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Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Bashkortostan State autonomous institution of science of the Republic of Bashkortostan Bashkir encyclopedia

PEASANT WAR OF 1773—75

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PEASANT WAR OF 1773—75 (Pugachyov Uprising, the 1773—75 Civil War) is Russia’s largest movement of the masses of people in the Middle and Lower Volga, the Southern Urals and Western Siberia territories. Caused by the strengthening of feudal oppression, violation of the South‑Eastern territories population’s rights and the colonization of Bashkortostan. The movement was headed by Ye.I.Pugachyov, who posed as the Russian Emperor Petr (Peter) III. The Privy Council (advisory body) and the Military Collegium (executive body) were created to lead the Uprising. The basic armed formations were the following: the Main Rebel Army — 25 to 30 thousand people, I.N.Zarubin Army — approx. 15 thousand people, and Karan Muratov’s troops — approx. 12 thousand people, Salavat Yulayev’s troops — approx. 5 thousand people. The suppression of the Uprising was led by Empress Yekaterina (Catherine) II.

There were 3 stages in the Uprising: September 1773 to April 1774; April to July 1774, and July 1774 to 1775. The beginning of the Peasant Uprising is associated with the arrival on September 17, 1773 of the Yaitsky Cossacks group to the Yaitsky Gorodok. In September, the Pugachev Brigade (about 800 people) defeated Kh.Kh.Bilov’s forces (over 400 people) and captured the Tatishchev Fortress by means of assault. In October 1773 to January, 1774, the blockade and the assaults of Orenburg were perpetrated. In November, rebel troops (about 2000 people) defeated the Government Forces (about 1700 people) near the Derevnya Yuzeyevo. The Bashkir‑Mishar troops (1200 people) joined the rebels near the Derevnya Bikkulovo. Then, P.M.Chernyshyov’s Government troops (about 1200 people) were attacked and captured near Orenburg. The main part of P.M.Chernyshyov’s Government troops switched to the rebels’ side. Ufa was besieged in November, Myenzyelinsk — in December, Yelabuga and Kungur — in January, Shadrinsk — in February, 1774, etc. The rebels captured many fortified sites: in November — Bakalinskaya, Buzulukskaya, Nagaybakskaya and Tabyn Fortresses; in December — Zainsk, Osa, Samara, Sarapul, Chebarkul Fortress and Yaitsky Gorodok; in January 1774 — Guryev Gorodok, Yeldyak and Krasnoufimskaya Fortresses, and Stavropol; in February — Iletskaya Zashchita (Defense Line), Chelyabinsk Fortress, etc. In the course of the uprising, the mining industry population joined the rebels. Weapons and money were confiscated in the occupied settlements, and electoral authorities and rebel troops were organized. The transfer of Government Forces from the Russian Empire’s Western provinces started in November 1773. After battles with the Government Forces, the rebels ceased besieging Yelabuga and Kungur. The rebels retreated after some setbacks near the Chelyabinsk Fortress, Sarapul, Bakalinskaya and Krasnoufimskaya Fortresses, and the Derevnya Bugalysh. In March and April, the Pugachyov Main Army was defeated.

In April 1774, the remaining soldiers of the Main Army (approx. 500 people), who were led by Pugachev himself, withdrew to the East of Bashkortostan, where they replenished their number. In the South, detachments under the command of Kaskyn Samarov, Kutlugilda Abdrakhmanov and others fought against the Government Forces. Karanay Muratov led the rebels in the area of Sterlitamak Pristan (Fortress). In May, the Main Army took Magnitnaya, Styepnaya, Troitskaya, and other fortresses. The Main Army was defeated in the battle near the Troitskaya Fortress. Some sources, however, say that this battle took place near the Derevnya Lyagushino. In July, the rebels attacked Kazan. Nevertheless, the Main Army was defeated in the battle with the Mikhelson Army.

The Main Army, which, in short order, was reassembled, captured Kurmysh and Saransk in July. In August, it captured Penza, Saratov and other settlements. Don Cossacks and Kalmyks joined the rebels. In August, A.V.Suvorov was seconded from the then Danube Army to suppress the Uprising. The Main Army was finally defeated by the Mikhelson Government Troops near Chyorny Yar (under the Solyenikova Vataga settlement). Pugachov was captured in September. However, the Uprising continued on the territory of Bashkortostan. In July and August, Kaskyn Samarov’s troops were active on the Nogay Doroga territory; the Bazargul Yunayev and Yulaman Kushayev troops were active on the Isetskaya Province territory, while the Kansafar Usayev and Salavat Yulayev troops tried to capture Ufa. By the summer of 1775, the Uprising’s separate outbreaks were finally suppressed.

The Senate’s Secret Ekspyeditsiya (Commission), created for this purpose, the Kazan, Orenburg and Yaitskaya Secret Commissions who were engaged in the investigation and trial of the rebels. More than 10 thousand people were accused in the course of the investigation, and court trials. As a result of the investigation and the trial, some rebels were executed in Kungur, Orenburg, Ufa, Moscow, etc. Kanzafar Usayev, Salavat Yulayev, Yulay Aznalin and others were exiled to Kanzafar. Abdusalam Ramzin, Yakup Tleumbyetov and others were permanently commissioned as soldiers. Many rebels died of tortures and deprivations during the investigation.

Publication date: 10.07.2020
Last updated: 29.03.2021
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