Russia and the Napoleonic Wars: 200 Years Later
This review considers the proceedings of an international conference held between 15 and 18 May 2014 in Mežotne (Latvia) and the issues discussed there. 25 scholars from Great Britain, Russia, France, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, the US, and Canada discussed the nature of the Napoleonic Empire and the international relations of the turn of the 19th century, the peculiarities of the internal processes taking place in Russia, the role of certain military and government officials during the era, relations between the local population of the occupied territories and the occupational authorities, and propaganda and the representation of victories, as well as communicative and cultural memory. The participants pointed out considerable changes in the historical interpretation of the Napoleonic wars, which have manifested themselves both through the retreat from traditional military and historical discourse and through new methodological approaches. A notable internalisation of research strategies has occurred: this can be observed not only in how Russian and Eastern European historians now familiarise themselves with the methodological achievements of the Western humanities, but also in how Western European and American scholars have started to actively use the works of their Eastern European peers and to enlarge their source bases by referring to Russian archives.
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