The occupation of Paris by the Cossacks

During the struggle with Napoleon, Russian troops twice entered the capital of France. The first time this happened in 1814.


Mysterious Northern Barbarians

In the afternoon of 19 (31) March 1814, the Russian troops entered the subdued Paris. The Parisians imagined the Russian army a crowd of shaggy barbarians. Well, what if they still burn the city in retaliation for Moscow? And they were pleasantly amazed to see a brilliant European army, all of whose officers spoke French freely, and in a good manner could give French officers a head start. The amazement of the Parisians, and especially the Parisians, soon grew into admiration and admiration, especially before the Russian Emperor.

Only the Cossacks were quite consistent with the prevailing stereotype in their appearance. Shaggy, bearded, in high fur hats, in colored bloomers - they really looked exotic and attracted everyone’s attention. The astonishment of the Parisians grew even more when they saw the Cossacks stripping naked and riding horses on the Seine - to bathe them. Some troubles brought to the subtle inhabitants of the French capital fires, which the Cossacks burned on the boulevards of trees felled right there.

However, these "ugliness" did not last long. Emperor Alexander I, who was most worried about the image of Russian troops abroad, forbade the Cossacks to appear neglige in the city. And for the felled trees, the Russian command reimbursed the damage to the Paris City Hall. Selected cases of looting of shops and wine shops, which took place when the Cossacks entered the city, were severely punished.

Sokurov S.A. This is how an interesting episode describes, which occurred at the beginning of the Russians' entry into Paris.

According to the custom of the time, the captured capital of an enemy state was plundered and burned in order to punish the enemy, as the French often did. However, the Russian emperor entered the Orthodox canon. He gathered his army on the Concorde Square, in order to thank God for this Victoria, to pray.

On Orthodox Easter 11 April 1814, on the banks of the Senna, an altar was installed that surrounded the entire Russian army. Paris flocked to stare at such an amazing ritual. Alexander I and the Orthodox priests went up to the altar. The foot soldiers took off their hats and bowed their heads, the cavalrymen lowered their weapons. Began Easter fertile worship. Square shrouded Orthodox singing. The effect of this action was so great that the French Catholics reached for the altar and Orthodox crosses, hoping to touch them. The whole of Paris was filled with the greatness of the Russian army.

Not at all scary

The Cossacks, on closer inspection, were not at all scary. They smiled at the children, who were running behind them and cheerfully pointing to their beards, tried rudely and awkwardly to look after the French mammels and quite answered their image of “noble savages”, naive, but not at all cruel children of nature found themselves at the center of civilization.

The Tatar and Kalmyk Cossack units turned out to be quite exotic for the French. Those were less sociable, with impenetrable faces. Their strange clothes, sabers and bows with arrows, as well as their camels, involuntarily inspired fear. Although not dangerous. And there were some of them.

In general, the Russian troops in 1814 year, stayed in Paris for a very short time - only eight weeks. And the Cossacks were Emperor Alexander withdrawn from the city in a few days and placed in the vicinity. And when, in 1815, France, now, because of the fear of Napoleon’s restoration, for a long time, for three whole years, the Russian occupation corps of Count Mikhail Vorontsov entered, there were no Cossack troops in it.

Yes, and the word "bistro", contrary to the famous bike, is purely French and not at all from Russian "quickly." The Russians did not behave in Paris as invaders, and it was strictly forbidden for the authorities to get drunk with them, especially the Cossacks.

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Maxim Batmanov

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