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Platov, Matvei Ivanovich
Born Aug. 6 (17), 1751, in the stanitsa (large cossack village) of Starocherkasskaia, now in Aksai Raion, Rostov Oblast; died Jan. 3 (15), 1818, in Novocherkassk. Host ataman of the Don Cossack Host (from 1801); general of the cavalry (from 1809); count (from 1812). Son of a host starshina (cossack senior officer).
Platov entered the service at the age of 13. He fought in the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74, was promoted to officer by Commander in Chief V. M. Dolgorukov, and commanded a troop (sotnia) and from 1771 a regiment. In 1775, Platov participated in the suppression of the Peasant War led by E. I. Pugachev. He served under A. V. Suvorov’s command in the Kuban’ and the Crimea in 1782–83. In the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–91, Platov participated in the capture of Ochakov in 1788 and in the storm of Izmail in 1790 as commander of a column and then of an entire left wing. He was appointed campaign ataman of the Don Host in 1788. In 1797, Platov was suspected by Pavel I of participating in a conspiracy, was exiled to Kostroma, and then incarcerated in the Peter and Paul Fortress. In January 1801 he was released and appointed chief assistant to the host ataman of the Don Host and soon after became host ataman. He fought in the war with France in 1806–07 and with Turkey from 1807 to 1809.
In the Patriotic War of 1812, Platov successfully commanded the Don Cossack Corps. His bold and decisive actions contributed to the defeat of Napoleon’s forces, and he won popularity as a hero of the War of 1812. He fought in the campaigns of 1813–14. In 1814, Platov accompanied Alexander I on a trip to Great Britain, where he was received ceremonially and given an honorary doctorate by Oxford University. A monument to Platov by P. K. Klodt was erected in Novocherkassk.