Stenka Razin, the Volga and a Persian
Stenka Razin (approx. 1630 - 1671), or actually Stepan
Timofeyevich Razin, for some a national hero and other a troublemaker, spoiled a lot of bloods of
boyars and of Tsar Alexei. With a large army of Cossacks and a large fleet of ships, he ravaged South Russian regions, even reaching as far as the Caspian Sea where he destroyed many Persian towns. Together with his people, he lived a luxurious life. In the cities that he had captured, he
organized as a rule drunken orgies during which several boyars were sent to the gallows or were impaled.
During one such occasion, he kidnapped a beautiful Persian princess whom he loved dearly, and
whom he took on all of his expeditions.
But very soon he became tormented by his conscience. Above all, Stenka loved the river
Volga, the source of his freedom and might. It was from the regions of the Volga river that his warriors came from, also all the cities that he reigned over were on the banks of the
Volga, and he himself came from this region. After one such drunken orgy, this triangle - Stenka, the beautiful Persian princess, and the splendid
Volga - became unbearable. He realized that the river may be jealous of the princess which ultimately could lead to disaster.
Manfully he decided to end this dilemma, and the following scenario supposedly took place on a ship on the river. The leader of the Cossacks, turned to the
Volga - "It seems to me that I never gave you any gift" - for a while he paused and then with tears flowing down his face, he called out
- "I offer to you, with my whole heart, Oh Great One, what is most dear to me!" Saying that, he grabbed the unfortunate princess whom he loved dearly and threw her into the depths of the river. The princess, heavy with jewels and clothes full of gold, sunk like a stone.
The sacrifice did not help very much. After many successes, the Tsar sent an army lead by Prince Yuri Bariatynski,
the undisciplined army of Cossacks was defeated, and Razin was given over to the army by the Cossacks seniors
who were loyal to the Tsar. He was transferred to Moscow where he was hacked into pieces in the Red
Sqaure, where today stands a monument commemorating the Cossacks' uprising .