The monograph is a study of the Kievan Early Chronicle – a comparative research of copies of the Russian chronicle. As a result of studying the First Novgorod Chronicle, the author came to the conclusion that in Novgorod in the late twelfth – the first quarter of the thirteenth centuries two chronicle compilations were created, while the second of them was caused by the loss of the most part of the first one. Both sources contain information on the general Russian history, however, according to Sh., if one compilation drew information not related to Novgorod history from the Tale of Bygone Years (Primary Chronicle), the second one most likely was completed from another chronicle, probably earlier than the Tale of Bygone Years, on the base of which it could be built.
The monograph is divided into three main chapters. The first chapter describes the First, Second Novgorod vaults and the Sophiisky Vremennik of the thirteenth century. The second chapter is dedicated to the Novgorodsky Letopisets, one of the sources of the First Novgorod Chronicle Compilation. And the third one is about the relationship between the Tale of Bygone Years and the Kievan Early Chronicle Compilation.
According to Sh., it was the Kievan Early Chronicle Compilation of 1090s, that served the basis for the Tales of Bygone Years, compiled in the early twelfth century. Besides, a part of it is included into the First Novgorod Chronicle of the junior version. At the same time, the researcher mentioned the existence of the most ancient Kievan Chronicle Compilation of 1030s. It is important to note that Sh. not only tried to identify the chronicles, but also to arrange them in the chronological order, which is important for understanding the development of Russian chronicles.
According to the researcher, only two sources could be used to define the content of the Kievan Early Chronicle – copies of the second version of the First Novgorod Chronicle, and the Arkhangelogorodsky Letopisets. In the case of the First Novgorod Chronicle, it is important to note that the non-Novgorod data was taken from the Kievan Early Chronicle Compilation, while in the Second Novgorod Chronicle they are kept only in a small scale; for instance, there is no records for 1017-1046, and only since 1054 copying of the Kievan Early Chronicle Compilation had been started. According to Sh., the Kievan Early Chronicle Compilation was created not earlier than 1074.