Zaporizhian Sich was a pirate republic in Europe from the 16th through to the 18th century. Situated in Cossack territory in the remote steppe of Eastern Europe , it was populated with Ukrainian peasants that had run away from their feudal masters, outlaws, destitute gentry, run-away slaves from Turkish galleys , etc. The remoteness of the place and the rapids at the Dnepr river effectively guarded the place from invasions of vengeful powers. The main target of the inhabitants of Zaporizhian Sich who called themselves "Cossacks" were rich settlements at the Black Sea shores of Ottoman Empire and Crimean Khanate . [ citation needed ] By 1615 and 1625, Zaporozhian Cossacks had even managed to raze townships on the outskirts of Istanbul , forcing the Ottoman Sultan to flee his palace. [ citation needed ] Don Cossacks under Stenka Razin even ravaged the Persian coasts.  [ unreliable source? ]
Update 02/16/16 : Since last week’s deluge of traffic to Sci-Hub following this story Google have blocked Sci-Hub’s access to Google Scholar, making the search function temporarily defunct. The service otherwise works as before, users simply have to find the link to the paper they need unlocked themselves, and insert Sci-hub’s complete URL into the domain as discussed above. When I asked Alexandra about this setback she was completely unfazed, explaining “we are developing our own search engine anyway, so it doesn’t matter”. Ironically, the Google Scholar block may actually work in Sci-Hub’s favor Alexandra explains, not having to perform the complex task of managing searches, the server can now work much faster when handling the same amount of queries. Alexandra is now working on creating a “Google-like” search method, that could potentially result in “a more sophisticated” solution than Google Scholar.