BY MIKE MAGEE
Two hundred and 10 years ago, on September 7, 1812, a Putinesque commander, narrowly received a struggle, but dropped a war and entered a downward cycle that finished his reign. The fight was the Battle of Borodino, a city on the river Moskva, 70 miles west of Moscow. The commander was Napoleon.
The points are obvious-cut: Napoleon arrived with 130,000 troops, including his 20,000 Imperial Guards, and 500 guns. Opposing him were 120,000 Russians with 600 guns. The battle engaged from 6 AM to Noon. The French took 30,000 casualties, even though the Russians missing 45,000 adult men, but survived to struggle yet another working day.
As Leo Tolstoy describes the scene of carnage on website page 818 of his epic novel, War and Peace, in 1867, “Several tens of countless numbers of adult males lay lifeless in numerous positions and uniforms in the fields and meadows where for hundreds of years peasants of the villages…had at the exact time collected crops and pastured cattle. At the dressing stations, the grass and soil have been soaked with blood above the place of a few acres. Crowds of wounded and unwounded adult males of various models, with frightened faces, trudged on…Over the entire area, at the time so gaily beautiful with its gleaming bayonets and puffs of smoke in the morning sunlight, there now hung the murk of dampness and smoke and the strangely acidic smell of saltpeter and blood. Small clouds collected and began to sprinkle on the dead…”
But in the up coming paragraphs, it gets to be apparent that Tolstoy’s intent and emphasis is not to explain why and how Napoleon had received the Battle of Borodino, but relatively how this was the beginning of the finish of his military and the Napoleonic reign.
Tolstoy writes: “For the French, with the memory of the former fifteen years of victories, with their self-confidence in Napoleon’s invincibility, with the recognition that they experienced taken element of the battlefield, that they had misplaced only a quarter of their men, and that they nonetheless experienced the intact 20-thousand-male guard, it would have been uncomplicated to make the exertion (to progress and annihilate the Russians)….But the French did not make that effort….It is not that Napoleon did not deliver in his guard simply because he did not want to, but that it could not be done. All the generals, officers, and soldiers of the French army knew that it could not be performed, simply because the army’s fallen spirits did not enable it….(They have been) going through the exact same feeling of terror prior to an enemy, which, having lost half his army, stood as formidably at the conclude as at the commencing of the struggle. The ethical strength of the attacking French was exhausted…(For the Russians, it was) a moral victory, the sort that convinces the adversary of the moral superiority of his enemy and of his possess impotence, that was attained by the Russians at Borodino.”
The Russians not only retreated, but did not quit in Moscow, continuing another 80 miles past their beloved town. But as Tolstoy describes, “In the Russian army, as it retreats, the spirit of hostility toward the enemy flares up much more and much more as it falls back, it concentrates and increases.”
As for the French, they get Moscow but prevent there. Yet again from Tolstoy, “During the 5 weeks right after that, there is not a one struggle. The French do not shift. Like a mortally wounded beast, which, getting rid of blood, licks its wounds, they continue to be in Moscow for 5 months with no undertaking just about anything, and abruptly, with no induce, flee back…without coming into a solitary really serious battle…”
Putin’s growing older dreams of conquest possible are Napoleonic in scale. But as his hesitant forces observe the Borodino-like human carnage that they have unleashed on Mariupol, at the estuary of the Kalmius and Kalchik rivers, and get ready to enter Kyiv, the first eastern Slavic state which, a Millennium ago, acquired the title “Mother of Rus Cities”, their vulnerability and lack of “moral strength” is by now obvious. Missing a rational said goal other than dominance, the young Russian conscripted troopers and their commanders will have to undoubtedly grow a lot more worried working day by day. They much too have turn into entrapped, and are “experiencing the exact same sensation of terror prior to an enemy, which, owning missing 50 percent his military, stood as formidably at the conclusion as at the beginning of the struggle.”
As for Putin, like Napoleon, he might really feel the winds of fate blowing greatly on his shoulders even now. Napoleon did make it back again to Paris. But a few a long time after the Fight of Borodino and the 5-7 days occupation of Moscow, he fulfilled his Waterloo on June 16, 1815, at the hands of the Duke of Wellington. He died in exile on the island of Helena on May 5, 1821. In his final will, he wrote, “I desire my ashes to rest on the financial institutions of the Seine, in the midst of that French folks which I have loved so considerably.”
Putin likely feels a similar enjoy for Mother Russia, but eventually the Russian men and women may well select not to return the affection.
Mike Magee, MD is a Clinical Historian and Wellbeing Economist, and author of “CodeBlue: Within the Healthcare Industrial Sophisticated.“