Kizhi Uprising of 1769–71

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kizhi Uprising of 1769–71


a movement among state peasants attached to the Olonets metallurgical works in Karelia, provoked by increased feudal exploitation in the form of compulsory labor at factories (cutting wood, stoking coal, processing ores) and by abuses of the local administration.

The uprising broke out when peasants were sent during the busy season to work at the Tivdiia marble quarry and to build the Lizhma metallurgical plant. Kizhi Churchyard became the center of the disturbances. By the autumn of 1769 the movement engulfed volosts (small rural districts) inhabited by Karelians and Veps. The peasants, refusing to work, sent petitioners to St. Petersburg, who were arrested. About 40,000 persons took part in the movement, led by the peasant K. A. Sobolev. When Sobolev and other leaders were arrested in February 1771, the peasants liberated them by force, and the movement became an armed uprising. Three companies of soldiers and an artillery detachment with two cannons were sent to suppress the rebellion.

Some of the peasants, yielding to the persuasion of the more prosperous elements, deserted the uprising in the summer of 1771. The punitive expedition arrived in Kizhi in June 1771, and after heavy artillery fire, about 2,000 peasants surrendered. The leaders of the movement, Sobolev, A. Sal’nikov, and S. Kostin, were branded, whipped, and sentenced to hard labor for life in Nerchinsk. About 52 persons were deported to Siberia, and many were conscripted into the army. As a result of the uprising, peasants were no longer forced to quarry marble or construct new plants.


Balagurov, Ia. Kizhskoe vosstanie 1769–1771 gg. Petrozavodsk, 1951.
Balagurov, Ia. Pripisnye krest’iane Karelii v XVIII-XIX vv. Petrozavodsk, 1962.
Ocherki istorii Karelii, vol. 1. Petrozavodsk, 1957. Pages 218–22.


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