MOSCOW, November 7. /TASS/. DNA tests in France have confirmed that the remains of Napoleon’s close friend General Charles Etienne Gudin were unearthed in the process of archeological excavation near Smolensk, the press-secretary of the Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Nataliya Ferapontova, told TASS on Thursday.
"It is true that the French side carried out DNA tests. They took some samples from us. Collagen has been preserved well enough, so they managed to identify the DNA. At the initiative of a descendant the family tomb was opened and comparison made. The analysis confirmed that the DNA from the remains found near Smolensk is identical to that of General Gudin's relative," Ferapontova said.
Simultaneously DNA tests were carried out at the Forensic Examinations Center of Russia’s Investigative Committee. Its specialists managed to extract the DNA, too.
The remains may be reburied at the Hotel des Invalides or in front of the Elysee Palace in Paris, the president of the Foundation for the Development of Russian-French Historical Initiatives, Pierre Malinowsky, told TASS on Thursday.
In July 2019, General Gudin’s direct descendant, Alberic d’Orleans, informed that he had asked the French authorities for reburying the remains of his ancestor at the Hotel des Invalides in Paris, which alongside museums contains a cemetery of senior military officers and Napoleon’s tomb.
"A place is ready for the reburial of the remains in Paris. Possibly, at the Hotel des Invalides or the Elysee Palace," he said.
Cesar Charles Etienne Gudin de la Sablonniere was born on February 13, 1768. He studied at the Brienne military school (France) together with Napoleon Bonaparte. During the Russian campaign of 1812 he was hit by a cannonball in the battle of Valutino near Smolensk and lost both legs. Gudin was evacuated to Smolensk, where he died a short while later. His grave was considered to have been lost.
Archeological excavation in Smolensk has been underway since May 2019 under the aegis of the Franco-Russian forum Trianon Dialogue, founded at the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron. The expedition’s organizers are the Foundation for the Development of Russian-French Historical Initiatives, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Russian Military-Historical Society.