And we now have the introduction of the Russian ambassador to the Austrians, Bilibin.  (Who I’ve now given his own strand on the MindMap, because from memory, I think he pops up a bit in the future – it’s hard to remember sometimes.)

Bilibin’s character doesn’t contribute much to the overall story, but he does give us the bird’s eye view of all the politics and what is going on.  Now we understand the reason for Andrei’s cold reception by the Austrians.  After weeks of losing, who wants to hear that it was the Russians that got the first victory?  Especially one that cost an Austrian general?

And, in a particularly unpleasant twist (at least for a Russian), the Austrians are so sick of losing, that they’re planning to make a secret peace treaty with the French to stop the fighting – meaning they pulled Russia into the war, and are now leaving them to their own devices.

It seems that Andrei, in his efforts to escape the shallowness and artificiality of the Russian aristocracy, has found a whole new layer of this floating around in the crown heads of Russia . . .


2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 2.10 – Bilibin’s Briefing

  1. Yes, yes – how true! We see here what amounts really to pettiness in Bilibin’s resentment of Russia’s victory – a conversation that reminds us that military heads and diplomats are really not all that different from kids in the schoolyard. Not that the Russian victory was really all that great in the broader scheme of things, either. But neither man can understand, or allow themselves to respect, the other. And they’re on the same side! In any event, Andrei’s view of his heroism is now well and truly relegated to his dreams.

  2. The next time I have a look at the Russian film on You Tube, I’m going to make a point of looking for the actor playing Bilibin . . . he’s a fascinating character – he’s almost like a . . . oh, I dunno’ – what do you call them? The cynics . . . the ones that keep an ongoing report going at all times – you know Paul Winfield? The guy that does those documentaries – he’s got this really interesting way of telling small town crime stories – well, that’s how I see Bilibin.

    Matt, your Mind Map’s coming along nicely. I’m still working on my ‘Character List’ . . .

    I’m adding the following to my count of 179 . . .

    Archduke Karl –

    Mack loses a whole army, the Archduke Ferdinand and the Archduke Karl give no signs of life and make blunder after blunder.

    Auersperg – Prince Auersperg –

    What of the bridge and its celebrated bridgehead and Prince Auersperg?

    Bilibin –

    Prince Andrew stayed at Brunn with Bilibin, a Russian acquaintance of his in the diplomatic service.

    Franz –

    “Franz, put the prince’s things in my bedroom,” said he to the servant who was ushering Bolkonski in.

    Lichtenfels – Count Lichtenfels –

    “Count Lichtenfels was here this morning,” Bilibin continued, “and showed me a letter in which the parade of the French in Vienna was fully described: Prince Murat et tout le tremblement… You see that your victory is not a matter for great rejoicing and that you can’t be received as a savior.”

    Murat – Prince Murat –

    See above

    Vrbna –

    “Not only occupied, but Bonaparte is at Schonbrunn, and the count, our dear Count Vrbna, goes to him for orders.”


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