Kurbski Prince Andrei Kurbskii Russia Russia's Security Culture Russia's Vigilance Norm Russian Political Culture Russian Strategic Culture

Prince Andrei Kurbskii: First Anti-Hero of Internal Dissent and External Collusion in Russian Thought and Culture

by Gordon M. Hahn


Among the key players of Ivan Gorznyi’s epoch, the figures of Adashev, Sylvester, and most of all Prince Andrei Kurbskii have been brought back to the Russian mind over the centuries, embedded in Russia’s historiography, arts and overall culture. Kurbskii and his legacy as Russia’s ‘first’ political dissident and defector (even though he was proceeded by several lesser boyars and joined by 12 of his courtiers) has been passed down across generations by multiple images with some sanguine ambivalence as well as the voices of condemnation. Kurbskii is the first and longest-lasting symbol of internal political dissent and external collusion with foreign enemies of Russia in a panoply of such symbols that in part comprise Russian discourse in its security culture in support of the vigilance norm against domestic and foreign threats and their ‘collusion’, especially those emanating from the West. This discourse has become an essential strand in both Russia’s political culture and strategic culture.

On the one hand, Kurbskii has been held at different times by different authors as a patriotic Russian hero of resistance to the tyranny of Ivan the Terrible. On the other hand, he has also been portrayed as the “model”, archetypal, if sometimes tragic traitor;[1] “the agent of Russia’s enemies” and the “destroyer of the foundations of Russian statehood and morality.”[2] At times, Kurbskii has been interpreted as a composite image, representing simultaneously heroic resistance to tyrannical personalist rule and tragic treachery to the motherland. The image of ‘Kurbskii the traitor’ to the state became the dominant one in Russian culture, in part because of the early Russian autocratic state’s ability to organize much of the cultural discourse.

The sometimes changing and alternative images of Kurbskii coincide with a similar pattern in the history of many other symbols of Russia’s security culture and vigilance norm. Developed over centuries in response in large part to threats to Russia’s national and ‘ontological’ (cultural integrity) security that emanated from the West, as I discuss in my forthcoming book, The Russian Dilemma: Security, Vigilance, and Relations with the West from Ivan III to Putin (forthcoming from McFarland, 2021), the extent of the perceived or real threat to Russia has determined the nature and robustness of Kurbskii’s image among state and societal groups. In periods of political liberalization and/or improving relations with the West, symbols of the Western security threat, such as Prince Kurbskii, that reinforce the vigilance norm are either softened or find less place in Russian discourse, which has most often been under the control or strong influence and hegemony of the state and its leadership’s ideological and political views. By contrast, in Russian dissident circles Kurbskii’s image is not that of a traitor but a dissident carrying forth a heroic resistance to tyranny.

Some claim that Russian culture’s hybrid internal-external security value was extant already before the Smuta. Erlikh notes: “All who opposed the ruler inside the country were considered ‘foreign agents’ of the foreign scum…. The authorities’ enemies had to run to an impostor, that is, to spread….rumors that the tsar is not the real tsar and declare themselves either the true tsar (False Dmitrii and Pugachev) or his commander (Bolotnikov and Razin).”[3] Prince Kurbskii can be considered ‘exhibit 1’ for this brief. Thus, Russian historian Andrei Filyushkin notes the rise of the myth of Kurbskii as the “model traitor.”[4]

Kurbskii the Traitor

Kurbskii’s anointment as the first symbol of national betrayal was a process not an event and subject to the vicissitudes in the ideology and state policy of an given Russian ruler or ruling group. The earliest reflection in Russian culture of Kurbskii-‘model traitor’ consisted of references to him being redacted by censorship and complete bans on his writings—a pattern which repeated itself until the early 19th century.[5] Kurbskii’s works eventually became “well-known,” however, creating the framework and defining the limits of the political discourse for his contemporaries and their immediate descendants; a discourse which revolved around the choice between centralized, personalist autocracy as established by Grozny versus the path not taken—the creation development of a strong advisory body like the izbrannaya rada and some local government.[6] The late 17th and entire 18th centuries was a period of silence regarding Kurbskii.

Karamzin’s seminal early 19th century historiographical work, The History of the Russian State, was the first general history of Russia published in the homeland. It addressed the Kurbskii matter in some detail in volumes 8 (published in 1818) and 9 (published in 1821). However, Karamzin did not apply the traitor model. Writing under the reformist Tsar Alexander I, Karamzin, in Yerusalimskii’s words, “discovered the tragedy of Kurbskii as simultaneously a fighter against tyranny and a traitor,” creating the two cultural models – recessive and dominant, respectively – that would compose Russia’s discourse around Kurbskii and his image. Karamzin referred to Kurbskii as a “deserter” but also viewed him to be one who spoke the truth about “Ivan’s bloody wickedness,” the mention of which was usually accompanied in Karamzin’s text by references to Kurbskii as Ivan’s antipode and long citations of the prince’s writings condemning Grozny.[7]

Nevertheless, Kurbskii the traitor became over time the dominant image in both Russian and later Soviet historiography and literature. The hyper-traditionalist era of Nicholai I’ ‘official nationality’ of autocracy, Orthodoxy, and nationality’ played a role in embedding this view in Russian culture. The first full biography, S. Gorskii’s The Life and Historical Significance of Prince Andrei Mikhailovich Kurbskii, published in 1858, Kurbskii is cast as the symbol of all anti-state and anti-Muscovite forces and generalized image of the enemy of Russia,” according to Filyushkin. Gorskii’s Kurbskii is “infused with a hatred of Moscow from his earliest years of his life,” “not infused with love for the Fatherland” and of “so deep a spoiled moral nature” that “for him nothing was sacred and the most sacred treasure of man, religion, was for him only a means for the satisfaction of egoistic enticements.”[8]

In literature Kurbskii fares no better. In Alexei Tolstoy’s “unusually popular” 1840 poem Vasilii Shibanov, Kurbskii is the “anti-hero,” in Filyushkin’s words, to his heroic servant Shibanov.[9] The servant forgives the prince for his treachery but returns to, and prays for Ivan the Terrible, who praises the servant now considered by Kurbskii to be a traitor to his liege. Tolstoy’s Kurbskii is an “insulted and wounded soul” “filled with bile and anger”, whose “pen breathes revenge,” hardly the qualities of a hero.[10] A popular mid-19th century children’s history book proclaimed that Kurbskii’s “betrayal” “covered his name in eternal shame.” Kurbskii, in this reading, “envied” those boyars who “despite the tempting offers from the Polish king did not betray their honor and patiently suffered Ivan’s harshness as a punishment sent by God.”[11]

After Tsar Liberator Aleksandr II’s reform era, Kurbskii’s negative image was regeneratd. In Mikhail Bogdanovich’s 1882 drama Prince Kurbskii, Russia’s first dissident is castigated for his conduct as early as the 1552 Kazan military campaign, of which he was Russia’s heroic commander as he was in Livonia before defecting. In Bogdanovich’s reading, the “traitor” (izmennik) Kurbskii comes out “not just for his own (the boyars) but for (Russia’s) enemies” and by entering Sigismund II’s service “became an enemy of Russia” himself. The drama ends with Kurbskii repenting for his turn to the Poles and bidding farewell to his son he urges him to return to Russia and “by your victories wipe away your father’s shame.”[12] Filyushkin notes that although the interpretation of Kurbskii became “more complicated” in the last quarter of the 19th century, it remained overall negative, linked to the idea of “boyar oligarchy as a ‘break on progress,’” with Kurbskii as the personification of the boyars. In his view, this presaged the Soviet regime’s eventual support for Ivan Groznyi over Kurbskii in their posthumous battle for hero-symbol in Russian/Soviet discourse.[13]

In the early decades of Soviet power, Kurbskii was invisible. It would not be until Stalin chose Ivan over Kurbskii that the former regained the clear upper hand against the latter as a positive, heroic symbol from the medieval era. After all, when Soviet propaganda required anti-Tsarist heroes, there was a plethora of more suitable hero-symbols from Russian history’s pantheon of Cossack revolts, peasant rebellions, anarchist terror, and socialists and communist revolutionary parties to justify stretching the definition of the word ‘revolutionary’ by reactivating the boyar prince as a cultural symbol. Moreover, the implied justification of dissent by a member of an ‘alien class’ was a one-way ticket to the Gulag.

In the much more black-and-white early Soviet and Stalinist era discourse, interpretive attitudes of ambivalence, the mixed patriot-traitor model, and themes such as Kurbskii’s repentance or regrets completely disappear from the culture. Kurbskii becomes an inveterate enemy of the Motherland. Soviet textbooks not only gave a one-sided view of Kurbskii; they also could be far off the mark on the basic historical facts. One 1941 Soviet textbook described “the betrayer” Kurbskii’s defection to the Poles and his participation in Polish military campaigns against the Russian towns of Polotsk and Veliki Luki. In doing so, it refers to the town of Nevel as Revel, claims he defected to the Poles with 12 “boyars” instead of 12 members of his own court, and mistakenly asserts he participated in the sacking of Veliki Luki. The distortions appear to have been inflated in order to strengthen Kurbskii’s image as both a class and national enemy.[14]

As a result of the post-Stalin Khruschevan ‘thaw’ and weakening of ideological elan’ during the Brezhnev ‘stagnation’, late Soviet historiography lacked the vitriol that a designated actual and symbolic traitor to the state would have seemingly still deserved. Historical science did continue to emphasize Kurbskii’s role as a traitor, but in less strident, accusatory tones. Some objectivity in the more scholarly purpose of real research that was the result. Although absent of disdain for Kurbskii, Andrei Likhachev’s linguistic analysis of his writing style hardly could have had a positive effect on Russian readers image of the prince. Likhachev refers to Kurbskii as “having betrayed (izmeniv) the homeland and even participated further in military and diplomatic actions against Russia.” The prince is one, who, in writing letters to Groznyi and his monograph The History of the Great Prince of Moscow, sought to “justify himself” not so much to his Russian and Polish readers “as much as to justify himself in his own eyes.”[15] Kurbskii, in Likhachev’s analysis, also “tried strike the pose of a person higher in moral terms, but also one more educated – a person of refined Western culture…of Western enlightenment.”[16] Although in his writings, the prince now he treated Russia “as a country of no connection to him” and the Russian language as “alien” (“there you have a custom,” “their language,” as Likhachev cites Kurbskii), he reveals the extent he has gone native in Poland by using a host of linguistic “Polonisms,” according to Likhachev.[17] Thus, not just Likhachev’s treatment of Kurbskii but also Kurbskii’s treatment of the West compared to that of Russia surely put off some of Kurbskii’s contemporary Russian readers as well as those of Likhachev, most of whom had already been and would continue to be conditioned by the one-sided nature of the treatment of Kurbskii from earlier periods both in science and other fields. Lur’e, writing in the same volume, refrains from mentioning Kurbskii’s defection and treasonous acts but all but states that Kurbskii shares the blame with Groznyi for Moscow’s failure to develop “pre-bourgois” social order in the mid-16th century, which largely determined Russia’s problematic path of future development.[18]

The arts were the real field of battle on which Soviet power, in particular Stalin, crossed swords with Kurbskii, formed his image, and further constructed the Russian/Soviet cultural norm of fear regarding internal/external collusion. In O. M. Brik’s 1942 tragedy, Ivan Groznyi, in which “(t)he dog Kurbskii gratifies Russia’s enemies,” Dmitrii Bykov’s comparison of Kurbskii and Trotskii proves perceptive.[19] But Kurbskii is not just a traitor himself, he pushes others to treason as well.[20] The tragedy’s plot echoes numerous Stalinist-era leitmotifs: an alien class, led by a traitor plotting against the vozhd’, secret police heroes, uncovered spies and mass arrests. Thus, Kurbskii represents the boyar class which stands in the way of progress. Ivan is at first caught up in an assassination plot to be consummated by his drinking a chalice during a feast with visiting Poles laced with poison sent to Moscow by Kurbskii, but an oprichnik by the name of Sokol uncovers the plot informs Ivan and the plotters and their relatives are arrested.[21]

The central icon of both Kurbskii and Groznyi in many ways has become Sergei Eisenstein’s 1944 film Ivan Groznyi, produced under the watchful eye and insistent editing and ‘advice’ of the Great Vozhd, Stalin himself. The importance the film places on Kurbskii and collusion between internal and external foes are underscored in the very first scene depicting Kurbskii cavorting in anti-Muscovite conspiracy at Polish King Sigismund’s court. Then from Ivan’s very assumption of the throne and crown of Monomakh, Stalin’s Kurbskii is envious of Groznyi in love, in politics, and in war. Polish spies attend the coronation in search of a soft spot in the Kremlin and take special note of Kurbskii’s transparent jealousy over being “eternally second” to Ivan. Weak and lusting for power, Kurbskii is unable to resist the Polish spies’ tempting offers. Distorting the actual history, Kurbskii defection to the Poles occurs after he supposedly ‘throws’ the Battle of Nevel as part of a pre-planned signal to his allies in Moscow, who are prepared to place Polish King Sigismund II on the Russian throne, to begin an uprising in Moscow to overthrow Ivan. In this Stalinist reading, Kurbskii’s defection to Warsaw ‘forces’ Ivan to establish the notorious oprichnina, a symbol for Stalin’s NKVD (KGB). In sum, whether as conscientious defector in Imperial culture or Moscow’s inveterate enemy as in Soviet culture, the dominant image is Kurbskii as traitor, with the first Russian dissident and political émigré becoming a central symbol in the attitude of suspicion and fear of internal/external collusion in Russian political and strategic culture. The only time in Russian history when a Russian or Soviet official spoke or wrote of Kurbskii positively is when Stalin said: “Kurbskii is magnificent.” However, Stalin was speaking of the abovementioned portrayal of Kurbskii in Eisenstein’s film in a meeting with the director in the Kremlin. By contrast, the ‘Great Vozhd’ (Great Ruler) referred to the real historical Groznyi as “a great and wise ruler.”[22]

‘Recessive’ Cultural Images of Kurbskii

A minority concurred with Karamzin’s more comprehensive, two-sided analysis of Kurbskii’s historical role, offering an ambivalent or mixed assessment, while others – mostly dissident liberal or socialist writers – saw him as a hero and a model to be emulated if necessary. The former tendency, however, partially buttressed the dominant traitor image. In the late pre-revolutionary and the Soviet periods, the rise of socialist and communist historians shifted the focus to class conflict in various forms. Both the former’s tyranny and the Groznyi-Kurbskii (boyar) conflict were most often seen as the sad but inevitable culmination of the feudal system’s ‘contradictions.’ In this way, they removed or at least attenuated the personal responsibility from both Groznyi and Kurbskii for events, leading to a more benign image for Kurbskii.[23]

In literature, Kurbskii’s ambivalent and tragic traitor-patriot image reappeared in the mid-19th century with the 1843 moralistic children’s novel, Prince Kurbskii, by Boris Fyodorov. Kurbskii is depicted while in Russia in the first part of the novel as brave, handsome, sensitive, and educated. The “defender of the Russian land” abandons the idea of overthrowing Ivan and defects abroad on his wife’s counsel. However, once in Poland Kurbskii darkens, becoming an evil “traitor,” who in leading Polish forces’ attack on Pskov nearly kills his son – a symbol of future Russia – fighting in the Russian army. He seems to regret his choice to defect to the Poles, suddenly envying the boyars who serve Ivan, the lives of whom “at least have not been sullied.” The novel closes with a lamenting recognition that Russia’s later expansion west into eastern Polish, Ukrainian lands had incorporated Kovel, which the Poles had given to Kurbskii to rule, and the dissident prince’s grave site—the Motherland accepting back into its bosom the ashes of its exiled son.[24]

Kurbskii’s image as a tragic patriotic hero of resistance to tyranny first emerged and was reactivated in Russia’s various eras of liberalization, beginning with the generation of Alexander I’s reign and its intellectual ferment. These periods produced the largest portion of Russian historiography and literature establishing Kurbskii’s hero alter-image, which was popular among and politically useful for the period’s moderate and radical reformers alike. Kurbskii became the symbol around which aristocratic society in the years just before and after the Decembrist revolt discussed the cursed Russian question of the morality of dissent and the relation between the Tsar (the state) and society. He also became the leitmotif around the central issue of organizing the political system at the time. Among moderates, this concerned the distinction between autocracy (samoderzhaviya or samovlastiya) and mechanisms of advice such as the by then abandoned zemskii sobor and boyarskaya duma and the contemporary Senate.[25]

Among dissidents, reformers and revolutionaries, Kurbskii’s image and writings were used to support regime change by replacing autocracy with a constitutional parliamentary system. Not surprisingly, the revolutionary Decembrists and those who supported them sympathized with Kurbskii and promoted his image as a heroic dissident-patriot. In 1821, in a poem composed by one of the movement’s leaders, Kondratyi Ryleev, Kurbskii is found in internal monologue with himself. Ryleev’s Kurbskii characterizes himself as “the shame and glory of the Russian countries” and “the hope of grieving Russians” and Ivan as a “berserk tyrant,” who “deprived him of his dear fatherland.”[26] Russia’s most heralded poet, Pushkin, painted Kurbskii in the same decade in similar colors in his Boris Godunov. In attempting to illustrate the moral of his story and perhaps history itself, “the inevitability of retribution,” in Filyushkin’s words,[27] Pushkin replaces Kurbskii with his conjured, fictional unnamed son, who has joined the False Dmitrii’s march on Moscow. Son describes father as a tortured hero-patriot of Holy Rus, a return to which the prince “yearned to the end,” and himself as an accidental émigré from a lost homeland. For Pushkin, both father and fictional son are national patriot-heroes ready to die for their Fatherland:

There it is! There is Russia’s border!

Holy Rus, Fatherland! I am yours!

The dust of foreign lands

With contempt I shake from my clothes

With thirst I drink the new air:

Oh my Homeland!.. Oh my Father

Now your soul is comforted,

And in his casket fallen bones rejoice!

Our inherited sword again shines!

This kind sword, servant of the Muscovite Tsars![28]

In less tyrannical late Imperial, school textbooks of less official origins, written by serious liberal aristocratic historians such as Platonov and Sergei Solovyov, also depicted Kurbskii in primarily positive terms as the chief “representative” and defender of the boyars’ side in conflict with the tyrannical Ivan. On the other side, an official textbook of 1861 written by Dmitrii Ilovaiskii emphasized instead the treacherous aspects of the prince’s biography.[29] During the late post-Stalin ‘thaw’ Kurbskii was recruited for the dissident intelligentsia, whose opened window to the West soon closed with the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. In Oleg Chukhontsev’s 1967 poem “Talking About Kurbskii”, the dissident prince is deployed by a dissident poet to claim the Soviet intelligentsia’s “right to betray an oath” and “right to revolt” on the grounds that the state is the “deviant” and therefore has forfeited its right to charge anyone with betrayal.[30] 

Kurbskii has been reactivated at times in post-Soviet Russian journalism, with comparisons made to powerful Kremlin oligarchs such as Boris Berezovskii and Mikhail Khodorkovskii, who were forced abroad, and imprisoned and forced abroad, respectively, because, at least in part, they had dissented from President Vladimir Putin’s preferences. Filyushkin makes this point in his Andrei Kurbskii. There are numerous such comparisons on the Russian Internet. The liberal poet and literary critic Dmitrii Bykov compares Kurbskii with both Berezovskii and Khodorkovskii.[31] He is deemed relevant enough today that in the 2000s the accomplished Russian monarchist artist, Pavel Ryzhenko (1970-2014), devoted an ornate portrait to the dissident prince. Completed in 2009, it depicts an intelligent, serious Kurbskii with gravitas, but also a man burdened by his life’s travailed path and perhaps a hint of remorse for his having committed treason in legal if perhaps not entirely in moral terms.[32] The Russian writer, literary critic, and philosopher Vladimir Kantor more recently offered a Kurbskii a normative if not legal alibi for his defection abroad, underscoring the right of the medieval Russian druzhinniki – enforcers of a prince’s rights to the land and to collect taxes from those who resided on it – to leave one prince’s service to serve another. Thus, when he left Ivan Groznyi, an act which “was taken as betrayal of Russia,” “Kurbskii thought that he was using the ancient right of the druzhinnik. The last right, which was lost for Russian boyars, was the right to depart.”[33]

The herein abundantly-cited historian Filyushkin himself, briefly setting aside his observer’s hat for an activist’s one, urges Kurbskii’s reactivation as a dissident-symbol. For Filyushkin, Russia needs Kurbskii and his dissident-hero image no less in the early 21st century than in centuries past.[34]


The overall pattern of some ambivalence towards Kurbskii’s image was shaped not just by the varying interpretations of authors with differing political orientations writing in Russia’s alternating epochs of the old, new, and ‘old new.’ We see clearly, that frequently enough Kurbskii’s image as a traitorous villain or patriotic hero was used and even abused by regime and opposition actors, respectively, as a political propaganda instrument. In addition, that ambivalence may reflect the fact that some of these conclusions were made in uncertainty early stage in which Russia found itself in its cultural ‘decision-making’ process of embedding and sedimentizing the norms of the Western threat, the risks of internal dissent, and the danger of collusion as dominant strains in Russia’s political and strategic culture. Therefore, if any single historico-cultural meaning of Kurbskii’s dissent and defection to the West is even possible, it was less likely so early on to be a symbol that would cement such cultural and identity development. However, the dominant strain in Russian historiography was clear: Kurbskii was a traitor, if as well for some a ‘freedom-fighter’ against Ivan’s cruel tyranny. For very few others –  largely from the liberal pro-democracy camp – he is pure and simple a hero of freedom. The preponderance of the ‘model traitor’ image in the semiotics of Kurbskii’s role in Russian history contributes to the ‘fear of collusion’ strain in Russian political and strategic culture.

[1] On the many images of Kurbskii in Russian literature and historiography, see Andrei Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii (Moscow: Molodaya gvardiya, 2008), Chapter 1, http://readli.net/andrey-kurbskiy/ (see also http://www.libma.ru/istorija/knjaz_kurbskii/index.php), last accessed on 23 March 2018. Also helpful on the question of Kurbskii’s image in Russian is K. Yu. Yerusalimskii, Sbornik Kurbskgo: Issledovanie knizhnoi kul’tury (Moscow, 2008).

[2] Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[3] Sergei Erlikh, “Pochemu legenda o dekabristakh poteryal svoyu romantichnost’,” Nezavisimaya gazeta, 24 December 2018, http://www.ng.ru/stsenarii/2018-12-24/9_7472_selfie.html.

[4] Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[5] Kurbskii’s writings were first published in Russia in 1833 by Nikolai Ustryalov in The Saga of Prince Kurbskii (Skazaniya knyaza Kurbskogo). See Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1. Ustryalov’s compiled edition was then republished twice. See Ya. S. Lur’e and Yu. D. Rykov, Perepiska Ivana Groznogo s Andreem Kurbskim (Moscow: Nauka, 1981), p. 6. The first aborted reference came in 1708 when Peter the Great commissioned a history of Russia to begin from the period of Grand Prince Vasilii III, the draft of which included citations from Kurbskii’s writings in exile, but in 1716 Peter rejected publication likely because he correctly saw himself as successor in the line of autocracy that ran through both Ivan the Terrible’s and his own dynasty’s rule—a line the legitimacy of which he needed to protect no less because he was implementing controversial reforms that were generating dissent. In the 1740s censorship of Kurbskii’s writings critical of Ivan Groznyi began and included blatant rewritings of his texts to delete or soften their characterization of him and his reign. The first biography, written by V.F. Timkovskii written in 1816, was never published. It carefully posed the question of whether or not Kurbskii should be regarded primarily as a traitor or a patriot fighting against tyranny. Yerusalimskii, Sbornik Kurbskgo: Issledovanie knizhnoi kul’tury cited in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[6] Likhachev, “Stil’ proizvedenii Groznovo i stil’ proizvedenii Kurbskogo (Tsar’ i ‘gosudrev izmennik’),” p. 213 and Ya. S. Lur’e, eds., “Perepiska Ivana Groznogo s Kurbskii v obshchestvennoi mysli drevnei Rusi,” in Ya. S. Lur’e and Yu. D. Rykov, Perepiska Ivana Groznogo s Andreem Kurbskii, (Moscow: Nauka, 1981), pp. 214-49, at pp. 248-9.

[7] N.M. Karamzin, Istoriya Rossisskogo gosudarstva (St. Petersburg, 1843), Book 3, Footnotes to Volume IX, footnoted 19, cited in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1 and Yerusalimskii, Sbornik Kurbskgo: Issledovanie knizhnoi kul’tury cited in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[8] S. Gorskii, Zhizn’ i istoricheskoe znachenie knyaza Andreya Mikhailovicha Kurbskgo (Kazan, 1858), cited in Filyushkin makes this claim in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[9] Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[10] Alexei Tolstoi, Polnoe sobranie stikhotvorenii: V 2 tomakh (Leningrad, 1984), Volume 1, pp. 118-21, cited in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[11] A. I. Ishimova, Istoriya Rossiya v rasskazakh dlya deteisledovanie knizhnoi kul’tury (St. Petersburg, 1841), Part 1, p. 297, cited in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[12] M. I. Bogdanovich, Sbornik Kurbskii: Drama (St. Petersburg, 1882), cited in Filyushkin makes this claim in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[13] Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[14] A. V.  Shestakov, ed., V pomoshch’ izuchayushchim istoriyu SSSR (Moscow, 1941), p. 198, cited in Filyushkin makes this claim in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[15] D. S. Likhachev, “Stil’ proizvedenii Groznovo i stil’ proizvedenii Kurbskogo (Tsar’ i ‘gosudrev izmennik’),” in Lur’e and Rykov, Perepiska Ivana Groznogo s Andreem Kurbskim, p. 202.

[16] Likhachev, “Stil’ proizvedenii Groznovo i stil’ proizvedenii Kurbskogo (Tsar’ i ‘gosudrev izmennik’),” pp. 203 and 206.

[17] Likhachev, “Stil’ proizvedenii Groznovo i stil’ proizvedenii Kurbskogo (Tsar’ i ‘gosudrev izmennik’),” pp. 205-6.

[18] Ya. S. Lur’e “Perepiska Ivana Groznogo s Kurbskii v obshchestvennoi mysli drevnei Rusi,” Lur’e and Rykov, Perepiska Ivana Groznogo s Andreem Kurbskii, (Moscow: Nauka, 1981), pp. 214-49, at pp. 235-48.

[19] Dmitrii Bykov, “Lev Trotskii,” Diletant, No. 12, December 2017. Bykov posted this article on his Live Journal page. See Dmitrii Bykov, “Lev Trotskii,” Live Journal, 23 November 2017, https://ru-bykov.livejournal.com/3187216.html.

[20] This model should have resonated with Soviet audiences’ memories and fears recalling the prosecutorial method of expanding circles of ‘British spies’ and ‘Trotskyites’ in the show trials that peaked during the Great Terror of the late 1930s, with each group of the convicted incriminating additional ones.

[21] O. M. Brik, Ivan Grozny (), cited in Filyushkin makes this claim in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[22] From Eisenstein’s notes during the 1947 meeting with Stalin, which can be read at “Stalin: ‘Vy istoriyu izuchalu?’, Eizenshtein: ‘Bolee ili menee’,” Rossiiskaya gazeta, January 2012, https://rg.ru/2012/01/25/ivan-groznyy.html.

[23] See, for example, M. N. Pokrovskii, Russkaya istoriya s drevneishikh vremen (Moscow, 1910); Georgii Plekhanov, Istorii russkoi obshchestvennoi mysli (Moscow, 1914), Volume 1; S. V. Veselovskii, Iz istorii zakreposhcheniya krest’yan (Moscow, 1928); and I. I. Smirnov, “Klassovyie problem v feodal’noi derevne Rossii v kontse XVI v.,” Problemy istorii materialnoi kul’tury, Nos. 5 and 6, all cited in Lur’e, “Perepiska Ivana Groznogo s Kurbskii v obshchestvennoi mysli drevnei Rusi,” p. 216-18 and 246.

[24] Curiously, Fyodorov’s novel was republished in 1883; that is, this near panegyric to a dissident was published during two reactionary periods – those of Nicholas I and Alexander III, perhaps slipping by the censors or allowed through because of its intended audience and dubious artistic and even historical merit. Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[25] S. O. Shmidt, Pamyatniki pismennosti v kul’ture poznaniya istorii Rossii v 2 tomakh (Moscow: Yazika slavyanksoi kul-tury, 2009) cited in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[26] K.F. Ryleev, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii (Leinngrad: LenIzdat, 1934) pp. 154-5 cited in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[27] Yerusalimskii, Sbornik Kurbskgo: Issledovanie knizhnoi kul’tury cited in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[28] A.S. Pushkin, “Boris Godunov”, A.S. Pushkin – Sochinenii v 3 tomakh (Moscow, 1984), Volume 2, pp. 390 and 401-2.

[29] S.M. Solovyov, Uchebnaya kniga russkoi istorii (Moscow, 1860), pp. 164-5; S.F. Platonov, Uchebnik russkoi istorii dlya srednei shkoly: Kurs sistematicheskii (Prague, 1918); and D. Ilovaiskii, Kratkie ocherki russkoi istorii, prisposoblennyi k kursu dlya srednei uchebnykh zavedenii (Moscow, 1861), cited in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[30] Oleg Chukhontsev, “Povestvovaniya o Kurbskom,” in O. Chukhontsev, Stikhotvoreniya (Moscow, 1989), p. 80, cited in Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1.

[31] Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1. I was able to confirm it, finding numerous such comparisons on the Russian Internet. For an example of a comparison of Kurbskii with both Berezovskii and Khodorkovskii, see liberal Russian writer Dmitrii Bykov’s article “Lev Trotskii” published in the popular Russian history journal Diletant, No. 12, December 2017 and posted on 23 November 2017 to his Live Journal page at https://ru-bykov.livejournal.com/3187216.html and “Chto predrekayut Rossii oligarkhi?,” VN.ru, 4 August 2005, https://vn.ru/news-68328/. For comparisons of Kurbskii with Berezovskii, see “Dmitrii Bykov: Strana skatyvaetsya v katyshki,” ‘Neva 24’ Interv’yu, Dmitrii Bykov Live Journal, 25 November 2011, https://ru-bykov.livejournal.com/1220105.html; Mikhail Sinel’nikov, “Berezovskii pishet patriarkhu,” Electorat, 16 January 2012, http://www.electorat.info/blog/6074.html; and Vladimir Antonov, “Ivan Groznyi: zlodei ili genii?,” Newsland, 21 November 2011, https://newsland.com/user/4297724273/content/ivan-groznyi-zlodei-ili-genii/4260037. For comparisons of Kurbskii with Khodorkovskii, see “Interview with Dmitrii Bykov,” Program ‘Odin’, Ekho Moskvy, 19 January 2018, https://echo.msk.ru/programs/odin/2130814-echo/ and Yelena Fanailova, “Mikhail Khodorkovskii kak novyi kul-turnyi geroi,” Radio Svoboda, 13 February 2011, http://www.svoboda.org/a/2309504.html.

[32] See Ryzhenko’s portrait of Kurbskii at “Portret Knyaza Kurbskogo,” Runivers.ru, http://www.runivers.ru/gal/gallery-all.php?SECTION_ID=7590&ELEMENT_ID=473653

[33] Vladimir Kantor, Lyubov’ k dvoiniku: Mif i realnost’ russkoi kul’tury (Moscow: Nauchno-politicheskaya kniga, 2013), p. 95.

[34] Filyushkin, Andrei Kurbskii, Chapter 1, http://readli.net/chitat-online/?b=124633&pg=3, last accessed on 22 March 2018.

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