The outstanding Russian statesman, archeographer, historian, collector of manuscripts and Russian antiquities, and member of Russian Academy of Sciences enjoyed a long life – he lived during the rule of five tsars. Being young, the scientist did not attract the attention of Elizabeth I and Peter III, but all succeeding monarchs appreciated his activities. Even Pavel I who frowned upon his mother’s favorites conferred earldom on Musin-Pushkin. However, it was Catherine the Great who played the main role in his career. In 1791, she appointed the famous collector of ancient manuscripts to the position of chief procurator of the Synod. Moreover, she issued a decree permitting the Synod to collect ancient manuscripts and early printed books taking them away from all churches and monasteries of Russia. Thus Alexey Musin-Pushkin obtained unlimited opportunities for his historical studies. The manuscripts and books would come in streams – up to 100 ones annually. His collection included the chronicle of Patriarch Nikon, with author’s revise, the parchment with Nestor’s chronicle (Laurentian Chronicle), and the Russian Primary Chronicle. According to Klyuchevsky, the discovery of The Tale of Igor’s Campaign in the Transfiguration Cathedral in Yaroslvl, the greatest masterpiece of ancient Russian literature, had become a “brilliant conclusion of the efforts undertaken by our amateur antiquarians.” Having retired, Musin-Pushkin moved to Moscow and took his collection with him. Unfortunately, his palace with the collection burned down during the fire of 1912. Thank God, The Tale of Igor’s Campaign had been published by that time, while the Laurentian Chronicle had been given to Alexander I as a gift.
In 1744, Alexey Musin-Pushkin was born