Military Wiki
Pitchfork Uprising
Part of Russian Civil War
DateFebruary 4 - mid-March, 1920
LocationUfa Governorate, Russian SFSR
Result Decisive Red Army victory
Peasant rebels Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Red Army
Commanders and leaders
I. Milovanov Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Miñlegäräy Äxmätşin
50,000 N/A
Casualties and losses
3,000 800

The Pitchfork Uprising of 1920, also known as Black Eagle Uprising, was a peasant uprising against the Soviet policy of the war communism in what is today Eastern Tatarstan and Western Bashkortostan. It started in the village of Yanga Yelan, Menzelinsky Uyezd, Ufa Governorate on February 4, 1920, where local peasants tried to resist confiscation of their food. When they refused to give up their produce, the leader of the military confiscation unit ("prodotryad") arrested some of them. Peasants asked him to free the hostages, but he refused. Peasants killed the members of prodotryad and circulated the appeal to rise.

On February 9 the chairman of Menzelinsk committee and the chief of Zainsk militia were killed in Yanga Yelan. On February 10 the peasants killed the Soviet representative in Zainsk. The uprising spread to the Belebeysky, Birsky uyezds of the Ufa Governorate, Chistopolsky Uyezd of the Kazan Governorate, Bugulminsky Uyezd of the Samara Governorate. The staff of the uprising was found under I. Milovanov. Their slogans were Down with the communist and the Civil War, long live the Constituent Assembly!

The peasant army known as "Black Eagle" counted 50,000 rebels. However, they were armed only with pitchforks, axes, and spades, which gave the name to the uprising. Troops for the Internal Defense of the Republic (Cheka) used heavy machine guns and artillery against them. [1] In a few days (mid-March 1920) thousands of rebels were killed and hundreds of villages burned. The casualty count was approximately 800 Soviet troops and more than 3,000 peasant rebels.


  1. Nicolas Werth, Karel Bartošek, Jean-Louis Panné, Jean-Louis Margolin, Andrzej Paczkowski, Stéphane Courtois, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, 1999, hardcover, 858 pages, ISBN 0-674-07608-7
  • (Tatar) "Sänäkçelär fetnäse 1921/Сәнәкчеләр фетнәсе 1921". Tatar Encyclopaedia. Kazan: The Republic of Tatarstan Academy of Sciences. Institution of the Tatar Encyclopaedia. 2002. 
  • (Russian) История Татарстана, Казань, "ТаРИХ", 2001.

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