Moscow Uprising of 1662

Moscow Uprising of 1662


(the Copper Revolt), a major antifeudal uprising that broke out on July 25.

Among the causes of the uprising were the disruption of the state’s economy during Russia’s war with Poland and Sweden, sharply increased taxes, and a general intensification of feudal exploitation. The issue that began in 1654 of large quantities of copper coins, declared to be of equal value with silver, led to debasement of the coinage, to speculation in primary commodities, and to widespread counterfeiting in which the ruling elite also took part. A financial catastrophe swept the country. Several days prior to the uprising, rumors spread among the people about the coming proclamation of “thieves’ lists,” which were in fact posted on the night of July 24, in several districts of the city. These listed “traitors,” such as the boyars I. D. Miloslavskii, I. M. Miloslavskii, and I. A. Miloslavskii, their retainers F. M. Rtishchev and B. M. Khitrovo, the official D. M. Bashmakov, and the merchants V. G. Shorin and S. Zadorin, who were accused of causing the calamities that had followed the introduction of copper coins and of maintaining secret ties with Poland.

The uprising began early the next morning and continued until midday. Some 9, 000–10, 000 persons took part, mostly inhabitants of the capital—posadskie liudi (merchants and artisans), soldiers, cavalrymen, some of the strel’tsy (semiprofessional musketeers) from the Moscow garrison, kholopy (bondmen), and peasants. After reading a proclamation, a group of insurgents went to the village of Kolomenskoe, where Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich was staying, and demanded that the “traitor” boyars be handed over. The tsar and his boyars promised the insurgents lower taxes and careful examination of their demands. The participants in the uprising believed these promises and headed back toward Moscow. Meanwhile, the residences of Shorin and Zadorin had been sacked; a new group of rebels then started for Kolomenskoe. The two groups met and proceeded together to the tsar’s residence to renew their demands. But more than 6, 000 troops had now been assembled at Kolomenskoe. Upon the tsar’s order, merciless reprisals were taken—as many as 1, 000 persons were killed, hanged, or drowned in the Moskva River. Several thousand others were arrested and, after brutal interrogation, exiled.

Despite its brief duration, the Moscow Uprising of 1662 created fear and uncertainty within the government. Because of the revolt, copper money was abolished in 1663.


Vosstanie 1662 g. v Moskve. Sbornik dokumentov. Compiled by V. I. Buganov. Moscow, 1964.


Bazilevich, K. V. Denezhnaia reforma Alekseia Mikhailovicha i vosstanie v Moskve ν 1662 g. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.
Buganov, V. I. Moskovskoe vosstanie 1662 g. Moscow, 1964.