When Napoleon decided to invade Russia in 1812, why did he target Moscow instead of Saint Petersburg?
At the time, Saint Petersburg was the Capital of Russia, not Moscow (although Moscow may have had a higher population). If Napoleon moved on this capital, it may have forced the Russians to stand and fight instead of continuously retreating deeper into Russia.
Also, I think Napoleon's army might not have froze so much either on the way in or out, because they could stay close to the Baltic coast (the ocean has a mitigating effect on extreme temperatures; an example is Saint Petersburg which is warmer than Moscow throughout the year despite being farther north).
So why go to Moscow? Was he maybe planning on Moscow first and Saint Petersburg second? That seems like quite a lot to do in just half a year. I don't understand why target Moscow. The distance from Central Europe to Moscow seems about the same as the distance from Central Europe to Saint Petersburg.