Cafe Pushkin in Moscow
Uncle Styopa the Policeman

Alexander Nevsky (1220-1263)

Более 700 лет назад берега Невы (over 700 years ago), the banks of the Neva River, where Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg in 1703, was an empty and deserted place. But on July 15, 1240, звон мечей и грохот щитов разорвали вековую тишину (the clash of swords and shields broke the long silence of the place). And a raging battle took place on the ships.

Shortly before this day, Swedish ships, under the command of knight Birger a relative of the King of Sweden, landed on the marshy banks of the Neva River with a large army. The invaders were confident что победа достанется им легко (on the victory) as they knew they were taken advantage of the fact that the Russians were exhausted by the Mongol-Tatar yoke.

But suddenly, from out of the wood a small army of Russian soldiers rushed on them like a storm. It was дружина вольного города (the squad of the free city of Novgorod the Great) conducted by twenty-year-old Great Prince Alexander. The attack was so sudden and unexpected that the Swedish army was defeated.

За славную победу на Неве русский народ дал князю Александру прозвище Невский (for that glorious victory on the Neva River, he received the sobriquet of Prince Alexander Nevsky).

Two years later, German Knights invaded the Russian land. Wherever they appeared, they left behind them a desolate landscape, smoking ruins and dead bodies.

Prince Alexander and his army met their enemies on April 5, 1242 on the frozen Lake Peipus and defeated them during Ледовое побоище (the Battle of the Ice).

Clad in armours and rich helmets, riding fiercely, the Crusaders were a formidable fighting force. But when the German Knights broke into the ranks of the Russian soldiers, the young Prince Alexander Nevsky with his men hit them from the rear. Крестоносцам трудно было развернуть коней (it was difficult for the Crusaders to deploy their horses): heavy weapons made them clumsy and slow, and they fell under the blows of the Russians. Весенний лёд стал трескаться, и многие крестоносцы пошли под воду (the uncertain Spring ice of the lake was cracking, and many Crusaders went under water). The Russian army had won once again over the invaders.

Alexander Nevsky was not only a famous general, but a wise, far-sighted ruler. The policy he conducted among the Mongol-Tatar Empire allowed the Russians to gradually build up strength and eventually get rid of their enemies.

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The Order of Alexander Nevsky was established on July 29, 1942 and awarded to the Red Army commanders who displayed personal bravery in fighting for their country in WWII.