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Topic: Russian History
Monument to the 1916 Russian Expeditionary Force at Paris
On February 5 representatives of Russia and France laid wreaths at the monument honoring Russian soldiers on the bank of the Seine in Paris. Sergey Naryshkin, speaker of the Russian State Duma, took part in the ceremony, RIA Novosti reports.
In 1916 the Russian Expeditionary Force was sent to Europe to assist allies during World War I. The Russian soldiers together with French troops defended the Champagne-Ardenne region. The Russian infantry performed a key role in stopping the German army and preventing the capture of Paris.
“Without Russia’s participation, many of the battles of the Allies would have ended differently, and for France in particular,” said General Elrick Irastorza, who heads the France’s interdepartmental commission on commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
Following the February Revolution, the Russian Expeditionary Force was demobilized, but approximately 1000 Russian volunteers continued to serve among allied forces. This group was called the Russian Legion of Honor.
The monument to the Russian Expeditionary Force was unveiled in summer of 2011 during a visit to France by Vladimir Putin. It is situated in the historical center on the right bank of the Seine not far from the Grand Palais and Pont Alexandre III.
The Russian delegation met at L'Hôtel national des Invalides with representatives of France to discuss preparations for the 100th anniversary of World War I in Moscow and Paris.
© Russkiy Mir and RIA Novosti. 07 February, 2013
Tsar Nicholas II blessing his troops during World War I
August 1 will be the date on which, each year, Russia remembers its soldiers who fell during the First World War, the Kremlin Press Service announced on Monday.
“The following changes are introduced to the Federal Law on Days of Military Glory and Remembrance Days in Russia, adding the date of August 1 as a Day of Remembrance for the Russian soldiers who fell in the First World War of 1914-1918,” the press release says.
President Putin suggested creating a memorial to the Russian soldiers who fought in World War I (WWI) during his state of the nation address of December 12.
Allied to Britain and France in WWI, Russia is thought to have lost about 1.5 million soldiers at the front, with about 5 million wounded – according to the history site firstworldwar.com, although some historians question these figures.
Russia’s participation in WWI was downplayed in the Soviet Union, largely due to the Bolshevik view of it as an “imperialist war” that paved the way for revolution.
Speaking with young Russians at the Seliger youth camp in July 2013, President Putin raised the issue of Russia's role in WWI, and blamed the Bolsheviks for how Russia left the war. "It is also known that the Bolsheviks wished for the defeat of their own nation in World War I. And overall, I must say that their input in Russia’s defeat was commensurate."
The Treaty of Brest Litovsk, signed between Bolshevik Russia, the German Empire, Austria Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire on March 3, 1918, officially terminated Russia's involvement in WWI.
"This was an astonishing situation, wherein Germany surrendered to the Allies, but Russia lost to the defeated nation, Germany, and with such grave consequences – losing enormous territories and suffering other truly severe ramifications. This is truly a unique large-scale example of national treachery!" Putin said.
© RIA Novosti. 31 December, 2012
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
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