He is first noted by history in 1661, as part of a diplomatic mission from the Don Cossacks to the Kalmyks. That same year Razin went on a long-distance pilgrimage to the great Solovetsky Monastery on the White Sea 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, from whence he levied tribute from all vessels passing up and down the Volga.
A long war with Poland in 1654-1667 and Sweden in 1656-1658 put heavy demands upon the people of Russia. Taxes increased as did conscription. Many peasants hoping to escape these burdens fled south and joined bands of Razin's marauding Cossacks. They were also joined by many oth
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