Chernigov Regiment Uprising

Chernigov Regiment Uprising


an armed insurrection of Decembrists in the Ukraine that lasted from Dec. 29, 1825, to Jan. 3,1826.

Originally part of a larger plan to overthrow the government, the uprising was the final act of the Southern Society of Decembrists. Its purpose was to continue the Decembrist movement after the defeat of the uprising of Dec. 14, 1825, on Senate Square in St. Petersburg. It also aimed at creating a camp of revolutionary military units near Kiev to fight against the autocracy.

The uprising began on December 29, when the Chernigov Regiment officers A. D. Kuz’min, V. N. Solov’ev, I. I. Sukhinov, and M. A. Shchepilla freed Lieutenant Colonel S. I. Murav’ev-Apostol, a leader of the Southern Society who had been arrested in the village of Trilesy. On December 30, Murav’ev-Apóstol led the 2nd Grenadier and 5th Musketeer companies of the regiment into Vasil’kov and seized weapons, ammunition, provisions, and the regimental treasury. Three more companies from the regiment joined the uprising.

On the morning of December 31, the “Orthodox Catechism,” a revolutionary proclamation written by Murav’ev-Apostol and M. P. Bestuzhev-Riumin, was read to the insurgents as they stood in ranks. The proclamation called for an armed rebellion against the autocracy, serfdom, and compulsory service recruitment. Although the insurgents were joined in Brusilov by roughly two companies from the regiment, they were unable to link up with other units in which Decembrists were serving.

By January 1, the insurgents numbered some 1,000 soldiers and 17 officers. They started toward Zhitomir in an effort to link up with military units in which members of the Society of the United Slavs were active. Government troops cut them off and forced them to turn toward Belaia Tserkov’.

On Jan. 3, 1826, at the village of Ustimovka, the Chernigov Regiment was met by government troops as it attempted to break through to Zhitomir to join regiments of the 8th Infantry Division. After meeting volleys of canister fired point-blank, the insurgents wavered and were subsequently defeated by the cavalry. Shchepilla was killed, S. I. Murav’ev-Apostol was seriously wounded, and I. I. Murav’ev-Apostol and Kuz’min shot themselves. Six officers and 895 soldiers were taken prisoner.

In accordance with the sentence handed down by the Supreme Court, the leaders of the uprising, S. I. Murav’ev-Apostol and M. P. Bestuzhev-Riumin, were hanged. The officers Solov’ev, Sukhinov, A. A. Bystritskii, and A. E. Mozalevskii were given life terms of hard labor. More than 100 noncommissioned officers and soldiers received corporal punishment, and 805 men were transferred to the Caucasus. The regiment was later re-formed.


Vosstanie dekabristov: Materialy, vols. 4, 6, 8–11. Moscow-Leningrad, 1925–54.
Nechkina, M. V. Dvizhenie dekabristov, vol. 2. Moscow, 1955.
Porokh, I. V. “Vosstanie Chernigovskogo polka.” In Ocherki iz istorii dvizheniia dekabristov. Moscow, 1954.
Eidel’man, N. Ia. Apostol Sergei. Moscow, 1975.