Alexander Tufanov was a key figure in two intersecting narratives of the late Russian avant-garde: the theoretization of transrational poetry (zaum´) after the death of Velimir Khlebnikov and the formation of the OBERIU group (widely regarded as the avant-garde's last major manifestation). This article examines the composition and historical significance of his most elaborate work, the epic in fragments Ushkuiniki [roughly, The Flat-boat Brigands or The Volga Pirates].
As Soviet authors reconsidered the historical narratives they received from a previous era, their attention often turned to figures and events who had received scant attention in the pre-revolutionary period. One of the figures who suddenly came to attention was Ivan Bolotnikov, whose ill-fated rebellion against Vasilii Shuiskii was a major event of the Time of Troubles. This article discusses how the poets Il'ia Sel'vinskii and Vasilii Kamenskii dealt with this theme in a pair of long works in verse from the 1930s. In particular, I pay close attention to how the style of their works reflects simultaneously the demands of Soviet ideology and these authors' relationship to their own past as prominent figures of the avant-garde.