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A history of the Russian army and famous guards of the native land in the collections of the Presidential Library

22 February 2017

Shortly before the Defender of the Fatherland Day, which is celebrated in Russia on February 23, the thematic collections that reveal the history of the Russian army, represent the outstanding military leaders and also tell about a heroism and a courage of the Russian people, are published on the Presidential Library website.

The digital collection The History of the Russian army includes the books about an emergence, a development and a reform of the Russian army from the time of Peter the Great to the XX century. In the first volume of the 1910-year’s publication of the same name can be found that inborn passion for military affairs has arisen in the future founder of St. Petersburg as early as in his 4, and in 1683 Peter “addressed the court servants with an invitation to enter into his amusing military service (of boy soldiers). From responded to the call hunters, grooms and servants of the court “poteshny regiment” was formed in the same year, which served as a human resource for future regular army.”

In the same digital compilation contains and a copy of rare book entitled The famous Russian military leaders: their brief biographies, published in St. Petersburg in 1911. The book’s heroes are the famous generals: the companions of Peter the Great and Catherine II, the heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812, the Russian Navy admirals and other members of the grand military battles. Among them we should mention the great commander Alexander Suvorov, about which the authors of collected works write: “What Russian does not know Suvorov, this covered himself with universally glory epic warrior hero of his native land, for whom there was neither the difficulties nor obstacles, to whom everything leaned to, obeyed to his iron will, an extraordinary insight of the mind and some special charm that was coming out of his open-minded appearance.”

A separate collection dedicated A. V. Suvorov, featuring the digital copies of the research, scientific and popular publications, selections of documents and materials containing biographical information about the commander, including written by him books, is in open access on the Presidential Library website. Of the latter, a rarity of 1913 The Art of Victory by Generalissimo Suvorov (based on previously unpublished material), illustrated with his own drawings and handwritten blueprints, is worth mentioning. This is a real textbook of military affairs. “The basic principles of military art are immutable, and studying them is not easy. The other thing is to understand these principles and to be able to apply them in any given case. That is why an attempt to simplify the theory of military art, bring it to a number of clear, easily perceptible representations, affordable for mental outlook of an ordinary competent man, is so valuable,” - stated in the introduction, and also particularly emphasized: “Throughout our military history there is no any teacher of military art who might compete with Suvorov.”

Among other presented in the book generalissimo’s statements an advice directed to the need for bringing the courage up in the military man deserves special attention: “Rub away your ears with snow; treat coward with a danger; sent one where together is scary, there will be more fun later together; where is scary with the weapons first sent without.”

History has proved that the instruction of the famous commander was not forgotten, and evidence of this can be found in other collections of the Presidential Library, dedicated to the large-scale military campaigns.

There is a digital copy of the essay entitled The war in 1914 fierce year and the great feat of Maxim Kashevarov (1914) in the digital collection on World War I (1914-1918), which includes the research works, essays, official and archive documents, memoirs, flyers and fiction, with the description of one of the battle scenes: “Unabashed Kashevarov immediately right at the position asked for bandaging his crippled leg and began to continue, in spite of the terrible loss of blood and agony, aim the machine gun at the enemy. Accurate machine gunfire of hero Kashevarov … literally destroyed an entire German regiment. So, what the heroes are the Russian soldiers!”

During the Great Patriotic War Russian troops continued the military exploits of their fathers and grandfathers. Numerous testimonies of that remain in a large-scale electronic collection entitled The memory of the Great Victory, which includes a copy of the 1942-year edition of Kochetkovtsy. It contains the sources related to the heroism of 16 guards near Stalingrad under the supervision of their commander Guards Junior Lieutenant Vasily Kochetkov, who had entered into an unequal battle with the enemy and at the cost of their lives were holding the position: “An unprecedented battle began. One among the Kochetkovtsy tied his body with the grenades and threw flung under the tracks of the German tank. A devostating explosion shook the air, and the enemy tank all blazed. The second, third, fourth guardsman followed the example of his friend. <…> Six German tanks, the crews of which have seen how the Soviet soldiers destroy the enemy at the cost of their lives, turned around and went back.”

There are some other electronic collections focused on military subjects, such as The Patriotic War of 1812, The Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905, The Soviet-Japanese War of 1945, as well as many other historical materials, in open access on the Presidential Library website.