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Sten'ka Razin as a Hero, a "Noble Bandit", or a Criminal? Interpretations and analogies in foreigners' reports on the cossack rising of 1667–71 Sten'ka Razin als Held, ,,edler R√§uber" oder Verbrecher? Interpretationen und Analogien in den Ausl√§nderberichten zum Kosakenaufstand von 1667–1671

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The article examines the reports of European contemporary authors about the uprising of Stepan Razin in 1667–1671, and their attempts to interpret the rebels' motives. The main focus lies on the comparisons drawn by the observers between Razin's rebellion and other European insurrections of the Early Modern period. The sources in question are broadsheets, newspapers, pamphlets and books, i.e.those printed media genres which constituted and influenced the Early Modern public sphere.

Three perception tendencies can be traced in the Razin discourse of the 1670s. First, the tendency to describe Razin as an ally of the Turkish Sultan, the Crimean Khan or the Persian Shah, and thus to depict the rebellion of the Don-Cossacks as part of the Oriental threat to the Christian world. The second view on Razin tended to show him as a 'noble bandit', i.e. an insurgent who nevertheless strove to protect the oppressed from the evildoings of the Russian elite. Finally, after the execution of Razin in June 1671 and the distribution of the official death-sentence, which was soon even translated into several European languages, Razin began to be perceived primarily as a conspirator against the state and a separatist. His revolt was then put on par with the other contemporary separatist movements in East Central and Eastern Europe (the Ukrainian revolt of hetman Doroshenko in 1667–1674, and the Croatian-Hungarian magnate conspiracy against the Habsburgs in 1670–1671). These rivaling views were reflected not only in textual descriptions, but also in images of Razin, which were circulated in various ways.
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Keywords: 17TH CENTURY; COSSACKS; IMAGE; RAZIN; RUSSIA; STEN'KA; UPRISING

Language: German

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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  • The Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas ("East European History") present the discipline in its entire breadth; for thematically focused articles the emphasis lies on the territory of the former Russian Empire and the former Soviet Union. A double-blind review process with international experts ensures adherence to the annals' recognized high quality standards. An extensive section devoted to reviews informs the reader about current trends in German and international research. In addition, the editorial board publishes an electronic review supplement under the title jgo.e-reviews at recensio.net.
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