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Sirko (—≥рко) Ivan
(near 1610Ч1680)

Sirko (—≥рко) Ivan (near 1610Ч1680)

Cossack military leader, Koshovyi Otaman of the Zaporozhian Host and author of the famous Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks that inspired a major painting by the 19th-century artist Ilya Repin.

Ivan Sirko was born in the stanitsa Merefa near modern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. In 1654 he came to Zaporozhian Sich became polkovnyk (colonel) and in 1659 together with Russian prince Aleksei Trubetskoi fought against Crimean Khanate. In 1663 Ivan Sirko became Koshovyi Otaman of the Zaporozhian Host and in alliance with Muscovy won several battles against Poles, Tatars and hetman Petro Doroshenko. He was a first Cossack ataman to accept bands of Kalmyks into his army. Despite his pro-Moscow orientation he distrusted and hated pro-Russian hetman Ivan Briukhovetsky. In 1668 this rivalry even forced Ivan Sirko to switch sides and briefly join Petro Doroshenko in his fight against УMuscovite boyars and voivodsФ , but in 1670 once gain Sirko pledged loyalty to Russian tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. Afterwards he captured Turkish stronghold Ochakov and fought against Doroshenko.

Following the death of Demyan Mnohohrishny in 1672 Sirko entered the struggle for the hetman title, but instead was sent by the Russian tsar to Tobolsk, Siberia. In 1673 he returned to Ukraine and once again fought against Tatars and Turks captured fortresses Arslan and Ochakov. In 1675 Zaporozhian Cossacks defeated Ottoman Turkish forces in a major battle, however, the Sultan of Turkey Mehmed IV still demanded that the Cossacks submit to Turkish rule. The Cossacks led by Ivan Sirko replied in an uncharacteristic manner: they wrote a letter, replete with insults and profanities. After his death Ivan Sirko Ч one of the most popular atamans in Ukrainian history Ч was remembered as a legendary Cossack and became a hero of many myths, folk songs and poems.


Ukraine, 2006, Ivan Podkova and Ivan Sirko

USSR, 1944, Zaporozhian Cossacks

USSR, 1944, Zaporozhian Cossacks

USSR, 1944, Zaporozhian Cossacks

USSR, 1956, Zaporozhian Cossacks

USSR, 1969, Zaporozhian Cossacks

USSR, 1991, Zaporozhian Cossacks

USSR, 1929, Zaporozhian Cossacks

USSR, 1930, Zaporozhian Cossacks

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