When Russia and France Teamed Up to Invade India

In February 1801, more than 22,000 Cossacks led by Ataman Matvey Platov set off from the Don steppes on an unprecedented campaign through Central Asia and Afghanistan to India.

But thanks to the subsequent efforts of Alexander I to blacken the name of his father, the thwarted Indian campaign has gone down in history as a utopian escapade concocted by the mentally unbalanced Paul.

Many details of the expedition were deliberately consigned to oblivion. Not everyone knows, for instance, that the Cossack campaign was only a small part of a proposed Russian-French invasion of India schemed up by Napoleon Bonaparte himself.

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