The capture of Baturin was necessary not only because the city was the capital of Mazepa. Another thing was also important: it became known that the Swedish king Charles XII, the military antagonist of Peter the Great, could stay for the winter in Baturin. This circumstance was not at all in the hands of the Russian army. In the city there were significant stocks of provisions, weapons, there was also a garrison of Mazepa's associate Dmitry Chechel. The Russian tsar ordered Baturin to be ruined in order not to let Karl's plans come true. However, of course, the desire to take revenge on the traitor Mazepa could also be one of the reasons for taking the city by storm.
However, this is not the only version of possible developments. It is believed that Menshikov, coming up with the troops to the city, still did not know anything about the hetman’s treachery. Something amiss was discovered only after the people of Mazepa flatly refused to open the gate to the Russian soldiers. Then Menshikov, having thought for several days and after weighing all the pros and cons, decided to attack Baturin.
Ivan Stepanovich Mazepa
One way or another, the storming of the city took place. The circumstances of the capture of Baturin, which in Ukraine are called the Baturyn tragedy, are not known for certain: an event that was surrounded by a political halo three hundred years ago remains politicized and to this day. The bias of the majority of researchers, both Russian and Ukrainian, does not allow an objective assessment of the scale of destruction and the number of victims. Russian historians have often noted that the capture of Baturin was an inevitable element of the military campaign - they say, nothing personal, only politics. Researchers from the Ukrainian side, on the contrary, wrote about the brutality of the Menshikov soldiers, their terrible desire for murder and destruction.
Alexander Danilovich Menshikov
Dmitry Nikolaevich Batysh-Kamensky, the author of monumental work on Ukrainian history and the ruler of the office of Nikolai Grigorievich Repnin, the military governor of Ukraine, wrote: babies. Königsek died from his injuries; Chechel was taken prisoner; a small part of the garrison escaped; the beautiful, according to Polish custom adorned, the palace of Mazepa, thirty mills, bread shops made for the enemy, were then turned to ashes; all the property they left in Baturin and forty cannons, except mortars, went to the winners. ”
A curious approach to the description of these events was among Swedish historians. For example, the researcher Fryksel, the author of the “History of the Life of Charles XII”, in his work said that, by order of Menshikov, the bodies of Mazepa’s supporters were crucified on wooden rafts, which, in turn, launched Seim as a warning to those who dare to oppose Russian army.
Monument to the victims of the Baturin tragedy
After the November events of 1708, the hetman's residence was moved to the town of Glukhov. The population of Baturin to the pre-war indicators did not return, and over time it was even deprived of the status of the city, which, however, was returned in 2008, to the three hundred year anniversary of the tragedy.