The armed forces of Ukraine have a long history. And modern Ukrainians have all features, blood and spirit of their great forefathers.
Today we will talk about Cossacks giving better understanding to Ukrainian mentality and great force.
The first written mention of the Cossacks dates back to 80-90 years of the fifteenth century. The word “Cossack” has Turkic origin and means to walk, wander, travel. But in Ukrainian minds it got such meanings like free man, national avenger, fighter for freedom and independence
Formation of this social force happened due to increasing social, economic and religious oppression of population. Typically Cossacks were runaway peasants and their number grew with the spread of serfdom. They conquered uninhabited prairies beyond the Dnieper rapids, where the power of neither Polish-Lithuanian nor Tatar-Turkish invaders spread.
On these generous but dangerous lands Cossacks arranged hunting and fishing trips, grazed cattle and horses. During such expeditions deep into prairies appeared the first elements of neighborhood. The Cossacks grouped into detachments, built fortresses, and later created the main one called Zaporiz’ka Sich.
Zaporiz’ka Sich is a phenomenon of world civilization even from the height of the present day, not to mention the time of its existence. It didn’t have any analogues in the world with the social organisation, structure, military order, written and unwritten laws, way of life and customs.
Refusing to recognize the authority of any ruler, the Cossacks chose as their leaders the most experienced, brave and resourceful men. Sich was a pattern that combined democracy with austerity and self-discipline. Every Christian man, regardless his social status, could come to this stronghold and join the Cossack brotherhood. In Zaporizzya there were strict laws that ruthlessly eradicated any theft, robbery, horse theft and any immorality. In this society there was no place for betrayal, cowardice, meanness and fraud.
Controlling large territories, maintaining several thousand strong army and administrative apparatus Sich became the cradle of Ukrainian statehood. Sich had own symbols: flags, anthem, coat of arms. It were the Cossacks who declared existence of political and military force to the world and gave a significant impulse for recognition of Ukraine and development of its political and ideological features.