September 01, 2011

Stenka Razin and the Russian State

Stenka Razin and the Russian State

Three hundred and forty years ago the Razinshchina came to an end.

The two-year uprising, led by the Cossack Stepan (“Stenka”) Razin, was like a violent wave, surging north from the stormy Caspian Sea, spilling over the banks of the Volga, wreaking havoc, then retreating nearly as swiftly as it had arrived.

To be sure, this was not the first such storm Russia weathered. Sixty-five years prior, during the Time of Troubles, Ivan Bolotnikov led a revolt that reached the outskirts of Moscow before being defeated (see Russian Life, Nov/Dec 2006). Nor was it to be the last: Razin was to be followed, most notably, by Bulavinov and Pugachev.

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