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The French and the Russians take turns to attack each other. After the capture of Moscow by Napoleon and the establishment of his authority in the state, it is believed that the Russians have owned defeat and taken a back seat. Napoleon is happy living in luxury in the beautiful Russian city and his soldiers get accustomed to leading a life of sloth and debauchery. The French emperor issues proclamations to the Russian inhabitants, assuring them of protection to their lives and security to their property. He also urges them to continue with their normal activities and gives incentives for encouraging them to do so. However, Moscow lies shattered and its people live under fear. The residents avoid indulging in their normal routine, as the enemy soldiers continue to plunder the city and cause misery to them.
Napoleonís words are not taken seriously by the people, but the Russian soldiers are sincere in taking revenge on their enemy. The Russian commanders posted at Tarutino grow restless waiting for orders from the high command. The Tsar is also eager to attack the French and give them a befitting reply. Kutuzov does not share their views. He decides to wait and watch. However, when the Tsar forces him to initiate action, he takes the help of Bagration to march ahead and apprehend the enemy. The French soldiers are caught unawares and feel helpless to retaliate. When the matter gets out of hand, Napoleon asks for peace but is refused his wish. Thus, the battle starts all over again.
Pierre had remained in Moscow as a prisoner for four weeks and hence, appears weak and shabby. Living in a dingy shed and eating coarse meals make him realize the value of life and freedom. The French officers are friendly towards him and treat him with respect. However, after Napoleonís retreat from the city, they turn hostile towards the Russian prisoners including Pierre. They become reckless in their attitude towards their enemy. As Pierre observes his fellow-prisoners being abused and abandoned, he fears the worst for himself. Surprisingly, he develops the moral strength to withstand pressure and remain calm.