Title of the article:

KUZ'MA MININ IN “THE TALE OF THE VICTORIES OF THE MOSCOW STATE” (on the methods of hero`s portrayal)


Olga A. Tufanova

Information about the author/authors

Olga A. Tufanova — PhD in Philology, A. M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya St. 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia. E-mail: tufoa@mail.ru


Philological sciences




Vol. 52


pp. 132–142


December 15, 2018

Date of publication

June 28, 2019

Index UDK


Index BBK



The paper looks at traditional and innovative ways of portraying the ideal hero of the national militia. Basing on the analysis of epithets and monologues of Kuz'ma Minin, as well as realistic motives characterizing his activities, it arrives at a conclusion that the author of “The Tale of the Victories of the Moscow State” blends various techniques and approaches to characterize the hero. Guided by the “method of the perfect transfiguration of life,” he creates the image of an ideal hero drawing upon high positive epithets, tautological combinations, following an elaborated scheme (patriotism – “Christian virtues” – “service and diligence”). At the same time, we see all the abstract positive characteristics confirmed in the text via realistic motifs similar to those found in other writings on the Time of Troubles. Thanks to this, the ideal image acquires authentic historical features. The introduction of a direct speech into characterization of the hero is motivated by specific historical circumstances displaying the reasons for such behavior. Kindness towards everybody as a predominant trait of Kuz'ma Minin`s nature is not his exhaustive specification. Facing the evil Minin is up to change his good temper and take severe punitive measures. As the paper reveals Minin’s figure came to introduce the reflection of common tendencies in portraying an individual in literature of the early 17th century, namely, that “good and bad features can coexist in one person” and, what is more, this combination does not prevent him from being an ideal character of his day.


Kuz'ma Minin, “The Tale of the Victories of the Moscow State”, ways of portraying a hero, method of perfect transfiguration of life, realistic motives, an epithet.


1 Adrianova-Peretts V. P. O realisticheskikh tendentsiiakh v drevnerusskoi literature (XI–XV vv.) [On realistic tendencies in Old Russian literature (11th – 15th cs.) ]. Trudy otdela drevnerusskoi literatury [Works of the Old Russian Literature Department]. Moscow, Leningrad, Izd-vo Akademii nauk SSSR Publ., 1960, vol. XVI, pp. 5–35. (In Russian)

2 Adrianova-Peretts V. P. Ob osnovakh khudozhestvennogo metoda drevnerusskoi literatury [On the basic principles of artistic method of the Old Russian literature]. Russkaia literatura, 1958, no 4, pp. 61–70. (In Russian)

3 Derzhavina O. A. Analiz obrazov povesti XVII v. o tsareviche Dimitrii Uglichskom [Analysis of images of the tale of the 17th century About Tsarevich Dimitrii Uglichsky]. Uchenye zapiski MGPI. Kaf. Rus. lit. [Scientific notes of the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute. Dep. Rus lit.] Moscow, 1946. Vol. 7, issue 1. (In Russian)

4 Derzhavina O. A. K voprosu o khudozhestvennom metode i poeticheskom stile russkoi istoricheskoi povesti nachala XVII veka [On the issue of artistic method and poetic style of the Russian historical short novel of the beginning of the 17th century]. Uchenye zapiski Moskovskogo gorodskogo pedagogicheskogo instituta imeni
V. P. Potemkina.
Moscow, 1957, vol. LXVII, issue 6, pp. 77–91. (In Russian)

5 Enin G. P. “Povest' o pobedakh Moskovskogo gosudarstva” ― novonaidennyi pamiatnik drevnerusskoi literatury [“The Tale of the Victories of the Moscow State” ― the newly found monument of Old Russian literature]. Povest' o pobedakh Moskovskogo gosudarstva [The Tale of the Victory of the Moscow State]. Leningrad, Nauka Publ., 1982, pp. 73–134. (In Russian)

6 Enin G. P. Povest' o pobedakh Moskovskogo gosudarstva [The Tale of the Victories of the Moscow State]. Slovar' knizhnikov i knizhnosti Drevnei Rusi [Dictionary of scribes and booklore of Ancient Rus`]. St. Petersburg, Dmitrii Bulanin Publ., 1998, issue 3 (17 cent.), part 3, pp. 165–167. (In Russian)

7 Eremin I. P. O khudozhestvennoi spetsifike drevnerusskoi literatury [On artistic specificity of the Old Russian literature]. Russkaia literature, 1958, no 1, pp. 75–82. (In Russian)

8 Kobozeva I. M. Lingvisticheskaia semantika [Linguistic semantics]. Moscow, Editorial URSS Publ., 2000. 352 p. (In Russian)

9 Kuznetsov A. A., Morokhin A. V. Istoriografiia opolcheniia Minina i Pozharskogo v kontekste izucheniia istorii Smutnogo vremeni [Historiography of the Minin and Pozharsky militia in terms of studying the history of the Time of Troubles]. Available at:  http://www.unn.ru/books/met_files/opolch.pdf (accessed 12 January 2019). (In Russian)

10 Likhachev D. S. Chelovek v literature Drevnei Rusi [The man in the literature of Old Russia]. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 2006. 202 p. (In Russian)

11 Povest' o pobedakh Moskovskogo gosudarstva [The Tale of the Victories of the Moscow State]. Leningrad, Nauka Publ., 1982. 164 p. (In Russian)

12 Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisei [Complete collection of Russian chronicles]. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1978. Vol. 34. 307 p. (In Russian)

13 Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisei [Complete collection of Russian chronicles]. 2nd ed. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1965. Vol. XIV. 288 p. (In Russian)

14 Tufanova O. A. “Negeroiskie” geroi: Kuz'ma Minin i kniaz' D.M. Pozharskii v istoricheskikh povestvovaniiakh pervoi treti XVII v. [“Non-Heroic” Heroes: Kuz'ma Minin and Prince Dmitry M. Pozharsky in the historical narratives of the first third of the 17th century]. Drevniaia Rus', 2019. (V pechati) (In Russian)

15 Tufanova O. A. Kniaz' M. V. Skopin-Shuiskii ― “bogodannyi” voin zemli Russkoi [Prince M.V. Skopin-Shuisky ― “God-given” Warrior of the Russian Land]. Makarievskie chteniia. “Voinstvo zemnoe – voinstvo nebesnoe”. Materialy XVIII Rossiiskoi nauchnoi konferentsii, posviashchennoi pamiati Sviatitelia Makariia [Macarius readings. “Host of earth – host of heaven”. Proceedings of the XVIII Russian scientific conference dedicated to the memory of St. Macarius]. Mozhaisk, 2011, issue XVIII, pp. 189–200. (In Russian)