War of 1812

This year Russia celebrates the 200th anniversary of the 1812 Patriotic War and its victory over French army headed by Napoleon.

The 1812 campaign, named the Patriotic War by the Russians, is known to many foreigners primarily through Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, which recounts how the seemingly invincible Corsican, Napoleon, tasted defeat. Initially outnumbered by the French, the two Russian armies retreated, avoiding major battles. They eventually joined forces at Smolensk, where Field Marshal Kutuzov took command over the Russian forces. The bloodiest battle was fought on Sept. 7 at Borodino, a little more than 60 miles west of Moscow. The Russians consider it their victory although the Russian army had to retreat after a battle that was inconclusive in the military sense.

Historians of the period are still trying to separate facts from fiction while archeologists continue finding artifacts on the Borodino field.

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