Astrakhan Uprising of 1705–06

Astrakhan Uprising of 1705–06

 

an antifeudal action by streltsy (semiprofessional musketeers), soldiers, posadskie liudi (merchants and artisans), and rabotnye liudi (bound or free industrial and trade workers) in Astrakhan. Its causes were the intensification of tax oppression and the arbitrariness and coercion of the local administration and garrison officers. The voevoda (military governor) T. Rzhev-skii arbitrarily raised the tax on salt, and new taxes, such as taxes on baths, cellars, and ovens, among others, were introduced. The prices of goods rose several times over. The salaries of the soldiers and streltsy were lowered, and they were forced to work for the officers. The immediate cause of the uprising was Peter I’s ukase prohibiting the wearing of Russian dress and beards. Rzhevskii carried out the ukase with unusual cruelty, cutting off beards “with blood.”

The uprising began on the night of July 29, 1705. A detachment of streltsy and soldiers burst into the city kremlin and began to exterminate “official people” and foreign officers. The uprising was led by Ivan Sheludiak and Prokhor Nosov, both Astrakhan streltsy, by Iakov Nosov, a fish merchant and member of the gostinaia sotnia (privileged group of the merchant class), and others. The insurgents were supported by almost the entire city population. Power passed to a city assembly (circle), which chose a council of elders. The new taxes were abolished, the salaries of the streltsy and soldiers raised, and the ukase on wearing foreign dress and shaving beards revoked. The uprising also included the neighboring cities of Krasnyi Iar, Chernyi Iar, Gur’ev, and Terki. The rebels moved up the Volga to Moscow but were defeated near Tsaritsyn. Their efforts to win over the Don Cossacks also ended in failure. A split occurred among the rebels. The prosperous merchants and upper elements of the streltsy, fearing the enraged common people, withdrew from the uprising and sent emissaries to the tsar acknowledging their guilt. All this made it easier to suppress the uprising. On Mar. 13, 1706, tsarist troops under the command of B. P. Sheremetev took Astrakhan by storm and routed the rebels. Hundreds of participants of the uprising were exiled to Siberia, executed, or tortured to death.

REFERENCE

Istoriia SSSR s drevneishikh vremen do nashikh dnei, vol. 3. Moscow, 1967.

I. A. BULYGIN

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