Written by Vladimir Moss


     Napoleon decided to invade Russia after a gradual cooling in relations between the two countries that ended with Alexander’s withdrawal, in 1810, from the economically disastrous Continental System that Napoleon had established against England. By May, 1811, Tsar Alexander was showing a much firmer, more realistic, attitude to the political and military situation. As he said to Caulaincourt: “Should the Emperor Napoleon make war on me, it is possible, even probable, that we shall be defeated. But this will not give him peace… We shall enter into no compromise agreements; we have plenty of open spaces in our rear, and we shall preserve a well-organized army… I shall not be the first to draw my sword, but I shall be the last to sheathe it… I should sooner retire to Kamchatka than yield provinces or put my signature to a treaty in my conquered capital which was no more than a truce…”

     “Caulaincourt was impressed: ‘People believe him to be weak but they are wrong’ he informed Paris. ‘His amenable personality has limits and he won’t go beyond them: these limits are as strong as iron.’ When Caulaincourt returned to Paris, he spent five hours trying to convince Napoleon not to attack Russia. ‘One good battle,’ retorted Napoleon, ‘will see the end of all your friend Alexander’s fine resolutions.’…

     “’The horizon grows darker and darker,’ Alexander wrote to Catiche on 24 December [1811]. Napoleon, ‘the curse of the human race, becomes daily more abominable.’ In February 1812, Napoleon told Alexander: ‘I cannot disguise from myself that Your Majesty no longer has any friendship for me.’

     “’Neither my feelings nor my politics have changed,’ replied Alexander. ‘Am I not allowed to suppose it is Your Majesty who has changed to me?’ But he ended ominously: ‘If war must begin, I will know how to sell my life dearly.’

     “In early 1812, War Minister Barclay warned him that he must wind up the Ottoman war: Napoleon was coming. Kutuzov forced the surrender of the Ottoman army in March, then negotiated the Peace of Bucharest, in which Russia gained Bessarabia and returned Wallachia…”

     Napoleon’s invasion probably saved Russia from a union with Catholicism, which by now had made its Concordat with Napoleon and was acting, very probably, on Napoleon’s orders in approaching the Russian Church. For in 1810 Metropolitan Platon of Moscow, as K.A. Papmehl writes, “became the recipient of ecumenical overtures by the French senator Grégoire (formerly Bishop of Blois), presumably on Napoleon’s initiative. In a letter dated in Paris in May of that year, Grégoire referred to the discussions held in 1717, at the Sorbonne, between Peter I and some French bishops, with a view of exploring the prospects of re-unification. Peter apparently passed the matter on to the synod of Russian bishops who, in their turn, indicated that they could not commit themselves on a matter of such importance without consulting the Eastern Patriarchs. Nothing had been heard from the Russian side since then. Grégoire nevertheless assumed that the consultation must have taken place and asked for copies of the Patriarchs’ written opinions. He concluded his letter by assuring Platon that he was hoping and praying for reunification of the Churches…

     “Platon passed the letter to the Synod in St. Petersburg. In 1811 [it] replied to Grégoire, with Emperor Alexander’s approval, to the effect that a search of Russian archives failed to reveal any of the relevant documents. The idea of a union, Platon added, was, in any case ‘contrary to the mood of the Russian people’ who were deeply attached to their faith and concerned with its preservation in a pure and unadulterated form.”

     Only a few years before, at Tilsit, the Tsar had said to Napoleon: “In Russia I am both Emperor and Pope – it’s much more convenient.” But this was not true: if Napoleon was effectively both Emperor and Pope in France, this could never be said of the tsars in Russia, damaged though the Orthodox symphony of powers had been by a century of semi-absolutism. And the restraint on Alexander’s power constituted by what remained of that symphony of powers evidently led him to think again about imitating the West too closely, whether politically or ecclesiastically. That the symphony of powers was still intact was witnessed at the consecration of the Kazan cathedral in St. Petersburg on September 27, 1811, the tenth anniversary of Alexander’s coronation. “There was an ‘immense crowd’ of worshippers and onlookers. Not for many years had the people of St. Petersburg witnessed so solemn a ceremony symbolizing the inter-dependence of Church and State, for this essential bond of Tsardom was customarily emphasized in Moscow rather than in the newer capital. To some it seemed, both at the time and later, that the act of consecration served Alexander as a moment of re-dedication and renewal, linking the pledges he had given at his crowning in Moscow with the mounting challenge from across the frontier. For the rest of the century, the Kazan Cathedral remained associated in people’s minds with the high drama of its early years, so that it became in time a shrine for the heroes of the Napoleonic wars.”


     It was from the Kazan Cathedral that Alexander set out at the start of the campaign, on April 21, 1812. As Tsaritsa Elizabeth wrote to her mother in Baden: “The Emperor left yesterday at two o’clock, to the accompaniment of cheers and blessings from an immense crowd of people who were tightly packed from the Kazan Church to the gate of the city. As these folk had not been hustled into position by the police and as the cheering was not led by planted agents, he was – quite rightly – moved deeply by such signs of affection from our splendid people!… ‘For God and their Sovereign’ – that was the cry! They make no distinction between them in their hearts and scarcely at all in their worship. Woe to him who profanes the one or the other. These old-world attitudes are certainly not found more intensively anywhere than at the extremes of Europe. Forgive me, dear Mamma, for regaling you with commonplaces familiar to everyone who has a true knowledge of Russia, but one is carried away when speaking of something you love; and you know my passionate devotion to this country.”

     And so Napoleon’s invasion of Russia acquired a significance that the other Napoleonic wars in continental Europe did not have: it became a struggle, not simply between two countries of not-so-different political systems, but between two radically opposed faiths: the faith in the Revolution and the faith in Orthodoxy. 1812 produced an explosion of Russian patriotism and religious feeling. God’s evident support for the heroic Russian armies, at the head of which was the “Reigning” icon of the Mother of God, reanimated a fervent pride and belief in Holy Russia. 

     However, not in everybody and not at the beginning of the campaign, when, as Sir Geoffrey Hosking writes, “Alexander ordered that half a battalion, 300 men, should be stationed in each guberniia, to be reinforced from the neighbouring guberniia if things got out of hand. Sure enough, soon after the invasion the excitable Count Rostopchin reported to the Committee of Ministers that an ‘Old Believer sect’ in Smolensk guberniia had enrolled about 1,500 serfs by promising them freedom from the landowners when Napoleon arrived. In the provinces of Lithuania and Belorussia the invasion sparked off widespread unrest: peasants, apparently under the impression that Napoleon would soon free them, refused to be called up for military service, sacked manor houses and drove out the pomeshchiki. In one village, as the French approached, the assembly took the decision to murder the local landowner, who was notorious for his cruelty, burn down his manor house, and divide up his property among themselves.

     “In these regions, of course, most of the landowners were Polish, so that one might interpret the peasants’ as patriotic. But there were some similar disorders further east: for example, in Smolensk, where in one uezd peasants proclaimed themselves French citizens, and a punitive detachment had to be sent to restore obedience. Overall it seems clear that the hope of emancipation was the main motive for peasant unrest, and indeed the disorders died away as it became apparent that the French Emperor was reacting just as the Russian one would have done by sending in punitive expeditions and restoring the landowners. By doing so, Napoleon converted the war into a simple issue of national survival. The feelings aroused in peasants by that fact can be summarized by a proclamation issued by a peasant partisan leader to his followers: ‘You are people of the Russian faith, you are Orthodox (pravoslavnye) peasants! Take up arms for the faith and for your Tsar!’”

     As K.N. Leontiev writes: “It was ecclesiastical feeling and obedience to the authorities (the Byzantine influence) that saved us in 1812. It is well-known that many of our peasants (not all, of course, but those who were taken unawares by the invasion) found little purely national feeling in themselves in the first minute. They robbed the landowners’ estates, rebelled against the nobility, and took money from the French. The clergy, the nobility and the merchants behaved differently. But immediately they saw that the French were stealing the icons and putting horses in our churches, the people became harder and everything took a different turn…”

     An important aspect of the campaign was the Polish factor. As Serhii Plokhy writes, “Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 was officially called the Polish campaign – the second Polish campaign, to be precise. In the first (1806-1807), Napoleon had defeated the Russian, Prussian, and Austrian troops and carved the Duchy of Warsaw out of the Prussian share of the Polish partition. The official goal of the second campaign was to restore the Kingdom of Poland, now including lands from the Russian sphere of the partitions. The implicit and, many believe, primary goal was to stop the Russian Empire from trading with Britain and thereby tighten the French economic blockade of Napoleon’s British enemy. But an economic issue could hardly serve as a battle cry for the French armies or for potential allies in the region, who were ordered or asked to invade the Russian Empire and march all the way to Moscow. The undoing of a major historical injustice through the restoration of the Polish state could and did rouse the martial spirit, inspiring mass Polish participation in Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and lending international legitimacy to the war.

     “Although the third partition had wiped Poland off the political map of Europe, and the partitioning powers had agreed not to use the country’s name in their titles or in the official names of the lands annexed as a result of the partitions, Poland had retained its place on the mental map of many Europeans – first and foremost, of course, the Poles themselves. Legend has it that upon his defeat at the hands of Russian troops in 1794, the leader of the Polish uprising, Tadeusz Kościuszko, exclaimed in desperation: ‘Finis Poloniae!’ He later denied having said those words, and many Poles indeed refused to consider their country lost. Some of them joined Napoleon’s revolutionary army, fighting in the West Indies, Italy, and Egypt alongside the future emperor. Their marching song, later to become the national anthem of the restored Polish state, began with the words: ‘Poland is not dead as long as we are alive’.

     “Napoleon never forgot the loyalty of the Polish legionaries or the ultimate goal for which they were fighting. Addressing the Diet of the Duchy of Warsaw just before the invasion of Russia in June 1812, the emperor recalled the bravery of the Polish detachments in his army and his own readiness to fight for their cause. ‘I love your nation,’ declared the French emperor. ‘For sixteen years now, I have seen your warriors fighting along with me on the fields of Italy and Spain. I applaud your deeds. I approved of all the efforts that you intend to make, and I will do everything in my power to support your intentions. If your endeavours are unanimous, then you may nourish the hope of forcing your enemies to recognize your rights.’

     “The intentions and rights Napoleon had in mind were reflected in the appeal prepared a few days earlier by the Polish Diet. It read: ‘We are restoring Poland on the basis of the right given to us by nature; on the associations of our ancestors; on the sacred right, acknowledged by the whole world, that was the baptismal font of the human race. It is not we alone, tasting the sweetness of Poland’s resurrection, who are restoring her, but all the inhabitants of various lands awaiting their liberation… Regardless of their lengthy separation, the inhabitants of Lithuania, White Rus’, Ukraine, Podolia, and Volhynia are our brethren. They are Poles, just as we are, and they the right to call themselves Poles.’ Napoleon told the deputies that he could not violate the promises he had given to Austria and the peace he had concluded with her; hence, restoring the Austrian partition to Poland was out of the question. But there seemed to be no problem with the Russian one. ‘Let Lithuania, Samogitia, Vitebsk, Polatsk, Mahilioü, Volhynia, Ukraine, and Podolia,’ said Napoleon, ‘be inspired with the same spirit that I encountered in Great Poland, and Providence will crown your sacred cause with success.’

     “Later that month, Napoleon’s Grand Army crossed the Russian border and began its march through the territories annexed by Catherine II from Poland, aiming at the Russian hinterland. As far as the Warsaw Poles were concerned, the war for the restoration of their fatherland and reunification with their Polish brethren in the Russian partition was on. Close to 100,000 Poles entered Napoleon’s army – every sixth soldier serving in his Russian campaign was a Pole. Not surprisingly, the first major military encounter, in late June 1812, took place not between French and Russian troops but between Polish and Russian detachments. What the outside observer saw as the first test of forces between Napoleon and Alexander was in fact a battle between Polish cavalrymen and Cossacks. They were continuing their age-old struggle on familiar turf – the eastern provinces of the former Commonwealth. Although the Cossacks won, they had to retreat. Their whole operation was meant to gain time for the main Russian armies to withdraw to the interior, eventually leading Napoleon to the gates of Moscow…”


     After a long retreat, the Russian commander Kutuzov chose to stand and fight at the village of Borodino, ninety miles from Moscow… 

     “The slaughter,” writes Montefiore, “was astonishingly intense, ‘the bloodiest battle in the history of warfare’ until the First World War: the French lost 35,000 wounded or dead, the Russians 45,000… Just as the battle might possibly have been won, Napoleon was asked to throw in his reserves. He refused to commit his elite Imperial Guards. As night fell, both dazed commanders believed uneasily that they had just won; Kutuzov felt sure that the battle would extend into a second day – but it was Napoleon who had failed to win a clear victory out of a lack of both imagination and boldness, two qualities which he had never lacked before.

     “’The battle was the bloodiest of recent times,’ Kutuzov reported to Alexander, declaring that the Russians had kept possession of the battlefield, definition of victory. ‘I defeated Napoleon,’ he boasted to his wife. The tsar promoted Kutuzov to marshal and awarded him 100,000 rubles. As the news of the butcher’s bill came in, Kutuzov realized that his plant to fight on the next day was impossible. ‘Our extraordinary losses, especially the wounding of key generals, forced me to withdraw down the Moscow road.’ During the night – and contrary to his report to Alexander – Kutuzov pulled back several miles. Napoleon claimed victory: the road to Moscow was open, and he dubbed Borodino ‘the battle of Moscow’. Ultimately both Napoleon and Kutuzov saw that Borodino had been a ghastly draw. ‘I ought to have died at the battle of Moscow,’ Napoleon later admitted in exile, but it did decide the fate of the city.

     “On 1 September, Kutuzov held a war council in a peasant hut in Fili, where the old general understood that, now facing the choice of losing the army or Moscow, he must save the army. ‘Napoleon is a torrent but Moscow is the sponge that will soak him up.’ Kutuzov took the decision but this was exactly the choice that Alexander had avoided by leaving the army, and it would have been impossible for a monarch to make. Kutuzov marched his army through the streets of Moscow and out the other side; he abandoned the ancient capital, without fully informing the governor-general Count Rostopchin, who ordered the evacuation of the entire population. Captured capitals from Vienna to Berlin, had usually greeted Napoleon with cowed aristocratic politeness. This was a sign that this was a new national war à l’outrance. In scenes of dystopic exodus, the roads teemed and seethed with the long-suffering, trudging masses, carts heaped with a lifetime’s belongings, as multitudes, half a million people, the entire Muscovite population, fled the city, heading eastwards. Rostopchin opened the jails and, as the city emptied, he decided that ‘If I am asked, I won’t hesitate to say, “Burn the capital rather than deliver it to the enemy”.’ Kutuzov and his generals had already blown up ammunition stores as they left. At a secret meeting in the governor’s house, Rostopchin and Prime Minister Balashov ordered the building of further buildings, which started an unstoppable conflagration that tore through the wooden structures. Embarrassingly, Rostopchin’s two city mansions were among the few buildings that did not catch fire. Afterwards, when the French approached his estate at Voronovo, a palace packed with French luxuries and Roman antiquities, Rostopchin ordered it burned, leaving a sign that read: ‘Frenchmen, I abandon to you my two houses in Moscow… with their contents worth half a million rubles. Here you will find only ashes.’

     “On 3 September, as Kutuzov headed south-westwards and set up a well-placed camp on the Old Kaluga road, no one greeted Napoleon at the gates of Moscow. Only a few French tutors, actresses and lethiferous hands of looters haunted the streets as Moscow burned for six days. Napoleon was spooked by what he saw. He should have withdrawn at once; his presence in Moscow broke his cardinal rule that he must conquer armies, not cities – but he had not been able to resist the storied city of golden domes. He moved into the Kremlin and waited to negotiate from within a city of ashes…” 

     Of particular significance was the fact that it had been Moscow, the old capital associated with Orthodoxy and the Muscovite tsars, rather than the new and westernized capital of St. Petersburg, which had borne the brunt of the suffering. For it was not so much the indecisive battle of Borodino, a contest in which, according to Napoleon, “the French showed themselves worthy of victory and the Russians that they are invincible”, as the burning of Moscow, which destroyed 80% of dwellings in the city, and Alexander’s refusal to surrender even after that, which proved the decisive turning-point, convincing Napoleon that he could not win…

     The decision to burn down Moscow was highly controversial. It has been argued that Rastopchin had the nobility evacuated from the city with their families because he was well aware of their pro-Napoleonic, potentially seditious sentiments. Thus according to the Martinist Runich said: “Rastopchin, acting through fear, threw the nobility, the merchants and the non-gentry intellectuals out of Moscow in order that they should not give in to the enticements and influence of Napoleon’s tactics… He saved Russia from the yoke of Napoleon.” 

     On the other hand, it was a savage decision. Alexander Solzhenitsyn writes that as a result of the fire of Moscow 15,000 Russian soldiers who were recovering from wounds suffered at Borodino in the military hospitals of the city were burned alive. 

     The leadership on both sides made serious mistakes, but it was the French who suffered most from their mistakes. In this, as in many other ways, God was clearly on the side of the Orthodox (both in Great Russia and in the former Polish lands). Thus early in the campaign terrible rain storms killed thousands of horses that were desperately needed by Napoleon. Then terrible heat killed many soldiers. The late onset of winter tempted Napoleon to stay too long in Moscow - but then, when the winter did come, it was savage…

     The terrible sufferings of the French on their return march are well-known. There was even cannibalism, - a sure sign of apocalyptic times, - as the soldiers of the Great Army began to put their fellow-soldiers in the stew pots. Out of the vast army - nearly 600,000 men, only about half of whom were French - that set out for Russia, only 120,000 returned, 35,000 of them French. The Russians lost 400,000, but they had saved their homeland. Orthodoxy had triumphed…


     However, as Ivanov writes, the Russian victory was almost foiled by the intrigues of the Masons, including the commander-in-chief of the army Kutuzov, who, according to Sokolskaia, was initiated into Masonry at the “Three Keys” lodge in Regensburg, and was later received into lodges in Frankfurt, Berlin, Petersburg and Moscow, penetrating into the secrets of the higher degrees.

     The Tsar was against Kutuzov’s appointment, but said: “The public wanted his appointment, I appointed him: as regards myself personally, I wash my hands of him.” He was soon proved right in his premonition. The Russian position at the battle of Borodino was poorly prepared by Kutuzov, and he himself took little part in it. The previous commander-in-chief, Barclay, took the lead and acted heroically, but gained little credit for it.

     “The fire of Moscow started the people’s war. Napoleon’s situation deteriorated from day to day. His army was demoralised. The hungry French soldiers wandered round the outskirts of Moscow searching for bread and provisions. Lootings and murders began. Discipline in the army declined sharply. Napoleon was faced with a threatening dilemma: either peace, or destruction.

     “Peace negotiations began. On September 23 at Tarutino camp Kutuzov met Napoleon’s truce-envoy Lauriston. Kutuzov willingly accepted this suggestion and decided to keep the meeting a complete secret. He told Lauriston to meet him outside the camp, beyond the line of our advance posts, on the road to Moscow. Everything was to be done in private and the project for a truce was to be put forward very quickly. This plan for a secret agreement between Napoleon and the Masonic commander-in-chief fell through. Some Russian generals and especially the English agent attached to the Russian army, [General] Wilson, protested against the unofficial secret negotiations with Napoleon. On September 23 Wilson made a scene in front of Kutuzov; he came to him as the representative of the general staff and army generals and declared that the army would refuse to obey him. Wilson was supported by the Duke of Wurtemburg, the Emperor’s uncle, his son-in-law the Duke of Oldenburg and Prince Volkonsky, general-adjutant, who had arrived not long before with a report from Petersburg. Kutuzov gave way, and the meeting with Lauriston took place in the camp headquarters.

     “Kutuzov’s failure in securing peace did not stop him from giving fraternal help to Napoleon in the future.

     “After insistent urgings from those close to him and at the insistence of his Majesty, Kutuzov agreed to attack near Tarutino.

     “The battle of Tarutino [on October 6] revealed the open betrayal of the commander-in-chief.

     “’When in the end the third and fourth corps came out of the wood and the cavalry of the main army was drawn up for the attack, the French began a general retreat. When the French retreat was already an accomplished fact and the French columns were already beyond Chernishina, Bennigsen moved his armies forward.

     “The main forces at the moment of the French retreat had been drawn up for battle. In spite of this, and the persuasions of Yermolov and Miloradovich, Kutuzov decisively refused to move the armies forward, and only a part of the light cavalry was set aside for pursuing the enemy, the rest of the army returned to the Tarutino camp.

     “Bennigsen was so enraged by the actions of the field-marshal that after the battle he did not even consider it necessary to display military etiquette in front of him and, on receiving his congratulations on the victory, did not even get off his horse.

     “In private conversations he accused Kutuzov not only of not supporting him with the main army for personal reasons, but also of deliberately holding back Osterman’s corps.

     “For many this story will seem monstrous; but from the Masonic point of view it was necessary: the Mason Kutuzov was only carrying out his obligations in relation to his brother (Murat), who had been beaten and fallen into misfortune.

     “In pursuing the retreating army of Napoleon Kutuzov did not have enough strength or decisiveness to finish once and for all with the disordered French army. During the retreat Kutuzov clearly displayed criminal slowness.

     “’The behaviour of the field-marshal drives me mad,’ wrote the English agent General Wilson about this.”

     For “the Masonic oath was always held to be higher than the military oath.”

     After the war, Tsar Alexander would change his mind about Masonry and ban it…

     After the closely-fought battle of Maloyaroslavets on October 11-12, as Montefiore writes, “Napoleon sent a peace offer to Alexander. ‘Peace?’ replied Alexander. ‘But as yet we’ve not made war. My campaign is only just beginning.’ He was frustrated by Kutuzov’s slow pursuit. On 3-6 November, Kutuzov bruised the passing French at Krasnyi in a rolling skirmish in which he took over 20,000 prisoners and killed a further 10,000. ‘Yet another victory,’ Kutuzov told his wife, but he was keen to avoid more battles. ‘I’m by no means sure,’ said Kutuzov, ‘the total destruction of Napoleon would be of such benefit.’

     “His forces were down to fewer than 60,000 men and he let the other armies, under the German-born general, Prince Peter Sayn-Wittgenstein from the north and Admiral Chichagov from the south, take over the pursuit. Kutuzov had let Napoleon escape. ‘It is with extreme sadness that I realize that the hope of wiping away the dishonor of Moscow’s loss by cutting off the enemy’s retreat has been lost,’ wrote Alexander, thanks to Kutuzov’s ‘inexplicable inactivity’. Kutuzov offered to resign. When he occupied Smolensk, Alexander bit his lip and awarded him a resounding new title: prince of Smolensk.

     “As two Russian armies converged on him, Napoleon and the remnants of his army, harried by Cossacks and facing total destruction, raced to cross the Berezina River. In a feat of French engineering, luck, courage and Russian incompetence, Napoleon crossed the Berezina and then, abandoning his men to Russian winter and revenge, he raced for Paris. ‘It seems the All-Powerful has brought on the head of this monster all the miseries he intended for us,’ Alexander wrote with grim satisfaction to both Arakcheev and [his sister] Catiche as Napoleon’s retreat turned to rout in the first week of November…

     “Kutuzov had no intention of pursuing Napoleon into Europe, in which he was supported by the dowager empress and Catiche. Russia had lost 150,000 men; the army was down to 100,000. But Alexander had a different vision of a personal and national mission, one that was now decisive in European history. He left Nikolai Saltykov, that relic of the reigns of Elizaveta and Catherine, in Petersburg, and advanced into Europe to destroy Napoleon. ‘You have saved not just Russia,’ he told his soldiers, ‘but all of Europe’…”

October 14/27, 2017.

Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, when Martyr-King Harold of England was killed.


[1] Alan Palmer, Alexander I, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1974, p. 203.

[2] Sebastian Sebag Montefiore, The Romanovs, London: Vintage, 2011, pp. 298, 299.

[3] K.A. Papmehl, Metropolitan Platon of Moscow, Newtonville: Oriental Research Partners, 1983, p. 85.

[4] Debidour, Histoire des rapports de l’église et de l’état en France (History of Church-State Relations in France), p. 255; in M.V. Zyzykin, Patriarkh Nikon, Warsaw: Synodal Press, 1931, part III, p. 251. In 1805 Platon remarked to an English visitor that “the English government had done a very wicked thing in tolerating Popery” (Papmehl, op. cit., p. 82).

[5] Palmer, op. cit., p. 206.

[6] Palmer, op. cit., p. 215.

[7] That same icon which was to reappear miraculously on March 2, 1917.

[8] Hosking, Russia: People and Empire, 1552-1917, London: HarperCollins, 1997, p. 134.

[9] Leontiev, “Vizantizm i Slavianstvo” (“Byzantinism and Slavdom”), Vostok, Rossia i Slavianstvo (The East, Russia and Slavdom), Moscow, 1996, p. 104.

[10] Plokhy, Lost Kingdom, London: Allen Lane, 2017, pp. 73-74.

[11] Montefiore, The Romanovs, pp. 304-305.

[12]Runich, in V.F. Ivanov, Russkaia Intelligentsia i Masonstvo: ot Petra I do nashikh dnej (The Russian Intelligentsia and Masonry from Peter I to our days), Harbin, 1934, Moscow, 1997, pp. 264-265.

[13] Solzhenitsyn, Le ‘problème russe’ à la fin du xxe siècle (The ‘Russian Problem’ at the End of the  20th Century),Paris: Fayard, 1994, pp. 52-53). See also Evgeny Ponasenkov, “Dokumental’noe Rassledovanie o Sozzhenii Moskvy v 1812 godu (Documentary Investigation of the Burning of Moscow in 1812), http://millionaire.ru/history.

[14] For details, see Adam Zamoyski’s superb account, 1812: Napoleon’s Fatal March on Moscow, London: HarperCollins, 2004.

[15] Ivanov, op. cit., p. 261.

[16] Ivanov, op. cit., pp. 269-270, 272.

[17] Montefiore, op. cit., pp. 307-309.

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