The climax of the national disorders in XVII century was achieved in the rebellion of Cossacks and peasants under the leadership of S.T. Razin.
This movement arose in the Don cossacks' stanitsas. This free land of the Don always attracted runaways from the southern and central areas of the Russian state. Here they were protected by the unwritten law - "There is no extradition from the Don'. The government needed cossacks' services in the defense of the southern borders and therefore had to put up with such self-government of the land.
Stepan Timofeyevich Razin originated from Zimoveyskaya stanitsa and belonged to a prominent Cossacks family, so he possessed high authority among. In 1667 he led a troop, one thousand strong, to the Volga, then to the Yaik River where he seized Yaitsk. In the summer of 1668 Razin had a 2-thousand army that was successfully acting in the territory of Persia (Iran), at the Caspian coast. The seized values Razin people exchanged for the Russian prisoners, who then reinforced the army. In the summer of 1669 Cossacks crushed the fleet of the Persian Shah at Svinoy Island (southward of Baku). That complicated the Russian-Iranian relations strongly and aggravated the government against the Cossacks.
In the beginning of October, 1669. Razin returned through Astrakhan to the Don where he was met triumphantly. Inspired with the luck, he started preparations of a new campaign. This time "for a kind Tsar against traitors-boyards". The march of Cossacks alone the Volga to the north grew into out peasant disorders. Cossacks remained a military core of the army. But with the influx of great masses of fugitive peasants, peoples of the Volga Region - Mordva, Tatars, Chuvashs - the social orientation of the movement changed strongly.
In May 1670, 7 thousand strong army of S.T. Razin seized the city of Tsaritsyn. And at the same time he defeated the strelets troops sent from Astrakhan and Moscow. Having set cossaks self-government in Tsaritsyn and Astrakhan, Razin went northward. Saratov and Samara came over to his party of their own free will. Razin addressed people of the Volga Region with an appeal to join the revolt and struggle against the traitors, i.e. boyars, noblemen, voevodes, officials. The revolt involved a vast territory where acted numerous troops led by atamans M. Osipov, M. Haritonov, V. Fedorov, nun Alena and others.
In September, 1670 the army of Razin approached Simbirsk and laid a month's siege. The frightened government declared mobilization and in August, 1670 a 60-thousand army was moved to the Middle Volga Region. In the beginning of October the governmental army led by Yu. Baryatinsky defeated the main body of Razin's troops and joined the Simbirsk garrison commanded by Voevode I. Miloslavsky. Razin with a small troop left for the Don where he hoped to muster a new army. But he was betrayed by Cossacks leaders and given up to the government.
On June 4, 1671 he was delivered to Moscow and two days later executed on the Red Square. In November, 1671 fell Astrakhan - the last bastion of the rebels. The participants of the revolt were subjected to severe repressions. 11 thousand people were executed in Arzamas only.