Stepan Timofeevich Razin

Razin, Stepan Timofeevich


Born circa 1630, in the stanilsa (large cossack village) of Zimoveiskaia-na-Donu; died June 6 (16), 1671, in Moscow. Commander of the insurgents in the Peasant War of 1670–71.

Razin was the son of a well-to-do cossack. In the name of the Don Cossack Host, Razin and Ataman F. Budan conducted negotiations with the Kalmyks in 1661 regarding a peace treaty and joint actions against the Tatars. In 1662–63, as ataman of the Don Cossacks, Razin led raids against the Crimean Tatars and the Turks.

Razin’s idea of an uprising against feudal serfdom in Russia was inspired by the autocracy’s infringements on the freedom of the Don Cossacks and, to an even greater degree, by the ruthless punishment inflicted on Razin’s older brother, Ivan, by Prince Iu. A. Dolgorukov. In the spring of 1667, Razin organized a march of the cossack golyt’ba (the poor) to the Volga and from there to the Caspian Sea. His raid on the Volga in the spring of 1670 turned into a major peasant war that encompassed the Volga Region and a number of other regions of Russia. After the defeat of the main insurgent forces outside Simbirsk (Oct. 4, 1670), Razin, who was wounded, retreated to the Don.

Establishing a stronghold in Kagal’nik, Razin began to gather forces for a new raid. However, in April 1671 rich cos-sacks captured and burned Kagal’nik. Taken prisoner, Razin was brought to Cherkassk and subsequently to Moscow, where he was executed on a scaffold near the Lobnoe Mesto (Place of Execution; a round stone dais in Red Square).


Lunin, B. V. Stepan Razin. Rostov-on-Don, 1960.
Stepanov, I. V. Krest’ianskaia voina ν Rossii ν 1670–1671 gg., vols. 1–2 (fasc. 1). [Leningrad] 1966–72.