Musin-Pushkin, Count Alexei Ivanovich

A. I. Musin-Pushkin was quite simply Imperial Russia’s premier antiquarian. Nikolai Karamzin depended upon his manuscript collection to write his canonical 12-volume “History of Russia.” Musin-Pushkin is also credited with the “discovery,” which essentially means “making public information about” essential primary sources: the Tmutarakan Stone, the earliest example of Russian epigraphy; “The Lay of the Igor Campaign,” a foundational bylina, or epic poem; and the Laurentian Codex of Russia’s Primary Chronicle. He served as both Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod, 1791-97, and President of the Academy of Arts, 1794-97. A significant portion of his library fell victim to the burning of Moscow in 1812, during the Napoleonic Wars.