Son of the village elder, young Salavat, is forced to permanently leave his native village for physically assaulting an officer of the king. A runaway convict Khlopusha, helps him escape from pursuing soldiers. Salavat does not trust Khlopusha, because he thinks of every Russian as an enemy. But the shared shackles and forced labor in the mines bring them closer together. The friends manage to escape from prison. Two years Salavat and Khlopusha wander around the vast expanses of the Urals. In one of the Cossack farms they meet Pugachev and become his staunch supporters. Salavat is sent home to his native village. The people elevated by them flock to Pugachev's banner. Together with the Russian peasants and workers of the Ural fortified factories, the Bashkir cavalry led by Colonel Salavat is in combat. To fight Pugachev, the tsarist government sends perfectly armed regular troops under the command of Michelson. Betrayal of the Cossack elders helps agressors to cause serious damage to the people on Pugachev side. Khlopusha is killed in combat. Pugachev is captured by the traitors. Rich Bashkirs manages to find Salavat, and they give him over to the authorities but his friends manage to organize an escape. Far away in the mountains, parting with his associates, Salavat encourages them: "The Bashkir people will live at ease!"

Librettist (Film score for "Salavat Yulayev" Soviet film directed by Yakov Protazanov,)
Date of composition 1940
Type Film score
Instruments Orchestra
Autotranslations beta Aram Khatchatourian: Salavat Yulayev
Aram Il'ič Chačaturjan: Salavat Yulayev
Aram Chatschaturjan: Salavat Yulayev