General Alexander Suvorov (1729-1800) is to Russians what Admiral Nelson is to Britons. Born a nobleman, Suvorov never lost a battle in his long military career. He is best remembered for his victories in the Russo-Turkish war of 1787-92, and against French revolutionary armies in Italy in 1799. His army achieved a spectacular retreat across the Alps, for which feat he is known as "Russia's Hannibal".
Suvorov was a favourite of Empress Catherine the Great, but was not much liked by her son and successor Paul. As a result, Suvorov died relatively unsung, and his reputation was only rehabilitated much later in Russia, on the 100th anniversary of his death in 1900. This was the year in which the Suvorov Museum in St Petersburg, to which Nabokov refers, was opened.