The article raises the problem of the relationship between the population of Lithuania and the Napoleonic administration, as well as between the national, cultural, social and confessional communities in this territory in 1812. The author comes to the conclusion that intercultural harmony between the ranks of the Great Army and the local population of Lithuania, in perspective which by the beginning of war was believed by both the Napoleonic leadership and a part of the patriotic population of Lithuania, was ultimately impossible. The coming of Napoleon in Lithuania gradually began to be perceived increasingly as an enemy occupation. The events in Vilno in 1812 are an example of how difficult it is for the northwestern and south-western regions of the Russian Empire at the beginning of the nineteenth century unambiguously assess the situation using such semantic categories as "liberation" or "occupation". The general course of Alexander I's policy towards Lithuania turned out to be more productive in the short term than the policy of Napoleon.