Peasant unrest in the North-West of Russia in the summer of 1831

Egorov A. K. Peasant unrest in the North-West of Russia in the summer of 1831 // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2024. V.9. №1. P. 39-53.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2024-9-1-39-53


The article considers the peasant unrest in the North-West of Russia during the cholera epidemic. In the summer of 1831, after the mass outflow of workers from Saint Petersburg due to the cholera riots, a wave of peasant protests swept through Saint Petersburg and Olonets provinces: local residents attacked doctors and government officials, accusing them of abusing power and of poisoning the people under the pretext of fighting the epidemic. Such peasant revolts caused serious concern to the authorities that paid special attention to the population behavior during the epidemic. The distinctive feature of the peasant unrest was a gradual shift of its epicenter to the east along waterways — rivers and canals of the Mariinsky system. Peasant revolts were caused by a combination of factors that had both a nationwide nature and local specifics. The first important factor was rumors of poisoning that spread throughout the Mariinsky water system and its surroundings from Saint Petersburg due to its cholera riots. The second important factor were waterways that allowed people and rumors to travel relatively quickly over long distances. The third important factor was social distrust to authorities, doctors and anti-epidemic measures. The peasant unrest was a part of Russia’s cholera riots in the summer of 1831.


Peasant unrest, epidemic, cholera, rumors, poisoning, panic, violence, communication, communication lines.

About the author

Alexander K. Egorov, PhD (History), Associate Professor, Petrozavodsk State University. Lenin St., 33, Petrozavodsk, 185910; Research Fellow, Institute of Linguistics, Literature and History, Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Pushkinskaya St.,11, Petrozavodsk, 185910.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

The article was submitted on 11.12.2023.


Read 69 times Last modified on Apr 21 2024

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