Soon to be celebrated the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, which for us was, as you know, is not the same as for Russia. Please tell me how real was the renewal under the auspices of Napoleon our state?
Casimir, a history teacher
Tth war in our history did have radically different nature than in the eastern neighbors. For Lithuania, Belarus, which has only recently hit the double-headed eagle claws, she was not domestic. However, this is the definition given by the Russian imperial historiography, to still replicated Belarusian textbooks and encyclopedias (unfortunately, is present in the Encyclopedia of History).
Not one elite, but a wide range of residence of the former lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania associated with the campaign of Napoleon hopes for the revival of the state. Farmers were hoping for liberation from serfdom.
Just four days after the beginning of hostilities the French joyfully welcomed Vilnius. The first white-red-white flags in the capital has entered a long-standing Lancers Prince Dominik Radziwill. Intention to join the Grand Army of Napoleon expressed almost all students of Vilnius University and hundreds of citizens. In Minsk, solemnly met Marshal Davoust. In Mogilev Napoleon vowed Orthodox Bishop Barlaam. In Vitebsk held tragicomic story. Keys to the city of the French emperor gave the nobility deputation headed by a retired army brigadier and a former favorite of Catherine Count Khrapovitsky. His wife was standing all day on the doorstep, treating the officers and soldiers of the wine. Three days later, a graph from excessive joy, or from senile jealousy zvihnuvsya mad …
By August, the Grand Army took almost the entire Belarusian space, which is officially called the "liberation from the Russian yoke." Napoleon announced the restoration of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the capital Vilnius. Its territory consisted of Grodno, Vilna, Bialystok and Minsk provinces area, renamed departments. Military power in the principality belonged to the Governor-General, Civil — Provisional Government. Its structure was seven committees (food and shopping, police, finance, military, judicial and internal affairs, public education, and religion). Committees headed by well-known figures in the region: the former Lithuanian leader Stanislav Soltan, Count Joseph Sierakowski, Prince Alexander Sapieha, Rector of Vilnius University Ian Snyadetsky.
To maintain order in the country formed the National Guard troops and gendarmerie, and then began the creation of the armed forces of the principality. Volunteers were nobles in the Imperial Guard Cavalry Regiment. Successfully operated a squadron of scouts from the Belarusian Tatars.
Some historians it is believed that in the event of political bargaining with Russia Bonaparte had the intention to create a Prydvinni Dnieper and another under his control state called Belarus.
However, the real revival of our country was interested enough to rule Europe. He used the patriotic sentiments for their own purposes. Let us call things by these names: The interim government was a puppet. He did not had the right to make decisions without the consent of the Commissioner and the French should do first of all collected taxes for the Grand Army. With the promise of statehood emperor demanded a hundred thousand army and vast supplies of fodder and food. In August, he signed a decree according to which our province had to 528,000 tons of grain, 100,000 tons of oats and 53,000 cows. This threatened the country's famine.
Public attitudes have changed. With the Provisional Government released a recent ardent Bonapartist Alexander Sapieha, who often performed personal errands French emperor. Not waiting for the abolition of serfdom, and rekvizytsyyav and looting, the peasants took up scythes and axes …
Further events are well known.
Litvinsky shelves, in which there were 25 thousand of our compatriots who fought together with the Great retreating army through Poland and Germany into France. Killed and captured, they lost the vast majority of soldiers and officers. They died not for their own interests. For someone else's Fatherland died and tens of thousands of Lithuanians who had served time in the Russian army. At the beginning of the war there were 130,000. Brothers forced to fight with his brothers, and that the civil war had traits.
The Provisional Government of the Principality left home. Four of its meeting held in Warsaw, eight — in Krakow, three — in Dresden. There, in July 1813, "ministers" gathered one last time.
But the idea of reviving the Grand Duchy died. She inspired the participants liberation uprisings of the XIX century, the Renaissance figures of our brothers Lutskevich …
And I'm under its influence, first arriving fifteen years ago in the United States, arriving safely in a card marked his native country as VKL. And two weeks back home not because I was deported.