Bolotnikov, Ivan

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bolotnikov, Ivan Isaevich


Date of birth unknown; died in 1608. The leader of a large-scale, antifeudal uprising of peasants and bondmen in Russia in 1606–07. A former bondman of the boyar Teliatevskii.

In his youth, Bolotnikov fled to the cossacks and was then captured by the Tatars and sold into slavery in Turkey to work on a galley. As a result of a defeat inflicted on the Turkish galleys by German ships, Bolotnikov was freed from captivity and found himself in Venice. He returned to Russia through Poland. In the summer of 1606, Bolotnikov became the organizer and leader of an uprising which broke out in the south. The peasant wars covered an enormous territory. The forces of Bolotnikov inflicted large-scale defeats on the army of Tsar Vasilii Shuiskii, and in October 1606 they besieged Moscow. But in a battle on Dec. 2,1606, the forces of Bolotnikov suffered a defeat and retreated to Kaluga, where they were besieged by tsarist troops. In May 1607 the army of Bolotnikov smashed Shuiskii’s troops and liberated Kaluga, but then (in June 1607) Bolotnikov’s detachments were besieged in Tula, which fell on Oct. 10. Bolotnikov was seized and exiled to Kargopol’, where he was blinded and drowned.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.