So, how did Moscow reward the Ukrainian Cossacks for saving its Black Sea Fleet and defeating the Turks? A decade after the event, Dr. Edward Clarke saw the situation the following way: “In consequence of the service they rendered to Russia in her last war with Turkey, Catherine, by a ukase of the 2d of June 1792, ceded to them the peninsula of Taman, and all the countries between the Kuban and the Sea of Azof, as far as the rivers Ae and Laba; an extent of territory comprehending upwards of 1000 square miles”. At first sight, it appeared like a gift and it was even reflected in the name of the city the Ukrainian Cossacks founded in that area – Ekateronodar which can be translated as ‘Catherine’s Gift‘. It is the current city of Krasnodar situated several miles to the east from the notorious Kerch Bridge. But was it a gift? When one has to leave one’s native land, the land of ancestors, and has to move to another place it does not feel like a nice thing. Especially when that new place was the newly-conquered area and the Cossacks had to defend themselves from the attacks of the new neighbors. Dr. Clarke observed the drastic effect it had on the Ukrainian Cossacks in the short run: “They were allowed the privilege of choosing an ataman, but their numbers have considerably diminished. They could once bring into the field an army of 40,000 effective cavalry. At present, the number of troops which they are able to supply does not exceed 15,000.” As mentioned in a previous article, deportation of the natives was part of Moscow’s policy in exterminating smaller nations.
Excerpt is taken from the “Ukraine & the United States” e-book.