How many soldiers of the army of Alexander I fled to Europe

History 18/02/20 How many soldiers of the army of Alexander I fled to Europe

In September 2012, journalists Vladimir Abarinov on the website of radio “Liberty” and B. Sokolov on the website posted information about 40 thousand Russian soldiers who refused to return to Russia after the foreign campaigns of the Russian army in 1813-1814. This topic is so affected Russian society, and that many researchers have been looking for reliable information about the events of this period.

What we know from the sources

Source of information was the Moscow magazine “the Voice of the past”, which was issued by the liberal Sergei Mel’gunov. In 1916 he published part of the “Notes” artillery officer of Baranavichy “Russian soldiers in France in 1813-1814”. It said that Russian soldiers left their regiments and were hired to farmers-the French to work on their vineyards. Farmers fed them well and paid a decent salary. As a result, many soldiers and non-commissioned officers of the Russian army settled in France.

the same was reported in a letter to his wife in 1814 the Moscow Governor-General count F. V. Rostopchin: “Judge, herself, until the fall came, our army, if the old non-commissioned officer and soldier to remain in France, and of the equestrian guards in one night deserted 60 people with arms and horses. They go to the farmers who not only pay them well but still give them their daughters.”

In the archives of the Historical Museum, in the collection of P. I. Shchukin we find information about how the Russian soldiers lived in France during a six-week kvartirovaniya in in Epernay on the Marne. Servicemen were hired to work for local owners of farms and led those in full admiration for his hard work and honesty. The French are well fed their employees and enough were treated to champagne, which is abundantly produced on this earth. This Russian wine is not drunk, but became blushcrowded. After six weeks the army had been ordered to perform in Russia. Some owners-the French wished to hold their employees for 17 miles until the next night. The next morning, has missed 17 of the ordinary, which the French were persuaded to stay and to marry their daughters (Russian. architect 1901, 491; A. S. Lykoshin. “The Russian army in France,” “the Patriotic war and Russian society”, ed. Sytin).

the Situation after the Napoleonic wars.

the fact of luring soldiers by local farmers does not cause surprise. In that period as a result of years of military adventures of Napoleon in France lacked men, agriculture collapsed without working hands, and the girls had to attach. And here – a strong, healthy and hardworking men, and wistful for work on the land and family hearth.

In an ordinary part of the Russian army were mostly serfs, which the landlords surrendered to soldiers because of their stubbornness or whether they have “extra” nuts. These people had a great love for military service, the life of the common soldier was immensely heavy. The prospects of military career they had, but for any infraction they expect physical punishment. The term of military service was 25 years, after which the soldier received the status of a free man, and retired at 36 rubles per year.

As in the Russian army fought with shoots

A. M. Baranovich in his “Notes” brings the story about one Russian soldier who decided to stay and live in France:

“Colonel Zasyadko Batman, pretty bright, heads of the military departments to be free and to live in French, to enjoy freedom, telling himself that currently he is not in Russia, under the storm, and in the land of the free, France… and, when he came to the Colonel, said, “let me go! I no longer servant!” “How? You Batman: to serve as military regulations oblige you!” “No, Mr. Colonel, now we are not in Russia, and in the free state, France should therefore it (the freedom) to use, not projdennomu!”

the freethinker was reported to the General who has ordered an investigation, in which Batman was accused of “daring assault” and inciting the comrades-in-arms. The perpetrator was sentenced to run the gauntlet of 500 people with rods. It was noted that after this execution the discipline of the troops has improved. In fact, this was indicative of murder. People usually did not survive after hundreds of blows.

Alexander I of August 30, 1814, issued a Manifesto in which he promised that the government will pay for all those wishing to return to Russia and there will be no one to prosecute and punish. The king asked Louis XVIII to assist in the return of fugitives to their homeland. But the king was sovereign to fulfill the request because the French helped the fugitives to escape, and because none of them returned to the Fatherland.

What about this says “Military review”

Browser Vyacheslav Shpakovsky writes:
“first, it is worth to say that historical science at the moment, such sources, which were said to be about 40 thousand, “the defectors” 1813-1814 years, does not know. Well, to make it clear that this 40 thousand soldiers at the time – the number of Russian troops involved in the storming of Paris, 30 March 1814 – 63 thousand. Only in the foreign campaigns of the Russian army was attended by 175 thousand people. By the beginning of the campaign of 1814 – 157 thousand. Thus, the figure of 40 thousand defectors… does not hold water. Of course, some number of Russian soldiers could remain in Europe, but not 40 thousand.”

How many Frenchmen remained in Russia?

it is Known that many French soldiers after Napoleon’s retreat settled in Russia. The sick and the prisoners threw himself Bonaparte. Crossing the Berezina, when we began to approach the Russian side, Napoleon gave the order to blow up the bridge. Who did not go to the other side, were captured. These facts are reported by V. A. Bessonov in their study, “the Number of prisoners of war of 1812 in Russia”. Given tothe number of prisoners of war, not reflected in the documents submitted from 45 regions, we find that the total number of captured representatives of the great army during the Patriotic war of 1812 can be estimated in 110 thousand people, of which by the beginning of 1813 killed more than 60 thousand prisoners.”

According to the documents, in Russia after the retreat of Napoleon were not less than 50 thousand prisoners, although some researchers call larger numbers, and the total number of prisoners not appreciate the 110 and 200 thousand. For example, there is the following information given in the material T. A. mashinoi and N. And. Gutin “Slow homecoming”
“it is not known what happened to most prisoners, among whom only the generals was about fifty. According to various estimates, from 200 thousand prisoners in April 1815 returned to the homeland, only about 30 thousand.”

the French joined in the class of burghers and artisans. They were merchants, salesmen, cooks, bakers, Tutors, teachers of dancing. In Vyatka province for example, they taught local people to weave baskets from straw.

Prisoners received a full ration, due to the soldiers of the Russian army, and had the opportunity to earn money to rent a house and get married. Many have done so, taking Russian citizenship. These people called saraisniemi. By mid-1814, about 60 thousand of them took Russian citizenship. They created the Russian-French enclaves in the villages of Central Russia, many settled in the cities. The last bum of the Russian Empire was Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Savin, Chevalier of the Legion of honor, graduated from a Jesuit College. Savin married a merchant’s daughter, accepted the Russian citizenship and to 106 years he taught at the Saratov French language and drawing. He remained a Catholic, but took the Russian name Nikolai Andreevich Savin. He died in 1894, in Saratov at the age of 126 years. At the funeral, who wore a city-wide nature, was attended by the district commander, the mayor and the Governor.

Galina PogueOdin

© Russian Seven

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