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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Visit Peterhof, Russian Versaille


We went to the Russian Versailles to marvel at a Napoleonic ball, learn the history of the many Peterhof’s statues and find out how a trick fountain can make tourists get wet.

Moscow turned into a Cossack village for one day

Ricardo Marquina

The “Cossack village” festival was held in “Luzhniki” Olympic complex on the 17th of October 2012. It commemorated 200th anniversary of the Cossacks gathering that set the task of expelling Napoleon forces from Moscow.

200-year history: Napoleon's army is back to Borodino

Two hours of clanking swords, firing canons, hundreds of horses, tons of armor and pure fun for spectators. The famed 1812 Battle of Borodino has been reconstructed in the Moscow region, marking its bicentenary jubilee.

The historic battlefield at Borodino 200 years later

Alberto Caspani

A little while ago, RBTH Correspondent Alberto Caspani reported on the sights and sounds around Borodino, as the village prepared to open celebrations on the 200th anniversary of the battle with Napoleon

The War against Napoleon in Cartoons

Alexander Ganjushin

When the Grand Armée of Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, Russians responded in a variety of ways. Inspired by domestic popular prints and by British caricature, a handful of patriotic Russian artists created the Russian caricature tradition.

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