Siberian Chronicles

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Siberian Chronicles


Russian chronicles about the history of Siberia that were compiled from the late 16th to the 18th century. The Esipov, Kungur, Remezov, Stroganov, and other Siberian chronicles are a basic source for the early history of Russian Siberia. Several chronicles were compiled later: I. Cherepanov’s Notes for Siberian History and New Siberian Chronicle, P. Pezhemskii’s Chronicle of the City of Irkutsk From 1652 to the Present, and A. I. Kytmanov’s Short Chronicle of the Eniseisk and Turukhansk Regions of Eniseisk Province (1594–1893). In all, more than 40 Siberian chronicles are known to have been written.

Historians have offered various solutions to problems pertaining to the origin, authenticity, and interrelationship of the Siberian chronicles (A. I. Andreev, A. A. Vvedenskii). The generally accepted theory of the development of Siberian chronicle writing was proposed by S. V. Bakhrushin. According to Ba-khrushin, the nucleus of the Siberian chronicles is the no longer extant Description of How to Reach Siberia, written in 1621 by participants in Ermak’s campaigns. This work was the basis for the Synodic of the Tobol’sk Cathedral, written in 1622. Making use of both the Description and the Synodic. S. Esipov compiled a chronicle in 1636.

Written in the mid-17th century, the Stroganov Chronicle incorporated the Description and material from the archives of the Stroganovs (a merchant family) but was not directly linked with the Esipov Chronicle. The Kungur Chronicle was written between the late 16th and second half of the 17th centuries. It relies heavily on tales told by participants in Ermak’s campaign and on folk legends of the late 16th century. The Remezov Chronicle was written in the late 17th century. At this time the Description of the New Lands of the Siberian State was written by Nikifor Veniukov, working independently. There are other views on the origin of the Siberian chronicles.


Sibirskie letopisi. St. Petersburg, 1907.
Kratkaia Sibirskaia letopis’ (Kungurskaia). St. Petersburg, 1880.


Bakhrushin, S. V. “Vopros o prisoedinenii Sibiri ν istoricheskoi literature.” In Nauchnye trudy, vol. 3, part 1. Moscow, 1955.
Mirzoev, V. G. Prisoedinenie i osvoenie Sibiri ν istoricheskoi literature XVII v. Moscow, I960.
Andreev, A. I. Ocherki po istochnikovedeniiu Sibiri. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.