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At the time Napoleon's 60 thousand soldiers were crossing the Russian border in June of 1812, Moscow had a significant French community - home teachers, actors, University Professors, clothes designers. Some of them came here running away from the French Revolution, others had been attracted by a great business opportunities. In the last days before the Great Army invasion to the city the local French had a choice - to leave with the majority of Russians to the eastern provinces or to surrender to the mercy of their homeland's ruler.
The locals who stayed were drafted by Napoleon to his "city service" - worked in police, tried to supply the army with food and played in the new theater, opened by Napoleon to cheer his soldiers up.
About a month later, after Napoleon's tough decision to leave the stubborn Russia, they faced the difficult choice once more: to go with the French army back to France (icy waters of the Berezina would become the final point for the most of them) or to stay in Moscow waiting for the government's revenge for their collaboration with the enemy.