A gathering of students and teachers had the rare experience of reminiscing the horrors of Borodino Battle of 1812 launched by Napoleon’s forces and the amazing heroic spirit of the Russian Army which fought against it winning a glorious victory at a function held in the Russian Centre of Science and Culture (RCSC), New Delhi, on September 13, 2012.
The function, comprising a Photo Exhibition and Screening of the Film “1812—the First Patriotic War”, was organised to mark the 200th Anniversary of the Borodino Battle, by the RCSC jointly with the International Federation of Indo-Russian Youth Clubs and the Institute of Russian Language, RCSC.
Describing Borodino Battle as the First Patriotic War, Ms. Tatiana Shipilova, Director, Institute of Russian Language, dwelt at length upon it background. She said that the battle at the Borodino village (125 km from Moscow) was an important page in the history of not only Russia but also the entire Europe. Napoleon, after the conquest of most part of Europe, thought of conquering even India, and for this he felt it necessary to conquer Russia. All the people of Russia, young and old, rich and poor participated in the war, and that is why it was named the First Patriotic War. An experience strategist, General Mikhail Kutuzov was appointed as Commander in Chief of the Russian Army. The Battle of Borodino, which lasted for more than 12 hours, was considered to be a major/grand battle of the war, where the Russians showed heroism, courage, self-sacrifice for the Motherland. To save the Russian Army, General Mikhail Kutuzov took a decision to surrender Moscow.
The Russians let the Napoleonic army occupy the capital, which had been almost completely burnt down by its residents, but cut his overstretched supply lines and forced him to retreat a month later. The regrouped and reinforced Russian Army then drove Napoleon’s freezing and starved forces out of Russia and all the way to Paris. It was the bloodiest one-day battle of all wars Napoleon fought, which claimed more than 70,000 lives on both sides, The Russians held their ground but their great commander General Mikhail Kutuzov ordered the army to pull back the next day to save strength.
It is to be recalled that Leo Tolstoy glorified the Battle of Borodino in his monumental novel “War and Peace”.
Ms. Tatiana Shipolova concluded saying that the War of 1812 was a significant event, the lessons of which we should never forget.