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Emperor Alexander I and Russian army: Topical issues of a domestic historiography



a pervy quarter of the 19th century the most difficult, the period sated with contradictions and a peculiar dramatic nature in the history of our state. In the center of interest when studying this era, certainly, there is a figure of the emperor Alexander I. His personality drew attention of many historians placing particular emphasis on studying political activity of the emperor.

However is time not only bitter disappointments, but also great victories which arose thanks to the cardinal reorganization of the Russian army happening at this stage. Despite the importance of the transformations which are carried out in the military sphere, many questions of personal participation of the first state person in the course of construction of the Russian army were on the second plan of research works or in general dropped out of the field of the application of scientific interest. Proceeding from it, in modern historical science the special relevance is acquired by issues of activity of Alexander I in this area that in turn at implementation of the corresponding scientific search stimulates researchers to carrying out the analysis of a historiography within the chosen perspective. At the same time comprehensive study of the views and estimated judgments of rather military activity of the emperor which are saved up by years of existence of history of Russia is important criterion of objectivity at realization of these works.

The first historical estimates of activity of the emperor Alexander I as military head appeared directly during his reign within a number of the performed works lighting history of Patriotic war of 1812. D.I. Akhsharumov and D.P. Buturlin's works [see became the most significant of them: 1; 2]. Authors, expressing the official concept of war, took great pain to extol the emperor's merits in opposition of Napoleonic aggression.

After the death of the emperor S.N. Glinka's work [is published see: 3] in which the author made an attempt to consider the entire period of reign of Alexander I. The reactionary internal political course of the government of Nicholas I and pressure over society of majestic ideology substantially predetermined the content of this work. Unconditionally recognizing progressiveness practically in any manifestations of regal policy, the author strikes with interpretations of some events and the facts. For example, trying to show in everything faultlessness of the reigning person, S.N. Glinka, raising the question of M.I. Kutuzov's appointment the commander-in-chief of the Russian army in Patriotic war,

puts it in an indisputable merit to Alexander I. At the same time he believes that the emperor, having planned everything in advance and waiting for an opportunity, sought "to use the Commander in circumstances resolute and extraordinary" [3, page 9495].

It is clearly visible that in the work S.N. Glinka considered it necessary to bypass all acute angles in the history of Alexander Pavlovich's reign. Considering a question of participation of Russia in the 3rd anti-Napoleonic coalition, the author, only in insignificant degree having concerned Austerlitsky battle, notes firmness of the Russian army inspired by Alexander I which, according to him, thanks to personal participation of the emperor in battle, "was not broken but only it is disseminated" [3, page 45].

In the next years of the Nikolaev reign in historical science only two editions where various parties of military activity of Alexander I revealed are noted. N.P. Grecha's work on the contents generally repeated everything, earlier approved regulations on a role of the emperor in the organization of armed struggle against Napoleon [see: 4]. Work of the former aide-de-camp Kutuzov of A.I. Mikhaylovsky-Danilevsky [see became more capital work in this area: 5], written to them at the end of the second half of the 19th century. Working on this edition under direct patronage of the emperor Nicholas I, the author, also as well as his predecessors, stated the history of reign of Alexander Pavlovich within officially settled views.

The author's point of view on the reasons of defeat of the Russian army at Austerlitz is of special interest. The author made attempt to justify actions of Alexander I who contrary to opinion of the commander-in-chief of M.I. Kutuzov's troops made the decision on conducting decisive battle. A.I. Mikhaylovsky-Danilevsky assigned the main fault for defeat to the Austrian generals who allowed essential miscalculations when planning battle. At the same time he emphasized that the emperor was in extremely scrupulous situation in which just created coalition at the consent of Prussia to allocate the 170,000 troops, could collapse from any action, uncoordinated to allies, from the Russian government [5, page 140].

The informative analysis of this work shows that the author when studying separate aspects of military activity of Alexander I leaned on extensive documentary base that provided serious thoroughness to the conducted research. However it is easy to notice that in work the emphasis on ofitsi-is placed

alny documents which are not able to recreate an objective picture completely.

The most general features of development of a historiography of the first half of the 19th century consisted according to a role of the emperor in the military sphere only from positive sides and in excessive exaggeration of its contribution to construction of the Russian army and strategic military authorities. These characteristic features were caused by internal political essence of the Nikolaev Russia in which manifestation of any dissent was not allowed.

In the second half of the 19th century the liberal trends introduced in public life of Russia from the beginning of reign of Alexander II gave the chance a little on other to look at historical nuances of last years. In this regard there was an activization of creative efforts that became the reason of emergence of the new researches directed to studying many-sided activity of the emperor Alexander I.

From the most significant works of this period it should be noted first of all work of professor of Academy of the General Staff lieutenant general M.I. Bogdanovich [see: 6]. The author in general discloses key aspects of military activity of Alexander I. Having designated a disabled condition of the Russian army after wars of 1805-1807, he avoided detailed descriptions of the events held by the imperial government for its strengthening. However the historian considered it necessary to note a merit of Alexander I who, despite participation of army in wars against Persia, Turkey and Sweden and also on need of suppression of "rebellious mountaineers in the Caucasus", after all "found means" for implementation of serious preparation of the Russian army for war with Napoleon. Thus, Bogdanovich's attention is focused that by 1812 the emperor managed "to increase considerably number of troops and to improve their tactical education, to strengthen points of the state major militarily, to prepare many all necessary stocks" [6, t. 2, page 140].

In general M.I. Bogdanovich positively estimates the emperor's contribution to strengthening of the Russian army. Along with it the author does attempts of reconsideration of many provisions which were earlier firm from moderate critical positions.

In 1877 - 1878 a number of the editions devoted to 100-year anniversary since the birth of the emperor Alexander Blagoslovenny [is published see: 7; 8].

The most significant of them is S.M. Solovyov's work [see: 9] in which the author pays all attention to questions of participation of the emperor in foreign policy affairs. Feature of other works is that their authors tried "to give the chance to most of readers without statement of details to get acquainted with the most remarkable of recent reigns" [8, page 2]. Proceeding from stated purposes, in these works in the shortest look the history of reign of Alexander I is stated, at the same time the most debatable issues of his military activity did not find the reflection at all.

The invaluable contribution to development of a historiography of reign of Alexander I was made by N.K. Shilder [see: 10]. In the work it lit both positive, and negative sides of the events held by the emperor in the military sphere. Pointing to the emperor mistakes in management of the Russian army which led to defeat in war of 1805, he at the same time noted that during combat operations in the territory of East Prussia, "remembering Austerlitz", the emperor "presents the right to the general from a cavalry Bennigsen of an absolute power over the subordinated troops" [10, t. 2, page 168] that, as shown in work, made a certain positive impact on the war course.

From the most critical positions N.K. Shilder estimated the idea of the emperor about creation of military settlements that, according to the author, negatively affected not only development of the Russian army, but also in general social development of the Russian state.

At a development stage in the Russian society of revolutionary movement, strengthening of radical moods and origin of parliamentarism the period of reign of Alexander I began to be considered with various political positions. At this time many authors show much interest in internal political activity of the emperor and, as a rule, exclude from the researches its military aspects [see: 11, 12, 13, 14].

Alexander I's activity began to be exposed to sharp criticism from certain spokesmen of the social democratic ideas. The sharpness of the stated judgments noted in a domestic historiography A.K. Dzhivelegov's work [see: 15]. Avtorne refrained from reproaches towards the emperor who, according to him, used army not for protection of the fatherland, and first of all for achievement of class and personal interests. The author, investigating the period of reign of Alexander I in the middle of World War I, emphasized that the emperor "blood of the Russian soldiers" restored "power of Austria and Prussia",

and it "since then continuously is threat to our world situation" [15, page 238].

The point of view on Alexander I's relations to army was stated by A.I. Tverskaya [see: 16]. In the work she emphasized that the emperor, seeking to establish rigid discipline and an order in army, appointed to command positions "not educated and clever" people, and "such which were able to drill well soldiers" [16, page 57]. From the point of view of the historian, the emperor tried to prepare army not for war with the external enemy, and to create a reliable support of the feudal power.

In 100-year anniversary of the beginning of Patriotic war N.P. Duchinsky [see: 17] in the work tried to restore historical reputation of Alexander I. Being a spokesman of conservative views, he highly appreciated activity of the emperor as military head. At the same time, it is obvious that the author the basis for the work was the researches of earlier period reflecting the official and guarding concept of history of Russia of the first quarter of the 19th century

A specific place in a historiography of reign of Alexander I is held by work of the Grand duke Nikolay Mikhaylovich [see: 18]. Being the representative of an imperial surname, he obviously pursued the aim to justify in the face of history of the regal descendant. For this reason, mentioning the main painful points of military activity of the emperor in the research, the author always states the reasonable judgments allowing to create a bit different understanding of these problems. So, for example, considering the imperial decision on creation of military settlements, Nikolay Mikhaylovich finds communication of this idea with "religious mood of Blagoslovenny the monarch". The author notes that this thought "was highly humane, impregnated with generous aspiration" as "desire to facilitate a fate of soldiers in peace time, to give them the chance to live with families, to allocate them with land property" was a basis of introduction [18, page 232].

N.M. Romanov decided to show the independent position also concerning the identity of A.A. Arakcheev for whose approach Alexander I underwent the maximum criticism in the history. In the work the author, explaining to the logician of imperial actions concerning appointment of the count to military and state positions, by all means shows usefulness of the last at the decision slozh-

ny military and public affairs, and including notes its efforts at implementation of military construction [18, page 37].

Activities of bodies of the public and military administration for strengthening of the Russian army during Alexander I's reign in work of the major general A.K. Bayov [are rather widely opened see: 19]. At the same time, trying to avoid politicization of a subject, the author as much as possible abstracted it from persons. Therefore the role of the emperor in the course of military construction is reflected extremely poorly.

Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century in a domestic historiography of reign of Alexander I two main directions in its development which were in significant opposition of opinions and judgments of rather this period were accurately designated. A basis of such sharp stratification of views was manifestation of class approach when determining the place and a role of throne in any given historical events.

The tendency amplifying in recent years Nicholas II's reigns to subject to sharp criticism various parties of military and state activity of Alexander I after the October revolution of 1917 began to dominate finally in domestic historical science.

In the Soviet historiography there are only two known works devoted to a research of problematic issues of reign of Alexander I. The author of the first of them, professor A.E. Presnyakov, from extremely negative positions approached assessment of a contribution of the emperor to strengthening and development of the Russian army and also in military management during the anti-Napoleonic wars [see: 20]. At the same time in the reasonings he tried to carry out by the red line a thesis about "alienation of the emperor from army". The author repeatedly pointed to "uselessness of the emperor" who, according to him, "did not suit for commanders". This circumstance, according to A.E. Presnyakov, is considerable "distanced it from army" and, as a result, "opposed it to it" [20, page 131].

It is interesting that the author refers among other things as the proof of the words to the plan of an initial stage of war of 1812 developed by the Prussian general K. Ful and completely supported by the emperor. A.E. Presnyakov emphasizes that "contrary to opinions of all high command, this plan formed the basis of the opened company and put the Russian troops in extremely unprofitable conditions" [20, page 132]. However, apparently, the author deliberately held back, that, in a situation of a superiority in strength of troops of the opponent, the main idea of it for -

of a mysl, providing maneuver with retreat in depth of the country, was completely proved and for this reason the main principles of K. Ful were embodied by the commander-in-chief M.I. Kutuzov in the subsequent planning of fighting.

The author of the second work published in the late thirties of the 20th century A.N. Shestakov in the key estimates completely agreed with A.E. Presnyakov [see: 21]. Thus, he put a peculiar end under a problem of a research of military and state activity of the emperor Alexander I during the Soviet period of development of historical science.

However the fragmentary image of a contribution of the emperor to military construction found the place in a number of the researches conducted by the Soviet historians, devoted to development of the Russian army in the first quarter of the 19th century. The most significant of them are L.G. Beskrovny and L.P. Bogdanov's works [see: 22; 23] at whom military activity of Alexander I was also estimated according to the approaches which strongly strengthened in the Soviet history.

At the present stage of development of historical science there was interest in the period of reign of Alexander I again. Efforts of researchers first of all traditionally focused on reconsideration of a role of the emperor in internal political life of Russia of the first quarter of the 19th century. For separate of them there was attractive its a spiritual and private life. At the same time the main aspects of military activity of Alexander I, as before, are left without in-depth study that prevents to estimate objectively the emperor's contribution to development of the Russian statehood.

The review of the historical views created in a domestic historiography on the chosen perspective gives the chance to track their consecutive transformation which happened within change of various social and political formations. The semi-official concept dominating in the first half of the 19th century in interpretation of historical events caused unconditional recognition of the emperor Alexander I as the personality who made the significant contribution to strengthening of the Russian army and the Russian statehood.

In the second half of the 19th century in the Russian society the liberal bourgeois ideology begins to become stronger more and more that among other things leads to the beginning of revision of many events of last years. In the circumstances historical views of the main aspects of military activity of Alexander I which dominated at the previous stage also underwent essential

adjustment. The most critical estimated judgments of representatives of the social democratic camp made without any serious scientific analysis then strongly became stronger during the Soviet period of existence of history, and separate of them were transferred also to Post-Soviet historical science. For this reason the problem of objective studying the most important issues of military activity of the emperor Alexander I acquires special relevance in modern history.

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