Published: October 7, 2016

1612 (also known as 1612: Chronicle of the Time of Troubles, 1612: Хроники смутного времени) is a 2007 Russian epic drama. It is based on true events of that year.

The film takes place during the Time of Troubles (Смутное время), the period from 1598 to 1612, after the Rurik dynasty was deposed but before the Romanov dynasty was able to establish power. There was a famine, and also a war with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The film is actually about Andrey, who in his childhood had been a servant in the court of Tsar Boris Godunov (Борис Годунов, who ruled from 1598 to 1605; there is a Pushkin play about him). Now, years later, Andrey is approached by the Polish forces to help take over Moscow, but he defects and helps save Moscow from defeat. At the end of the film, the new Romanov tsar is crowned, ending the years of troubles.

The film has had extremely different receptions from different sides of the political aisle, in part because it was commissioned by the Kremlin. Putin critics called the film propagandastic and attacked its departures from the historical facts (which were extensive—in the film, the Poles were turned away from Moscow; in reality, they held Moscow for several years). Fans of the film said that it was more correctly called a costume drama, not a historical drama as such. The film was also controversial because some found it to be highly anti-Polish.

Beyond political concerns, the film does not have particularly high ratings—average among Russian viewers, worse among critics—though it did do pretty well at the box office.

Find 1612 on Amazon


Director: Vladimir Khotinenko
Stars: Mikhail Porechenkov, Andrey Fedortsov, Aleksandr Baluev, Marat Basharov, Pyotr Kislov, Violetta Davydovskaya
Production company: Central Partnership
Box office take: $5.78 million

Official trailer:

1612: Chronicle of the Time of Troubles

Find 1612 on Amazon

About the author

Julie Hersh

Julie studied Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk and before that, Bishkek, with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar

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