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Matvei Ivanovich Platov


Count, Ataman of the Don Cossacks, General of Cavalry, Doctor Honoris Causa (Law) of Oxford University

Matvei Ivanovich Platov was born on August 6 ( 17), 1751, in the Cossack village Starocherkasskaya (town of Cherkassk ) in the family of military sergeant Ivan Foydorovich Platov. From 1801 to 1818 he was Ataman of the Don Cossacks. At the age of 13 he began his military service. In 1772, at the age of 21, he began commanding a Don Cossacks regiment.  


In 1805 on Platov’s initiative the capital of the Don Cossacks was carried over from Cherkassk to a new location, known now as Novocherkassk. According to his plan Don Cossacks’ capital was to become a great cultural centre of the Don region. From the very start he showed a great concern for the development of the educational institutions in this town. As early as June 11, 1805, Novocherkassk boys' gymnasium (high school) was set up.

Later, a number of gymnasiums for girls were established as well as non-classical secondary school, military-feldsher’s school, military- vocational school , Ataman technical school, Anniversary school of trade-related Cossacks, Land survey secondary school, priesthood seminary and school of theology, music school. It is not surprising that later he was granted an honorable degree of Doctor of Law of Oxford University not only as the man who had achieved remarkable victories in battle, but also as the person who highly appreciated knowledge and cultural values.


During the Great Patriotic War in 1812 Platov commanded the Cossack regiments on the border and then a Cossack Corps consisting of 14 Cossack regiments (approximately 7000 sabres). He defeated the French at Mir (June 28) and Romanovka (July 2) – these were the first victories of the Russian Army in this war. After the battle at Saltanovka he covered General Bagration’s retreat to Smolensk, which made it possible for the two main Russian armies to join.


At the battle of Borodino (August 26, 1812) he led the famous flanking attack on the rear of the French left (northern) flank, which checked the advance of the enemy for two hours and its attack on the Russian central defense forces (the famous “battery”- the 7th corps of General N.N. Raevskiy).


Platov enjoyed enormous influence and love of all Don Cossacks. He encouraged Cossacks to join the people's volunteer corps and the number of the latter reached 22 thousand people. It was for his courage and military achievements in the war of 1812 that Matvei Platov received the title of Count.

In 1813-1814 foreign campaigns of the Russian army Platov commanded Cossack Corps. In the campaign of 1813 he distinguished himself in the battle of Altenburg, in the famous "Battle of the Nations" at Leipzig that foredoomed Napoleon defeat. In 1814 he fought at Nemyure, Arcis-sur-Aube, Cezanne, and Villeneuve.


M.I.Platov died in Novocherkassk on January 15, 1818, and was buried in a marble sarcophagus in the Lower Pokrovsky Church of Novocherkassk Ascension Cathedral. The townspeople cherish the memory of the founder of their city.


Atamans’Council of the Cossack Army Society "Great Don Army" will sum up the discussion of the Strategy of the development of Russian Cossacks till 2020. It’s focus is on the economic aspect of the Cossack communities and the creation of the All-Russian Cossack society.


During the meeting, the leaders of the University and Cossacks agreed to prepare the concept of continuing education for graduates of the cadet corps. Atamans’Council came up with an offer to request that the University is named after Matvei Platov.