For several centuries Russia and Lithuania fought for the lands of Kyivan Rus (ancient Ukraine). In 1648 Ukrainian Kozaks started an uprising against Polish supremacy. The Kozak leader was Bohdan Khmelnytsky. In the liberated areas a regimental structure was established in the new Ukrainian state. Elected managerial and court bodies were introduced.

Khmelnytsky sought help from outside to defeat the Polish-Lithuanian state. He negotiated both with Sweden and Russia. An agreement was signed in 1654 with Muscovy. During the following war 1654 to 1667 between Russia and Poland a Swedish-Ukrainian Treaty at Korsun on October 6, 1657 was signed.

The Treaty of Korsun 1657

The treaty was the result of years of negotiations and contacts between Sweden and Ukraine. It provided for a Swedish-Ukrainian military and political alliance to guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Charles X Gustavus pledged to obtain recognition by Poland of the Ukrainian Hetmanate. This state was to territorially include western Ukrainian lands as well as the Berestia (Brest) and Polatsk palatinates, then controlled by Poland-Lithuania.

The Men Behind the Treaty

The terms of the treaty were worked out by the Kozak leaders Ivan Kovalevsky, Ivan Bohun, and Yurii Nemyrych on the Ukrainian side and Ambassador Gustaf Lilliecrona on the Swedish side.

Gustaf Lilliecrona (1623 – 1687) was a Swedish civil servant, several times provincial governor and diplomat. In April 1657 he was appointed to serve as Swedish commissar to the Kozak leader Khmelnytsky. He remained in Ukraine from April to August of 1657. Liliecrona later served as Swedish ambassador to Ukraine. He was first to reside in the Danish capital. Earlier Swedish ambassadors had resided in Elsinore. As far as I have found there is no detailed history of the Swedish ambassadors in Elsinore. Such a history should be written as part of the history of the city of Elsinore, one of Denmark’s cities rich in history.

The implementation of the Swedish-Ukrainian Treaty was prevented by the war between Sweden and Denmark. King Charles X Gustavus had to transfer his troops from Poland to Denmark. A year later Khmelnytsky’s successor as Hetman, Ivan Vyhovsky, signed the treaty of Haidach (1658) with Poland.


“The Ukrainian hope of finding a protector in Sweden had to be given up although Sweden and Ukraine in fact signed a formal treaty at Korsun in Ukraine on October 6, 1657. It was the first treaty of its kind and was to be followed by more such treaties by this time signed on behalf of the grandson of Charles X Gustavus, Charles XII”.

The quote is from my book on Swedish-Ukrainian relations in the 17th century. A detailed study of the three historical Swedish-Ukrainian treaties is still lacking.


Bertil Haggman, Swedish-Ukrainian Relations, Circa 1600 – 1657 (printed as manuscript), 2007.

Biography of Gustaf Lilliecrona, Svenskt Biografisk Lexikon.

Z.E. Kohut, B.Y. Nebesio, M. Yurkevich, Historical Dictionary of Ukraine, 2005.

Riksarkivet, Stockholm /2113/2113.2 Diplomatica Muscovitica Cosacica. Vol. 1. Förhandlingar mellan Sverige och kosackerna 1655 – 1719 (Negotiations between Sweden and the Kozaks 1655 – 1719).

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