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History of Russia

Historic Personalities

Kutuzov M. I.
Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov was born in 1745 in the family of military engineer, retired general Illarion Matveyevich Kutuzov.
Under Peter the First all noblemen must serve in the Army and teach their kids science of war. Afther Peter's death when a son was born in a nobleman's family he was usually enlisted on military service as a private, and for the years of his boyhood he "was on home leave" and got the ranks year by year. But, for luck, not all the noblemen do the same.
So young Kutuzov, who had the excellent training had been distingushed at once among the other cadets of the Artillery-Engineer School.
In the age of 19 ensing ("praporshik") Kutuzov began his military service.
As long ago as the beginning of the XVIII-th century the danger of the Swedish or Turkish invasion into Russia became very strong. These countries didn't want to allow Russia to the Baltic and Black Seas, and besides they had their own predatory plans. So the main for the Russian foreign policy of those times was the struggle for independence and way out to the seas.
In 1764 when the Russian troops went to Poland, captain Kutuzov achieved his transferring to the acting Army. In 1764, 1765 and 1769 he took part in some small combats, got used to the field life, but as he said afterwards "he didn't understand a war yet".
In 1770 Kutuzov was transferred to Rumyantsev's Army that was acting against the Turks in Moldavia and Valakhia. Kutuzov was in the Corps of very skilled General Bour, that usually executed the most important tasks in every battle. After Kutuzov was appointed the Army Ober-Quartermaster.
But his service in Rumyantsev's Army had suddently stopped. Somebody of Kutuzov's ill-wishers informed Rumyantsev against Kutuzov, that he had copied his manners and his walk. The Commander-in-Chief was very touchy and young Kutuzov was saved from Rumyantsev's anger only by his military merits and excellent service. He was transferred to the Crimean Army.
This event made a deep trace in Kutuzov's soul. From that time he became reserved and distrustful. In the battle at Alushta Kutuzov was seriously wounded. A turkish bullet hurted his head, but for luck it didn't touch the brain. Kutuzov had recovered . Ekatherine II gave him a leave for treatment.
He went abroad for treatment. He travelled a lot over Europe, for a long time lived in Leiden, it was a big centre of science then, he met with many European scientists and generals there - Frederick II and Laudon.
After coming back Kutuzov was appointed to the troops that based in the Crimea. And A.V.Suvorov served there then. Kutuzov comprehended the scence of forming columns for campaign, organization of march, rest and all Suvorov's science of training troops. Those days he was appointed the commander of the Bug Chasseur Corps.
In 1787 the new war with Turkey began. Kutuzov with his Corps protected the Russian border along the Bug, then his troops were included into the acting Ekatherinoslav Army. The commander of this Army was Potemkin. He decided to seize Turkish fortress Ochakov on the Black sea coast. The Russian troops and Kutuzov's Corps among them layed siege on Ochakov. The siege lasted very long, Russian soldiers loss their lifes because of many diseases. There was very little of military actions: only small affairs, Potemkin didn't decide on the beginnig of the main assault.
During one of turkish sallies they attacked the chasseurs of the Bug Corps. In this combat Kutuzov was heavily wounded. The bullet had pierced his had almost in the same place that at his first injury. The doctors thought the wound was fatal but Kutuzov began to recover, though his right eye didn't see from those days.
From 1793 the new stage of Kutuzov's life began. He became a diplomat: the Russian Ambassador Extraordinary in Turkey, in Kostantinopol (Istanbul), and showed himself as a very talented diplomat.
But he was on this post for a short time - till 1794 year, then he was appointed the Director of the Land Cadet Corps, where he managed training of the future officers of the Russian Army. Kutuzov delivered lectures to officers by himself and he for the first time began to teach tactics in the Corps.
In the same time Kutuzov was the Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces in Finland.
After the death of Ekatherine II, Pavel the First ascended the throne, and he established the Prussian rules in the russian Army. The soldiers were dressed and armed in Prussian style, and the main thing in the Army became not a war but a lot of parades. Many officers who fought under the command of Suvorov had sent in their papers.
In August of 1802 Kutuzov was dismissed under his own "petition", but in real he was just removed from St.Petersburg. Kutuzov went to his village Goroshki in Volin gubernia.
In 1805 Russia was for the first time threatened with danger of Napoleon's troops invasion. Austria and England too were in a very hard situation. And the coalition of England, Russia and Austria was formed against Napoleonic France.
Emperor Alexander was mede to apply to Kutuzov and ask him to command the united Russian-Austrian Army that would have to move to France.
On November 20, 1805 (December, 2 - new style) at the Czech town of Austerlitz took place the big battle. Alexander I commanded the Russian Army, although the Commander-in-Chief nominally was Kutuzov. Alexander was afraid of Napoleon very much but tried to look brave.
Kutuzov's experience said him he had to refrain from offensive activities. But there was a lack of food in the Russian camp and it was necessary to make a decision. There was a war council and Kutuzov declared for the retreat to the Rudny mountains and waiting for approaching the reinforcements and also he proposed to wait till Prussia would enter into the war, but his proposals were rejected.
In 1807 Russia had to make a peace treaty that was signed in Tilzit and was called afterwards "the Tilzit peace". In had been acting till 1812 year.
In spring of 1809 the military actions against Turkey began again. The reason was the Serbian uprising against Turkish janizarys Russian supported the Serbians.
The Russian Army got the necessary reinforcements and began to attack the French Army, that had left Moscow at that time.
With great losses Napoleon retreated slowly to the Berezina and there was the final death of the Grande Armee.
For Kutuzov the war against Napoleon was finished when Marshal Ney with his troops crossed the Neman and left the Russian territory. But for Alexander I it was only the beginning. It was the old, constant and hopeless disagreement between the Emperor and the old Field-Marshal.
On April, 28, 1813 M.I.Kutuzov died in the town of Bunzlau. For one and a half months the coffin with his body moved to St.Petersburg. 5 versts before the city the horses were unharnessed and people carried the coffin on their shoulders to the Kazan Cathedral where he was buried solemnly.

Baghowut K. F.
Bagration P. I.
Barclay de Tolly M. B.
Bulganin N. A.
Chervyakov A. G.
Chichagov P. V.
Davidov D. V.
Dokhturov D. S.
Dorokhov I. S.
Dzerzhinsky F. E.
Ermolov A. P.
Gorchakov A. I.
Kalinin M. I.
Khrapovitsky M. E.
Konovnitsin P. P.
Kostenetsky V. G.
Kosygin A.
Kulnev J. P.
Kutaisov A. I.
Kutuzov M. I.
Miloradovich M. A.
Molotov V. M.
Neverovsky D. P.
Orlov-Denisov V. I.
Osterman-Tolstoy A. I.
Petrovsky G. I.
Platov M. I.
Potemkin J. A.
Rasputin G. Y.
Senyavin D. N.
Stolypin P. A.
Suvorov A. V.
Tuchkov A. A.
Ushakov F. F.
Uvarov F. P.
Vasilchikov I. V.
Volkonsky S. G.
Voroshilov K. Y.
Wittgenstein P. Ch.

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