Peter The Great

Peter The Great

Was the ruler of Russia, since 7 May/27 April 1682 until his death. He was a tall person, having a heigth of 2 metres, which was way above the average men heigth of that period. His true name was Piotr Veliki.

Peter The Great’s (Piotr Veliki) parents were Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich and Natalia Naryshkin. Tsar Alexei, nicknamed the Peaceful had from his first marriage to Maria Miloslavski 2 boys, Feodor and Ivan and 6 girls, and from his second marriage to Natalie, he had a son, Peter and 2 other girls. Feodor succeeded him to the throne Feodor, but for a little while because he died early on 7 May 1682.

Because Ivan, the oldest of the royal brothers, was rather poor in spirit and his body was rather feeble, Peter, aged just 10, was declared the future Tsar. Again for a brief period, as in the race for the throne entered the gossips and intrigues of the Miloslavski family who wanted Ivan as successor to the throne, despite his stinginess with which the nature endowed him.

An interesting detail: those who today see the double throne preserved at the Kremlin Museum can easily see the hole in the back of the chair, where regent Sofia, placed backwards from the eyes of the courtiers was dictating the two of them her will. Not after a long time, the young Peter was recorded by his draconian stepsister in a Moscow suburb called Preobrajenskoe. The care of his education was bored for a few years by a mediocre preceptor named Zotov, who used to teach him when he wanted and depending on his mood, meaning rarely and poorly.

As Piotr was not sick to caress his flesh, he was wasting a lot of time in gallant adventures, his mother marries him by force in 1689 with Evdokia Feodorovna Lapukin. That same year, Peter thwarts a plot skillfully planned by Sofia, then he arrives at the gates of Moscow with an ordered army and forces his sister to leave the throne. His mother, the Czarina was surrounded by hypocrite counselors and she governs until 1694 a country engulfed in chaos, corruption and scandals. At the age of 22 years old since his mother’s death, Peter finally becomes the absolute rulers of the destinies of Russia.

The ancient enmity between the Russian Orthodox people and the Turkish “pagans” became a state of war since the time of the regents and thus, it prompts the young Tsar to try to conquest the Azov Sea, in possession of the Turks then. The Don Cossacks and the Preobrajenski and Semionovski regiments went down on the Moscow and Volga river paths, accompanied by Peter who is willingly garrisoned as a simple gunner. The inexperience of the troops, the absence of a proper fleet, as well as the betrayal of German engineer Jansen causes the failure of his first expedition

After he defies all his enemies from the inside, Peter manages to finally go to Europe, not before leaving some good substitutes and making himself a name which did not attract attention: Piotr Mihailov. Hidden among members of the Great Britan Embassy which included 270 subjects, Peter goes for a long road, having in mind to study the Western institutions and to negotiate alliances against their eternal enemies, the Turks.

In 1715, Peter will arrive in France. Upon seeing the tomb of Cardinal Richelieu and his imposing statue, the Tsar will be driven away by one of his lunatic impulses. He walks on the tombstone, embracing the Minister’s effigy and utters these memorable words: “Why haven’t you been born in my lifetime? I would have given you half of my kingdom just to teach me how to govern the other half.”

Russia, allied with Denmark and Poland entered the war with Sweden’s Charles XII in 1700. With five decades before, the vigorous Nordic state conquered the Russian territories from the Baltic Sea, and now Peter thought to be able to wash the affront. His mission however was not that easy because the young Charles proves himself a brilliant strategist and becomes Piotr’s greatest enemy. In the battle of Narva, Charles, in front of 8.000 Swedish soldiers manages to defeat an army consisting of 80.000 Russians.

Tolerant to all other Western Christian denominations, Peter has just expelled the Jesuits who were proselytizing. In 1702, the women were allowed to take part in the meetings of the society, engagement became mandatory six weeks before marriage, being beaten with a rod was banned and the right to kill an adulterous wife was taken away from men. A year later, the first Russian newspaper appeared in Moscow, “Moskovskie novosti”, a 4 page news journal. They have also prepared arithmetic manuals and even a dictionary.

After the death of his two sons, Peter the Great has decided to ensure the regular succession to the throne and by the “ukaz” of 16 February 1722, he ensured the sovereign’s right to appoint his successor despite the principle of the first born.

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