Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky

Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky

The collection is dedicated to participants of the second people’s volunteer corps (militia) Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky, who liberated Moscow from Polish invaders in 1612. Kuzma Minin, head of the Zemstvo (starosta) in Nizhny Novgorod, owner of a butcher’s shop, played a significant role in the organization of the popular movement. At the town meeting he convinced Nizhny Novgorod residents to form a new volunteer corps to "assist the Moscow state" and start raising money to hire military specialists. Military commandment of the volunteer corps was entrusted to Prince Dmitry Pozharsky, who at that time was being treated for a serious injury in his family estate of Yurino, not far from Nizhny Novgorod. The prince served in the army of Tsar Vasily Shuysky and was injured during the battle with the Polish forces as part of the first people’s volunteer corps, which failed in the attempt to liberate Moscow.

Soldiers led by Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky set off for Moscow from Nizhny Novgorod in late February 1612. Having stayed in Yaroslavl for four months, members of the people’s volunteer corps founded the “Council of All Land”, which included members of the city council of Nizhny Novgorod, members of noble princely families and representatives of other cities and towns. The “Council” performed functions of an interim government: it pacified the towns liberated from invaders, and also held diplomatic negotiations with the German emperor and the Swedish king. After a series of bloody battles in early September 1612 most of Moscow and the surrounding areas were liberated. On November 4 Kitay-gorod was taken by storm. This marked the decisive victory of the second people’s volunteer corps, which freed Moscow from Polish invaders.

The collection presents publications of the 19th and 20th centuries, which shed light on the history of the second people’s volunteer corps and its leaders, along with materials commemorating Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Suzdal.

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