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Pugachev's Rebellion, 1773–1775

Yury V. Bosin

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Eastern Europe » Russia

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1700-1799

Key-Topics freedom, rebellion, revolution, slavery, taxation

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01226.x


Under the rule of Catherine the Great, Russia was rapidly modernizing as the Russian elite embraced western technological advances, fashions, food, and art, at great financial cost to the entire country. Landowners increased the tax burdens on their serfs to counterbalance their expensive standard of living. Peasants in turn engaged in mass protests and rebellions through escaping, rioting, and engaging in insurrections against the aristocracy. From 1762 to 1772, some 160 popular uprisings were recorded in the Russian empire, but the profligate ruling classes were not prepared for the fierce rise in peasant discontent that ignited Pugachev's Rebellion from 1773 to 1775. The peasant uprising was sparked by a rumor that Peter III, the grandson of Peter the Great, had escaped assassination in 1763 and was living in hiding among the Cossacks on the Yaik River, renamed the Ural River in the aftermath of the rebellion. The rumor alleged that Catherine II sought revenge against Peter III who was seeking to emancipate peasants from serfdom. In reality, Emilian Pugachev, a Cossack born in the village of Zimoveyskaya where, a century earlier, Stepan Razin was born, was the self-proclaimed Tsar Peter. After joining the military at age 17, Pugachev fought in the Prussian and Russo-Turkish Wars of the 1760s and was promoted to the lower officer rank of khorunziy . Soon after, Pugachev deserted ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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