One of the main attractions of Red Square in Moscow is the monument to Minin and Pozharsky. On the monument there is an inscription - "To Citizen Minin and Prince Pozharsky, grateful Russia. Summer 1818". Prince Dmitry Mikhailovich Pozharsky was a descendant of an ancient noble family. But Kuzma Minin did not have such noble ancestors, but he went down in the history of Russia as a true patriot of his Fatherland. It was Minin who was the organizer and one of the leaders of the Zemsky militia of 1611-1612.
At the beginning of the 17th century, Russia was going through a terrible time. The struggle for the throne, foreign intervention, famine and epidemics brought the country to the brink of collapse. In Europe, they were confident that Russia would never be able to revive its former greatness. It was possible to save the statehood only thanks to a powerful popular movement, which was headed by "citizen Minin and prince Pozharsky."
Little is known about the childhood and youth of Kuzma Minin. It is assumed that he was born in the third quarter of the 16th century. Minin came from a merchant family, his ancestors were engaged in a very profitable business for that time - salt production. Kuzma's father, Mina Ankudinov, kept his own salt plant in the small town of Balakhna near Nizhny Novgorod. His workers pumped brine from the ground and evaporated. The resulting salt was transported to fairs.
Mina Ankudinov's business was going well, over time he bought himself a yard in Nizhny Novgorod, where he started trading. The Minin and Pozharsky families jointly owned the salt wells, therefore, the representatives of these two families were well acquainted with each other.
Kuzma continued his father's business. After Mina's death, the sons divided the property, Kuzma opened his own shop and began trading. A few years later, he was already the owner of a large house. Tatiana Semyonova, the daughter of a neighbor, became his wife. It is not known for certain how many children they had. The documents mention only the son of Nefed, who inherited after the death of his father. Kuzma Minin himself had a reputation as a decent man in Nizhny Novgorod; for many years he was elected as the mayor's headman.
In 1608-1610. Kuzma Minin took part in battles against False Dmitry II as part of the Nizhny Novgorod militia. In this difficult time, Patriarch Hermogenes was the inspirer of the struggle of the Russian people for liberation from the invaders. At his call, people's militias began to be created. In the fall of 1611, Kuzma Minin made an appeal to the people of Nizhny Novgorod. Minin said that in a dream Saint Sergius of Radonezh appeared to him, calling him to defend the Motherland.
At a meeting of the townspeople elders, Kuzma Minin proposed to collect "the fifth money" - to give 1/5 of the state to support the people's militia. Minin's appeal received a response not only in Nizhny Novgorod, but also in many other lands of the state. Residents of Arzamas, Kolomna, Vyazma, Kazan began to join the militia. Prince Dmitry Mikhailovich Pozharsky was elected the military leader of the militia.
During the formation of the militia, Dmitry Pozharsky was treated after being wounded. It was to him that Minin turned with a proposal to take over the military leadership. At the same time, Minin himself enjoyed great authority in the militia. He was in charge of the treasury, established contacts with the population. Minin was recognized as a genius orator, even people far from politics listened to his speeches with interest.
Already at the beginning of 1612, the militia entered Yaroslavl, where the "Council of All the Land" was formed. From Yaroslavl, the army went to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, where the patriarch's blessing was received. About a hundred miles remained to Moscow. At this time, the news came that the Polish hetman Chodkiewicz was moving towards Moscow with his army. It was impossible to hesitate.
The Russian militia managed to reach the capital before the enemy. This made it possible to prevent the unification of the troops of Khodkevich and the occupants who had settled in the Kremlin. In the battles for the capital, Kuzma Minin showed heroism, the new Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich, having barely ascended the throne, granted the brave Nizhny Novgorod citizen patrimonies and the rank of a Duma nobleman. Minin was appointed governor of Kazan, he knew the Volga region well and enjoyed great authority there. But the governor Minin served only for a few years; on May 21, 1616, he died of an unknown illness.
Initially, the organizer of the people's militia was buried in the churchyard of the Pokhvalinskaya church, and in 1672 the ashes of Kuzma Minin were transferred to the Transfiguration Cathedral, which was located on the territory of the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin. In the thirties of the last century, in the era of persecution of the church, the Transfiguration Cathedral was demolished, and Minin's ashes were again moved. This time to the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael, which was located nearby.
Now on the site of the Transfiguration Cathedral there is a memorial wooden cross. At the same time, not all researchers agree that Minin's ashes were transferred from there. Some are sure that his grave remained on the site of the former cathedral, and the remains of a completely different person were transferred.
The merits of Minin and Pozharsky to the Fatherland were appreciated by their descendants. At the very beginning of the 19th century, fundraising for the construction of a monument to national heroes began. Moreover, the young Emperor Alexander the First, who recently ascended the Russian throne, took an active part in this. According to the ruler, this monument should be erected in Nizhny Novgorod, where the formation of the people's militia began. However, later another decision was made - the monument will stand in Moscow on Red Square, and a smaller copy of it will be sent to Nizhny Novgorod.
It is noteworthy that the image of Kuzma Minin can also be seen on the Millennium of Russia monument, which was erected in 1862 in Veliky Novgorod in honor of the 1000th anniversary of the Russian statehood. There are 128 figures of the greatest statesmen on the monument. Among them is Kuzma Minin from Nizhny Novgorod, who in difficult times raised the people to defend the country.