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Title: 1812: Russian intelligence in Paris (according to french archive documents)
Authors: Zemtsov, V.
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Routledge
Abstract: This article is devoted to the intelligence activities of the Russian Embassy in Paris on the eve of and at the beginning of the war between Russia and France in 1812. The author has introduced into scholarly circulation a large set of unpublished documents stored in France's National Archives and the Archive ofthe Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has come to the following conclusions. On the eve of and beginning of the War of1812 the Russian Embassy in Paris, led by the ‘brilliant' Prince A. B. Kurakin, played a very important role in the plan for Petersburg to obtain valuable information about the plans and operations ofthe adversary. Contrary to previous impressions, when the prince was depicted as a kind of ‘dummy' or, in the best case, a ‘cover' figure, convincing facts contained in French archive documents add a truly dramatic nuance to this historical personage. Possessing a political flair and extensive connections in Europe and the United States, Kurakin was able to quickly and precisely understand the true meaning of Napoleon's actions and words and to inform Petersburg about this in a timely fashion. The Russian Embassy in Paris was the main center for the collection and analysis of varied information that attested to the French leadership's sequential preparations for war against Russia. Despite the widespread opinion about the key role of Colonel A. I. Chernyshev in obtaining secret information about Napoleon's war machine, the true ‘resident' in Paris was, nevertheless, Kurakin. Moreover, Chernyshev's ill-conceived and reckless actions threatened the embassy's fulfillment of its intelligence functions. However, despite the emergence of serious problems associated with the disclosure of the ‘Chernyshev-Michel group', Kurakin continued to actively collect intelligence about both Napoleon's actions and plans and the domestic situation in France itself. Under conditions of the commencement of war between the two powers and his actually being a hostage, the prince did not cease his efforts to collect information and find methods for delivering it to the Russian leadership. © 2018 Taylor & Francis.
DOI: 10.1080/13518046.2018.1415268
Appears in Collections:Научные публикации, проиндексированные в Scopus и Web of Science

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