Poltava V.G. Korolenko National Pedagogical University
The author analyzes cases of arrest of persons without documents in the Starodub
Regiment in 1763–1764. The study of the problem of «bezpashporstvo» is
important, since the prevalence of this crime illustrates the mobility of the early
modern society and the effectiveness of authorities in preventing unauthorized change
of place of residence. In search of better life, inhabitants of the Hetmanate, the
Russian Empire and the Polish State tried to cross the territory of the Starodub
Regiment and find a new home. Not every effort to change the place of residence
was a success. Local authorities and Russian military forces arrested those who
did not have any documents and sent them to a regimental prison in Starodub. Besides
fugitives, sometimes their guides were arrested in the regimental prisons.
The author assessed the total number of prisoners and the sex structure. The author
discovered that the «bezpashporstvo» in 1763–1764 was the most common
ground for arrest. On the territory of the Starodub Regiment, the number of prisoners
for this crime was more than a third of the total. The author finds out that
this state of affairs was connected with the borderline location of the Starodubshchyna.
During imprisonment, the inmates were questioned about the reasons
for the lack of documents, whether they had committed other crimes, their previous
place of residence, and so on. Usually after a short investigation in the Starodub
prison, prisoners were returned home, where local authorities decided their
future. In some cases, offenders from the Polish territories were allowed to settle
on the territory of the Starodub Regiment. Given the results of the study, the
author concludes that the prison in the Hetmanate should be considered as a kind
of filter from foreigners and thieves.
Keywords: Hetmanshchyna, Starodub regiment, «bezpashporstvo», vagabond,
crimes, arrest, prison.