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June 22nd marks the 78th anniversary of Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of Russia that changed the course of WWII and, perhaps, history itself.
In 1805 Napoleon was crushing the Russian army. In 1815 victorious Russian troops were stationed in the French capital under the just-signed treaty of Paris. And in between there was a peace treaty and yet another war. How did they have time for all of that?
Moscow's last Great Fire was 200 years ago, on September 14, 1812, in the wake of the Russian army's abandonment of Moscow. Debate continues to rage if the fire was accidental or set intentionally by retreating troops. And a misunderstanding of the scope of the fire's destruction hampers preservation efforts to this day.
In the summer of 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, and his army marched into Moscow. This resulted in one of the turning points in Tsar Alexander I's reign. Napoleon began his retreat from Moscow on November 12, 1812.
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