Military Review

"Black Death" in Russia. 2 part

Plague in the XV - XVI centuries.

The Nikon Chronicle reports that a sea in Smolensk happened in 1401. However, the symptoms of the disease are not described. In 1403, “iron mor” was marked in Pskov. It is reported that the majority of patients died on 2-3 day, at the same time, rare cases of recovery are mentioned for the first time. In 1406-1407 "Iron mor" was repeated in Pskov. In the last sea, the Pskovs accused Prince Danil Alexandrovich, therefore they refused him, and called another prince to the city. After that, according to the chronicles, the pestilence retreated. For 1408, the annals noted the highly spreading sea of ​​"cortex". It can be assumed that it was a pulmonary form of the plague, with hemoptysis.

The next epidemic will visit Russia in 1417, affecting mainly the northern regions. It was characterized by extremely high mortality, in the figurative expression of the chronicler, death mowed down people like sickle ears. From this year, the “black death” began to visit the Russian state more often. In 1419, the pestilence began first in Kiev. And then throughout the Russian land. The symptoms of the disease are not reported. It could have been the plague that raged in the 1417 year, or the pestilence that happened in Poland spread to the lands of Russia. In 1420, almost all sources describe the sea in different Russian cities. Some sources have reported the sea as "cortex", others say that people have died with "iron." It is clear that in Russia at the same time two forms of plague spread - pulmonary and bubonic. Pskov, Veliky Novgorod, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Galich and others were among the most heavily affected cities. The mortality rate from the plague was so high that, according to sources, there was no one to remove the grain from the fields, as a result of which the mortality from the epidemic was aggravated by terrible famine, who claimed thousands of lives.

In the 1423 year, according to the Nikon chronicle, a mor was "over the whole of the Russian land", no details were given about the nature of the disease. The plague 1424 of the year was accompanied by hemoptysis and swelling of the glands. It must be said that from the year 1417 to the year 1428, the plague epidemics passed almost continuously, or with very brief interruptions. It may be noted that at this time there was a vague idea of ​​not only the infectiousness of the disease, but also the contamination of the area. Thus, Prince Fedor, when a mora appeared in Pskov, fled with his entourage to Moscow. However, this did not save him, he soon died in Moscow. Unfortunately, such escapes in most cases led only to the spread of the area of ​​infection, an increase in the number of victims. The concept of quarantine did not exist. 1428 to 1442 there was a break, there are no reports of epidemics in the sources. In 1442, the plague with a swelling of glands occurred in Pskov. This epidemic covered only Pskov land and ended in the 1443 year. Then there was a lull again, until the 1455 of the year. In 1455, the Pskov frontier again struck with “iron” and from there it spread across Novgorod land. When describing a contagious disease, the chronicler reports that the pestilence began with Fedork, who came from Yuriev. This is the first time when the source of infection and the person who brought the disease to Pskov are reported.

The following description of the mora occurs in the 1478 year, during the attack of the Tatars on Aleksin when they were repulsed and driven off behind the Oka. The source said that the pestilence began among the Tatars: "... having died in vain, the dying is a lot of them in half a shop ...". Then, apparently, the pestier spread to the Russians: “there is much evil in the land, hunger, pestilence, and battle”. In the same year, the pestilence occurred in Veliky Novgorod, during his war with the Grand Duke of Moscow and Vladimir. In the besieged city began the plague. The last news of the sea in the 15 century occurs in 1487-1488, the infectious disease struck Pskov again.

Then came the almost 20-year lull. In 1506, the sea is reported in Pskov. In 1507-1508 a terrible sea raged in Novgorod land, it is possible that it was brought from Pskov. The mortality of this disease was enormous. So, in Veliky Novgorod, where the disease raged for three years, more than 15 thousand people died in one autumn alone. In 1521-1522 Pskov again suffered from a mora of unknown origin, which claimed many lives. Here we find for the first time a description of quarantine-like measures. The prince, before leaving the city, ordered to lock up the street on which the pestilence began, with outposts from both ends. In addition, the Pskov people built a church according to the old custom. However, the pestilence did not stop. Then the grand duke ordered another church to be built. Apparently, quarantine measures nevertheless brought some benefit - the plague was confined to Pskov. But mortality was very high. So, in the 1522 year, only one “poor woman” - a wide and deep pit, which served to bury the dead from mass diseases, famine, was buried by 11500 people.

Before 1552, the time has come again. At the same time, plague raged almost continuously in Western Europe. In 1551, she swept Livonia and broke through the city to Russia. In 1552, the Black Death struck Pskov, and then Velikiy Novgorod. Here we also find messages about quarantine measures. Novgorod, when news of the plague occurred in Pskov, set up gates on the roads connecting Novgorod and Pskov, and prohibited the Pskovs from entering the city. In addition, the Pskov guests, who were already there, were expelled from the city along with the goods. Moreover, the Novgorodians took very tough measures, so those merchants who refused to comply with this order were ordered to be caught, taken out of the city and burned along with their goods. The townspeople, who hid the Pskov merchants in their possession, were ordered to punish with a whip. This is the first in stories Rus message about large-scale measures of quarantine nature and interruption of messages from one area to another due to a contagious disease. However, these measures, apparently, were taken too late, or were not carried out with all severity, the plague was brought to Novgorod. Pskov and Novgorod were struck by the plague in 1552-1554. In Pskov, died only one year before 25 thousand people, in Veliky Novgorod, Staraya Russa and the entire Novgorod land - about 280 thousand people. Especially strongly plague thinned the clergy, priests, monks tried to help people, to alleviate their suffering. The words of the Pskov Chronicle speak of the fact that it was exactly the plague - people died with “iron”.

Simultaneously with the plague at the same time, Russia was struck by other general diseases. Thus, in Sviyazhsk, the army of Grand Duke Ivan Vasilyevich, who marched on a campaign against Kazan, suffered greatly from scurvy. Tatars also besieged in Kazan were struck by a mass disease. The chronicler called the source of this disease bad water, which the besieged had to drink, because they were cut off from other sources of water. Sick people are "plump and dying with her." Here we see progress in explaining the causes of the disease, it is caused by bad water, and not by the “wrath of God.”

In 1563, the plague struck Polotsk. Here, too, the mortality rate was very high, but the sources of the disease are not disclosed. In 1566, the plague reappears in Polotsk, then swept the cities of Ozerishche, Velikie Luki, Toropets and Smolensk. In 1567, the plague reached Veliky Novgorod and Staraya Russa and continued to rage on Russian soil until the 1568 year. And here the chroniclers do not mention the symptoms of the disease. However, we again see how, during the plague of the 1552 of the year, quarantine measures, and of a very rigid nature. In the 1566 year, when the plague reached Mozhaisk, Ivan the Terrible ordered to install outposts and not to let anyone into Moscow from the areas that were subjected to infection. In 1567, Russian commanders were forced to stop offensive action for fear of a plague epidemic that raged in Livonia. This suggests that in Russia 16 centuries, already began to understand the value of quarantine measures and began to consciously relate to the danger of infection, trying to protect the "clean" areas of reasonable measures, not just prayers and the construction of churches. The last message about the plague in the 16 century falls on the 1592 year, when Pskov and Ivangorod were overfilled.

Methods of struggle with plague in medieval Russia

As already noted, regarding the period of 11-15 centuries, there is practically no mention of measures against the disease and measures related to quarantine. About doctors, their activities during the plague epidemics, in the annals there are no messages. Their task in this period was only in the treatment of princes, their families, representatives of the highest nobility. The people looked at mass diseases as something fatal, inevitable, "heavenly punishment." The possibility of salvation was seen only in "spirituality", prayers, prayers, religious processions and the construction of churches, as well as flight. There is also practically no information about the character of the moors, except for their mass character and high mortality.

In fact, during this period, not only were no measures taken to intersect the epidemics, but also to protect the healthy from the danger of the disease. On the contrary, there were the most favorable conditions for the contagious diseases to be strengthened and further spread (such as the flight of people from exposed areas). Only in the 14 century the first reports of preventive measures appeared: it was recommended to “clear” the air during the epidemics with the help of fire. The constant burning of fires in squares, streets, and even courtyards and dwellings has become a common remedy. It was also said about the need to leave the contaminated territory as quickly as possible. On the way of the alleged spread of the disease, began to put "cleansing" fires. It was not known whether setting fires, outposts and abutments (barriers) was accompanied.

Already in the 16 century preventive measures have become more rational. So, during the mora of 1552, we find in the source the first example of an anti-plague outpost. In Veliky Novgorod, it was forbidden to bury people who died from a mass sickness near churches, they were supposed to be buried away from the city. Outposts were organized on the streets of the city. The yards, where a person died from a contagious disease, were blocked, the surviving family members were not let out of the house, assigned to the yard of the caretaker, transferred food from the street without entering the dangerous house. Priests were forbidden to visit infectious patients, which had previously been common practice and led to the spread of the disease. Tough measures began to be applied against those who violated the established rules. Violators, along with the sick, just burned. In addition, we see that there are measures to restrict the movement of people from infected areas in the "clean". From the Pskov land in 1552, it was forbidden to come to Veliky Novgorod. In 1566, Ivan the Terrible set up outposts and banned people from the western regions affected by the plague from moving to Moscow.

Plague in the XVII and XVIII centuries. 1771 Plague Riot of the Year

It should be noted that in medieval Moscow there were all the conditions for the development of large-scale fires, plagues and other infectious diseases. The city, huge for those times, was densely built up with wooden constructions, from estates and chrome of nobility and merchants to small shops and shacks. Moscow literally sank in the mud, especially during the spring and autumn thaws. Terrible dirt and unsanitary conditions were present in the meat and fish rows. Sewage and garbage, as a rule, were simply thrown into the courtyards, the streets, into the rivers. In addition, despite the huge population, in Moscow there were no country cemeteries. The dead were buried inside the city, with each parish church cemeteries existed. In the 17 century, such cemeteries within the city were more than 200.

Regular crop failures, famine, unsanitary conditions in the “megalopolis” of that time created favorable conditions for the spread of contagious diseases. It is necessary to take into account the factor that medicine at that time was at an extremely low level. The main method of treatment of healers then was bleeding. In addition, prayers, miraculous icons (which, from the point of view of modern medicine, were the sources of the most diverse contagion) and conspiracy of healers, were considered the main remedies for pestilence. Not surprisingly, during the mora of 1601-1609, the epidemic covered 35 of Russian cities. In Moscow alone, up to 480, thousands of people died (including those who fled from the rural areas starved).

Another terrible plague struck Moscow and Russia in the 1654-1656. In 1654, a terrible sea raged in Moscow for several months. People died every day in the hundreds, and in the midst of the plague epidemic - in the thousands. The plague hit the man quickly. The illness began with a headache and fever, which was accompanied by delirium. The man quickly weakened, hemoptysis began; in other cases, tumors, boils, ulcers appeared on the body. A few days later the patient died. Mortality was very high. In these terrible months, not all the dead were able to bury according to the established custom in the churches, there simply was not enough room. The authorities already knew about the danger of the proximity of the “plagued” graves to human habitation, but they did not take any measures to change the situation. Only those cemeteries that were located directly in the Kremlin were surrounded by a high fence and, after the epidemic, were tightly boarded up. It was forbidden to bury the bodies in them, so that again “the plague on people would not be perpetrated”.

How to treat the disease no one knew. Many of the patients in fear were left without care and help, the healthy ones tried to avoid contact with the sick. Those who had the opportunity to wait out the sea elsewhere, left the city. From this, the disease was even more spread. Usually wealthy people left Moscow. So, the royal family left the city. The Queen and her son went to the Trinity-Sergius Monastery, then to the Trinity Makaryev Monastery (Kalyazin Monastery), and from there she was going to go even further, to Beloozero or Novgorod. Following the tsarina, Patriarch Tikhon also left Moscow, who at that time had almost royal powers. Following their example, senior officials ran from Moscow, leaving for neighboring cities, their fiefdoms. Soon the archers from the garrison of the city began to scatter. This led to an almost complete disorganization of the power system in Moscow. The city died out with whole courtyards, streets. Economic life stopped. Most of the city gates were locked, as was the Kremlin. The “convicts” escaped from prison, which led to an increase in disorder in the city. Looting flourished, including in the "escheated" yards (where the inhabitants died), which led to new outbreaks of mora. Nobody fought it.

Only in Kalyazin the queen came to her senses a little and took quarantine measures. It was ordered to install strong outposts on all roads, and check the passing. With this, the queen wanted to prevent infection from entering Kalyazin and near Smolensk, where the king was located with the army. Letters from Moscow to Kalyazin were copied, the originals were burned, and copies were delivered to the queen. Huge bonfires were burned on the road, all purchases were checked so that they were not in the hands of the infected. An order was given in Moscow to lay windows and doors in the royal chambers and storerooms so that the disease does not penetrate into these rooms.

In August and September, the plague reached its peak, then began to decline. There was no counting of the victims, so researchers can only approximate the scale of the tragedy that befell Moscow. For example, in December, the okolnichy Khitrovo, who was in charge of the Zemsky order, which had police functions, ordered Clerk Moshnin to collect information about the victims of the mora. Moshnin conducted a series of studies and presented data for different classes. In particular, it turned out that in the 15 surveyed plots of Moscow (there were about fifty of them, in addition to the shooters), the number of dead was 3296 people, and the surviving 681 (apparently, only the adult male population was counted). The ratio of these figures shows that during the epidemic more than 80% of the suburban population died, that is, the majority of the tax-paying population of Moscow. True, we must bear in mind that part of the population was able to escape and survive outside of Moscow. Even with this condition, the death rate was huge. This confirms the mortality in other social groups. In 10, boyar houses in the Kremlin and China-City from 2304 yard people died 1964, i.e. 85% of the total composition. In the yard of the boyar B.I. Morozov from 343 people survived 19, Prince A.N. Trubetskoy from 270 - 8, Prince Ya.K. Cherkassky from 423 - 110, I.V. Morozov from 60 - 15, Prince N. I Odoevsky from 295 - 15, etc. Researchers assume that Moscow lost more than half of its inhabitants in 1654, that is, to 150 thousand people.

Plague in the XVIII century. Plague riot 15 (26) September 1771 of the year. In the 18 century, in the Russian state, the fight against the plague became part of state policy. The Senate and the Special Imperial Council began to deal with this problem. For the first time in the country, a quarantine service was established, it was assigned to the medical board. On the border with the state where there was a plague center, quarantine outposts began to be installed. All people entering Russia from the contaminated area were stopped for up to one and a half months to check if the person was ill. In addition, they tried to disinfect clothes and things, fumigating them with smoke from wormwood and juniper, and washed metal objects in vinegar. Tsar Peter the Great introduced compulsory quarantine in seaports, as a means of prevention from the importation of contagion into the country.

Under Catherine the Great, quarantine posts operated not only on borders, but also on roads leading to cities. There were a doctor and two medical assistants on the quarantine staff. If necessary, the posts were strengthened by the military of their garrisons and doctors. Thus, measures were taken in order to stop the spread of infection. The charter of quarantine service at the border and in the ports was developed. As a result, the “black death” has become a much rarer guest in Russia. And when it appeared, it was usually possible to block the hearth, not allowing it to spread throughout the country.

In 1727-1728 the plague is fixed in Astrakhan. A new, extraordinarily powerful flash of “black death” began at the end of 1770 in Moscow and reached its peak in 1771. For only 9 months (from April to December of that year) the pestilence, according to official data, took 56672 people to life. However, in reality their number was higher. Catherine the Great in one of the letters reports that more than 100 thousand people died. The war in Turkey broke through the quarantine fence. The epidemic of plague swept the country. By the end of the summer 1770, she reached Bryansk, and then Moscow. The first cases of the disease were identified in a military hospital, where 27 people died from infected 22. Senior physician of the Moscow General Hospital, scientist A.F. Shafonsky established the true cause of death and tried to stop the spread of the disease. He announced the impending disaster to the Moscow authorities, proposing to take emergency measures. However, his words were not taken seriously, accusing him of incompetence and anxiety.

To a large extent, pestilence devastated the ranks of the predominantly urban lows. Most people died among the poor, especially the workers of enterprises. One of the first strikes was the plague inflicted on the Bolshoi Cloth Yard, the largest then Moscow manufactory. If in 1770, 1031 people worked in it, in 1772, only 248 workers worked. Manufactory became the second plague focus. Officials initially tried to hide the scale of the trouble, the dead were buried secretly, at night. But many frightened workers fled, spreading the infection.

In 1770-ies, Moscow was already very different from Moscow 1654 of the year. In connection with the sea, numerous cemeteries at parish churches were liquidated and instead of them several large country graveyards were established (this requirement was extended to other cities). There were doctors in town who could recommend some rational measures. But only wealthy people could take advantage of these tips and medical devices. For the urban lower classes, given their living conditions, huge crowding, poor nutrition, lack of linen and clothes, lack of funds for treatment, almost nothing has changed. The most effective remedy for the disease was the departure from the city. As soon as the plague in the spring - in the summer of 1771, became widespread, carriages with the rich, who went to other cities or their rural estates, reached out through Moscow outposts.

The city froze, the garbage was not taken out, there was a shortage of products and medicines. The townspeople burned fires and beat the bells, believing that their ringing helped against the plague. At the height of the epidemic, up to a thousand people died daily in the city. The dead lay in the streets and in the houses; there was no one to clean them. Then the prisoners were attracted to cleaning the city. They traveled through the streets in carts, collecting corpses, then the plague carts left the city, the bodies were burned. This terrified the surviving citizens.

An even greater panic was caused by the message about the departure to his estate of the mayor, Count Peter Saltykov. Other major officials followed his example. The city was left to fend for themselves. Disease, massive loss of life and looting brought people to complete despair. There was a rumor in Moscow that the miraculous icon of Our Lady of Bogolyubskaya appeared at the Barbarian Gates, which supposedly saves people from misfortune. A crowd quickly gathered there, lobbying the icon, which violated all the rules of quarantine and greatly increased the spread of infection. Archbishop Ambrose ordered to hide the image of the Mother of God in the church, naturally, this caused the terrible wrath of superstitious people, who were deprived of the last hope for salvation. People climbed the bell tower and hit the alarm, calling for the icon to be saved. The townspeople quickly armed themselves with sticks, stones and axes. There was a rumor that the archbishop stole and hid the saving icon. The rioters came to the Kremlin and demanded that Ambrose be extradited, but he prudently took refuge in the Donskoy Monastery. Furious people began to smash everything. Destroyed Miracles Monastery. They carried not only the houses of the rich, but also the plague barracks at hospitals, considering them as sources of the disease. They beat the famous doctor and epidemiologist Danilo Samoilovich, he miraculously escaped. September 16 stormed the Donskoy Monastery. Archbishop found and torn to pieces. The authorities could not suppress the rebellion, because at this time in Moscow there were no troops.

"Black Death" in Russia. 2 part

Only two days later, General Eropkin (the deputy who had fled Saltykov) managed to assemble a small detachment with two guns. He had to use military force, because the crowd did not give in to persuasion. The soldiers opened fire, killing about 100 people. By 17 September, a riot was crushed. More than 300 rebels were brought to justice, 4 people were hanged: merchant I. Dmitriev, courtyards V. Andreev, F. Deyanov and A. Leontyev (three of them were involved in the murder of Vladyka Ambrose). 173 people were subjected to corporal punishment and sent to hard labor.

When the news of the riot and murder of the archbishop reached the empress, she sent her favorite Gregory Orlov to suppress the uprising. He received emergency powers. In order to reinforce him, they selected several Guards regiments and the best medical workers in the country. Orlov quickly brought order. Gangs of marauders exterminated, the perpetrators were punished by public death. The entire city of the count was divided into plots that were fixed by doctors (their staff was significantly increased). The houses where they found the source of infection were immediately isolated, not allowing to take things. They built dozens of barracks for patients, introduced new quarantine posts. Improved supply of medicines and food. People began to pay assistance. The disease has subsided. Count Orlov fulfilled his task brilliantly, decisive measures leaving the epidemic. The Empress rewarded him with a special medal: “Russia has such sons in itself. For ridding Moscow of an ulcer in 1771. ”


In the 19-20 centuries, thanks to the growth of scientific knowledge and medicine, the plague visited Russia rarely, and on a small scale. In the 19 century, 15 outbreaks of plague occurred in the Russian Empire. So, in 1812, 1829 and 1837's. Three outbreaks of plague occurred in Odessa, 1433 people died. In 1878, a plague outbreak occurred in the Lower Volga region, Vetlyanka village. More than 500 people were infected, and most of them died. In 1876-1895 In Siberia and Transbaikalia more than 20 thousand people fell ill. During the years of Soviet power from 1917 to 1989, 3956 people became ill with plague, of whom 3259 died.
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