Stenka Razin
Stepan Timofeyevich Razin Тимофеевич Разин, sʲtʲɪpˈɑn (sʲtʲˈenʲkə) tʲɪmɐˈfʲeɪvʲɪt͡ɕ ˈrɑzʲɪn; 1630 – ) was a Cossack
Cossacks are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military communities in what is today Ukraine and Southern Russia inhabiting sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper and Don basins and who played an important role in the...

 leader who led a major uprising against the nobility and Tsar's bureaucracy in South Russia.

Early life

He is first noted by history in 1661, as part of a diplomatic mission
Diplomatic mission
A diplomatic mission is a group of people from one state or an international inter-governmental organisation present in another state to represent the sending state/organisation in the receiving state...

 from the Don Cossacks
Don Cossacks
Don Cossacks were Cossacks who settled along the middle and lower Don.- Etymology and origins :The Don Cossack Host was a frontier military organization from the end of the 16th until the early 20th century....

 to the Kalmyk
Kalmyk people
Kalmyk people is the name given to the Oirats, western Mongols in Russia, whose descendants migrated from Dzhungaria in 1607. Today they form a majority in the autonomous Republic of Kalmykia on the western shore of the Caspian Sea. Kalmykia is Europe's only Buddhist government...

s. That same year Razin went on a long-distance pilgrimage to the great Solovetsky Monastery
Solovetsky Monastery
Solovetsky Monastery was the greatest citadel of Christianity in the Russian North before being turned into a special Soviet prison and labor camp , which served as a prototype for the GULag system. Situated on the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea, the monastery braved many changes of fortune...

 on the White Sea
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

 for the benefit of his soul. After that, all trace of him is lost for six years, when he reappears as the leader of a robber community established at Panshinskoye, among the marshes between the rivers Tishina and Ilovlya
Ilovlya River
Ilovlya is a river in Saratov and Volgograd Oblasts of Russia. It is a left tributary of the Don River, and is 358 km long, with a drainage basin of 9250 km². The average discharge is 9,6 m³/s. The river is frozen over from December to March. In earlier times there were a portage...

, from whence he levied tribute
A tribute is wealth, often in kind, that one party gives to another as a sign of respect or, as was often the case in historical contexts, of submission or allegiance. Various ancient states, which could be called suzerains, exacted tribute from areas they had conquered or threatened to conquer...

 from all vessels passing up and down the Volga.

A long war with Poland
Russo-Polish War (1654–1667)
The Russo-Polish War of 1654–1667, also called Thirteen Years' War, First Northern War, War for Ukraine was the last major conflict between Tsardom of Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Between 1655 and 1660, the Second Northern War was also fought in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth,...

 in 1654-1667 and Sweden in 1656-1658 put heavy demands upon the people of Russia. Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

es increased as did conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

. Many peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

s hoping to escape these burdens fled south and joined bands of Razin's marauding Cossacks. They were also joined by many other disaffected with the Russian government, including people of the lower classes as well as representatives of non-Russian ethnic groups, such as Kalmyk
Kalmyk people
Kalmyk people is the name given to the Oirats, western Mongols in Russia, whose descendants migrated from Dzhungaria in 1607. Today they form a majority in the autonomous Republic of Kalmykia on the western shore of the Caspian Sea. Kalmykia is Europe's only Buddhist government...

s, that were being oppressed.

Razin's first considerable exploit was to destroy the great naval convoy
A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support, though it may also be used in a non-military sense, for example when driving through remote areas.-Age of Sail:Naval...

 consisting of the treasury
A treasury is either*A government department related to finance and taxation.*A place where currency or precious items is/are kept....

A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and need to be towed by tugboats or pushed by towboats...

s and the barges of the patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

 and the wealthy merchants of Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. Razin then sailed down the Volga with a fleet of thirty-five vessels, capturing the more important forts on his way and devastating the country. At the beginning of 1668 he defeated the voivode Yakov Bezobrazov, sent against him from Astrakhan
Astrakhan is a major city in southern European Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on the left bank of the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea at an altitude of below the sea level. Population:...

, and in the spring embarked on a predatory expedition into Daghestan and Persia which lasted for eighteen months.


Russia began the 17th century with the Time of Troubles
Time of Troubles
The Time of Troubles was a period of Russian history comprising the years of interregnum between the death of the last Russian Tsar of the Rurik Dynasty, Feodor Ivanovich, in 1598, and the establishment of the Romanov Dynasty in 1613. In 1601-1603, Russia suffered a famine that killed one-third...

, which lasted from 1598 to 1613. This time marked the end of the Rurik dynasty
Rurik Dynasty
The Rurik dynasty or Rurikids was a dynasty founded by the Varangian prince Rurik, who established himself in Novgorod around the year 862 AD...

 and the beginning of the Romanov dynasty. Michael Romanov (tsar from 1613 to 1645) and his son Alexis (tsar from 1645 to 1676) both strove to strengthen the power of the tsar in order to stabilize the country after the turmoil of the Time of Troubles. As a result, the Zemsky Sobor
Zemsky Sobor
The zemsky sobor was the first Russian parliament of the feudal Estates type, in the 16th and 17th centuries. The term roughly means assembly of the land. It could be summoned either by tsar, or patriarch, or the Boyar Duma...

 and the boyar council, two other bodies of government in Russia, slowly lost influence. The Russian population went from fifteen years of “near anarchy” to the reigns of two strong, centralizing autocrats.

In addition, a deep divide existed between the lower peasant class in Russia and the noble class. Recent changes in the treatment and legal standing of peasants, including the institutionalization of serfdom in the Law Code of 1649
Sobornoye Ulozheniye
The Sobornoye Ulozheniye was a legal code promulgated in 1649 by the Zemsky Sobor under Alexis of Russia as a replacement for the Sudebnik of 1497 introduced by Ivan III of Russia, which is based, among others, on the Third Statute of Lithuania...

 also contributed to the unrest among the peasant class. The Don Cossacks, a lower class group that lived independently near the Don River
Don River (Russia)
The Don River is one of the major rivers of Russia. It rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres southeast from Tula, southeast of Moscow, and flows for a distance of about 1,950 kilometres to the Sea of Azov....

 and whom the tsar’s government supplied in exchange for defending Russia, led Razin’s rebellion. Historian Paul Avrich
Paul Avrich
Paul Avrich was a professor and historian. He taught at Queens College, City University of New York, for most of his life and was vital in preserving the history of the anarchist movement in Russia and the United States....

 characterizes Razin’s revolt as a “curious mixture of brigandage and revolt,” similar to other popular uprising of the period. Razin revolted against the “traitor-boyars” rather than the tsar. The Cossacks supported the tsar because they worked for him.

Departure from the Don

In 1667 Razin gathered a small group of Cossacks and left the Don for an expedition in the Caspian Sea. He aimed to set up a base in Yaitsk
Oral, Kazakhstan
Oral , Uralsk in Russian, formerly known as Yaitsk , is a city in northwestern Kazakhstan, at the confluence of the Ural and Chogan Rivers close to the Russian border. As it is located on the western side of the Ural river, it is considered geographically in Europe. It has a population of 350,000...

 (now known as Oral, located in Kazakhstan on the Ural River) and plunder villages from there. However, Moscow learned of Razin’s plans and attempted to stop him. As Razin traveled down the Volga River
Volga River
The Volga is the largest river in Europe in terms of length, discharge, and watershed. It flows through central Russia, and is widely viewed as the national river of Russia. Out of the twenty largest cities of Russia, eleven, including the capital Moscow, are situated in the Volga's drainage...

 to Tsaritsyn
Volgograd , formerly called Tsaritsyn and Stalingrad is an important industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd Oblast, Russia. It is long, north to south, situated on the western bank of the Volga River...

, the voevodes of Astrakhan warned Andrei Unkovsky (the voevoda or governor of Tsaritsyn) of Razin’s arrival and recommended that he not allow the Cossacks to enter the town. Unkovsky attempted to negotiate with Razin, but Razin threatened to set fire to Tsaritsyn if Unkovsky interfered. When he encountered a group of political prisoners being transported by the tsar’s representatives on his way from the Don to the Volga, Razin reportedly said, “I shall not force you to join me, but whoever chooses to come with me will be a free Cossack. I have come to fight only the boyars and the wealthy lords. As for the poor and plain folk, I shall treat them as brothers.” However, when Razin sailed by Tsartisyn, Unkovsky did not attack (possibly either because Unkovsky felt that Razin posed a threat or the guards of Tsaritsyn sympathized with Razin’s Cossacks). This incident gave Razin the reputation of an “invincible warrior endowed with supernatural powers.” He continued his travels down the Volga and into the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

, defeating several detachments of streltsy
Streltsy were the units of Russian guardsmen in the 16th - early 18th centuries, armed with firearms. They are also collectively known as Marksman Troops .- Origins and organization :...

, or armed guardsmen. In July 1667, Razin captured Yaitsk by disguising himself and some of his companions as pilgrims to pray at the cathedral. Once inside Yaitsk, they opened the gates for the rest of the troops to enter and occupy the city. The opposition sent to fight Razin felt reluctant to do so because they sympathized with the Cossacks’ lower-class background.

In the spring of 1668, Razin led the majority of his men down the Yaik River
Ural River
The Ural or Jayıq/Zhayyq , known as Yaik before 1775, is a river flowing through Russia and Kazakhstan. It arises in the southern Ural Mountains and ends at the Caspian Sea. Its total length is 1,511 mi making it the third longest river in Europe after the Volga and the Danube...

 (also known as the Ural River) while a small portion stayed behind to guard Yaitsk. However, the government defeated Razin’s men in Yaitsk and Razin lost his base there.

Persian expedition

After losing Yaitsk, Razin sailed south down the coast of the Caspian Sea to continue his pillaging. He and his men took Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

 (located on the Absheron Peninsula in present-day Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

) easily, but at Rasht
Rasht is a city in and the capital of Gilan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 551,161, in 159,983 families.Rasht is the largest city on Iran's Caspian Sea coast. It is a major trade center between Caucasia, Russia and Iran using the port of Bandar-e Anzali...

 (in the southwest Caspian Sea in modern Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

) the Persians killed roughly 400 Cossacks in a surprise attack. Razin went to Isfahan to ask the shah for land in Persia in exchange for loyalty to the shah, but departed on the Caspian for more pillaging before they could reach an agreement. Razin arrived in Farahabad
Farahabad was a palace and city built by Shah Abbas I in Mazandaran, Iran. It was built on a site formerly known as Tahan and linked to the town of Sari, 17 miles away, by a stone causeway. The shah intended the city as his winter capital.Shah Abbas was fond of the province of Mazandaran, the...

 (on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea in Iran) and masqueraded as a merchant in the city for several days before he and his men pillaged the city for two days. That winter the Cossacks with Razin fended off starvation and disease on the Mian Kaleh Peninsula, and in the spring of 1669 Razin built a base on the eastern side of the Caspian Sea and began raiding Turkmen villages. Then in the spring of 1669 he established himself on the isle of Suina , off which, in July, he annihilated a Persian fleet sent against him. Stenka Razin, as he was generally called, had now become a potentate with whom prince
Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

s did not disdain to treat.

In August 1669 he reappeared at Astrakhan, and accepted a fresh offer of pardon
Clemency means the forgiveness of a crime or the cancellation of the penalty associated with it. It is a general concept that encompasses several related procedures: pardoning, commutation, remission and reprieves...

 from tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Aleksey Mikhailovich there; the common people were fascinated by his adventures. The lawless Russian border region of Astrakhan, where the whole atmosphere was predatory and many people were still nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic, was the natural milieu for such a rebellion as Razin's.

Open rebellion

In 1670 Razin, while ostensibly on his way to report himself at the Cossack
Cossacks are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military communities in what is today Ukraine and Southern Russia inhabiting sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper and Don basins and who played an important role in the...

Headquarters denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are coordinated. In the United States, the corporate headquarters represents the entity at the center or the top of a corporation taking full responsibility managing all business activities...

 on the Don, openly rebelled against the government, captured Cherkassk
Starocherkasskaya , formerly Cherkassk , is a village in Aksaysky District of Rostov Oblast, Russia, with origins dating from the late 16th century...

, and Tsaritsyn. After capturing Tsaritsyn, Razin sailed up the Volga with his army of almost 7000 men. The men traveled toward Cherny Yar, a government stronghold between Tsaritsyn and Astrakhan. Razin and his men swiftly took Cherny Yar when the Cherny Yar streltsy rose up against their officers and joined the Cossack cause in June 1670. On June 24 he reached the city of Astrakhan. Astrakhan, Moscow’s wealthy “window on the East,” occupied a strategically important location at the mouth of the Volga River on the shore of the Caspian Sea. Razin plundered the city despite its location on a strongly fortified island and the stone walls and brass cannons that surrounded the central citadel. The local streltsy’s rebellion allowed Razin to gain access to the city.

After massacring all who opposed him (including two Princes Prozorovsky
Princes Prozorovsky were a Russian noble family of Rurikid stock descending from medieval rulers of Yaroslavl and Mologa. Their name is derived from the village of Prozorovo near Mologa, which used to be their only votchina in the 15th century...

) and giving the rich bazaar
A bazaar , Cypriot Greek: pantopoula) is a permanent merchandising area, marketplace, or street of shops where goods and services are exchanged or sold. The term is sometimes also used to refer to the "network of merchants, bankers and craftsmen" who work that area...

s of the city over to pillage, he converted Astrakhan into a Cossack republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

, dividing the population into thousands, hundreds and tens, with their proper officers, all of whom were appointed by a veche
Veche was a popular assembly in medieval Slavic countries.In Novgorod, where the veche acquired the greatest prominence, the veche was broadly similar to the Norse thing or the Swiss Landsgemeinde.-Etymology:...

 or general assembly, whose first act was to proclaim Stepan Timofeyevich their gosudar (sovereign
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...


After a three weeks carnival of blood and debauchery Razin quit Astrakhan with two hundred barges full of troops to establish the Cossack republic along the whole length of the Volga, as a preliminary step towards advancing against Moscow. Saratov
-Modern Saratov:The Saratov region is highly industrialized, due in part to the rich in natural and industrial resources of the area. The region is also one of the more important and largest cultural and scientific centres in Russia...

 and Samara
Samara, Russia
Samara , is the sixth largest city in Russia. It is situated in the southeastern part of European Russia at the confluence of the Volga and Samara Rivers. Samara is the administrative center of Samara Oblast. Population: . The metropolitan area of Samara-Tolyatti-Syzran within Samara Oblast...

 were captured, but Simbirsk defied all efforts, and after two bloody encounters close at hand on the banks of the Sviyaga River
Sviyaga River
The Sviyaga is a river in the Ulyanovsk Oblast and Tatarstan, a right tributary of the Volga River. It has a length of 375 km. The area of the basin is 16,700 km². The Sviyaga River flows into the Sviyaga Cove of the Kuybyshev Reservoir, west of Kazan. It freezes up in November-December and stays...

 (October 1 and 4), Razin was ultimately routed by the army of Yuri Baryatinsky
Yuri Baryatinsky
Yuri Nikitich Baryatinski was a Russian knyaz, boyar und voyevoda from the Rurikid house of Baryatinsky.Baryatinsky was born as a son of Nikita Petrovich Baryatinsky...

 and fled down the Volga, leaving the bulk of his followers to be extirpated by the victors.

But the rebellion was by no means over. The emissaries of Razin, armed with inflammatory proclamations, had stirred up the inhabitants of the modern governments of Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod , colloquially shortened to Nizhny, is, with the population of 1,250,615, the fifth largest city in Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg...

, Tambov
Tambov is a city and the administrative center of Tambov Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Tsna and Studenets Rivers southeast of Moscow...

 and Penza
-Honors:A minor planet, 3189 Penza, discovered by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh in 1978, is named after the city.-Notable residents:...

, and penetrated even so far as Moscow and Novgorod. It was not difficult to stir the oppressed population to revolt by promising deliverance from their yoke. Razin proclaimed that his object was to root out the boyar
A boyar, or bolyar , was a member of the highest rank of the feudal Moscovian, Kievan Rus'ian, Bulgarian, Wallachian, and Moldavian aristocracies, second only to the ruling princes , from the 10th century through the 17th century....

s and all officials, to level all ranks and dignities, and establish Cossackdom, with its corollary of absolute equality, throughout Muscovy.
Even at the beginning of 1671 the issue of the struggle was doubtful. Eight battles had been fought before the insurrection showed signs of weakening, and it continued for six months after Razin had received his quietus. At Simbirsk his prestige had been shattered. Even his own settlements at Saratov and Samara refused to open their gates to him, and the Don Cossacks, hearing that the patriarch of Moscow had anathema
Anathema originally meant something lifted up as an offering to the gods; it later evolved to mean:...

tized Stenka, also declared against him. The tsar sent troops to suppress the revolt. As Paul Avrich notes in Russian Rebels: 1600-1800, “The brutality of the repressions by far exceeded the atrocities committed by the insurgents.” The tsar’s troops mutilated the rebels’ bodies and displayed them in public to serve as a warning to potential dissenters.

In 1671 he and his brother Frol Razin were captured at Kaganlyk, his last fortress, and carried to Moscow, where, after tortures, Stepan was quartered alive in the Red Square
Red Square
Red Square is a city square in Moscow, Russia. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod...

 at the Lobnoye Mesto
Lobnoye Mesto
Lobnoye mesto , also known as the Place of Skulls, is a 13-meter-long stone platform situated on Red Square in Moscow in front of Saint Basil's Cathedral....

. However, the rebellion did not end with Razin’s death. The rebels in Astrakhan held out until November 26, 1671, when Prince Ivan Miloslavsky restored government control.


Razin originally set out to loot villages, but as he became a symbol of peasant unrest, his movement turned political. Razin wanted to protect the independence of the Cossacks and to protest an increasingly centralized government. The Cossacks supported the tsar and autocracy, but they wanted a tsar that responded to the needs of the people and not just those of the upper class. By destroying and pillaging villages, Razin intended to take power from the government officials and give more autonomy to the peasants. However, Razin’s movement failed and the rebellion led to increased government control. The Cossacks lost some of their autonomy, and the tsar bonded more closely with the upper class because both feared more rebellion. On the other hand, as Avrich asserts, “[Razin’s revolt] awakened, however dimly, the social consciousness of the poor, gave them a new sense of power, and made the upper class tremble for their lives and possessions.”

In Russian culture and folklore

Razin is the subject of a symphonic poem
Stenka Razin (Glazunov)
Stenka Razin, Op. 13, is a symphonic poem composed by Alexander Glazunov in 1885. Dedicated to the memory of Alexander Borodin, it is one of the few compositions written by Glazunov on a nationalist subject and is composed in a style reminiscent of Borodin and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.Glazunov's...

 by Alexander Glazunov
Alexander Glazunov
Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov was a Russian composer of the late Russian Romantic period, music teacher and conductor...

 and a cantata by Shostakovich.

Stenka Razin is the hero of a popular Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 folk song, Ponizovaya Volnitsa, better known by the words Volga, Volga mat' rodnaya. The words were written by Dmitri Sadovnikov (Дмитрий Николаевич Садовников) in 1883; the music is folk. The song gave the title to the famous Soviet musical comedy Volga-Volga
Volga-Volga is a Soviet comedy directed by Grigori Aleksandrov, released on April 24, 1938. It centres around a group of amateur performers on their way to Moscow to perform in a talent contest called the Moscow Musical Olympiad. Most of the action takes place on a steamboat travelling on the...

. The melody was used by Tom Springfield
Tom Springfield
Tom Springfield is the brother of Dusty Springfield and an important figure in the 1960s folk and pop music scene...

 in the song "The Carnival Is Over
The Carnival Is Over
"The Carnival Is Over" is a Russian folk song with lyrics written by Tom Springfield in 1965 for the Australian group The Seekers, who customarily close their concerts with it...

" that placed The Seekers
The Seekers
The Seekers are an Australian folk-influenced pop music group which were originally formed in 1962. They were the first Australian popular music group to achieve major chart and sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States...

 at #1 in 1965 in Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...


The lyrics of the song were dramatized in one of the very first Russian narrative films, Stenka Razin
Stenka Razin (film)
Stenka Razin is the first finished Russian narrative film. The 10 minute silent film is a fictionalized account of the episodes from the life of Stenka Razin and was premieried on ....

directed by Vladimir Romashkov in 1908. The film lasts about 10 minutes. The screenplay was written by Vasily Goncharov
Vasily Goncharov
Vasily Mikhailovich Goncharov was a Russian film director and screenwriter, one of the pioneers of the film industry in the Russian Empire, who directed the first Russian feature film Defence of Sevastopol.-Filmography:...

, and the music (the first film music to be specially written to accompany a silent film) was by Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov
Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov
Mikhail Mikhailovich Ippolitov-Ivanov was a Russian composer, conductor and teacher.- Biography :...

Words in Russian Transcribed English language version
Из-за острова на стрежень,

На простор речной волны,

Выплывают расписные,

Острогрудые челны.
Iz-za ostrova na strezhen',

Na prostor rechnoy volny,

Vyplyvayut raspisnye,

Ostrogrudye chelny.
From beyond the wooded island

To the river wide and free

Proudly sailed the arrow-breasted

Ships of Cossack yeomanry.
На переднем Стенька Разин,

Обнявшись, сидит с княжной,

Свадьбу новую справляет,

Сам веселый и хмельной.
Na perednem Sten'ka Razin,

Obnyavshis', sidit s knyazhnoy,

Svad'bu novuyu spravlyaet,

Sam veselyi i khmel'noy.
On the first is Stenka Razin

With his princess by his side

Drunken holds in marriage revels

With his beauteous young bride
Позади их слышен ропот:

Нас на бабу променял!

Только ночь с ней провозился

Сам наутро бабой стал . . . .
Pozadi ikh slyschen ropot:

Nas na babu promenyal!

Tol'ko noch' s nej provozilsja

Sam nautro baboy stal . . . .
From behind there comes a murmur

"He has left his sword to woo;

One short night and Stenka Razin

Has become a woman, too."
Этот ропот и насмешки

Слышит грозный атаман,

И могучею рукою

Обнял персиянки стан.
Etot ropot i nasmeshki

Slyshit groznyi ataman,

I mogucheju rukoju

Obnjal persijanki stan.
Stenka Razin hears the murmur

Of his discontented band

And his lovely Persian princess

He has circled with his hand.
Брови черные сошлися,

Надвигается гроза.

Буйной кровью налилися

Атамановы глаза.
Brovi chornye soshlisya,

Nadvigaetsya groza.

Buynoy krov'yu nalilisya

Atamanovy glaza.
His dark brows are drawn together

As the waves of anger rise;

And the blood comes rushing swiftly

To his piercing jet black eyes.
"Ничего не пожалею,

Буйну голову отдам!" —

Раздаётся голос властный

По окрестным берегам.
"Nichevo ne pozhaleyu,

Bujnu golovu otdam!" —

Razdayotsya golos vlastnyi

Po okrestnym beregam.
"I will give you all you ask for

Head and heart and life and hand."

And his voice rolls out like thunder

Out across the distant land.
"Волга, Волга, мать родная,

Волга, русская река,

Не видала ты подарка

От донского казака!
"Volga, Volga, mat' rodnaya,

Volga, russkaya reka,

Ne vidala ty podarka

Ot donskovo kazaka!
Volga, Volga, Mother Volga

Wide and deep beneath the sun,

You have never seen such a present

From the Cossacks of the Don.
Чтобы не было раздора

Между вольными людьми,

Волга, Волга, мать родная,

На, красавицу возьми!"
Shtoby ne bylo razdora

Mezhdu vol'nymi ljud'mi,

Volga, Volga, mat' rodnaja,

Na, krasavitsu voz'mi!"
So that peace may reign forever

In this band so free and brave

Volga, Volga, Mother Volga

Make this lovely girl a grave.
Мощным взмахом поднимает

Он красавицу княжну

И за борт ее бросает

В набежавшую волну.
Moshchnym vzmakhom podnimaet

On krasavitsu knyazhnu

I za bort eyo brosaet

V nabezhavshuyu volnu.
Now, with one swift mighty motion

He has raised his bride on high

And has cast her where the waters

Of the Volga roll and sigh.
"Что ж вы, братцы, приуныли?

Эй, ты, Филька, черт, пляши!

Грянем песню удалую

На помин ее души!.."
"Shto zh vy, bratsy, priunyli?

Ej, ty, Fil'ka, chert, pljashi!

Grjanem pesnyu udaluyu

Na pomin ee dushi!.."
"Dance, you fools, and let's be merry

What is this that's in your eyes?

Let us thunder out a chanty

To the place where beauty lies."
Из-за острова на стрежень,

На простор речной волны,

Выплывают расписные

Острогрудые челны.
Iz-za ostrova na strezhen',

Na prostor rechnoy volny,

Vyplyvajut raspisnye

Ostrogrudiye chelny.
From beyond the wooded island

To the river wide and free

Proudly sailed the arrow-breasted

Ships of Cossack yeomanry.
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