Concerned for preserving a balance of power in the Baltic Sea, England was not interested in the Russian victory over the Swedish King. At an audience (on May 30, 1707) given to the Russian envoy in London, A.A. Matveyev, Queen Anne asserted that England wished to maintain friendship with Russia, but that she "does not desire to make an enemy of our old, immaculate Swedish friend and powerful monarch."
In conclusion, it is to be said that in all these diplomatic reports, Mazepa was conceived to be a figure of considerable consequence in East European affairs during the Great Northern War. The fact that at the solemn burial of Mazepa in Bender, a representative of England with the Swedish King was present, indicates that the English government was interested in Mazepa's activities and concerned about the future of the Hetmanstate.
Today it is no longer necessary to defend Mazepa's policy, and his alliance with the Swedish King. Already, contemporary, credible, foreign eyewitnesses regarded Mazepa as a Ukrainian patriot and hero.
Whitworth writing his report of November 21, 1708, expressed his opinion that Mazepa, as a man of nearly seventy years of age, very rich, childless, enjoying the confidence and affection of the Tsar, and exercising his authority like a monarch, would not have joined the Swedish King for selfish or other personal reasons.
Not only Whitworth, but also other contemporary eyewitnesses expressed their positive opinion about the alliance of Mazepa with Charles XII. The Prussian envoy in Moscow, Baron Georg Johann von Kayserling, wrote in his report of November 17—28, 1708, the following comments on Mazepa: "There could not be a doubt that this man is loved as well as respected by his people, and that he will have great support from his nation... Especially the Cossacks like him very much, because the present government treats them very badly and they are robbed of their liberties. Therefore, it is rather to be believed that either all the people, or at least the bigger part of them will follow the example of their leader."
Johann Wendel Bardili, a German eyewitness and historian, who met Mazepa in person at the Swedish headquarters, a man doubtless acquainted with Mazepa's objectives, considered him an Ukrainian patriot and hero, whom even his former foe, the Turkish Sultan, refused to extradite to the Tsar, in spite of the latter's insistent requests and even threats. The Sultan justified his stand because of an old law of asylum, and according to Bardili, he did not see any "reason of importance for extradition of such a person, who because of freedom, liberty, and rights of his own people endeavoured so much and suffered so many persecutions and tortures to promote the liberation of his people from the Moscovitian yoke. For this reason at first he (Mazepa) had to ask for the Swedish and now the Turkish protection..."
The Swedish eyewitness and historiographer, Gustav Adlerfelt, also pointed out that Mazepa had good reason to join the Swedish King. He, too, maintained that the Russian administration treated Ukraine badly.
Philip Johann von Strahlenberg, a German officer in the Swedish army, who spent thirteen years in Russia as a prisoner of war after the battle of Poltava, remarked in his work about Russia that after Mazepa had found out about the Tsar's intention to destroy the autonomy of Ukraine, he told this to his officers and tried to persuade them to join the Swedes in order to preserve it.
This was recognized already by the Tsar's closest associate, A. Menshikov, who immediately understood all the political importance of Mazepa's step, when he reported to Peter on October 17, 1708, "... If he (Mazepa) did this, it was notfor the sake of his person, but for the whole of Ukraine."
In the past and present, many historians evaluated Mazepa's alliance with the Swedish King positively. The Ukrainian historian, Fedir Umanets in his work Getman Mazepa, (St. Petersburg, 1897) came to the conclusion that Mazepa should not be condemned as a traitor. The Russian historian of German descent, Alexander Brckner, not only justified Mazepa's poiicy, but even regarded it as a masterpiece ("ein Meisterstck") and his attempt to liberate the Ukraine as an heroic act ("ein heroischer Akt"). The German historian, Otto Haintz, remarked in his work about Charles XII that "it would be a contradiction in itself to see the almost seventy-years old, childless Hetman as a characterless adventurer and traitor." The English historian, R.M. Hatton, mentioned in her work on Charlex XII that "in the ambition of Mazepa (was) to free the Ukraine from the Russian overlordship." The American historian R. Massie remarked in his work that Mazepa's "secret desire was that of his people: Ukrainian independence."
In general, all the Russian historians before the Revolution (1917), as well as the Soviet historians such as E.V. Tarle, V.E. Shutoj," B.G. Beskrovnyj, A.I. Kozachenko, V.A. Romanovskyj and others condemn Mazepa and regard him as a "traitor." Yet some Russian historians abroad, such as G. Vernadsky, S. Pushkarev, A. Belopolskij and others do not call Mazepa a "traitor" in their recent works.
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