived, and this “made the Poles panic”. When the battle began, the enemy could not resist and ran away. In the empty camp of the gentry, Cossacks captured many trophies – all artillery and military transports. They did not pursue the defeated. The Cossacks took Starokostyantyniv and then Zbarazh.

”Khmelnytskyi used force only when trick did not work- a French chronicler wrote about Ukrainian Hetman. – Among the Cossacks he (Khmelnytskyi. – Author.) had such authority, that he easily found people who were ready to die to realize the idea of ​​the Commander”.

In June 1649 in Sambir, were intercepted Hetman’s letters, carried by another intelligence officer in the cassock. Many soldiers of the then secret front by their social status belonged to the nobility, were officers, thus being able to collect especially valuable intelligence. Hetman managed to establish its regular flow not only from enemy transports and from the environment of some politicians, but directly from the Polish and Lithuanian capital cities. Among the intelligence officers operating in the enemy’s corridors of power, was the Polish King Yan Kazymyr’s personal Kamerger Vasyl Vereshchaka (sometimes spelt – Vereshchaha), who informed Khmelnytskyi about Warsaw’s intentions in advance.

By his origin Vasyl Vereshchaka was a Ukrainian nobleman. As the King’s Kamerger, he took part in secret meetings of the leadership of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. For three years he had been passing over (through confidential channels) to Khmelnytskyi extremely important military and political information. Based on Vereshchaka’s messages, at the Hetman’s office were made detailed reports on the meetings of the Sejm and the Royal Secret Council. The intelligence officer came under suspicion when Warsaw realized that Chyhyryn had “their man” in Yan Kazymyr’s environment. During a search in the Kamerger’s house, letters from Bohdan Khmelnytskyi were found. After the first arrest, Vereshchaka managed to justify himself (he said the letters belonged to the Kyiv monks who had stayed at his place) and for another six months he worked for Hetman State. However, the royal counterintelligence achieved its goal: the Kamerger’s involvement in secret activity was confirmed by his servant, bribed by the Poles. According to some reports, the intelligence officer was executed, according to others – he ran away from the fortress and survived.

Among the intelligence officers there were representatives of the poor strata of the population: fugitives, beggars, street actors. For example, in a Warsaw Chronicle there is a mention that one of the intelligence men- Ostrovskyi – has a black beard, drives a horse cart drawn by a gray horse, shows two monkeys, one of which, the large and blind one, has been trained to beg.

Most of Ukrainians would join the intelligence work out of patriotic motives (love for their native land, hatred of enemies, sense of duty, etc.). A Tartar captured by Poles admitted that residents of Kamyanets- Podilskyi had been serving Hetman not for the sake of profit, but “for the sake of glory, for Khmelnytskyi’s succeeding”. It is especially difficult to suspect of self-interest the people who were deliberately going to death (”falling” into the hands of the enemy and under tortures giving away “valuable” information). At the same time, there is evidence that for fulfillment of certain intelligence tasks people were paid. Money reward played not the least role in bringing foreigners to cooperation.

To work under a proper cover, intelligence officers pretended they were pilgrims, travelers, cripples, monks. For example, A. Vorozhbylovych, seized by Poles, testified that in the spring of 1651 “one hundred and fifty spies, disguised as beggars” were sent to Poland. The main objects of the intelligence service of that time were foreign power structures and the army. Among specific forms of activity there were preparation of uprisings and subversive actions. They would use methods such as planting agents, misinformation of the enemy. Ukrainian intelligence officers successfully interacted with Swedish and Transylvanian colleagues on the territory of Poland, Moravia, Silesia, Austria.

During the Liberation War of the Ukrainian people, Bohdan Khmelnytskyi’s fellows-in-arms Maksym Kryvonis and Ivan Bohun proved to be skillful commanders and organizers of the intelligence matters.

People’s hero, outstanding Commander Maksym Kryvonis was born in Cherkasy region (according to other sources – he was born in Ostroh or Mohyliv). At the end of 1647 Kryvonis supported the uprising in Zaporizhzhya Sich. He gained fame in Cossacks’ campaigns against the Turks and Tatars. One of the creaters of the victory over the Poles at Korsun (1648). In the summer of that year, he commanded the rebel troops in Podillya and Bratslav provinces, and in autumn his warriors took by storm Lviv’s main fortification – the High Castle. The key to these and other victories was successful organization of intelligence and misinformation of the enemy. The intelligence network arranged by the Cossacks’ leader, reached by its actions Krakiv and Central Poland. Colonel M. Kryvonis died of plague in 1648 during the siege of Zamostya.

An outstanding statesman of Khmelnytsky’s era, Ivan Bohun originated from the Ukrainian gentry. As Commander he became particularly famous after the Battle of Berestechko in 1651. Elected the Acting Hetman, he organized a successful defense of the Cossack camp, and later managed to withdraw Ukrainian troops from the encirclement. In January 1654 Ivan Bohun and Ivan Sirko refused to swear loyalty to the Moscow Tsar. Kryvonis commanded the heroic defense of Uman from Poles (1655). He paid great attention to the intelligence support of combat actions. The Colonel’s subordinates created rebel units in the enemy’s rear, widely used subversion actions. In 1663-1664 Colonel Kryvonis participated in Hetman Pavlo Teterya’s campaign to the Left Bank Ukraine. In February 1664 Poles captured Bohun on suspicion of secret dealings with residents of the surrounded by troops Glukhiv and shot him dead near Novhorod-Siverskyi in Chernihiv province.

The Cossacks used human, military or tactical intelligence, practiced subversive – intelligence actions. For example, Danylo Nechay’s unit disguised as Moldovan soldiers, crossed the Moldovan border and reached Iasi, performed the task: collected “nice information for famous Cossackdom” about the situation and the military plans of the Master (King) Vasyl Lupul. Nechay’s good command of Moldovan and Latin added to the success of this campaign.

In the first phase of the National Revolution, the Hetman, General Office and other powerful institutions considered exceptionally important the decisive counteracting enemy intelligences. The Cossack elite cared about keeping a secret of its own political-military plans and prevented attempts to organize the conspiracy, which means the beginning of the process of formation of the Ukrainian internal security service.

Pylyp Orlyk’s Enciphered Message

An outstanding statesman, Hetman of the Right-Bank Ukraine (1710-1714), Hetman of Ukraine in exile (1714-1742) Pylyp Stepanovych Orlyk was born October 11, 1672 in the village Kosuta (now in Lithuania). He originates from the Lithuanian-Czech gentry. He graduated from the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, and held senior positions in the Hetman’s administration. Since 1707 he was General Secretary in Ivan Mazepa’s government. He supported Hetman’s decision to break with Moscow and create (with participation of Eastern European States and Sweden) the  anti-Moscow coalition that would guarantee Ukraine’s political independence. The author of the widely known Orlyk’s Constitution (”Pacts and Constitution of Rights and Liberties of Zaporizhzhya Army”), which was in force until 1714 in the Right Bank Ukraine (South of Podillya), where the military-territorial regimental system was preserved.

Pylyp Orlyk had his own system of collecting intelligence in Ukraine and counterintelligence, which helped him avoid the Russian emissaries’ many attempts to arrest the “first Ukrainian political emigrant”. While abroad, he sought the support of leading European countries in the restoration of independence of the Ukrainian state – Kievan Rus’ successor. He was the author of brilliant political manifestos “The Rights of Ukraine”, “Manifesto to European Governments”, as well as of several books and poems. He died in Iasi at the end of May 1742.

… In November 1713 Hetman Pylyp Orlyk wrote an enciphered letter to King Charles XII of Sweden. For almost three centuries the message had been stored in the State Archive of Sweden. In the 1890s, with the permission of Stockholm, copies of some correspondence materials were transferred through diplomatic channels to Kyiv.

The rare monument of national cryptographic culture made experts interested. One of the employees of the Security Service of Ukraine made an attempt to break the code used by the Hetman.

Each state tries to protect its secrets carefully and it is cryptography that plays a prominent role here. In Ukraine, as we know from history, the process of building the statehood was difficult, that is why it is difficult to trace the development of cryptographic practice. The documents found in Sweden shed light on some little known facts.

Pylyp Orlyk belonged to the category of politicians who hoped to gain independence of Ukraine through foreign aid. He had got an excellent education, spoke fluently many languages ​​- Latin, Polish, French, German, Swedish. After the defeat of the Swedish at Poltava, their allies- Zaporizhzhya Cossacks took refuge in Turkey. After Mazepa’s death, Cossacks in April 1710 elected Pylyp Orlyk Hetman of Ukraine. His enciphered message to Charles XII belongs to that hard period of life in emigration.

In the part of the letter that follows (written in the original in Latin) the enciphered information is displayed. It shows that the Hetman was against “Islamic enslavement” and consistently advocated the idea of independence of the state.

”Your Highness, most outstanding Master, Friend and dear Patron – wrote Pylyp Orlyk November 16, 1713 from the camp near Khotyn (now Chernivtsi region). – … Tatars, both, ordinary and their leaders, are spreading rumors that residents of Cherkasy are getting armed against the Crimeans and that the Tatar Khan is planning a campaign to Cherkasy to curb the dragon in its infancy, in order to make his future campaign as happy and successful as the previous one, during which in sad defeat he lost 800 murzas (feudal lords – Ed.).

The Poles report that Your Royal Majesty’s Sweden intends to make peace with Augustus (the Polish king. – Ed.). If this is true, then I have to ask your Majesty to kindly include me, the troops and previous territory of Ukraine into the agreement in order for us not to fall from Scylla to Charybda of the most odious Mohammedan oppression. I am humbly requesting Your Excellency not to limit yourself to the protection of my person, because I do not accept the fact that Ukraine could be under Turkish protectorate “…

Analyzing this historical document, the expert- researcher concluded that in the letter was used the period’s most advanced technology of enciphering, and the alphabetical code was created with perfect knowledge of the matter. This, obviously, was due to Zaporizhzhya Cossack troops’ close ties with European countries, especially with Sweden.

In Russia they learnt this kind of cipher later. At least, until the end of the 1720s, ciphers of the so-called simple replacement were the most common in the public correspondence of Russians. As noted in a Moscow scientific publication, “It is difficult to find out what was the cause of introduction in the early 1730s of entirely new systems (codes), and whether they were the result of domestic analytical thought, or the result of imitation of foreign models”.

So, the coders of the “Cipher Department” of the Tsar’s Embassy Office headed by the State Chancellor Count Havrylo Holovkin were unlikely to learn about the Ukrainian Hetman’s plans from his closed correspondence. And the code itself does not seem to have been compromised because the Russians did not have the necessary knowledge at the time, and cryptanalysis was formed only after 1742, when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took in service a famous mathematician of German origin, Christian Goldbach – expert in the mathematical analysis and the theory of numbers.

Pylyp Orlyk used ciphers not only in contacts with representatives of Sweden, but also of other countries. We know that his son Petro Hryhoriy Orlyk, when he arrived in Turkey in 1730, in the very first short letter to his father asked to send the codes for correspondence.

In the French part of the Orlyks’ (father and son) archives, there are stored samples of different codes used by the Cossacks in exile. In the 1740s, according to experts, these politicians of Ukraine had a perfect code – non-alphabatic – for confidential correspondence.

So, there are many undiscovered and interesting facts in our history and in such a specific sphere of the state activity as ensuring national security.

In the King’s Secret Service

Ukrainian political leader, military leader, world-class intelligence officer Petro Hryhoriy Orlyk was born in 1702 in Baturyn. His godparents were the Zaporizhzhya Cossack Army’s Hetman Ivan Mazepa and the General Judge Vasyl Kochubey’s wife Vira.

The childhood of the future Count and General passed in the turbulent years: Cossack uprising, Spartan atmosphere of campaigns, military camps, moving … During the forced exile – after the defeat of the Cossacks and Swedish in the Battle of Poltava – Pylyp Orlyk’s son lived in Bendery, where in April 1710, at the General Council, the Cossacks unanimously elected his father Hetman of the Right-Bank Ukraine.

Mazepa’s successor, as we know, concluded alliance agreements with Sweden and the Crimean Khanate, hoping for joint actions in liberating Ukraine on both banks of the Dnieper from Moscow’s strong “embracement”. P. Orlyk negotiated on this very important issue also with the Turks, the Don Cossacks, Tatars of Kazan … In the difficult period of life in the Moldovan land and in other lands of the Ottoman Empire, the little Hetman’s son was learning foreign languages.

Later on, the Orlyks, following King Charles XII and the remnants of his army, also moved to Sweden. In the same 1715 Hryhoriy was enrolled in the Royal Guard, where he served for a year and even had time to smell gunpowder in the defense of the fortress of Stralsund. Then the young man got education at the prestigious university in Lund (the scientific library of this institution is now in the former royal palace of the 16th century). Together with other noble descendants of the Swedish elite he studied Latin, philosophy, art of war.

In Scandinavia, Pylyp Orlyk and his family, like in other foreign lands, were hunted by intelligence services of the Russian Tsar. Peter I promised a reward for the head of his bitterest enemy- as much gold as Orlyk’s head weighs. The Tsar’s ‘s Prosecutor-General Yaguzhynskyi made migrants hide all the time. Their life in the country, which lies near Peter I’s northern possessions, became increasingly dangerous.

After university studies (1716-1718) Mazepa’s godson and his father went to Hanover, where the Hetman was going to meet with the English King. But the ubiquitous Russian intelligence officers were treading on Orlyks heels: when negotiations failed, the leader of the Zaporizhzhya Cossacks went to seek the Turkish Sultan’s support. Hryhoriy, parting with his father, stayed in Saxony. For several years he served in the army under a different name, but then Moscow’s agents again “contributed” to his career: the 24-year-old Hryhoriy secretly left for the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and became Adjutant of the Polish Crown Hetman.

By the time Mazepa’s forces got scattered, Cossacks were in depressed mood, Hetmanate was ruled by foreigners. Orlyk’s father lived in Saloniki under supervision of the Sultan’s agents. In Warsaw Orlyk-Junior still did not give up the thought of consolidating Cossack forces in the native land and beyond. Looking for allies to counter Moscow’s armed expansion continued.

Hryhoriy tried to make true his father’s old idea – to coordinate a liberation campaign of Mazepa’s s forces with organized people’s uprising in Ukraine. Looking towards Istanbul, H. Orlyk thought: Porta can be an ally in the struggle against Moscow, but in this situation the weighty word was that of Paris’. Louis XV’s court which had great influence in Europe, according to the young politician, was the key to the success of the case for which Zaporizhzhya Cossacks had been fighting for decades.

Energetic, purposeful and forward-looking Hetman’s son got into the sphere of activity of the French King’s Intelligence service. The King sought to return his father –in-law — Stanislav Leshchynskyi— to the Polish throne. In November 1729 with documents in the name of Gustav Bartel, Captain of the Swedish army and letters sewn up under the backing of his uniform, Hryhoriy left Warsaw for Paris.

In Voltaire’s homeland Orlyk-Junior met with Stanislav Leshchynskyi and enlisted his support in his father’s case. In the capital of the great state Hryhoriy quickly became an inside man in the high-quality society. He met with prominent politicians, statesmen, got acquainted with Voltaire. During his first meeting on December 11 with the Minister of Foreign Affairs the Marquis Shovelen, Hryhoriy made him interested not only by his own vision of sharp international problems, but also by willing to actively fight for the interests of the Cossack nation. The Minister agreed that with France’s support, they could create a coalition of France, Sweden, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Porta- against the Russian Empire of whose control had to get rid sovereign Ukraine. So after the Christmas meeting with Cardinal Fleury, the descendant of Zaporizhzhya Hetman got to the secret service of the French crown.

In March 1730 Orlyk-Junior incognito – in the guise of the Swiss Guard sergeant named Hag – left Marseilles for the East by sea. In Thessaloniki, Hryhoriy met with his father, whom he had not seen for years. It seemed that the ice of their dreams began to break, but Mazepa’s Cossacks still had many years of struggle and great trials ahead. The son and his father will secretly meet many times, will correspond, but not soon Hetman in exile will see the expected changes at least in his own destiny of a recluse.

Arriving in the capital of the Ottoman Empire, H. Orlyk through the French Ambassador passed over the diplomatic mail, sorted out other affairs and in October 1731 left Istanbul with the Ambassador’s letter to the Minister Shovelen. Not without incident, “Captain Hag” returned to Paris (he even had to catch (in a boat in a stormy night) the flagship of the French royal squadron “Hope”). In January 1732 at the first secret meeting in Louvre, the intelligence officer reported on his voyage.

The next secret mission lasted from February to July of that year. Dressed like a Persian merchant, H. Orlyk had to cross the desert with a caravan, and then by sailboat to get to Bosphorus. Then from Istanbul, on board a Turkish felucca, the intelligence officer left for the Crimea. The Black Sea journey of the silent “French Doctor” in the company of Janissaries and sailors safely ended in Kaffa (now Feodosia). During the audience in the Khan’s capital Bakhchisaray, the supreme ruler of the Gireys’ dynasty promised Orlyk-Junior a comprehensive military and political support for his far-reaching plans.

The intelligence officer decided to return to Istanbul by land, despite the Khan’s warning that that way was the most dangerous. Accompanied by the horse guards, the Hetman’s son visited the area, where Zaporizhzhya Cossacks settled more than 20 years ago – the so-called Crimean Sich. In his talk with the Commander of a Kish (through the Tatar interpreter), among other things the “foreigner- traveler” asked about the former “leader Orlyk”. The Starshyna (senior officer) said that the Cossacks still consider him the leader, though they had not had any information whether he was still alive. “Can you tell us something about him?” – the Cossack officer looked with hope at the visitor. “And once I heard that, I felt pain in my chest, and my eyes dimmed, – wrote Hryhoriy to his father. – It was a terrible moment. I was close to disclosing myself, but collecting all the power of the spirit, I whispered, “No, I do not know anything …”

In early February 1733 King of Poland, Augustus II died. Versailles sent Hryhoriy Orlyk to Warsaw with secret instructions. He had to provide the political support to the French crown’s protégé Stanislav Leshchynskyi. The emissary fulfilled the task perfectly well. In March from Warsaw, where the French money began to do its job, Hryhoriy went to Istanbul via Kremenets, Khotyn, Bucharest and Sofia. In the Bosphorus, the representative of Paris enlisted the support of not only the candidate for a King (the Seim soon voted for Stanislav), but also made Turks to firmly promise to begin preparations for war against Moscow and Vienna.

”The Lord God sent Mr. Orlyk to us, – the French Ambassador wrote to Louis XV from Warsaw. – The moment I saw him, I realized the value of this man. Hryhoriy Orlyk is a brave senior officer, he knows lots of languages, his Polish and German are so good, as if he were born in those countries”. Not surprisingly, the next ticklish and important case was entrusted by Louis to the experienced in backstage cases Hetman’s son. The latter had to secretly smuggle the new Polish king Stanislav from Paris to Warsaw through hostile Germany – Austria and Russia’s ally.

In August, three travelers left France: a German merchant Bover (Stanislav Leshchynskyi), a French nobleman Andli and a servant Ernst Bramlyak (Hryhoriy Orlyk). With false IDs, they came to Warsaw and there the “servant” took King Stanislav through the underground passage to the French Embassy. For valiant service Louis XV awarded Orlyk with an Order and a precious gift – a diamond.

In foreign lands, for years H. Orlyk had been persistently seeking support for the Zaporizhzhya Cossacks’ liberation struggle. Brilliantly knowing foreign languages, he had been performing secret missions in many European countries. Besides, he had been collecting intelligence on the territory of Ukraine, through his secret assistants among Sich Cossacks and foreigners. He secretly visited the Right Bank, Poltava province, other lands where he met with Cossack Starshynas (senior officers). As an intelligence officer, he walked through villages and towns in a Tatar merchant’s disguise, studied and knew the moods of the population.

In exile,  H. Orlyk and his father tried to create a powerful anti-Russian coalition (France, Sweden, Prussia, Poland, Porta, Crimean Khanate) and having raised Cossacks to fight, by joint efforts to gain Ukraine’s independence. In the late 30′s, with the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish War, Porta failed to use the favorable circumstances prevailing at that time in Europe: Moscow bribed the Turks to peace. The Orlyks’ hopes did not come true … Hryhoriy went to France and devoted himself to military service, and later he got married and settled in Commerce. By the way, the known worldwide air gate of France – Orly Airport in Paris suburbs was built where the Counts Orlyks’ castle had been. The name “Orly” immortalizes the memory of the glorious Commander and intelligence officer.

Zaporizhzhya Hetman’s son remained a member of the King’s Secret Office and fulfilled Versailles’ special tasks. In correspondence he used a cipher, through his own agents – Ukrainian, Tatar, Turkish – he collected valuable intelligence. In favor of the Cossack nation were actively working H. Orlyk’s residents Myrovyches brothers and Nakhimovskyi. In the mid 50′s one of the French agents Nicolas-Gabriel Le Clerc, whom the Count personally prepared and brought abroad, was private Doctor of Hetman Kyrylo Razumovskyi – the Russian Empress Elizabeth’s protege.

The “Cossack Nation’s Ambassador”, consistent fighter against the aggressive policy of Moscow, Count Hryhoriy Orlyk’s plans never came true because of the Seven Years War, which broke out in Europe due to the aggravation of the Anglo-French relations (the struggle for colonies) and the conflict of the interests of Prussia, Austria, France and Russia. In the battle of Bergen near Frankfurt, Mazepa’s Godson, who had made a distinguished military career, did not spare himself. His first wound did not warn him, so a few months later, near the town of Minden the brave Count – Commander of the “King’s Blue Swedish”(a Dragoon Regiment, which included a Cossack hundred) was seriously wounded in the chest, and never recovered …

Fellow Zaporizhzhya Cossacks buried Lieutenant-General H. Orlyk November 14, 1759 on the banks of the Rhine.

King Louis thought high about the talented intelligence officer and fearless warrior, marked by French and foreign orders, who had to make one step to the rank of Marshal. In a letter to Olena- the fallen hero’s widow (the French aristocrat from the Dentevils) – the monarch wrote: “…In the great grief that befell you, find solace in the fact that Count Orlyk died exactly as a man of his origin and dignity has to die “.


Serhiy Shevchenko

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