This famous composition recalls one of the thrilling early victories in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. After several years of escalating hostilities and stories of atrocities perpetrated against Orthodox Slavs in the Ottoman principality of Bulgaria, Russia declared war on Turkey on 24 April 1877. Influenced by the philosophy of Pan-Slavism, many patriotic Russians viewed it as their duty to aid their fellow Christian Slavs in Bosnia, Herzegovina and Bulgaria. On 15 June 1877, the first wave of the Russian Imperial Army constructed a bridge across the Danube and, almost unchallenged, liberated the Bulgarian city of Svishtov. Although Russia suffered heavy casualties, Ottoman forces were ultimately driven back to Constantinople; Romania, Serbia and Montenegro were freed from Ottoman rule, and Bulgaria was made an autonomous Russian protectorate. On this design, see N.R. Levinson and L.N. Goncharova, Russkaia khudozhestvennaia bronza, Moscow, 1958, p. 81; L.P. Shaposhnikova, Skulptura XVIII-nachalo XX veka, Leningrad, 1988, no. 652, pp. 93-94; and, G.W. Sudbury, Evgueni Alexandrovitch Lanceray, 1848-1886, Lausanne, 2006, pp. 63, 135-136.