10 January 1775 – Yemelyan Ivanovich Pugachov
Yemelyan Ivanovich Pugachov was chopped to bits today in 1775 after his attempt to nab the Russian throne resoundingly failed.
Pugachov was executed after he tried to overthrow Catherine II of Russia and blag his way onto the throne. Known as the Cossack Insurrection of 1773–4, his grand plan was to set himself up as ruler, freeing all the Cossacks in the process. And he must have been pretty impressive at blagging it, because he managed to rally a whole army through propaganda and promises of a better life. Not bad seeing as he was born of a humble landowner and a Cossack mother.
His successes were many in the early days. That is until his meteoric rise hit an insurmountable speedbump. The Russian army won a key battle and the insurgents’ seeming invincibility soon crumbled. Thousands of men were wiped out and the remaining troops began to bottle it, so much so that in September 1774, they turned on their former leader.
His former allies delivered Pugachov on a plate to the authorities after he tried to leg it to the Urals in order to regroup. Gleefully, the Russians slung him in a cage and shipped him off to Moscow to face the fatal consequences. There the pretender to the throne was publicly quartered in the main square for all to see, aged roughly 35.