A monument born from an encounter
Monument project in its final version (1997),
signed by sculptor Ivan Misco
The French monument of Bérézina in September 1995
(photo by Ivan Minsko)
The initial plaque, seen here is currently on display in the grand staircase of the embassy
from France to Minsk.
June 6, 1993 - Borisov Museum.
C Jolif, Ambassador of France and M F. Beaucour
On the occasion of a study trip on the course of the Russian campaign in May-June 1993, Fernand Beaucour visited the site of the Passage de la Bérézina in the company of the French ambassador, Mr. Claude Jolif. A meeting was organized by the Belarusian authorities during which, addressing F Beaucour, the idea of a French monument was proposed by the director of the Borisov Historical Museum. F Beaucour writes : " It was in the circumstances of friendly relations that I was requested that the crossing of the Berezina by Napoleon and the Grande Armée be commemorated by the Center d'Études Napoléoniennes ". It was June 6, 1993.
The steps were taken with the Ministry of Culture and the local authorities of the Borisov district and on November 29, 1993, the Council of Ministers gave the green light for the erection of the French monument of Bérézina. The VITMAR company from Minsk is chosen for the construction, and the famous sculptor Ivan MISKO will be in charge of the artistic design of the monument.
" My project was to mark the military feat and the crossing of the Bérézina, an operation which had united at the same time, the intelligence, the genius and the courage of the man overcoming adversities, that is to say something quite different than a monument to the dead of the battle, but whose memory would not be forgotten "
"Napoleon at the Berezina" Levallois, CEN, 2004
A first location is chosen on the path crossing the Brili marsh, opposite the monuments of Stoudienka. The cost high creation of an access road leads to looking for a new location. This will be the elevated position on the Brili shore offering a remarkable point of view of the site of the passage, used by the Emperor to direct the fighting of November 28, 1812. A plot of 400 m2 is granted to CEN by the Kutusov collective farm.
Inauguration with twists and turns.
In September 1995, the monument was ready for the inauguration fixed for October 3, 1995. However, on September 23, Professor Fernand Beaucour was hospitalized at the Kaliningrad hospital where he participated in a conference on Kant: the inauguration was to be canceled, postponed to April 1996.
Presidential elections are taking place in Belarus at the end of winter 1996, and the monument is being re-examined by the new leaders. A few days before the inauguration, the decision falls: the plaque of the monument is no longer suitable. The monument can however be inaugurated without its plaque, which takes place on April 16.
A new plaque must be melted down: that of the current monument, the more sober text of which is accepted by the Belarusian authorities. The French monument can finally be inaugurated in its current form on November 16, 1997, in the presence of the French Ambassador, the Belarusian authorities and Professor Beaucour.
April 16, 1996- 1st Inauguration of the French monument erected by the Center for Napoleon Studies, the work of sculptor Ivan Misko.
SE C. Jolif, Ambassador of France and F. Beaucour
The 1st version of the monument plaque