The “court cases” of General Ye. F. Kern
This article focuses on the battle career of the Russian general, Ye. F. Kern, who dedicated sixty years to the service of the country. General Kern participated in most wars and military campaigns the Russian state was involved in in the last quarter of the 18th-the first quarter of the 19th centuries. Despite being a contemporary and often a companion-in-arms to outstanding Russian public and military officers, he could not secure a dominant position on the military Areopagus. Moreover, in the post-war period his life was scarred by tragedies. In the Russian culture, he became notorious because of his wife. Over the last two centuries, Ye. F. Kern has been described as a “rude” and “ignorant” person destroying the aspirations of a young, courtly, and educated woman towards noble ideals and sublime feelings. This article considers the features of provincial military life in the light of its hardships and routine aggravated by the peculiarities of bureaucracy typical of Russian peripheral centres of the time. The case of Ye. F. Kern helps understand how a Russian general, despite the vicissitudes of fate — battle injuries, career hardships, family discord, and lack of stability — managed to remain true to the once chosen direction in life — service of the country.
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