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nalivayko

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I visited LibrAARy today and did not find a single AAR dedicated to my beloved Ukraine. I did make an attempt of writing one in EU1, but failed to finish one as usual. It pains me to see a lack of interest in my country and yet, I am not about to write an aar about Ukraine per se. This will be an aar about Zaporozhian Cossacks - Zaporizka Sich - the glorious brotherhood of warriors, who once excited the imagination of western Europe with their daring raids and campaigns against the mighty Turkish Sultans. This is the story of Zaporozhian Host - the military order, which sole purpose of existance was preservation of it's people's freedom.

It's capital was Zaporozhian Sich located built on the ruins of the ancient island of Hortitsa, named after old Russian god Hors - the god of the sun and horses. English word horse owes its origins to him. There they built the first democratic state in medieval Europe, from there they threw not-so-empty threats to the mighty rulers of empires around. Defying Polish Kings, Turkish Sultans and Russian Czars at the same time, they were able to preserve their ways until the unfortunate turn of events and their trust in the friendship of Muscowites robbed them off their independence.

This aar will not be written on a daily basis, as I am involved in writing others as well. Only when I am drunk and true to myself, only when my soul is crying out, excited with the images of the past and regretting the truth of the present, only when I want to say what I want say, instead of trying to please the reader, only then will I return to updating this thread.

The truth will mix with the legend, as the history of Zaporizka Sich is full of myths and legends. My own knowledge of history I cannot trust, in view of recent discoveries about history of Rus. Official history of the world is not the history I believe in, but again, any aar can hardly qualify as one. This will be more of a tribute to the people I deeply respect and dare to consider my ancestors. I was raised on books about them and yet everyday I learn something new about their deeds. Hopefully, you, my reader, will learn something new as well.
 
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nalivayko

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Prelude

In the middle of nowhere, a place called the Wild Fields by Lithuanians and Russians and Tatars alike, a place that many nations called home at least once in their history, met four gods - the ones who chose themselves to look over and protecy the Holy Rus.

The first and most powerful among them was Rod, the Creator of All, who used to sit on the top of the World Tree in the image of falcon (sokol, sokil, skil - the name used by Scythians - Skoloti - Skifi to identify themselves, for they too, like Cossacks, belonged to the God's bortherhood). Christianized Russians called him Jehova, to which he seemed to be not offended - he used that name on some occasions before.

The second one, Perun, was known presently as St. Elias. He used to be known as god of warriors and lightning and among the first three gods reporting to Rod. Now Christians invisioned him as angry man of the Middle-Eastern appearance, crossing the sky in a fiery chariot. The chariot part of it he liked - one could not say the same about Perun's new look.

Stribog, a former god of winds or Holy Spirit, in Judeo-Christian traditionm, was the third. He was not too happy with his transformation, but decided long ago to go along - as long as it did not diminish his statuts.

The last among war was Veles - the god of animals - or St. Vlas - the saint of livestock. He did not care much for the names people knew him by. He did not care much for people anyway. He took care of animals and ignored everything else. His time would come five or so centuries later, when his animal kingdom would really come under fire. For now he was enjoying being once again in Rod's company - old God was known for his solititude and such rare moments when he would call upon his children were to be treasured and enjoyed.

There was not much of a conversation between them - Rod was doing all the talking. Long time ago he made a pact with the inhabitants of this land, a pact long forgotten by one side, but still remembered by immortal God. Consequently, the people's promise to God was also forgotten. It probably was the oath of allegiance, in return for God's protection. The followers of Rod swore to shave their heads with exception of one long lock of hair - which Rod would use to his chosen people off the Earth once he decides to destroy it.

The tradition lasted for hundreed of years. Kievan Princes were among the last ones in that brothehood. But the time came when this practice was abandoned. The people of Rus went through one transformation to the other. Once free, they now were slaves to their own and foreign rulers. Rod was upset, but the free will was the one thing He did not like to play with.

And then, out of nowhere or so it seemed, came Cossacks - of different classes and origins, for different reasons and purposes, they settled in the Wild Fields - the void left by the retreat of the Golden Horde from the steppes of Ukraine. They feared no one and fiercely defended their freedom and faith. Rod felt his heart jump and was off to Ukraine, calling Perun, Stribog and Veles to the meeting.

It was brief and yet productive. Rod recognized Cossacks as his chosen people - Orthodoxy was his favorite form of Christianity anyway - and bid his aides to assist them in any way possible. And then he turned into a falcon and flew away.

- So much like him, - mumbled Perun, - create worldful of problems and leave it up to us to handle them.
 
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Storey

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Re: Zaporozhian Host: The Brotherhhood of Rod

Originally posted by nalivayko

This aar will not be written on a daily basis, as I am involved in writing others as well. Only when I am drunk and true to myself, only when my soul is crying out, excited with the images of the past and regretting the truth of the present, only when I want to say what I want say, instead of trying to please the reader, only then will I return to updating this thread.

Sometimes the best time to write is after a few stiff drinks. Of course I spend the next day cleaning it up but still most of it makes it to the final copy. Good luck and one of my favorite Russian painting is Ilya Repin's

"The Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mahmoud IV"

www.abcgallery.com/R/repin/repin75.html

Joe
 

nalivayko

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Originally posted by Storey
Sometimes the best time to write is after a few stiff drinks. Of course I spend the next day cleaning it up but still most of it makes it to the final copy. Good luck and one of my favorite Russian painting is Ilya Repin's

"The Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mahmoud IV"

www.abcgallery.com/R/repin/repin75.html

Joe
The writing of this letter is incorporated as an event. I also added 4 leaders and shortened monarch list (did I mention it in my other thread?). I would, however, like to hear suggestions on more events - before I am too deep in the game. So far I have only two - foundation of Sich and Cossacks writing the letter to the Turkish Sultan ;)
 

Storey

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Originally posted by nalivayko
The writing of this letter is incorporated as an event. I also added 4 leaders and shortened monarch list (did I mention it in my other thread?). I would, however, like to hear suggestions on more events - before I am too deep in the game. So far I have only two - foundation of Sich and Cossacks writing the letter to the Turkish Sultan ;)
Well how about The Union of Pereyaslav 1654? You could write it so that a yes gives you for example + 50 relations with Russia, joins Russian allaince. No = - 100 relations CB against Russia.

End of the 18th century Catherine II disbanded them so you could use that as an event, maybe yes becoming a vassal or no -150 relations and Russia gets CB on you? Or is this related to the Sich you mentioned above.

I'm not sure but you have the troubles between the town cossacks and the free cossacks but I don't know how to make that an event since it was on going.


And of course there are the numerous revolts they took part in against Russia. At least some of the Cossacks that is. Was there a time of increased unhappiness, which could be showed as a worsening relations with Russia? I'm thinking of 17th -18th century Stenka Razin, Kondraty Bulavin and Yemelyan Pugachov. Since you will be an independent country you could still use them as leaders?


Joe
 
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nalivayko

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Originally posted by Storey
Well how about The Union of Pereyaslav 1654? You could write it so that a yes gives you for example + 50 relations with Russia, joins Russian allaince. No = - 100 relations CB against Russia.


This one is good, but I will probably put a trigger condition in it - Sich was too strong and in control of Ukraine the Union would not be necessary.

End of the 18th century Catherine II disbanded them so you could use that as an event, maybe yes becoming a vassal or no -150 relations and Russia gets CB on you? Or is this related to the Sich you mentioned above.
Yep, this is the Sich I am talking about - and yet, this one would have to depend on the above mentioned event and I don't know if I want to hassle with it :)

I'm not sure but you have the troubles between the town cossacks and the free cossacks but I don't know how to make that an event since it was on going.
You are talking about regustered and free Cossacks. I will put this as event (will have to think when), but the condition will be that Ukraine is still a vassal of either Lithuania or Poland... Not bloody likely in my game :D

And of course there are the numerous revolts they took part in against Russia. At least some of the Cossacks that is. Was there a time of increased unhappiness, which could be showed as a worsening relations with Russia? I'm thinking of 17th -18th century Stenka Razin, Kondraty Bulavin and Yemelyan Pugachov. Since you will be an independent country you could still use them as leaders?
This one a definite no :) Sich Cossacks were different from other Cossacks and it would be pretty ahistoric. My leaders are Predslav Lantskoronskiy - "true baron of the frontier", Dmitro Bayda Vyshnevetski - the "official" founder of the Sich, Severin Nalivayko - the leader of the rebellion of 1595-96, Ivan Sirko - he was the one who signed that letter, Kmelnitskiy - naturally, Mazepa - both of them were there.

Thanks a lot for your input, I hope others will be as generous as you :D
 

Storey

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Originally posted by nalivayko


You are talking about regustered and free Cossacks. I will put this as event (will have to think when), but the condition will be that Ukraine is still a vassal of either Lithuania or Poland... Not bloody likely in my game :D

I think the horodovi kozaky(sp) or town Cossacks preseeded the regestured Cossacks but I admit that I'm going on memories of twenty years ago so I just might be wrong. :D


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This one a definite no :) Sich Cossacks were different from other Cossacks and it would be pretty ahistoric. My leaders are Predslav Lantskoronskiy - "true baron of the frontier", Dmitro Bayda Vyshnevetski - the "official" founder of the Sich, Severin Nalivayko - the leader of the rebellion of 1595-96, Ivan Sirko - he was the one who signed that letter, Kmelnitskiy - naturally, Mazepa - both of them were there.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I do get confussed with all of the different Cossack groups in the region. The problem is that most of the events are in relation to what other countries did to/with the Cossacks and as you said it's doubtful that they will be a vassal of anyone in your game. :D


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thanks a lot for your input, I hope others will be as generous as you :D
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



A good list of leaders.
Glad to help:)

Joe
 

nalivayko

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Cossacks lands and the Wild Fields in 1492



In 1492 Cossacks are few, struggling for survival and not very organized. There are some 9,000 of them in the lowlands of Dnieper - Krementjug, but their control also extends to the province of Jedisan. Fiercely independent, they still have to acknowledge Lithuanian Dukes as their overlords.

Cossacks are a warrior culture, thus no plutocrats rule their state. They are still very decentralized, obeying elected atamans and Cossack Rada. While innovative they are still religious. They exercise little control over the trade in their region - it is handled mostly by Polish Jews, who risk their lives trying to offend simple Cossack hearts with dubious bargains.

Cossack hordes are very mobile and offensive. They favor fighting on land, but will not shy away from fighting on water. The quality of their army is high enough to be competetive, but the fact that it consists of entirely free people who were not forced into service and came to fight of their own free will gives Cossacks a distinct advantage over neighboring nations.

Geographically, Cossack lands lie on the crossroads between Europe and Asia. To the south are Tatars with their numerous armies and their overlords - mighty Turkish Sultans, the conquerors of Constantinople, which one day will surely be reconquered by Christians. To the north and west lies Poland-Lithuania, an overlord and ally, which will have to be dealt with sooner or later. Further north lies Muscowy - whose Grand Princes are not yet very ambitious in their claims. In the east are the Wild Fields - the lands devastated by constant warfare. There are still people living there, who acknowledge no rule but their own.

==============================================
In addition to making Donetsk, Lugansk and Bogutjar neutral, I also changed Galicia's culture as well as Volyn's to ruthenian. Belorus, Weliki and Polotsk got russian culture.

If you have any other questions about the editing - fire away.
 
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This will be a very interesting read out of two reasons. First, because since I know nothing or very little of Ukrainian history (read a little about the mid-17th century revolts) and second, because I like your writing from reading your abandoned (?) Spanish AAR.

Is there any special reason why you chose to begin in 1492 instead of the usual GC timeframe?

Once you start writing, I'll be here! :)
 

nalivayko

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Commandante, traditional history helds that the first mentioning of Cossacks occured in 1490. Besides, I wanted a more or less familiar scene. If Cossacks got a hold of Horde revolters, there could have been a severe balance issue in the game.

Another good reason is that Sich itself was built in 1550's - and since this aar is more about Zaporozhian Sich than Ukraine, I did not want to wait for 130 years for my capital to officialy appear on the map :D If I could Iwould start at 1553, but this would mean changing the whole world map, and while I could do it for Europr, I'd be at loss for the rest of the planet.

Unrelated: My Spanish AAR will be definetely finished :D Seriously, at least I will write couple or more installments to have a nice conclusion. I just got bored, my last installment did not get any comments - that brought my self-esteem down - all the usual excuses :)

Now, question to everybody: looking at the map, do you think I should add a cb shield on Ruthenia? How about Bujak - it is currently Ukrainian territory, but then of course it could mean very little. What about Moldova (to round the borders up :), if nothing else?)

In anyway, expect a first installment soon.
 

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I think this will be a very interesting game. I am sorry that I can't add any ideas for events as I know very little about this region. I will be an avid reader, though!
 

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Well I'll be reading!
 

nalivayko

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Orphans of the steppe


I am talentless and poor,
This wide steppe is my matchmaker,
Pipe and saber - all my kin,
Mare grey - call him my brother.


They came here from all directions. Most of them were of Ukrainian and Russian origins, but many among them were Tatars, Poles and even Turks. They were of different classes, but the steppe made them all equal. Some came here seeking glory, some seeking revenge and some proving themselves to a girl far away. Yet, more ran to the Wild Fields to escape hunger, oppression or injustice. Some were already established warriors, some did not know from which way to approach a saber. Each by himself was weak. Together they were a fearsome force. They were all different and yet the same. They called themselves Cossacks - the freemen.

The Steppe was cruel and unforgiving, but also rich and fair. One could make a fortune by hunting or even farming there. One, of course, could as easily lose his head if without protection.

Little by little, fugitves bonded and formed little bands that grew into little armies. They build fortifications - a rather proud names for quickly thrown defenses - on the shores and islands of Old Dnepro and called them siches. Using them as military bases, they would defend the Borderlands from the Tatar raids and, getting the taste of it, carry the raids back into Tatars territory. At peace time they were farmers. During war they were warriors. It did not take long for many to throw away the plow for good.

In 1492 separate Cossack bands unite for the first time and elect their first governing body - Cossack Rada. They send their delegates to Aleksandras I, Duke of Lithuania, acknowledging him as their overlord, but asking to retain certain freedoms. In return they offer their services as protectors of the southern borderlands. The Duke, who has no real authority over the Borderlands, agrees.

The colonization of the Wild Fields continues. While the southern end of the steppe is far from being heavily populated, Cossacks begin moving east, creating settlements west of Don river, the place they called Donetsk.

In 1493 Moldova joins Polish alliance - a move meant to strengthen the allies' southern flank against possible Turkish invasion. At the time the Turkish threat is more than real - it is unavoidable. Using Jan I Olbracht's concerns, Cossacks appeal for an aid and receive 100,000 ducats to strengthen their defenses. Already 9,000-strong, Cossack army needs supplies more than recruits and while food is plentiful, the current peace does little to help Cossacks in obtaining ammunition and weaponry.

Flexing its muscles, the brotherhood is looking for brawl and in 1496 a border dispute with Khan Manglî leads to increased skirmishing in the steppe between raiding Cossack and Tatar parties.

In the west, Moldovan King Stefan III's harsh rule provokes his subjects in rebellion. Soon his country is overan with his enemies. Crimean Khan rejoices and gathers Tatar hordes just below Perekop (defensive wall, protecting Crimean peninsula since the days of old). But before he has a chance to start the campaign, Duke of Lithunia makes the situation even more favorable for Tatars by declaring war on the Golden Horde. Light cavalry raids by Astrakhan and Sibir Khanates quickly destroy random Lithuanian outposts east of Don, while their main armies hurry north to Samara.

Khan Manglî is not able to hold his troops in place any longer. In September of 1500 some 50,000 Tatars cross Dnepro and invades Cossack lands. The Borderlands explode in sporadic fighting. The fighting spreads along the banks of both Don and Dniepr rivers. Cossack prepare for battle near a small port of Ochakiv, planning to engage Tatar forces as soon as they cross the latter river.

The enemy crosses the river on the third of November. Wave after wave of Tatar riders smash into Cossack wagon fort. The battle lasts full three days. On the first day three thousand Tatars try to overan Cossack camp by a strong charge. Cossacks let the enemy enter the camp, encircle him and cut the entire Tatar force into pieces. The next day 12,000-strong force assaults the fort and, pressed by the reserves from the back, die one by one, not able to penetrate Cossack defenses. The third and last enemy army, numbering some 15,000 horsemen, falls on Cossacks at night. After two days of fighting Cossacks are exhausted and out of ammunition. The battle lasts through the night and the next day. The defenders die to the last man. None of them leaves his post, none has a wound to the back. Tatars lose three thousand men, in addition to fifteen thousand killed before.

After the victory at Ochakiv, where he lost twice as many men as his brave foe, Khan Manglî splits his force splits his force and besieges one sich after another. This tactic almost pays off, but then, like a pair of angry parents protecting his child, enter Lithuanian army from the north and Polish from the west.

At first, Poles are more successful than Lithuanians, driving Tatars off the Dniepr's right bank. Lithuanians keep loosing one battle after another on the left bank of the river, but are finally able to destroy couple of small Crimean armies. Then, together with Poles, they besiege Perekop - the gateway to Crimea.

Meanwhile, Khan Manglî burns all Cossack fortifications in Zaporozh'e (Krementjug) and returns to Crimea - only to run into allied forces and lose most of his army. Cossacks gather another army, 6,000-strong, and retake their lands from the Crimean Tatars. A daring raid through Lugansk, and then Kalmyk and Kouban' steppes, brings them in the rear of Crimean armies in Azov. At the same time combined Polish-Lithuanian armies break through Perekop and capture Bakchi-Sarai. Khan Mangli, having lost near 40,000 men (half of them to Zaporozhian Cossacks) and his capital, sues for peace. Cossack rada accepts all the money it can get - Cossacks need them and they don't want to see neither Lithuania or Poland encircle their lands and lose interest in protection Cossacks offer.

The war with Golden Horde, Sibir and Astrakhan' Khanates still rages on, consuming thousands of Lithuanian and Ukrainian lives. Cossacks stay out of the fight - their losses in men were to heavy to replace quickly, although another day brings more young men seeking glory to Zaporozhian camps.

The Cossack state survived the first storm and Cossack heroic defense at Ochakiv forever remained imprinted in people's minds.

Like orphans they came into the steppe, lonely and worried. But as the dust of their first major conflict settled, they found themselves in a new kind of family and their comradeship bonds with each other appeared to be more lasting than even those of blood.

ILLUSTRATIONS:



Cossack army on patrol in Zaporozh'e. Cossack colonization of the Wild Fields. Tatars preparing for yet another raid north. Lithuanian overlords overtaxing Ukrainian and Russian population.
 
Last edited:

Amric

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Considering the manpower, I'm willing to bet it won't be anytime soon. Great update!
 

nalivayko

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Commandante, the answer is soon :) I would have liked to stay a vassal until later but the financial burden is too high.

Amric - it may be illogical and ahistorical, but Cossacks should be free or they are not Cossacks :)
 

Amric

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hadn't thought of the financial burdens...good point, you need all the ducats you can get. If it wasn't for that, the strength you overlord could bring to bear to help defend you would be worth the vassalship. But you don't get diddly in money right now, and you need it...
 

nalivayko

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Amric, I hope they will still bail me out - since I will remain in their alliance,

Btw, when I was testing out the scenario, I was able to defeat Crimea on my own once. Did not take any provinces either, but gave Moldova Kuban', Kalmyk and Lugansk (it was before I edited the map). Then 5 years later they returned the favor by giving me Azov. Crimea was conquered by 1510 - and that's where I decided to stop.

I did like the recent turn of events though - my army should taste defeat as well as victory in the beginning. Does not hurt to have some drama.
 

Commandante

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Originally posted by nalivayko
I did like the recent turn of events though - my army should taste defeat as well as victory in the beginning. Does not hurt to have some drama.
That's the words of a true, dedicated role-playing writAAR! Impressive! :D
 

nalivayko

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Originally posted by Commandante
That's the words of a true, dedicated role-playing writAAR! Impressive! :D
Well, I tried to put the best face on it - I really would have liked if my 9,000 Cossacks defeated three (total 30,000-strong) Tatar armies. But I've chosen a wrong strategy this time (should have stayed in Krementjug, where the enemy sent only one small army) and paid for it. Crying won't help, so I try to make this accident look intentional.