The Kutuzov exhibition
Above is a picture of the Soviet "Order of Kutuzov" For portrait
of Marshal Kutuzov see here.
The origin of this special exhibition is an interesting story in itself. It
starts during the campaign to drive Napoleon off the French throne. In 1813,
while leading the Russian army in Silesia, Marshal Kutuzov met in military
council in Hainau, Silesia with Emperor Alexander I and Prussian King Frederick
William III. He departed for the front. Arriving on 6 April in Buntslau, he
fell ill. He stopped at a local house whose proprietor was the Prussian Major
van der Mark. Emperor Alexander ordered Prince P. M. Volkonski to remain to
supervise care for Kutuzov while he and the others continued on to Dresden.
Despite the doctor's efforts after ten days Kutuzov died.
Immediately funds were collected from officers to build a memorial monument to
the field marshal. F. Bem was the artist commissioned to create it. On 13 May
1813, the French troops led by Napoleon returned to Buntslau and destroyed the
memorial. After the second liberation the allied commander, Lt Gen F. Voster
Saken on 23 June 1814 gave Bem 32 duckets to restore the memorial. Kutuzov's
daughter arrived on 27 June. She paid her respects at the house and gave 24
duckets for the memorial. The commemoration ceremony was held on 15 August
In 1819 the Prussian king decided to erect an oblisk in the city central
square. On 5 July 1819 the cornerstone for this memorial was laid. In 1821 a
wrought iron, 60 ton obelisk, 11 meters 65 cm high was placed in the central
square. In 1893 this was moved closer to the house in which Kutuzov had died.
Meanwhile the Prussian king had also placed an embargo on the house and its
remaining contents that had belonged to Kutuzov, declaring it would be a
In May 1913 the Russian General Staff in St.Petersburg approved a memorial
plate to be hung on the house. On 8 October the Vice Chairman of the Moscow
1812 committee, Colonel Goncharov, asked to buy the house and build a chapel
and museum to be run by the Imperial Military Historical Society. And thus the
situation remained until the closing days of World War II.
In February 1945 the troops of the First Ukrainian Front commanded by Marshal
of the Soviet Union I. S. Konyev, occupied Silesia, capturing Liepzig and other
main towns. On 11 February Colonel D. A. Dragunski's 55th Guards Tank Brigade
besieged Buntslau. The city's German garrison resisted with artillery and tanks
but was eventually driven back. With the city on fire and the population
fleeing Colonel Dragunski sent a detachement of the 4th Motorised
Reconnaissance unit into the town center. The soldiers came upon a Russian
soldier who showed them this unusual monument with Russian and German
inscriptions to the immortal Kutuzov. They asked what such a monument to their
national hero was doing in this unusual place and no one knew. On 12 February
the city was captured. Eight units and 134 service men were awarded the Order
of Kutuzov as a result of their actions.
At about this time Russian officers were led to the house near the monument and
showed the place where Kutuzov had died. Using a piece of coal a Russian
officer marked on the wall what the building meant. This was soon replaced by a
painted sign. News that the house where Kutuzov had died quickly spread through
the Russian forces. Colonel General Ribalko, commander of the Third Guards Tank
Army, quickly arrived and was given a guided tour by the German teacher who
told him of the life of the Russian leader. Colonel Dragunski asked why did the
Germans leave this building standing and the teacher replied that he should
understand that for the German people Kutuzov was a liberator who had freed
them from Napoleon. The Russian generals were told that Buntslau is proud that
the Russian leader found his final resting place there.
The Russian city commandant took all measures to protect the building. The
Sovnarkom decided to have a museum in Buntslau. By order of Marshal Konyev a
13-man commission led by Captain Tishchenko was directed to help return the
clavicord and chair and original items that had been looted from the house.
Many original artifacts were saved by Weber. During World War II the property
had remained under the protection originally decreed by Frederick William to
preserve the belongings of Marshal Kutusov.
The museum was reopened on 28 April, 1945.
When the Russian army withdrew from Poland, in which Buntslau is now located
the contents of the museum were transfered to St. Petersburg. The special
exhibition was opened in the Museum of Artillery, Engineers, and Signal Troops
on 24 June, 1992. To view some of the exhibits at the museum please go to
1745 - September 5, Mikhail Ilarionovich born in St Petersburg
1757 - Enters Engineering School in St Petersburg
1760 - Teaching mathematics at Engineer School with rank of quartermaster
1761 - Commissioned
1762 - Captain and Company commnader of Astrakhan Infantry Regiment commanded
1764 - Transfered to field army in Poland
1764 - 8 August - in battle against Prince Radziwill in Poland
1768 - Served again in Poland
1770 - Major, acting senior quartermaster in corps of Count P. A. Rumyantsev,
in battles against Turks at Ryabaya Mogila, Larga and Kagul River
1772 - Promoted Lt Colonel, detached from Rumyantsev's army, begins service in
Crimea under V. M. Dolgorukov, Battle of Shumy wounded in action, evacuated to
St Petersburg and then tours Europe.
1776 - Again in Crimea serving under Suvorov.
1777 - Promoted Colonel
1782 - Promoted Brigadier
1784 - Promoted General Major
1788 - with Prince Potemkin's army at Ochakov, wounded in action again.
Participated in assault of Bender and Akkerman.
Serving in army of Suvorov as Major-general leading 6th assault column in
capture of Izmail fortress, Promoted Lt. General and awarded Order of St
1791 - Led corps at battle of Machin.
1792 - Again leading troops to suppress Poland.
1793 - Ambassador to Ottoman Empire at Constantinople.
1794 - Return to St Petersburg, as Lt. General was Principal of the Land Cadet
Corps and commander of troops in Finland.
1797 - Sent by Emperor Paul on diplomatic mission to Berlin.
1801 - Appointed by Alexander I as Military Governor of St Petersburg and
Infantry Inspector of Finnish Inspectorate.
1801 - Retired
1802 - In exile at Goroshki in Ukraine.
1805 - Command of Russian army in Bavaria.
1805 - December 2 - Austerlitz
1806 - Military governor of Kiev.
1808 - Assigned to army in Moldavia, then Governor-General of Lithuania at
1811 - Command army at Bucharest against Turks.
1811 - Wins victory at Slobodzeya, forces Turks to sign peace treaty in 1812.
1812 - July, organizing militia in St. Petersburg .
1812 - August 29, Kutuzov assumes command of Russian armies west of Moscow.
1812 - 7 September, Battle of Borodino.
1813 - April 28 Kutuzov dies at Bunzlau, Silesia.