Stenka Razin

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Razin, Stenka

(stĕng`kä rä`zēn), d. 1671, Don CossackDon Cossacks,
Cossack settlers (see Cossacks) who in the 16th cent. founded the virtually independent republic of the Don Cossacks on the fertile steppes along the lower course of the Don River. Novocherkassk was their chief town.
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 leader, head of the peasant revolt of 1670. As commander of a band of propertyless Don Cossacks, he raided and pillaged (1667–69) through the lower Volga valley and across the Caspian Sea. On his return (1670) to the Don, Razin rebelled against the authority of the czar. His force of some 7,000 men took Tsaritsyn (now Volgograd), Astrakhan, Saratov, and Samara, and was joined by serfs, peasants, and non-Russian tribes of the middle and lower Volga region. However, he was defeated by government troops at Simbirsk (now Ulyanovsk) and fled to the Don, where the propertied Cossacks delivered him to the government. Razin was executed at Moscow. His exploits have long been celebrated in song and legend.