Ukrainian Hetman Pylyp Orlyk (1672 – 1742) was a close friend of Swedish King Charles XII. He had been a chancellor under Hetman Ivan Mazepa, followed the king into Ottoman territory after the battle of Poltava (1709) and was in 1710 elected Hetman of Ukraine to succeed Mazepa, an election confirmed by Charles XII.

In the years of 2008 – 2014 Swedes and Ukrainians will remember the alliances between Sweden and Ukraine, fallen Swedes and Kozaks in the tragic battle of Poltava, and the first constitution of Ukraine (one of the oldest in Europe) of 1710, written by Orlyk and his advisers.

In 1714 Hetman Orlyk and his family (wife Anna and seven children, one of them born at Gralscher Hof in Altefaehr on the Island of Ruegen on the northern German coast) left Bender in present day Moldavia to arrive in Hannover in 1715 continuing to Stralsund (then Swedish). The group, including around 40 leading Ukrainians in exile, left on a Swedish warship (as did the king who had lived in the city for several years) just before the fall of the city (the Great Northern War, 1700 – 1721 was raging). Their destination was Ystad (Scania Province, Sweden) where they arrived early in January, 1716. Swedish authorities had chosen the Scanian city of Kristianstad as residence for the Ukrainian head of state. The family was to live there in an inn at the corner of the smaller of the city’s two main squares. The owner of the inn, Henrik Hildebrand, a German, had passed away in 1713, so the house was available.

All members of the Ukrainian community in Sweden were granted a yearly government allowance for services rendered. One daughter of the hetman, Kataryna Orlyk, was born in Kristianstad in 1718 (she probably passed away in 1719).

In November, 1718, the king fell in battle in Norway (then part of the kingdom of Denmark, which was party to the anti-Swedish-Ukrainian alliance. His friend Orlyk moved to Stockholm in 1719. There he received payment by the Swedish government for a Ukrainian loan to Sweden and with his oldest son, Hryhor, left Sweden in 1720 to continue his struggle for an independent Ukraine closer to his home country. One of Orlyk’s daughters, Anastazya, in 1723 married the Swedish General Johan Stenflycht.

Hetman Pylyp Orlyk was a prolific writer. His diaries have been published by the Harvard University Press and during his time in Kristianstad he wrote a number of letters in Latin and German to the government in Stockholm. An edition of his letters in the German language between 1717 and 1720 could be based on a version published in 1909 in Lviv.

A register of personal names mentioned in the letters would have to be added with short biographical comments.

A publication of Orlyk’s letters would be an important task when 2017 is approaching.



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