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In 1773 a revolt broke out among Ural Cossacks as a result of their economic grievances. Emelian Pugachev (1726-75), a Don Cossack, led the rebellion. Claiming to be the Emperor Peter III, who had been killed by Catherine's supporters in 1762, Pugachev set up a mock court and gave his illiterate followers the names of Catherine's ministers. He was joined by discontented peasants, and his revolt spread through the region of the Ural river and the lower Volga, assuming the proportions of a peasant war. Pugachev was captured in 1775 and executed, and the rebellion was ruthlessly suppressed.

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