Who are Minin and Pozharsky

In Moscow, opposite the Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed there is a monument. There are two people on the pedestal: one with a sword, the second with a shield, and below the inscription "CITIZEN MININ AND PRINCE POZHARSKY. GRATEFUL RUSSIA SUMMER. 1818

Who are Minin and Pozharsky and for what is the whole country grateful to them? In order to answer this question, one will have to "dig" the history several centuries ago.

By the beginning of the 17th century. in the Russian state, the so-called Time of Troubles has come. After the death of Tsar Ivan the Terrible in 1584, an era of deepest crisis began in the Moscow state, caused by the suppression of the royal dynasty of Rurikovich. The united Russian state collapsed, numerous impostors appeared.

Under the name of the murdered Tsarevich Dmitry, the first Russian impostor appeared - Grishka Otrepiev, a fugitive monk of the Moscow Chudov Monastery. The conspirators killed Boris Godunov's son, Fedor, and his mother. As soon as they had time to deal with Grishka, along with all the armed rabble, a second impostor appeared - another False Dmitry. A dynastic crisis broke out in the country. Moscow lay in ruins, many cities were destroyed and burned, all the bridges in Uglich were broken. Taking advantage of the plight in the country, the Poles and Swedes declared war on Russia.

By the fall of 1611, Russia's position was close to desperate: the Poles occupied Moscow, Smolensk and other Russian cities in the west. The Swedes captured the entire coast of the Gulf of Finland and Novgorod. The entire western part of the state was actually occupied. Looting, organized and ordinary crime flourished in the country.

At this difficult moment for the country, the Russian clergy played a huge role. Under the leadership of the Abbot of the Trinity-Sergius Monastery, Archimandrite Dionysius, who was later canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church, the monks began to call on the Russian people to join the militia in order to expel the enemies of the Russian land, above all the gentry. Patriarch Hermogenes also sent out similar appeals and letters, many other priests went to cities and villages, calling on the people to liberate the country. The ecclesiastical, especially the monastic, word had tremendous authority then.

One of the letters of Patriarch Hermogenes fell into Nizhny Novgorod, into the hands of the zemstvo head Kozma Minin (Sukhoruk). He was a simple butcher, of short origin, but a pious, intelligent and energetic man. And most importantly, he was a great patriot. The call of the church to the militia was heard by him, he immediately got down to business and began to gather people. "Let us want to help the Moscow state, so do not spare us our estate, do not spare anything, sell yards, mortgage wives and children, beat the forehead to anyone who would stand up for the true Orthodox faith and be our boss." Minin collected donations, explaining to the people where their money would go, becoming practically the financial director of the militia.

Prince Dmitry Mikhailovich Pozharsky, who belonged to the descendants of Rurik, was elected commander of the militia. The prince faithfully served both Boris Godunov, and Vasily Shuisky, and the sixteen-year-old prince Mikhail Romanov who later ascended the throne. Pozharsky has always held high positions, had the experience of successfully leading several military operations.

It was these two people who were to play a central role in the liberation of the country from foreign invaders. During the winter of 1611-1612. many others from domestic cities and villages, dissatisfied with the dominance of foreigners, joined the militias of Nizhny Novgorod. Before going to Moscow, Pozharsky had to pacify the riots in the Volga region. This took the whole summer of 1612. In the winter, Pozharsky assembled the Zemsky Sobor in Yaroslavl and handed over the management of the entire Moscow land to him. Representatives of all estates from almost all Russian cities arrived at the Council to discuss a plan for further action. Including the campaign to Moscow. But soon it became known that the Polish king Sigismund had already sent out a large army, and Pozharsky decided, without delay, to immediately march.

Under the banners of Pozharsky and Minin, more than 10 thousand local servicemen, up to three thousand Cossacks, more than a thousand archers and many "tacit people" from the peasants gathered. With the miraculous icon of the Kazan Mother of God, the Nizhny Novgorod zemstvo militia managed on November 1, 1612 to take Kitay-Gorod by storm and expel the Poles from Moscow. On November 4, the command of the interventionist garrison signed a surrender and released the Moscow boyars and other noble persons from the Kremlin, the next day the garrison surrendered.

Grateful descendants appreciated the contribution of Minin and Pozharsky to the liberation of the fatherland and erected a monument to the heroes on the main square of the country. Initially, the monument was planned to be installed back in 1812, to the 200th anniversary of heroic events, but this was prevented by the war with Napoleon. And only in 1818, with the money collected in a pool, the work of the sculptor I. Martos was installed in the very center of Red Square. However, in 1930, the monument was considered a hindrance to festive demonstrations and was moved closer to St. Basil's Cathedral, where it still stands.