The author attempts to ascertain the attitude of the central government of the Russian Empire to the self-governing traditions and practices of the autonomous Cossack state, in particular regarding the election of the Cossack administration, as well as examining what depended on this approach. The issue is analyzed both at the level of legal regulation and in the field of real practices. An emphasis is placed on the reign of Peter I, when the practice of direct appointment to seniority in Ukraine by decrees of the Tsar, Senate and other institutions of power of the Russian Empire became widespread, thereby bypassing the legal norms and traditions of the Hetmanate. The intensification of the imperial center's interference in the field of personnel appointments in the Hetmanate correlated with the general trends of changing the political course towards Ukrainian autonomy in the post-Mazepa Age. This article attempts to identify the consequences of this intervention in the sense of power disorganization in Ukraine and the discrediting of the self-governing traditions of the Cossacks.