Images of Russia

The Monument to M.I. Kutuzov

The Commander in bronze represented in full dress uniform, riding a horse, as if inspecting the battlefield. The sculptural composition also includes 26 figures of officers, soldiers and members of the volunteer corps who were involved in the fighting against the French. They embody the images of specific historical figures, representing portrait likenesses of the characters to the heroes of 1812. Among them - the generals P.I. Bagration, A.P. Yermolov, M.I. Platov, N.N. Rayewski, and partisan and poet D.V. Davydov. The inscription on the pedestal reads: To Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov, to the glorious children of the Russian people, who won the War of 1812.

Mikhail Kutuzov (His Serene Highness Prince Golenishchev-Kutuzov) was the Field Marshal General. He was one of the greatest Russian military leaders. His father was a military engineer, and Kutuzov studied at the Artillery and Engineering School. He commanded a company in the Astrakhan Infantry Regiment, and was the adjutant of the Revel Governor-General. In 1770, he was transferred to the 1st Army and took part in the Russian-Turkish war under the leadership of Alexander Suvorov. He took part in the decisive battles of Larga and Cahul and for making his mark in battle was promoted to Prime-Major. In 1772, he was transferred to the 2nd Crimean Army. While fighting in the Crimea, Kutuzov was wounded in the head and in the right eye, and spent several years abroad receiving treatment for these wounds. Upon returning to Russia, he again served in the Crimea, under the command of Suvorov. He was promoted to Major-General in 1784.

In the Russian-Turkish war of 1787-1791 Kutuzov was guarding the south-western border, and took part in the battles of Ochakov, then under Ackerman, Benders. He distinguished himself in the capture of Ishmael and was promoted to Lieutenant-General and also received the appointment of being a commandant of the fortress.

In addition to the talents of a commander, constantly searching for new tactics and maneuvers, Kutuzov successfully showed the abilities of a diplomat. In 1792, as an Ambassador Extraordinaire to Turkey, he resolved a number of important issues in favor of Russia and significantly improved the relationship between the two countries. His diplomatic mission in Prussia was also a success. He successfully encouraged Berlin to side with Russia against France. Moreover, Kutuzov was a military governor for a while, based out of Lithuania and St. Petersburg. In 1802, he fell into disgrace and left the army. He returned to the army, and after only three years back he was appointed to command one of the armies sent to Austria against Napoleon. That’s when Kutuzov made ​​his famous strategic move. First he ordered the retreating march-maneuver from Braunau to Olmutz, then he defeating Murat at Amstetten and E. Mortiee at Dyurenshtein, and in the end with the withdrawal of troops from the encirclement, awaiting reinforcements he launched the counter-attack. However, the allied armies attacked the enemy immediately and suffered defeat at Austerlitz, for which Kutuzov was eventually blamed.

After that, he was appointed first to be the military governor of Kiev, and in a couple of years he became a corps commander in the Moldovan army, where he later became the army commander. In the course of the next Russian-Turkish war, Kutuzov managed to successfully negotiate the Treaty of Bucharest of 1812, securing the southwest border for Russia.

By the beginning of the War of 1812, Kutuzov was in charge of the emergency volunteer corps in Petersburg, then in Moscow, and then during the battles was appointed the commander of the entire Russian army. Kutuzov was trying to overcome the overwhelming enemy forces in maneuvers and defense by keeping the army's fighting capacity high even while accumulating reserves for the counterattack. After gaining some reinforcements he orchestrated the battle of Moscow at Borodino, the outcome of which changed the course of the war. After this battle the army was forced to leave Moscow. Napoleon was quickly closing in on the southern areas, and the Russian troops grew in size by the addition of the volunteer corps. Because of these reinforcements the army was able to move into action while the French were increasingly weakened by frequent clashes with partisans and the harsh climate. As a result, Napoleon left Moscow and was forced to retreat by Smolensk Road which he had destroyed earlier. French troops were defeated on the river Berezina, with the survivors fleeing to the border.

Kutuzov was awarded the highest military decoration - George of the 1st degree and received the title of a Grand Prince. But his health was undermined, and soon, in 1813, he died in Silesia. His body was embalmed, sent to St. Petersburg and buried in the Kazan Cathedral.

One hundred years later, in 1912, the Circle of the Zealots of the Memory of the Patriotic War (the War of 1812) raised the issue of raising funds to create a monument to Kutuzov in Moscow. A year later, the Kutuzov committee was organized from the members of the Military Historical Society under the chairmanship of General D. Zuev. His fund was formed at the headquarters of the Moscow Military Command, the donations had been collected for more than three years, but in the end there was not enough money, and soon the revolution and the civil war delayed the matter until the end of the Great Patriotic War (World War II), in 1945. In 1962, after the opening of the Panorama Museum Battle of Borodino on Kutuzov Avenue, it was decided to erect a monument to Kutuzov there. After 11 years, at the opening of the monument, the sculptor who created it, Tomsky emphasized in his speech that this monument is not only to commemorate one of the greatest Russian military leaders, but also to celebrate the ardent patriotism of the people.

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