RUS   ENG

THE ORDER OF LENIN STATE HISTORY MUSEUM
A. Korh

MIKHAIL KUTUZOV

"Your name and memory will resound in the hearts of the most remote generations of Russia's future sons. Thoughts of you will blend with the notion of love for one's native land..."

               V. I. Shteingel

Mikhail Kutuzov, the great Russian military leader who took part in the Russo-Turkish wars of 1768-1774 and 1787-1791, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army in the third anti-French coalition at the outset of the 19th century and in the war of 1811-181 2 against Turkey, a glorious hero of the Great Patriotic War of 1812, was born on September 16, 1745, in St. Petersburg in a noblemen's family whose history went back to the 13th century.

Its progenitor Gavriil fought under the banner of Alexander Nevsky. The family name of Golenishchevs-Kutuzovs takes its beginning in the 15th century from their forebears' nicknames. One of them—Fyodor Alexandrovich was known as "Kutuz", and his brother Anani's son Vasily was dubbed "Golenishche" ("top of boot"). The family held a high position as confirmed by the fact that Ivan the Terrible married Maria Kutuzova off to Simeon, the former tsar of Kazan.

From an early age Kutuzov was prepared for a military career. In 1757 the 12-year-old boy was enrolled in the Engineering School founded by Peter I and reorganized in 1758 into a United Artillery and Engineering School that trained officers for the Russian Army.

At school Kutuzov spent all his free time reading and earned the reputation of a diligent and highly talented student.

Kutuzov went into active service in 1761 as company commander of the Astrakhan Infantry Regiment where he was transferred at his own request after 18 months of teaching mathematics at the Artillery and Engineering School. He served nearly a year as company commander under Field Marshal A V. Suvorov and was appointed aide-de-camp to the Governor of Revel. In 1764 he was transferred to the army in the field stationed in Poland where he received his baptism of fire on August 8 in the battle against the army of Prince Radziwill.

In 1768 Turkey being incited by France declared war on Russia.

In 1770 Kutuzov as senior quartermaster in Count P. A. Rumyantsev's Corps was in the forefront of the advancing Russian army and performed difficult and important tasks "offering himself... for all dangerous missions" and became known to Rumyantsev as a courageous and talented officer equally good at staff work and in action. He was highly active in the battles at Ryabaya Mogila, Larga and the Kagul river where the Turks lost their main forces.

In 1772 Kutuzov began his service in the Crimean Army under V M. Dolgorukov. During the battle at Shumy village where a Turkish landing force had ensconced itself Kutuzov by personal example, banner in hand, led his battalion into action. Bitter fighting ensued: the Turks were beaten back, the road to Alushta was free. But in this battle Kutuzov received a severe wound in the head. As stated in Dolgorukov's report: "This officer of field rank was wounded by a bullet which hitting him between the eye and temple on one side of his face went out at exactly the same spot on the other side".

The Russo-Turkish war of 1768-1774 ended in the defeat of Turkey. In keeping with the Kuchuk-Kainarji Treaty Russia received the land between the gug and Dnieper, the Fortresses of Azov, Kerch, Yenikale and Kinburn. Turkey recognized the independence of the Crimean and Kuban Tatars. Russia was given access to the Black Sea and the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits.

In 1787 Turkey, having no desire to reconcile itself to the Kuchuk-Kainarji Treaty and incited by France and Britain, launched a new war against Russia.

In 1788 Kutuzov's corps was transferred to the site of the strong Turkish fortress Ochakov that was beseiged by Potemkin's troops. On August 29 while beating back one of the Turks' sallies in the battle formations of his chasseurs Kutuzov was again gravely wounded in the head almost in the same manner as before.

After his recovery he was charged with the defence of the border between the Dniester estuary and Bendery. From there his troops were sent to Izmail, one of the strongest Turkish bulwarks on the Danube, where the battle has reached its decisive stage. The taking of the fortress, a task involving untold hardships was entrusted to Suvorov.

During the storming of the fortress Kutuzov in compliance with the battle formation had command of the 6th assault column on the left flank.

When presenting Kutuzov for decoration after the battle of Izmail Suvorov wrote of his favourite pupil and comrade-in-arms: "Major-General Golenishchev-Kutuzov, holder of a military order, has made a new addition to the experience of military art and bravery, having made away with all obstacles under heavy fire, climbed the rampart and seized the bastion. Forced to check his progress by the overwhelming enemy forces he showed an example of courage by retaining his position, overcoming the more powerful enemy, gaining hold of the fortress and proceeding to beat the enemy". In his own hand Suvorov wrote on the honours roll: "General Kutuzov was on my left wing but served as my right hand".

Meanwhile the Turks were preparing an offensive and had concentrated up to 100,000 men at Machin. The Russian army having crossed the Danube at Galats (30,000 men, 78 guns) approached Machin. The battle began in the early hours of July 9,1791. On the approaches to the fortress Kutuzov's troops were detected. The Turkish cavalry swooped down upon them. Lining up his men in five square battle formations Kutuzov broke through the enemy circle and reached the initial battle line on the Turks' right flank. Supported by assaults from Golitsyn's and Volkonsky's troops Kutuzov's corps, while beating back the enemy's fierce resistance, girdled the Turks' right flank and decided the battle's outcome: defeated along the entire front line and pursued by Russian cavalry forces the Turkish troops fled leaving behind two camps with extensive materiel including 35 guns and the lost up to 4,000 men.

The fall of Izmail, the Turks' defeat at Machin and the victory of the Russian fleet at Kiliakria under F. F. Ushakov forced Turkey to agree to negotiations. The Treaty of Jassy concluded on December 29,1791 (January 9,1 792) fixed the Russo-Turkish border along the Dniester; the Turks recognized the terms of the Kuchuk-Kainarji Treaty and the annexation of the Crimea to Russia.

After the Treaty of Jassy Kutuzov was stationed for some time in Moldavia and Poland and then transferred to diplomatic work. In a rescript of November 6,1792 addressed to Kutuzov Catherine II wrote: "Mikhailo Larionovich, the intention being to dispatch you in the capacity of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotential to the Ottoman Port you are expected to present yourself to our Majesty as quickly as possible for the necessary instructions".

The Russian Embassy at Constantinople numbered nothing less than 650 representatives: Catherine 11 wished to astonish the Turks by the magnificence and luxuriousness of the retinue and thereby underline once again Russia's power, as well as to be supplied with regular military-political and economic information.

On October 7, 1793 the Russian Embassy, banners flying, made its triumphant entry into the Turkish capital.

Kutuzov's perspicacity and foresight based on realistic factual analysis, his prudence, assiduity and ability to win others over to his side, along with a well-organized information system enabled him to settle the most complicated problems in Russia's interests. Kutuzov succeeded in preventing the further rapprochement between Turkey and France and the conclusion of an alliance aimed against Russia. He also achieved a favourable decision on tariffs thereby promoting Russian trade.

Early in 1794 upon fulfilling an important diplomatic mission Kutuzov returned to St. Petersburg.

There he was appointed Principal of the Cadet Corps. The respective decree of Catherine II read: "Our Lieutenant-General Mikhailo Golenishchev-Kutuzov is appointed by our Majesty Head Principal of the Land Cadet Corps under our authority." Being a general of extensive military experience and knowledge Kutuzov reorganized the Corps to tie in the cadets' education as fully as possible with practical military needs.

Simultaneously Catherine II put him in charge of the Russian Army stationed in Finland. Paul I, who ascended the throne in late 1797, sent Kutuzov to Berlin with a highly important diplomatic mission. After his two-month-long stay with Frederik William III in Berlin he resolved a major task of Russia's foreign policy: strengthened friendly relations with Prussia and prevented its repprochement with France thereby ensuring its further participation in the anti-French coalition.

The assassination of Paul I highly affected Kutuzov's further life. After being appointed by Alexander I St. Petersburg's Military Governor and Infantry Inspector of the Finnish Inspectorate, and this only for a short time, in August, 1801 he was relieved of all posts and sent into retirement, the motivation being his state of health.

The actual reason for his dismissal must have been his knowledge of the conspiracy against Paul I, the latter's assassination and the involvement of the new emperor in these events. In 1802 Kutuzov left his family in St. Petersburg and went to live a life of exile in his estate Goroshki in Volyn, the Ukraine.

At the outset of the 19th century France was at war with almost all the European powers: Russia, Austria, Prussia, Spain, Sweden, Britain. Russia's allies in the third anti-French coalition were Britain, Austria, Sweden and the Kingdom of Naples. The brunt of the war fell to Russia and Austria. Despite Alexander's I dislike of Kutuzov he was given command of the Russian army that was sent as reinforcement for the Austrian troops.

The battle scheme developed by the Austrian generals was doomed to failure: it was based on obsolete strategy, failed to foresee Napoleon's manoeuvres and was of a defensive nature. Kutuzov offered Alexander I his own plan where the stress was on attacking the emeny and fighting on its territory. The plan was rejected and this affected the course of the entire war.

In August, 1805 the 50,000-strong Russian army marched into Bavaria where it was to join the Austrian forces. Having covered a thousand kilometres it reached. The Russo-Turkish war of 1768-1774 ended in the defeat of Turkey. In keeping with the Kuchuk-Kainarji Treaty Russia received the land between the Bug and Dnieper, the Fortresses of Azov, Kerch, Yenikale and Kinburn. Turkey recognized the independence of the Crimean and Kuban Tatars. Russia was given access to the Black Sea and the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits.

In 1787 Turkey, having no desire to reconcile itself to the Kuchuk-Kainarji Treaty and incited by France and Britain, launched a new war against Russia.

In 1788 Kutuzov's corps was transferred to the site of the strong Turkish fortress Ochakov that was beseiged by Potemkin's troops. On August 29 while beating back one of the Turks' sallies in the battle formations of his chasseurs Kutuzov was again gravely wounded in the head almost in the same manner as before.

After his recovery he was charged with the defence of the border between the Dniester estuary and Bendery. From there his troops Were sent to Izmail, one of the strongest Turkish bulwarks on the Danube, where the battle has reached its decisive stage. The taking of the fortress, a task involving untold hardships was entrusted to Suvorov.

During the storming of the fortress Kutuzov in compliance with the battle formation had command of the 6th assault column on the left flank.

When presenting Kutuzov for decoration after the battle of Izmail Suvorov wrote of his favourite pupil and comrade-in-arms: "Major-General Golenishchev-Kutuzov, holder of a military order, has made a new addition to the experience of military art and bravery, having made away with all obstacles under heavy fire, climbed the rampart and seized the bastion. Forced to check his progress by the overwhelming enemy forces he showed an example of courage by retaining his loosition, overcoming the more powerful enemy, gaining hold of the fortress and proceeding to beat the enemy". In his own hand Suvorov wrote on the honours roll: "General Kutuzov was on my left wing but served as my right hand".

Meanwhile the Turks were preparing an offensive and had concentrated up to 100,000 men at Machin. The Russian army having crossed the Danube at Galats (30,000 men, 78 guns) approached Machin. The battle began in the irly hours of July 9,1791. On the approaches to the fortress Kutuzov's troops were detected. The Turkish cavalry swooped down upon them. Lining up his men in five square battle formations Kutuzov broke through the enemy circle and reached the initial battle line on the Turks' right flank. Supported by assaults from Golitsyn's and Volkonsky's troops Kutuzov's corps, while beating back the enemy's fierce resistance, girdled the Turks' right flank and decided the battle's outcome: defeated along the entire front line and pursued by Russian cavalry forces the Turkish troops fled leaving behind two camps with extensive materiel including 35 guns and the lost up to 4,000 men.

The fall of Izmail, the Turks' defeat at Machin and the victory of the Russian fleet at Kiliakria under F. F. Ushakov forced Turkey to agree to negotiations. The Treaty of Jassy concluded on December 29,1791 (January 9,1 792) fixed the Russo-Turkish border along the Dniester; the Turks recognized the terms of the Kuchuk-Kainarji Treaty and the annexation of the Crimea to Russia.

After the Treaty of Jassy Kutuzov was stationed for some time in Moldavia and Poland and then transferred to diplomatic work. In a rescript of November 6,1792 addressed to Kutuzov Catherine II wrote: "Mikhailo Larionovich, the intention Being to dispatch you in the capacity of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotential to the Ottoman Port you are expected to present yourself to our majesty as quickly as possible for the necessary instructions".

The Russian Embassy at Constantinople numbered nothing less than 650 representatives: Catherine II wished to astonish the Turks by the magnificence and luxuriousness of the retinue and thereby underline once again Russia's power, as well as to be supplied with regular military-political and economic information.

On October 7, 1793 the Russian Embassy, banners flying, made its triumphant entry into the Turkish capital.

Kutuzov's perspicacity and foresight based on realistic factual analysis, his prudence, assiduity and ability to win others over to his side, along with a well-organized information system enabled him to settle the most complicated problems in Russia's interests. Kutuzov succeeded in preventing the further rapprochement between Turkey and France and the conclusion of an alliance aimed against Russia. He also achieved a favourable decision on tariffs thereby promoting Russian trade.

Early in 1794 upon fulfilling an important diplomatic mission Kutuzov returned to St. Petersburg.

There he was appointed Principal of the Cadet Corps. The respective decree of Catherine II read: "Our Lieutenant-General Mikhailo Golenishchev-Kutuzov is appointed by our Majesty Head Principal of the Land Cadet Corps under our authority." Being a general of extensive military experience and knowledge Kutuzov reorganized the Corps to tie in the cadets' education as fully as possible with practical military needs.

Simultaneously Catherine II put him in charge of the Russian Army stationed in Finland. Paul I, who ascended the throne in late 1797, sent Kutuzov to Berlin with a highly important diplomatic mission. After his two-month-long stay with Frederik William III in Berlin he resolved a major task of Russia's foreign policy: strengthened friendly relations with Prussia and prevented its repprochement with France thereby ensuring its further participation in the anti-French coalition.

The assassination of Paul I highly affected Kutuzov's further life. After being appointed by Alexander I St. Petersburg's Military Governor and Infantry Inspector of the Finnish Inspectorate, and this only for a short time, in August, 1801 he was relieved of all posts and sent into retirement, the motivation being his state of health.

The actual reason for his dismissal must have been his knowledge of the conspiracy against Paul I, the latter's assassination and the involvement of the new emperor in these events. In 1802 Kutuzov left his family in St. Petersburg and went to live a life of exile in his estate Goroshki in Volyn, the Ukraine.

At the outset of the 19th century France was at war with almost all the European powers: Russia, Austria, Prussia, Spain, Sweden, Britain. Russia's allies in the third anti-French coalition were Britain, Austria, Sweden and the Kingdom of Naples. The brunt of the war fell to Russia and Austria. Despite Alexander's I dislike of Kutuzov he was given command of the Russian army that was sent as reinforcement for the Austrian troops.

The battle scheme developed by the Austrian generals was doomed to failure: it was based on obsolete strategy, failed to foresee Napoleon's manoeuvres and was of a defensive nature. Kutuzov offered Alexander I his own plan where the stress was on attacking the emeny and fighting on its territory. The plan was rejected and this affected the course of the entire war.

In August, 1805 the 50,000-strong Russian army marched into Bavaria where it was to join the Austrian forces. Having covered a thousand kilometres it reached Braunau in October. At the time the Austrian troops were stationed at Ulm. A few days' marches would have brought Kutuzov to his destination. Napoleon, however, with a swift thrust of his numerous force turned the flank of the Austrian army under Archduke Ferdinand, but actually led by General Mach, forcing it to capitulate.

The Ulm catastrophe placed the Russian army in a grave situation: Kutuzov's 50,000-strong army (along with the Austrian troops) found itself facing Napoleon's army of 1 50,000, an army of a new type, steeled in battles and inspired by the ideas of the Great French Bourgeois Revolution.

Kutuzov took the only possible decision at the time—to step back and join with the second Russian army under General F. F. Buksgevden that was moving from Russia. After skilful manoeuvring and heavy defensive fighting Kutuzov's army reached Olmutz and united with Buksgevden's main forces. At the military council in Olmutz Kutuzov, bearing in mind the troops'"exhaus-tion and the reinforcing of Napoleon's forces with new reserves, suggested another retreat.

Unfortunately his plan was rejected by the Austrians and Alexander I. The latter, seeking to usurp Napoleon's military glory, arrived at the front with Franz I and virtually removed Kutuzov from his post of command. This led to the erroneous decision to launch an immediate offensive against Napoleon by cracking down at Austerlitz. The allies' stillborn plan, the product of the Austrian General F. Weirother, was calculated on a passive strategy on the part of Napoleon and disregarded the terrain at Austerlitz.

The battle took place on December 2, 1805 bringing a crushing defeat to the Russo-Austrian forces. In his evaluation of Kutuzov's decisions in this war the well-known Soviet historian P. A. Zhilin wrote: "The Campaign of 1805 is a convincing example of how loss of power by the Commander-in-Chief, i.e. violation of the basic principle of one-man management, is liable to affect the course of fighting, the battle, operation and war in general".

Alexander I put the blame for this unfortunate outcome on Kutuzov...

In early 1806 the Russian army returned home. Kutuzov found himself again out of favour. He was discharged from his post of command and appointed Military Governor of Kiev. Then, after a short assignment with the Moldavian army in 1808, he was made Governor-General of Lithuania.

In the Russo-Turkish wars that were waged in the second half of the 18th century and were of an objectively progressive nature Russia retrieved its lost lands in the Northern Black Sea area. Turkey, however, having no intention of reconciling itself to its losses in the area and the Crimea, with support from France, availed itself of Russia's complicated situation in the war against Napoleon in Europe and in 1806 annulled all its treaties with Russia. It declared war on Russia that was to go on until 1812.

In early 1811 Kutuzov arrived in Bucharest where he took command of an army of 45,000.

The strength of the Turkish forces under the Head Vizier Ahmet Pasha was 80,000.

Kutuzov's main task was to bring the war to the quickest possible end and obtain an advantageous peace for Russia. This could be achieved only by routing the Turkish army.

Kutuzov was an innovator of military art. Taking into consideration the actual state of affairs and correlation of forces he made bold changes: did away with the cordon disposition of the Russian army along the Danube and rejected the tactics of battling against the Turkish fortresses—they would disperse his less numerical forces without ensuring any effective results. Kutuzov's strategy was to concentrate his forces, convince the Turks of his alleged weakness and lure them to the Danube's left bank where he would surround Ahmet Pasha's army forcing it to capitulate.

Kutuzov launched on his plan by removing all his forces from the right bank of the Danube and blowing up the fortresses at Nikopol and Silistria while retaining Rushchuk as a peculiar "bait" for the Turks. After the battle at Rushchuk Kutuzov, in fulfilment of his plan, moved his entire army to the left bank. Ahmet Pasha, failing to see through the deception, sent his 40,000-strong army across the Danube at Slobodzeya and found himself at once in Kutuzov's "sack". All the Turks' attempts to expand the bridgehead at Slobodzeya fell through.

Ahmet Pasha was in a hopeless situation. Lacking ammunition and food supplies the Turkish army was forced to capitulate which it did in November 1811. The peace negotiations went on for six months. They owe their ultimate success to the diplomatic talents of the Russian Commander-in-Chief.

After overcoming all the stumbling blocks set up by West-European diplomacy, especially its French representatives, Kutuzov signed a treaty that was advantageous to Russia. This was done in Bucharest on May 28, 1812, a month before Napoleon's invasion of Russia. The peace treaty prevented Turkey from alliance with France in the latter's war against Russia. Russia received Bessarabia, the boundary with Turkey being established along the Prut river. Moldavia and Valakhia retained all the privileges according to the Treaty of Jassy, Serbia was given autonomy in matters of self-government. The peace treaty confirmed all the previously signed Russo-Turkish treaties and agreements.

Kutuzov's far-sighted and realistic policy in the Balkans and the diverse aid rendered to the Serbian and Bulgarian peoples promoted friendship and military cooperation with the Russians, inscribing a vivid page in his military and diplomatic career.

By the time the Patriotic War of 181 2 began nearly the whole of Western Europe was under Napoleon Bonaparte, a champion of the interests of the big French bourgeoisie.

Analysing the aggressive policy of Napoleonic France, Lenin wrote that after Napoleon had created a French Empire by having subjugated a whole host of long-shaped, large and viable national states in Europe, the national French wars had turned into imperialist ones, that had in turn given rise to national-liberation wars against Napoleon's imperialism.

The Patriotic War of 1812 proved to be the major war of national liberation of the early 19th century that decided the fate of both Russia and Europe.

Napoleon's well-equipped multinational army counted more than 600,000 officers and men. In June, 181 2, three powerful groupings of the French army of 500,000 infantrymen and cavalry and 1,372 artillery pieces were poised for attack on Russia's Western borders. Planning his Russian campaign Napoleon aimed at defeating the Russian army in swift border action, forcing Russia to her knees and eventually strenghtening his power in Europe.

On June 24, 1812 the Napoleon army crossed the Nieman and invaded Russia. The French main thrust was levelled at Moscow.

Russia was involved in the war in a disadvantageous strategic situation and with an unfavourable balance of forces. The Russian armies on the Western borders numbered 300,000 men and officers in strength and 1,200 artillery pieces spread on a wide front from the Black to the Baltic seas. This presented great difficulties for the Russian troops and became a cause of their retreat. Assessing the situation at the start of the war, Marx and Engels noted that the retreat of the Russian troops had been "a stern necessity rather than a free choice".

Russia's Western borders were defended by three armies: the 1st Western Army under General M. B. Barclay de Tolly in Lithuania protected the road to St. Petersburg; the 2nd Western Army under General P. I. Bagration in Byelorussia guarded the road to Moscow; and the 3rd Western Army under General A. P. Tormasov in the Ukraine defended the road to Kiev. Besides, the Danube Army under Admiral P. V. Chichagov in Valakhia was ordered at the start of the war to join the 3rd Western Army and commit itself to action in the southwestern direction.

The 1st and 2nd Western Armies had to bear the brunt of the initial months of the war. They had to withdraw fighting deep into the country and at a great distance from each other. According to the strategic concepts of their commanding generals, Barclay de Tolly and Bagration, the two armies were to retain their strength without affording the enemy an opportunity of overwhelming them separately and to join their forces at Smolensk for combined operations.

The war stirred up unprecedented patriotism among the Russian people. The well-known Decembrist I. D. Yakushkin wrote: "The war of 1812 has awakened the Russian people from sleep and is now the major event in their political life. Should the people continue in sleep, the Government's decisions and efforts would not be enough to drive the invading Gauls and a dozen other conquerors with them out of Russia".

The formation of the people's volunteer corps throughout the country was a manifestation of popular patriotism. They incorporated 340,000 patriots from among the people's inhabiting Russia. At the start of the war Kutuzov headed the St. Petersburg people's volunteer corps.

The retreat of the Russian troops, the loss of vast territories caused a growing discontent in the army, among the nobility and the broad masses, with the way the Government conducted military operations and with the fact that the field forces lacked a single military command. A special Emergency Committee, which was set up to decide whom the fate of the Army and Russia ought to be entrusted with, declared that the Committee members "unanimously feel that Infantry General Prince Kutuzov should be selected to this post". On August 20 Alexander I confirmed the Emergency Committee's decision, even if against his wish, and issued a decree appointing M.I. Kutuzov Commander-in-Chief. On August 29 Kutuzov arrived in the Army and assumed the command. He was met with common joy. "Kutuzov has come to beat the French", the soldiers would say.

The advantageous terrain for the battle was discovered near the village of Borodino at the town of Mozhaisk situated at a distance of 120 km from Moscow. Here the Russian Army turned at bay, having straddled the Old and New Smolensk roads to Moscow.

In terms to the size of the armies that faced each other, the savageness and outcome the battle of Borodino can be compared with few other in world history. The enemies' strength was approximately the same. The French Army had 1 35,000 officers and men with 587 guns, and the Russian Army counted 155,000 men, including 30,000 combatants of the Moscow and Smolensk people's volunteer corps, with 624 guns. Thus over 250,000 warriors in all fought out a bloody battle in the Borodino field over an area of 30 sq.km under the artillery bombardment from more than 1,200 guns. Napoleon viewed the battle of Borodino as an opportunity to win the war then and there. Kutuzov hoped to wear the French down and inflict heavy casualties on them in the defensive in order to seize the initiative at an opportune moment and launch a counter-offensive.

During the whole day of September 7, 1812 the Borodino battle raged in all its force. At night the fighting died down, the French had to withdraw to their original positions, having failed to accomplish their main mission: to wipe out the Russian army.

At Borodino Napoleon had to attack the Russian defence positions on a narrow front under the Russian artillery fire from the commanding heights and this led his crack forces to their death.

The French losses were 50,000 men, 1,600 officers and 47 generals, i.e. 58 per cent of cavalry and 44 per cent of infantry. The Russian losses counted 38,000 men, 1,500 officers and 29 generals as missing, wounded and killed including the death of General P. I. Bagration, Commander of the 2nd Western Army, General N. A. Tuchkov, Commander of the 3rd Infantry Corps and General A. I. Kutaisov, Artillery Officer of the 1st Western Army.

Recalling the battle of Borodino Napoleon had to admit: "Out of the fifty battles I had fought, the battle near Moscow was the one in which we showed the greatest courage but achieved the least success".

M. I. Kutuzov did not receive fresh reinforcements and, being aware of Napoleon's reserves—40,000 men marching to join their main forces, decided to resume the withdrawal. Realizing that the battle of Moscow might result in irreparable losses for the strength of the Russian army, Kutuzov decided at the meeting of Russian army generals in the village of Fili against the battle and ordered to withdraw from Moscow, although most of the generals favoured the battle.

Following the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, the Russian army withdrew from Moscow in the southeast direction, along the Ryazan road. Then, protected by its rearguard, it discreetly crossed the Kaluga road and quartered at a fortified camp near the village of Tarutino to the southwest of Moscow.

As soon as the French appeared in Moscow, fires started in the city and quickly spread out. Some 6,500 houses, or two-thirds of the city, were burnt to a shell. Seeking justification in the eyes of his contemporaries in Europe and subsequent generation, Napoleon tried to blame the civilian citizens for the fire and many were executed as arsonists.

Being a just war in character, the Patriotic War of 1812 made the broad masses take up arms against the Napoleon army. A major part in routing the enemy was played by the peasant guerrilla movement. Kutuzov was aware of the popular character of the war and encouraged the guerrilla movement in the regions occupied by the enemy. The peasants in conjunction with the army units beseiged the French army garrisons, attacked the French army supply trains and sapped the French remaining strength.

The guerrilla warfare was part of the "little war" conceived by Kutuzov to undermine the strength of the Napoleon army and prepare conditions for the Russian counter-offensive. Over the five weeks following the battle of Borodino the French army lost a third of its men in action against the guerrillas.

Napoleon's position in Moscow was next to a hopeless one. His food supplies were dwindling away and new ones were not in sight. Winter was around the corner. The French did not reckon to sit it out quietly in the burnt city. The marshals pointed to this grave danger to Napoleon and urged a retreat from Moscow. Napoleon waited but in vain for a Russian peace offer and made several attempts to open peace negotiations with Alexander I. Napoleon did not get peace and had to fall back from Moscow on October 1 9. Having pushed the French to the Smolensk road at Maloyaroslavets Kutuzov rushed the Cossack Corps under M. I. Platov in hot pursuit of the retreating enemy. Subjected to incessant blows by the Russian regular army, Cossacks and guerrillas, Napoleon's armies, demoralised and sapped by the daily losses of men, artillery and trains of supplies, were rolling back to the West. In his order of November 10 to the army Kutuzov wrote: "Following the extraordinary victories we have been scoring over the enemy daily and in all places, the only thing that remains is to pursue him swiftly, and the Russian land that he dreamed of conquering will be sown with his bones. Hence, we are going to chase him with unflagging vigour. Winter is descending, snows and colds are gathering. Do they scare you, the Children of the North? Your iron chests fear not harsh weather or fierce enemy. Your chests make up a wall for your homeland to break everything that runs against it".

Having failed to entrench himself at Smolensk, Napoleon resumed the retreat. On November 15-18 the town of Krasnoye became a scene of one of the major battles of the war of 1812. Napoleon's defeat at Krasnoye had placed his army on the verge of catastrophe.

"To sum up", wrote Kutuzov, "the French army, or to be exact, what was left of it, was thrust over the Dnieper. Its flight was so hasty that our most mobile forces nearly failed to catch up with it. The victories at Tarutino on October 6, Maloyaroslavets on October 12, Vyazma on October 22 and Krasnoye on November 5 and 6 have crowned the Russian army with eternal glory. More than 500 cannons, 90,000 men, 27 generals and 31 banners were captured by the victor..."

Of Napoleon's "Great" army only a few thousand starved and frost-bitten fugitives managed to cross the border. In late December 1812 Kutuzov reported to St. Petersburg: "The enemy being routed, the war is over."

Great significance attached to the victory of the Russian people in the Patriotic War of 1812. It thwarted the threat of enslavement and partition to Russia and also created prerequisites for the liberation of Europe from Napoleon's tyranny. "The rout of Napoleon's Great Army during its retreat from Moscow", wrote Engels, "signalled the general uprising against the French domination in the West."

The concerted action by the Russian army and its allies during the European campaigns of 1813-1814, which were backed up by the liberation movement of the European peoples, finally brought down the fall of Napoleon's empire. Following a series of major battles, among which those at Kulm and Leipzig should be singled out, the Russian and allied forces entered France. On March 31, 1814, Paris, capital of Napoleon's empire, capitulated. Napoleon abdicated and went into exile to Elba Island. He made an attempt to return to France but after the "Hundred Days" of exile he was defeated at Waterloo on June 30, 1815 and conveyed to the remote island of St. Helene in the Atlantic, where he remained in exile to his death.

During Kutuzov's European campaigns, on April 17, 1813, on his way to Drezden he made a stop at Bunzlau. On his way there the Field Marshal had caught cold and fell gravelly ill. The doctors were helpless before the illness that grew progressively worse and on April 28 Mikhail Kutuzov was no more His body was embalmed and brought to St. Petersburg for burial. On June 25 the funeral ceremony was held in a solemn atmosphere that drew thousands of people. M. I. Kutuzov was buried in the Kazan Cathedral. His remains after embalment were interred two kilometres west of Bunzlau near the Polish village of Boleslavets and a monument in the form of a severed column was set up with the inscription: "Prince Kutuzov of Smolensk passed from this life to a better world on April 16 (28), 1813". In the memory of those who were near to him and those who knew him well as a military man Kutuzov left an admirable and vivid image of himself as a man "strong of body and handsome of countenance that were remarkably in tune with his inner qualities: courage and resourcefulness coupled with a merry disposition and a lucid mind".

His contemporaries were well aware of Kutuzov's role in defending Russia and routing Napoleon's army giving a high appraisal to his patriotism and outstanding contribution to the development of Russian military art. A. Pushkin wrote: "The glory of Kutuzov is integrally linked with the glory of Russia, with memory of the greatest event in modern history. His title is the Saviour of Russia; his monument—the rocks of St. Helene... Kutuzov alone was invested with the people's trust which he remarkably justified!" In 1831 a stately monument to the great military leader was put up in St. Petersburg after the project by B. I. Orlovsky.

In the Patriotic War of 1812 the Russian army and people, inspired by patriotism, displayed their best traits: staunchness, valour and gallantry. The Russian army generals brought up by A. V. Suvorov and M.I. Kutuzov, showed an example of outstanding military art based on advanced strategy and tactics An outstanding role was played by Field Marshal Kutuzov who was aware of the popular character of the war. In the war of 1812 he showed himself as a great army leader who defeated the "invincible" Napoleon Bonaparte.

Kutuzov's theoretical and practical military heritage has always attracted researchers. Yet his talent of military leader won a most profound and com prehensive appraisal precisely during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 Soviet military historian P. A. Zhilin wrote. "Soviet military science absorbs all the best that is contained in the military art of the past widely using the military heritage left by the great Russian military leaders, among them Kutuzov, as applied to present-day, radically changed forms and methods of waging armed struggle. Kutuzov was a military leader of his age. Today the continuity of military art is preserved not in its concrete historical forms but in the principles and methods of action which are constantly developed and modified. The fact that a century later Kutuzov's strategic principles were applied in the even more sweeping battles of the Great Patriotic War testifies to their huge theoretical and practical value...

The Soviet people take pride in the heroic struggle of the Russian people who had selflessly and courageously defended their country from foreign invaders, they are proud that this people has brought forward glorious sons one of whom was the great military leader and thinker Mikhail Kutuzov."

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Illustrations part1
Illustrations part2

M. I. Kutuzov. A painting by N. Yash. 1883

Front cover: M. I. Kutuzov. A painting by N. Yash. 1883

Moscow. Triumphal Arch marking the victory in the Patriotic War of 1812 Architect 0. Bove, sculptors I. Vitali, I. Timofeyev. 1834. Contemporary photograph

Inside front cover: Moscow. Triumphal Arch marking the victory in the Patriotic War of 1812 Architect 0. Bove, sculptors I. Vitali, I. Timofeyev. 1834. Contemporary photograph

Casket. On the lid reads: "Kutuzov on the March".

Inside back cover: Casket. On the lid reads: "Kutuzov on the March". By an unknown artist after a print by S. Cardelli. Walrus bone, cutting First half of the 19th century

A commemorative medal marking the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino; the Order of Kutuzov, 1st Class; a commemorative medal "Mikhail Kutuzov 1745-1813", marking the 150th year since the Field Marshal's death. Gold, silver, bronze, chasing. 1962, 1942, 1963

Back cover: A commemorative medal marking the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino; the Order of Kutuzov, 1st Class; a commemorative medal "Mikhail Kutuzov 1745-1813", marking the 150th year since the Field Marshal's death. Gold, silver, bronze, chasing. 1962, 1942, 1963

Price 5 rubles. 80 kopecks.
© Vneshtorgizdat, 1989
Vneshtorgizdat. №211p
Artist Nyrkova G.V.
Photo Seregina V.N.