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Nadezhda Durova (1783-1866), a Russian noblewoman, was an independent and self-reliant person, experiencing in the military in the context of the patriarchal imperial Russia where women should obey their husbands and confined to domesticity. While still an infant, Durova was unloved by her mother and was nurtured instead in her father’s regiment for a few years. From her childhood years on Durova was apathetic towards feminine activities such as sewing and knitting and was fervent in freedom and the military life. She disguised herself as a man and ran away from home in 1806 and joined a Cossack unit to escape from stifling domestic accomplishments. She was at the age of 23, already a mother to a boy at the time. It seems likely that patriotic devotion to serving the fatherland caused by the Napoleonic Wars was also another incentive for Durova to join the military. She joined the regular army a year later. For the next nine years she served in a few cavalry regiments, fighting through the Prussian campaign against Napoleon in 1807. She was awarded the St. Geroge Cross for bravery. She also took part in the War of 1812. Later Durova published her experiences in the Russian army in her memoir entitled The Cavalry Maiden. Durova called into question women's need for male protectors when she achieved a prominence in public life and served her country in the male military world. It seems likely that Durova renounced her sex altogether in the military. However she did not change her female identity completely in the army. She was aware of her gender identity as a woman while serving in the army in the guise of a young lad and sought to prove what contributions women could make to public life. In a nutshell, Durova was one of the most self-reliant figures in the patriarchal Russian society where noblewomen were bound legally to their husbands and fathers, and appeared helpless.