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Topic: Russian History
A CODED letter in which Napoleon Bonaparte vows to blow up the Kremlin will go under the hammer near Paris next month, 200 years after the French invasion of Russia.
"I will blow up the Kremlin on the 22nd at three am," reads the missive written in numbers and signed "Nap", expected to fetch up to 15,000 euros ($18,916) at the sale in Fontainebleau.
Dated October 20, 1812, the day after Napoleon retreated from the centre of Moscow, it is addressed to his external relations minister Hugues-Bernard Maret.
Napoleon's order was carried out by Marshal Mortier, who destroyed several towers and sections of wall at the Kremlin, at the time both an imperial palace and military fortress.
The towers were later rebuilt identically.
"Letters written by Napoleon from Russia are rare," said Alain Nicolas, expert for the auctioneer Ocenat. "Many were lost, probably intercepted by the Russians."
Napoleon's army entered Moscow on September 14, 1812, but much of the population had already fled and the emperor was forced to leave without securing a formal victory over Alexander I, embarking on a disastrous westward retreat.
© The Australian News and NTD Television. 23 November, 2012