The New International Encyclopædia/Pugatcheff, Yemelyan Ivanovitch

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

PUGATCHEFF, pōō'gȧ-chĕf, Yemelyan Ivanovitch (c.1726-75). A leader of a great popular uprising in Russia, known as Pugatchefshtchina. He was a Cossack of the Don, and fought against the Prussians in the Seven Years' War, and in the campaign against Turkey in 1769. On his return he was arrested for helping his brother-in-law to escape across the Don. Fearing punishment, he ran away to the Cossacks of the Terek, where he heard persistent rumors that Peter III. was still alive. Strikingly resembling the murdered Czar in personal appearance, he pretended to be that sovereign, and declared his purpose of reasserting his right to the crown and of dethroning Catharine II. He issued a proclamation in the name of Peter III. in 1773, and in the same year the rebellion began. He attached to his cause the Raskolniks, whose religion he embraced, and won over several Finnish and Tatar tribes, and a large number of the peasantry. After the capture of many fortresses on the Ural and the Don, Orenburg among them, he marched against Moscow, but was sold by some of his companions for 100,000 rubles. After trial he was executed in Moscow. His insurrection is said to have cost 100,000 lives.