Slavo-Serbia – the Serbian roots of Novorossia



Slavo-Serbia was a territory of Imperial Russia between 1753 and 1764. It was located by the right bank of the Donets River between the Bakhmut and Luhan rivers. This area today constitutes the territories of present-day Luhansk Oblast and Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine. The administrative centre of Slavo-Serbia was Bakhmut (Bahmut), present day Artemovsk.

By the decree of the Senate of May 29, 1753, the free lands of this area were offered for settlement to Serbs, Vlachs (Romanians), Hungarians, Bulgarians, Greeks and other Balkan peoples of Orthodox Christian denomination, who seeked refuge from Ottoman Turks, in order to ensure frontier protection and development of this part of Southern steppes.

Slavo-Serbia was directly governed by Russia’s Governing Senate. The settlers eventually formed the Bakhmut hussar regiment in 1764. Also in 1764, Slavo-Serbia was transformed into the Donets uyezd of Yekaterinoslav Governorate (now in Dnipropetrovs’ka oblast’, Ukraine).

Commandants of Slavo-Serbia were Colonels Rajko Preradović and Jovan Šević. These Serbian colonels led their soldiers in various Russian military campaigns; in peacetime they kept the borderlands, along with the Cossacks, free from incursions by other states.

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