Bashkir Rebellions of the 17th and 18th Centuries

Bashkir Rebellions of the 17th and 18th Centuries


Rebellion of 1662–64 Began after the tsarist government infringed on the economic interests of the Bashkir aristocracy by refusing to allow the Bashkir feudal lords to make raids on the Kalmyks and demanding the return of prisoners captured by them.

The rebellion of 1662–64 was led by prominent feudal lords—Ish-Mukhammed, Konkas and Devenei Devletbaev, Sary-Mergen, and others—who sought to exploit for their own benefit the dissatisfaction of the masses with the seizure of Bashkir lands by the tsarist administration, abuses in the collection of the iasak (tribute), and so forth. The political affiliations of the feudal lords changed repeatedly. Some of them renounced Russian citizenship and sought new protectors in the Kalmyk chiefs or the Siberian tsarevich Kuchuk.

The movement spread through all of Bashkiria and several neighboring districts. It reached its peak in summer 1662. Detachments of rebels were active in the vicinity of Ufa. They took the city of Kungur, besieged the Dolmatov Monastery, and raided a number of Russian settlements in the Ufa and Kungur districts. The tsarist government sent sizable military forces to fight the rebellion. By summer 1664 the rebellion had been suppressed. The government satisfied some of the rebels’ demands; it reaffirmed the prohibition against the seizure of Bashkir lands, replaced the voevoda (military commander) in Ufa, promised to resolve old land disputes and punish those guilty of abusing the collection of the iasak, and so forth.

Rebellion of 1681–83. Rumors about forced Christianiza-tion of the non-Russian population in the Volga and Ural regions gave rise to this rebellion.

The rebellion was led by Seit Saafer (Sadiir), Ish-Mukhammed Devletbaev, and other Bashkir feudal lords who had declared a “holy war” against the Russians and turned to the Kalmyks for help. The rebellion began in autumn 1681 and developed initially in the region of the Trans-Kamaline. In 1682 it spread to the Siberian Road, particularly its Trans-Ural section. Kalmyk detachments went to Bashkiria where, under the pretext of aiding the rebels, they attempted to subjugate the Bashkir population, ravaged the camps of the nomads, seized prisoners and cattle, and so forth. The rebels stopped fighting in 1683. A deciding factor was the disappointment of the Bashkir masses in the movement and the Kalmyks’ assistance, as well as the Russian government’s declaration that no orders would be issued forcing the baptism of the Bashkirs.

Rebellion of 1705–11. This rebellion was provoked by the introduction of new taxes in 1704, the demand that the Bashkirs supply horses for the Russian army, and the abuses which accompanied these measures.

The rebellion was led by the prominent Bashkir feudal lords Aldar Isekeev and Kuchuk (Kusium) Tiulekeev. After renouncing Russian citizenship, the Bashkir feudal leaders made an attempt to create a Bashkir khanate that would be a vassal of Turkey or the Crimean Khanate.

The movement, which developed in the southern and northwestern parts of the Bashkir territory during 1705–06, was soon suppressed. It broke out again during 1707–08. It gripped a considerable portion of Bashkiria, especially the western regions, from where it spread to the Kazan district. During 1709–11 the center of the rebellion shifted to the eastern part of the territory, to the vicinity of the Siberian and Nogai roads. The tsarist government used detachments of Kalmyks to fight the rebellion. The Kalmyks inflicted a serious defeat on the rebels in summer 1710. At the same time, tsarism was compelled to make several concessions; the amounts of quitrent payments were lowered, some lands were exempted from quitrent, and so forth.

Rebellion of 1735–40. The Bashkir population reacted against the tsarist government’s construction of fortresses in Bashkiria, which was accompanied by the seizure of Bashkir land. The rebellion was touched off when a detachment of the Orenburg Expedition left Ufa to go to the mouth of the Or River to build a town there. The rebels demanded an end to the construction of fortresses. During 1735–36 the main breeding ground of the rebellion was in southwestern and southern Bashkiria. During 1737–39 the center of the movement shifted to the eastern part of the territory, to the limits of the Siberian Road.

The rebellion was led by prominent Bashkir feudal lords, including the Muslim ecclesiastic Kil’miak Nurushev, Akai Kusiumov, the warriors Iusup Arykov and Tiul’kuchura Al-dagulov, and the mullahs Bepenia Trupberdin and Iuldash Siuiarymbetov. Rebel detachments fought with government troops, attacked military strongholds, and destroyed Russian peasant settlements, as well as the non-Russian population that had not taken part in the movement (Mishars, Tatars, and some Bashkirs). The Bashkir feudal leadership, counting on the support of the Kazakh khan Abulkhair, insisted on renouncing Russian citizenship.

In 1740 the movement broke out again within the limits of the Siberian Road. The rebels grouped themselves around the self-proclaimed khan Karasakal (Minligul Iulaev), after whom the movement was called the Karasakal Rebellion. It was harshly suppressed. The principal leaders were condemned to death, and their followers had to pay a fine. The tsarist government carried out a series of administrative reforms that put the internal affairs of Bashkir communities under the control of the Russian administration.


Rebellion of 1755 (Batyrsha Rebellion). This rebellion was incited by the strengthening of the feudal yoke, land shortages, and compulsory Christianization associated with the tsarist administration. The appeal of the mullah Abdulla Aleev, otherwise known as Batyrsha, who summoned the Bashkirs, Tatars, Kazakhs, and Uzbeks to a “holy war,” played some role in the preparation for the rebellion. However, Batyrsha did not actually lead the rebellion, and the entire movement was not carried out under his slogans.

The Batyrsha Rebellion was spontaneous. It began on May 15 in Burzianskaia volost (small rural district) on the Nogai Road (southern Bashkiria) with the murder of the chief of a mining prospecting party, the destruction of the Sapsal’skii posthouse, and the termination of the Isetskii post road service. Attacked by government troops, the most active insurgents fled to the Kazakh steppes. In August the movement broke out again in this region and spread to a number of neighboring volosts. Several factories and post-houses were destroyed, and some local elders were killed. The movement calmed down by the end of August.

The third outbreak of the rebellion occurred in the vicinity of the Osinskaia Road (northern Bashkiria) on August 27 and 28. The rebels killed an elder and began to prepare for more active operations. However, the local feudal lords came out against them, and the movement ended. In this case an important role was also played by the tsarist government’s policies, which were intended to divide the rebels. (These policies included pardon for all members of the rebellion who surrendered willingly and incitement of the Tatars and Kazakhs against the Bashkirs and other non-Russian peopies.) After the rebellion, tsarist oppression was somewhat weakened in Bashkiria.


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