"How Much Land Does A Man Need?"
Pahom: The protagonist. He is a poor farmer, and he desires more land. He claims he would not even fear the devil if he had enough land. So the devil gave him land. As he got more land, he became dissatisfied and wanted more. When given the opportunity to have as much as he pleased (provided he could walk the length of it), his greed ended up causing his death, as he ran until he died.
The Devil: He set a trap for Pahom, and gave him more and more land until he died from his greed.
The Bashkirs: They were giving out land to anyone who wanted it - provided they could walk the perimeter of it in one day. They indubitably set many traps for greedy people, so they could get more money. They took advantage of the greed of others, and in a sense it gives them what they deserve. They are sympathetic to Pahom's death, but as it was his greed that caused it, they don't seem to be too upset.