On 9-10 August 2008, in the old Russian city of Smolensk, there were organized series of events with participation of several re-enactment groups from Moscow, all in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the battle, which took place in August 1812. These events were sponsored by the “Peacemaking” foundation (Primirenie), which invited our group to coordinate historical part of such festivity.
On 9 August, at the Valoutina Gora – which saw a bitter fighting between the French and Russian troops during the Napoleon’s invasion in 1812 – there was preformed a ceremonial opening of the Memorial Cross and Commemorative Plaque, all in accordance with the upcoming bicentennial 2012. All participants took a ceremonial march to the place of this opening where, after a briefing, they preformed a small re-enactment of the battle. Unfortunately, starting rain has prevented us from the further participation and compelled all members to seek refuge in their respective tents. But later on we received an unusual proposal from two members of the “French” and “Russian” re-enactment groups who offered to commemorate all those who died in that battle 200 years ago. Under the sprinkling rain we all went to the Commemorative Plaque and placed on beneath, in accordance to the Russian Orthodox tradition, a traditional glass of vodka with piece of dark bread (for the Russians) and class of a red wine adorned with cheese (for the French). We all paid tribute and a minute of silence to all those, without regard to nationality, who died in that war.
On the next day, 10 August, we marched triumphantly across the city of Smolensk paying a tribute near the following monuments to those, who died defending the Fatherland
- Eternal (ever-lasting) Fire
- “From the Thankful Russia”
- “Heroes-partisans of the 1812”
- Grave of general Skallon
On behalf of all re-enactment groups from Moscow, which took part in these events, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to the following organizations:
- The “Peacemaking” foundation (Primirenie), its president, Mr. Igor Yasinsky and the coordinator, Mr. Vladimir Shargaev
- Active member of the “Peacemaking” foundation (Primirenie), the deputy of the local Duma Mr. Edward Kachanovsky and his distinctive colleagues
- The rector of the Moscow State University (Smolensk branch), Mr. Vladimir Bokhanov for assistance with the Commemorative Plaque and invitation of re-enactment groups.
Finally, on behalf of our own “Life-Grenadier” Association we would like to thank all those who accepted our invitation and took part in such a great event.