20 December 2012, 14:58

How Russia celebrated 200th anniversary of victory over Napoleon. Part II

How Russia celebrated 200th anniversary of victory over Napoleon. Part II
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Welcome to our educational series of programs dedicated to Russia’s victory over Napoleon in the Patriotic war of 1812 and the people and events of that epoch. Today we are finishing our story about this year’s celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Russia’s victory over Napoleon’s Grand Armee.

In September, more than 250,000 people took part in a large-scale historical reconstruction of the Borodino battle-the decisive battle of the 1812 War between Russia and Napoleonic France. In that battle Napoleon’s army lost more than 50,000 soldiers or 43% of its forces. The losses of the Russian army reached 44,000 soldiers which was 36% of the army.

The show was held on the site of the legendary battle near the village of Borodino, 110 km west from Moscow. The Russian and French armies were represented by the members of the military historical clubs from all over Russia and Belarus. About 180,000 spectators watched the show. Among the foreign guests who attended the show was a descendant of Napoleon.Earlier in June, a Moscow-Paris-Moscow car race took place. In a week the participants covered 7,200 kilometers, following the route covered by the French and Russian armies in 1812. According to organizers the main goal of the event was to help the young people become aware of Russia’s role the global historical process.

On August 12, the Moscow-Paris 1812-2012 horse expedition kicked off from Moscow’s Poklonnaya Gora. The expedition lasted two months, during which 23 Cossacks repeated the route of the Cossack unit led by ataman Matvei Platov which marched .thousands of kilometers to triumphantly enter Paris in 1812.

As part of the celebration program in February-March the Museum of Applied Art in Moscow held an exhibition dedicated to two great Emperors Alexander I and Napoleon Bonaparte, who were friends and enemies at the same time. Without any doubt they are both are among the main figures of the early 19th century.

In autumn a unique exhibition of arms, clothes and articles of daily use Russian warriors in 1812 was held in the Gatchina Palace near St. Petersburg. The walls of the halls at the exhibition were decorated with portraits of the 1812 war heroes painted by George Dow.

Besides Moscow and St Petersburg other cities mostly of the European part of Russia, also took active parts in the celebrations. A number of events were held in Smolensk the city that witnessed numerous combats between the Russian and French armies. Also in Smolensk the city wall was restored and in the town of Krasnoye the restored monument to the 1812 war heroes was unveiled.

The monuments on the mass graves of Russian soldiers in the village of Tarutino were restored.

This year, on the occasion of the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Russia’s victory over Napoleon, Russia’s Sberbank issued a collection of silver coins with portraits of the Russian field-commanders of the 1812 war. The reverse sides of these coins carry images of the characters from Leo Tolstoy’s novel “War and Peace” as they were played in the Oscar winning film by Sergey Bondarchuk.

In St. Petersburg a limited edition of the Borodino watches was released. Besides that several feature and documentary films about the events of 1812 have been released this year.

In a word - Russia remembers and pays homage to the Feat of its compatriots who protected the country’s freedom and independence 200 years ago.

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