The article, based on materials from Russian and foreign archives, highlights the activities of the Smolensk municipality during the Napoleonic occupation of 1812. The author comes to the conclusion that with the opening of military operations the command of the Great Army proceeded from the possibility of creating an effective administration of Russian officials in the occupied territories, which would facilitate the establishment of close contact with the local population. However, the Smolensk municipality, which arose as a result of the initiative of the invading army command, immediately encountered a sharp aggravation in the conditions of war and occupation of social contradictions within Russian society. There was an increase in peasant demonstrations against the landowners. In turn, those noblemen who found themselves in commissarial positions in the occupation administration, actively began to clash with each other. Contradictions and friction of a social and interpersonal nature also manifested themselves in the course of the activities of the Investigative Commission, when a number of people under investigation for unknown reasons were released, while some of the suspects who did not even enter the municipality, on the contrary, were severely punished. In any case, the activities of the "Russian" administration created by the French command in occupied Smolensk proved to be far less effective than commandment of the Great Army counted on.