Napoleon’s conqueror, a children’s idol and the icon of Russian cultural revolution are the heroes of tonight’s Historama.
Russians take Paris
Tsar Alexander I triumphantly marched into Paris with a coalition army today in 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate.
Alexander was determined to take Paris, just as Napoleon had taken Moscow during his failed invasion of Russia.
Coalition forces from Austria, Prussia and Russia had entered France earlier in the year and Napoleon’s battle-worn army was unable to hold the capital.
This was the first time foreign troops had been able to reach Paris in nearly 400 years.
From lawyer to key figure in Russian art
Patron of the arts Sergey Diagilev was born today in 1872.
Although trained as a lawyer, he was a key figure in the cultural life of Russia in the early 20th century.
He founded the influential group of painters “Mir Iskusstva” (“World of Art”) and in 1919 set up his own ballet company. Both gained wide popularity in Europe.
In 1907, he launched “Russian Seasons,” an annual showcase of Russian fine art, music, theater and ballet in France and Britain.
Diaghilev died in 1929 in Venice. A monument to him is to be erected opposite the Grand Opera in Paris.
Much-loved children’s writer supports dissidents
Literary critic and children’s poet Korney Chukovsky was born on this day in 1882.
Chukovsky is the creator of many characters loved by several generations of Soviet and Russian kids.
Among his creations were Dr. Aibolit (literally “Dr. Ouch-it-hurts”), Mukha-Tsokotukha (“Clattering Fly”), and Tarakanishche (“Giant Roach”).
And every Russian knows Moydodyr (“Wash-’em-clean”), a magical bathroom sink that even today haunts children who do not wash.
Chukovsky openly supported dissident authors and was the only Soviet writer to congratulate Boris Pasternak on winning the Nobel Prize.
Soviet satellite sets off to 60-day friendship with Moon
Today in 1966, the Soviet Union introduced the moon to a manmade friend.
It launched its Luna 10 satellite – the first device to orbit the moon.
Unfortunately, the friendship was short lived. The satellite only had a battery life of 60 days.
In that time, however, it did some important work, like broadcasting the Communist anthem to the party congress.