The article is devoted to the history of the construction and opening in 1912-1913 monument to Napoleon's soldiers who fell on the Borodino field. On the basis of French archival documents, first introduced into scientific circulation, the author identifies the actions of governments and public structures of France and Russia, aimed at using the celebration of the anniversary of the war to strengthen the allied relations of the two countries. The documents show: the initiative to implement such a project came from the Russian side due to the fact that for the Russians the events of 1812 fit into the “memory-victory”, whereas for the French it was “memory-injury”. Finally, due to the difference in the forms of government and political regimes, as well as different models of interaction between state and public structures, the parties showed unequal readiness for “memorial reformatting”. However, a certain historical revenge for the defeat in the years 1812-1814 France has already taken in the course of the Crimean War, and at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries it was worried about a more recent injury, namely the injury of the Franco-Prussian war. The French have long regarded the defeat of the Great Army in Russia as a heroic tragedy, which makes it a great honor not even to the one who won, but to the one who lost, especially since the battle of the Moscow River was always regarded by the French as a de facto absolute victory.