It's been 200 years since burning Moscow was tactically surrendered to the French and Russian empire army headed by Mikhail Kutuzov routed Napoleon's troops. Back then Ukraine was a part of the Russian empire and participated in the war of 1812. About 70 thousand Ukrainian bondmen and Cossacks were fighting in the Russian army. Many of the deceased in that war were buried on the territory of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra - cemetery of Rozhdestvobogoroditskiy bastion near Far caves.

Russia has organized large-scaled and pompous celebration of the 200th anniversary of the war, and the waves of festival arrived in our capital. Kyiv Pechersk historical reserve has opened an exhibition dedicated to the war of 1812, presenting unique relics of that epoch from the collections of Sheremetev museum and Central historical state archive of Kyiv.

Before the opening, clergymen of Lavra held the lity for the dead.

After the service, representatives of the Russian delegation headed by the head of Russian cooperation Konstantin Kosachev laid flowers on the tombs of fallen soldiers.

The exhibition was solemnly opened by Ukrainian Premier Mykola Azarov who cut the red ribbon...

...and guests headed to the museum accompanied by hussars - members of the military and historical clubs of Ukraine, dressed in uniform of 1812 model.

The exhibition was attended by a "French soldier" with a gun...However, he was not ready for the battle, as the weapon was not real.

"Grenadier" Mykola represents the other side - army of the Russian Empire.

He told us that his saltan - tuft on his headdress - proves his high title. It is made of real horsehair, making his hat pretty heavy.

Guests of the exhibition have a possibility to look at the maps of 1812 through the eyes of Napoleon and Kutuzov.

One of the tapestries depicts the meeting of Kutuzov with Russian officers in former village of Fili. According to some data, the far-reaching decision to abandon Moscow was taken by Kutuzov in that very village. However, nobody knows for sure, as the general ordered not to register the meeting.

This is the collection of china statuettes of generals and marshals of France, headed by emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

The exhibition includes collections of dishes with emblems of war participants and famous families - the Tolstoys, the Holitsins.

The exhibition also presents Ukrainian, Russian and French suits and uniforms of peace and war times, bringing the guests in the epoch of gallant hussars, luxurious balls and terrifying battles.

The exhibition will be opened for another several months.

Alyna Yeremeyeva, photos by Maxim Trebukhov


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