Autumn of 1773 Don Cossack Yemelyan Ivanovich Pugachev fugitive from Kazan prison appeared among the Cossacks of Yaik. Using the rumors of the Peter's III rescue, Pugachev took his name and proclaimed the 'czar's' manifesto in which granted Cossacks with river and grass territories, lead, provisions and eternal liberty.
The Cossacks who joined Pugachev and fugitive peasants made the armed group, which had captured several fortified points of Yaik and had besieged Orenburg fortress. Country and factory peasants, working people, the representatives of Volga region were joining Pugachev's camp. By the end of the 1773 the forces of the rebels grew up to 30 thousand men, and they possessed 86 artillery weapons. Because of the typical organization fault within the movement of peasants, it was necessary to Pugachev and his companions to bring in the element of discipline to his detachment. Shelves of Cossacks, factory workers, the Bashkir were formed.
The Military board founded in November 1773 in Berdensk village became the general stuff of the revolt. The military board tried to stop robberies of local population and to adjust the organized division of property seized from landowners and authorities. Communication of Pugachev's rate with the local centers of movement was carried out through dispatch of manifestos. These documents were ratified by signatures and special seals (which Pugachev's brothers-in-arms acquired in December, 1773), and abounded in references on " the grandfather of ours, Peter the Great ", words from Ekaterina's II manifestos and decrees. It was one of the ways to make documents look legal. With the main forces located near Orenburg, Pugachev had directed detached groups down Ufa, to Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, and Samara. In the beginning of 1774 92 factories making three quarters of all industry of Ural were seized by the rebels. But the attempts to adjust manufacture of the weapon at the Ural factories wasn't a success as the greater part of production capacities was destroyed, and work people and bounded peasants had joined Pugachev's army.
By the beginning of Pugachev's siege of Orenburg the government had directed active armed forces under command of the general Kara for suppression of movement. However, they were totally defeated by the insurgent army. At the end of 1773 general Bibikov was appointed the commander-in-chief of retaliatory armies. Having collected significant armed forces, Bibikov had directed their basic part for the rescue of the besieged garrison in Orenburg. Pugachev, preparing to meet the impact of the governmental armies, had fortified himself in Tatisheva fortress located near Orenburg. In March 1774 after the bloody battle insurgents were dislodged from Tatishev fortress and forced to raise the siege from Orenburg. The second stage of the movement began.
Pressed by imperial armies, Pugachev headed to the east. The principal operations were deployed on the Ural and in Bashkiria. But having suffered new defeat under Troitsk fortress, Pugachev decided to leave mountain - factory areas of the Ural and to go to Kazan. On July, 12 at the head of 20 thousand insurgents he had approached Kazan, seized suburb of the city and besieged the Kremlin in which the garrison was locked up. The population of the city welcomed the country leader. But regular regiments of cavalry came to Kazan led by colonel Michelson and had forced Pugachev to retreat from Kazan. July 17 Pugachev forwarded to the right bank of the Volga and entered the territory in mass country revolt. The third stage of the war began.
The appearance of Pugachev in Volga region provinces had caused the rise of country movement, which was quickly spread to Penza, Tambov, Siberian and Nizhniy Novgorod provinces. The government of Ekaterina II, having hastily concluded the Kyuchuk-Kainargy peace treaty with Ottoman empire, directed all forces on suppression of country movement. Pugachev quickly moved to the south through Saransk,Penza and Saratov with the purpose to break to Don where he intended to stir up the rebellion of Don Cossacks. Pugachev's manifestos, reflecting expectations of peasants, contributed to the inflow of new forces and expansion of the social base of the movement. They were most fully reflected in Pugachev's manifesto from July 31 1774, which proclaimed the deliverance of peasants from serf bondage and taxes and called upon to destruction of nobility. Thus, the antiserfdom character of the movement was most obviously expressed at its third stage. At the same time the common faults of the country wars became evident: the local character of campaigns, poor arms, weak military training, complicating the resistance to active armed forces.
In August Pugachev had besieged Tsaritsin but failed to seize the city. Aiming to break to Don, he fell back from Tsaritsin, but was again overtaken by the government armies. With a small group of supporters Pugachev forwarded to the left bank of the Volga. By that time disintegration occurred in the ranks of rebellions. Traitors decided to give Pugachev out to the authorities aiming to rescue their lives by means of treachery. The group of former fellow-fighters led by Yaik Cossack Tvorogov had attacked Pugachev, disarmed him and delivered to the nearest Budarinsky advanced post. Pugachev was sent to Simbirsk, and there from put into a wooden cage under escort transported to Moscow. January 10, 1775 the execution of Pugachev was held on the Marsh area in Moscow. Country war was put down. It hadn't changed the serfdom regime of the country, but had nevertheless given a push to a number of governmental measures, making way to establishing bourgeois relations and somewhat easing feudal fetters, and had also sped up realization of regional reform of 1775.