Bohdan Khmelnytskyi and the Issue Related to Extradition of Impostor Timofii Ankudinov to Moscow Government (1650)
Doctor of Historical Sciences (Dr. hab. in History), Professor,
Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies, University of Birmingham (Birmingham),
In 1643/4 the chancellery clerk Timofei Ankudinov fled from Moscow to Poland and then to Constantinople, where he called himself Tsarevich Ivan Shuiskii, the son of Tsar Vasilii Shuiskii, who had died (childless) in Polish captivity in 1612. In 1650 Ankudinov appeared in Ukraine, where he tried to recruit an army of Zaporozhian cossacks to invade Muscovy. The cossacks did not support him, however, and he then called himself simply ‘Prince Shuiskii’, Tsar Vasilii’s grandson, and lived in the Mhar monastery at Lubny under Bohdan Khmel’nyts’kyi’s protection. The Russian government was afraid that Ankudinov would obtain military support from the Ukrainian cossacks in order to attack Muscovy, as pretenders had done in the Time of Troubles in the early 17th century. They made repeated attempts to obtain Ankudinov’s return to Moscow. King Jan Kazimierz agreed to the demand of the Russian ambassadors G.G. and S.G. Pushkin for the pretender’s extradition, and sent envoys to Khmel’nyts’kyi, but the hetman argued that the cossacks did not return fugitives. Khmel’nyts’kyi made the same argument to the Muscovite ambassador to Ukraine, Vasilii Unkovskii, and to the Russian monk Arsenii Sukhanov. Khmel’nyts’kyi and his secretary Ivan Vyhovs’kyi also argued that the rank-and-file cossacks would protest if Ankudinov was handed over to the tsar without their agreement. On 11 November 1650 Khmel’nyts’kyi expelled Ankudinov from Ukraine. The pretender went to George II Rakoczi in Transylvania, then to Sweden. He was finally extradited from Holstein and executed in Moscow in 1653. In view of the fact that the cossacks were willing neither to support Ankudinov against Russia, nor to hand him over to the tsar’s government, Khmel’nyts’kyi’s decision to expel him from Ukraine was a sensible compromise. The broader context of Russian-Polish-Ukrainian relations is also relevant. At a time when Khmel’nyts’kyi was seeking the tsar’s assistance against Poland, the pretender’s presence in Ukraine provided the hetman with an opportunity to exert pressure on Moscow. But the tsar did not offer any new concessions, and Khmel’nyts’kyi responded by refusing to extradite Ankudinov.
Ukrainian-Russian relations, impostor, resettlement right, political refuge, Timofei Ankudinov, B. Khmelnytskyi.
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