Yemelyan Ivanovich Pugachev He was a Cossack who directly confronted the Empress Catherine II the Great. Adopting the identity of the late Tsar Peter III, he revolted the Cossacks and all the marginalized classes of Russia against the Tsarina to remove her from power and win the rights for the people.
He was born in 1742 in Zinoyevskaia (Russia) in the bosom of a family of Cossacks. At the age of 18, he was forcibly recruited by the Russian army, something quite common at that time, to fight against the Prussians in the Seven Years' War. But Pugachev refused to continue in the Russian war machine, so he deserted the army after having participated in three wars.
In September 1773, Pugachev revolted the laik Cossacks (Ural river) and Don river, posing as Tsar Pedro III, since nobody knew the real appearance of the deceased monarch. His motive was the enormous discontent he felt against the policy practiced by Tsarina Catherine II. The Cossacks lived in miserable conditions and had been transferred to a social background, even bordering on slavery.
At first, only a few Cossacks rose up, but they came to endanger the stability of the imperial government in the Volga region. The authorities, in the first instance, did not pay much attention to the actions of Pugachov and his men. But little by little, farmers, workers and alien populations, especially the Bashkir of the Urals, joined the revolt. This caused serious turbulence in the provinces of Astrakhan and Orenburg. The revolutionaries enlisted the help of the local clergy and all those who showed aversion towards the tsarina and the unjust social situation.
Over time, the revolution became more and more widespread and violent. The former serfs, murdered their bosses and raped their wives and daughters. Pugachov established his own bureaucracy and hierarchy to rule over the vast territory that he had managed to dominate. According to reports of the time, he soon took over the Volga region where, starting in 1774, a general uprising of farmers took place.
Catherine II sent her troops, freed from the Russo-Turkish war in July 1774, to suppress the mutiny. Before the rebels could reach Tsaritsin (Volgograd), they were defeated by the imperial troops. The rest of the revolutionary soldiers betrayed Pugachev, who was arrested and transferred to Moscow, where a special court tried him. Their fate was very different from that of the peasants, who were pardoned. Pugachov was sentenced to death and executed on January 10, 1775.
Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved History and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.