When you think about the major battles throughout human history, you don’t often think about how each army actually arrived at that particular place. I found this article by Saul David on the BBC to be fascinating as David looks at the logistics that Napoleon had to deal with on his road to Moscow.
Of all the challenges faced by generals through history, moving armies has been one of the greatest – and Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Russia 200 years ago illustrates just how badly things can go wrong when it is underestimated.
It is not enough just to get your forces from A to B – you have to keep them fed and watered as they go. The art of movement, therefore, is one of the most complex and vital that any commander must master, if he is going to win.
In 1812, his armies having swept all before them, Napoleon was at the zenith of his power (shades of another invader of Russia 129 years later). His Grand Armee of 400,000 men was thought to be unbeatable and he himself anticipated a rapid victory.
Read the rest of the story BBC News – Napoleon’s failure: For the want of a winter horseshoe.
Russia is to hold an exhibition to celebrate the 450th anniversary of St. Basil’s Cathedral after a decade-long restoration project that cost USD 14 million.
The exhibition will kick off on Tuesday showcasing relics and icons of St. Basil and other religious eccentrics, known as “holy fools.”
St. Basil, also known as the ‘holy fool,’ was one of the very few Muscovites who dared to criticize the Czar Ivan the Terrible.
Ivan, who according to one chronicle feared St. Basil as “a seer of people’s hearts and minds,” personally carried the St. Basil’s coffin to a grave right outside the Kremlin.
Read More at PressTV – Russia to mark St. Basil anniversary.
Photo by my father, when he traveled to Moscow in 1972.
Yelena Bonner, who died June 18 aged 88, was a Russian rights activist and widow of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov. For nearly two decades they were the first couple of the dissident movement, confronting the Soviet state regardless of the consequences.
Bonner met Sakharov, the Soviet Union’s leading dissident, in 1970. They married the following year, and Bonner carved out a reputation on her own account as a human rights campaigner in the face of relentless hostility from Soviet authorities.
The couple’s cramped apartment in Moscow became the unofficial headquarters of the Soviet dissident movement in the 1970s, and again in the late 1980s after they returned from internal exile in the closed city of Gorky.
Read More at Activist defied Soviet state.
Russia is an enigmatic travel destination, but its story can be unravelled – provided you know where to look. Martin Sixsmith, former BBC Moscow Correspondent and author of ‘Russia, a 1,000 Year Chronicle of the Wild East’, reveals 10 key locations
The beautiful city of Novgorod, 120 miles south of St Petersburg, was the first centre of the Russian lands. In the 9th century, Slavic tribes vied for supremacy in the region but just as they were on the brink of fratricidal war they invited a Viking prince called Rurik of Rus to rule over them and impose order. “From him did the Russian land receive its name,” says the ancient Russian Chronicle. [Read More]
The Golden Gate of Kiev
In 882 Rurik’s heirs shifted their headquarters south to Kiev, in what is now Ukraine. Take a bus to the top of the Berestov Hill on the edge of town (you can’t miss it – it’s crowned by a three-storey-high Soviet statue to the Red Army) and you’ll see why they chose it. The mighty Dnieper river bends its way through the gorge beneath you, at the heart of the trade route from the Viking north to the Greek Byzantine Empire in the south. [Read More]
Kulikovo Polye (Field of Snipes)
The Mongols stifled native culture and forced the Russian princes into humiliating shows of submission. Some resisted, but it wasn’t until 1380 that 29-year-old Dmitry Ivanovich from the previously minor city of Moscow persuaded his fellow princes to mount a concerted challenge to the occupiers. At Kulikovo Polye, 160 miles south of Moscow, Dmitry assembled his forces on the banks of the River Don and squared up to the Mongol cavalry. You can still visit the Kulikovo Polye battlefield with its 90ft Orthodox cross, church and museum. [Read More]
As Mongol power waned, Moscow’s grew. Prince Ivan I, known as Kalita (“Moneybags”) because of his knack for accumulating territory and wealth, laid the foundations of the Moscow Kremlin in the 1320s. Today its palaces and churches are Moscow’s leading tourist attraction. So long as there’s no big political set-piece going on, you can tour most of them. And while you’re there, pop in to see Lenin in his Mausoleum on Red Square beneath the kremlin walls. In communist times I used to queue all morning; today you can walk straight in. [Read More]
Russia’s borders are long and vulnerable; the fear of invasion has been an enduring national terror myth since the Mongol Yoke. When the French began exporting revolution after 1789, the Russians were ill-prepared. Napoleon’s armies advanced rapidly until they reached the village of Borodino, 75 miles west of Moscow. The ensuing battle, in September 1812, is the centrepiece of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and the subject of Tchaikovsky’s rousing 1812 Overture. [Read More]
Find the entire article at Russian revelation: Landmark locations in the world’s largest country – Europe, Travel – The Independent.
Story by Martin Sixsmith
Check out the photos of the celebrations in Russia for V.E. Day
Victory Day, May 9th, marks the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War. It was first begun in the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union following the signing of the surrender document late in the evening on May 8, 1945, but already after midnight by Moscow time, thus May 9th. During the Soviet Union’s existence, May 9th was celebrated throughout the USSR and in the countries of the Easter Bloc. The war became a topic of importance in cinema, literature, and history lessons at school, the mass media, and the arts. After the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, most former USSR countries retained the celebration. In Russia during the 1990s, May 9th was not celebrated massively, because Soviet-style mass demonstrations did not fit in with the way the liberal power base in Moscow communicated with the country’s residents. Things changed when Vladimir Putin came to power. He started to promote the prestige of the governing regime and history, national holidays and commemorations all became a source for national self-esteem. Since then Victory Day in Russia has increasingly been turning into a joyous celebration in which popular culture plays a great role.
Check out the Photos at Victory Day – The Big Picture – Boston.com.
Story by Paula Nelson