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Birthday anniversary of Russian commander, Field Marshal General Mikhail Kutuzov

16 September 1745

5 (16) September, 1745 in St. Petersburg, in a noble family was born Russian commander, Field Marshal General Mikhail Kutuzov.

The father of Mikhail, I. M. Golenishchev-Kutuzov, a military engineer, Lieutenant-General and Senator, had a great influence on the education and upbringing of his son. After graduating with honors from the Noble Artillery School in 1759, Mikhail Kutuzov started to teach mathematics at this school. In 1761 he was promoted to ensign and assigned the commander of the Astrakhan Infantry Regiment, headed by Colonel Alexander Suvorov. From 1762 Kutuzov had been an adjutant of the Revel Governor General, and in 1764-1765 commander small troops during hostilities against the Polish Confederates.

In 1767, Kutuzov was involved to work for the "Commission for the development of the Code," in 1769, again served in Poland.

From 1770, during the decisive events of Russo-Turkish war of 1768-1774, Kutuzov was sent to the 1st Danube army led by P. A. Rumyantsev. As a standing and a staff officer, he participated in the battles that made up the pride of Russian arms - at the Ryabaya Mogila, Larga and Cahul; near Larga he commanded a battalion of grenadiers, in Cahul fought at the forefront of the right wing. For the battles of 1770 Kutuzov was promoted to major. In 1771, as chief of corps staff Kutuzov scored in the battle of Popesti; the same year he was granted the rank of lieutenant colonel.

In July 1774 in Crimea M. Kutuzov was seriously wounded in the head. After a long treatment he returned to Crimea Army where again was under the command of Suvorov.

In 1784 Kutuzov was promoted to major general and commanded a corps of chasseurs. In August 1788, near Ochakovo, Kutuzov was again seriously injured. The bullet shot him in the head, at the same spot as the first time. Doctors did not expect a favorable outcome, but Kutuzov recovered and in 1790, at the head of the 6th detachment, participated in the famous storming of Izmail as commander of one of the nine assault groups.

In 1792-1794 Kutuzov headed the extraordinary Russian embassy in Constantinople, having managed to achieve a number of foreign policy and trade benefits for Russia.

In 1794-1797, Kutuzov, as the principal director, reorganized the Land Cadet Corps in St. Petersburg, established there a strict routine, strengthened the practical aspect of learning, introduced the teaching of tactics. In 1795-1796 he also commanded the land forces in Finland, performed a number of diplomatic assignments (negotiations with Prussia and Sweden). In 1798 Kutuzov was promoted to general of infantry. In September 1799 he was appointed commander of the corps intended for the expedition to Holland, at the end of 1799 - the Lithuanian military governor and inspector of infantry of Lithuanian and Smolensk inspections, as well as chief of the Pskov Musketeer Regiment, which had borne the name of Kutuzov until its disbandment in 1918. In 1802, having fallen into disgrace, Mikhail Kutuzov retired from the Army.

In August 1805, during the Russo-Austrian-French war, Kutuzov was appointed the commander of the Russian Army, acting in alliance with Austrian forces against Napoleon's France. At the end of 1805, after the defeat of the allied Russian-Austrian forces at Austerlitz, Kutuzov managed to escape encirclement by superior French forces and thus saved the Russian Army from destruction. After the Austrian campaign, Alexander I dismissed Kutuzov from the army, but in 1806 he was appointed commander of the Moldavian Army, and in 1808-1809, the military governor of Kiev. In 1809-1811, the Kutuzov served as Lithuanian military governor.

In March of 1811 Kutuzov was assigned the Commander in Chief of the Russian army in the field during the war with Turkey. In 1811 he won a major victory over the Turks at the fortresses Ruse and Slobozia, for which he was granted the title of a count. At the end of May 1812 in Bucharest, he signed a lucrative peace treaty with Turkey, under which Russia annexed most of Bessarabia.

At the beginning of the campaign against the French in 1812, Kutuzov was in St. Petersburg at the post of the Corps of Narva commander, and then of St. Petersburg militia. 8 (20) August, 1812 Alexander I appointed him the commander of the 1st and 2nd united armies. Mikhail Illarionovich continued tactics of retreat of Russian troops, avoiding a decisive battle. Having chosen a comfortable position, August 26 (September 7) Kutuzov gave battle to Napoleon near the village of Borodino. At the military council at Fili, the Commander in Chief took the difficult decision to leave Moscow. Russian troops, carrying flanking maneuver to the south, stopped at the village of Tarutino.

Having waited until departure of French troops from Moscow, Kutuzov accurately determined the direction of their movement and blocked their path at Maloyaroslavets. Then, the persecution of the retreating enemy (the battle of Vyazma, Krasny and crossing Berezina River by Napoleonic troops) resulted in the actual destruction of the French army.

December 12, 1812 Napoleon's troops were driven out of Russia. 1 (13) January, 1813 the Russian army under the command of Kutuzov crossed the border and during January-March 1813 successfully moved forward, liberating the Polish and Prussian cities of French troops.

For his merits in the Patriotic War Kutuzov was granted the rank of Field Marshal, was awarded a field marshal's baton, golden arms and the Order of St. George, 1st class, becoming the first in Russia complete holder of the St. George.

The great commander died 16 (28) April 1813 in a German town of Bunzlau and was buried in the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

Lit.: Коробков Н. М. Кутузов. М., 1943; Кутузов М. И.: Сб. документов. Т. 1—5. М., 1950—1956; Раковский Л. И. Кутузов. Л., 1971; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL:; Синельников Ф. И. Жизнь, военные и политические деяния... М. И. Голенищева-Кутузова-Смоленского. Ч. 1—6. СПб., 1813—1814; Тарле Е. В. М. И. Кутузов — полководец и дипломат. М., 2007; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL:

From the Presidential library materials:

Белокуров С. А. Письмо императора Александра I графу П. А. Толстому по поводу оставления кн. Кутузовым Москвы: (8 сентября 1812 г.). М., 1913;

Богданович М. И. История Отечественной войны 1812 года, по достоверным источникам. СПб., 1859;

Бутовский И. Г. Фельдмаршал князь Кутузов при конце и начале своего боевого поприща: первая война императора Александра I с Наполеоном I в 1805 г. СПб., 1858;

Всеподданнейший рапорт фельдмаршала главнокомандующего армиями князя М. И. Голенищева-Кутузова от 24 октября 1812 г. о подвигах крестьян Калужской и Московской губерний в сражениях 1812 г. [Документ]. 1812;

Всеподданнейший рапорт фельдмаршала главнокомандующего армиями князя М. И. Голенищева-Кутузова от 22 ноября 1812 г. об изъятии огнестрельного оружия у населения Калужской, Московской и Тульской губерний [Документ]. 1812;

Генерал-фельдмаршал князь Кутузов Смоленский. СПб., 1873;

Гениев Н. И. История Псковского пехотного, генерал-фельдмаршала князя Кутузова Смоленского полка, 1700-1881. М., 1883;

Георгиевский Г. П. Кутузов в переписке с родными; Письма Кутузова к... дочерям... . СПб., 1912;

Желябужский Е. Д. Отечественная война 1812 года и Кутузов. М., 1873;

Жизнь и военные подвиги генерал-фельдмаршала, светлейшего князя Михаила Иларионовича Голенищева-Кутузова-Смоленского. СПб., 1813;

The Royal manifesto of Alexander I announcing the end of the Patriotic war issued 200 years ago // On this day. 6 January 1813;

Липранди И. П. Бородинское сражение. СПб., 1861;

Липранди И. П. Материалы для Отечественной войны 1812 года. СПб., 1867;

Неелов Н. Д. Опыт описания Бородинского сражения. М., 1839;

Переспелов И. М. Кутузовская изба. М., 1900;

Полевой Н. А. Русские полководцы, или Жизнь и подвиги российских полководцев от времён императора Петра Великого до царствования императора Николая I. СПб., 1845;

Представление командующего Петербургским ополчением М. И. Кутузова от 18 июля 1812 г. для рассмотрения в заседании Комитета министров об образовании столичного ополчения для защиты столицы и по вопросам формирования и состава С.-Петербургского ополчения [Документ]. 1812;

Прошение фельдмаршала главнокомандующего армиями кн. М. И. Кутузова от 3 августа 1812 г. министру финансов Д. А. Гурьеву об изготовлении на С.-Петербургском Монетном дворе кокард на фуражки воинам ополчения [Документ]. 1812;

Суворов В. Светлейший князь Смоленский, фельдмаршал Михаил Илларионович Голенищев-Кутузов и его современники. М., 1896;

Толстой Л. Н. Бородинское сражение. М., 1872;

Хатов А. И. Турецкий поход русских, под предводительством генерала от инфантерии Голенищева-Кутузова, в 1811 году. СПб., 1840;

Шницлер И. Г. Ростопчин и Кутузов. Россия в 1812 году. СПб., 1912.