Russian Empress Elizaveta Petrovna: biography, years of government, foreign and domestic policy, achievements and interesting facts
From 1741 to 1761, the Russian empire was ruled by Empress Elizaveta Petrovna. She was the daughter of Peter the Great and his wife Catherine I. Until now, historians have debated the role of Elizabeth in the history of the Russian state. Our article will tell about the politics and personal life of the famous ruler.
Childhood and youth
Empress Elizabeth Petrovna was born even before the marriage between her parents. They called the girl by name, which the Romanov dynasty had never used before. Elizabeth is a Hebrew name that translates as "worshiping God." Peter the First especially loved this name.So previously called, oddly enough, his dog.
Historians have established the exact years of the life of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna. The ruler was born on December 18, 1709 in the Moscow suburb of Kolomenskoye, and she died on December 25, 1761 in St. Petersburg. She lived autocrat about 52 years.
In 1709 Peter the Great won the battle of Poltava. At the same time came the news of the birth of his child. "We will postpone the festival and hasten to congratulate my daughter on coming to this world!" cried the king. Peter Alekseevich Romanov and his wife Catherine entered into marriage only two years after the birth of their daughter - in 1711.
In the beauty and luxury of the future empress passed childhood. Elizaveta Petrovna, even in her early years, had an excellent taste in clothes, and was also distinguished by extraordinary plasticity and ease of movement. Contemporaries noted that the girl could be beautiful if it were not for a crooked nose and bright red hair.
The proper education of the young Lisa has not received. Her only Jewish teacher taught the girl French and calligraphy. The rest of the discipline passed by the future empress. Elizaveta Petrovna did not even know that Great Britain is an island. Biographers have argued that the girl was extravagant, strange and extremely unorganized.She was nervous because of trifles and swore at the courtiers. At the same time, Elizabeth was incredibly hospitable and amiable with her friends.
Rise to power
Catherine I in 1727 made a will, according to which her daughter Elizabeth received the rights to the throne after the reign of Peter II and Anna Petrovna. In 1730, the reigning emperor Peter Petrovich died, and everyone forgot about the testament of his mother. Instead of Elizabeth, the throne was occupied by the niece of Peter the Great, Anna Ivanovna. She ruled for 10 years - from 1730 to 1740. All this time, Peter's daughter was in disgrace. She rarely visited the palace, paid for her cousins on her own, and wore, as historians say, extremely nasty dresses.
During the reign of Empress Anna there was a major opposition. There were many dissatisfied with the current ruler, and most of them pinned their hopes on Peter's daughter. In 1740, Anna Ivanovna died, and Anna Leopoldovna, the great-niece of Peter I, took her place. Infant Ivan VI became the official ruler. Taking advantage of the moment, Elizabeth raised the Preobrazhensky regiment behind her.
Anna Leopoldovna and Ivan VI were imprisoned in a dungeon, and their followers (Minich, Ostermans and other surnames) were exiled to Siberia.
The government biography of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna begins scandalously and vividly. The new autocracy absorbed all the best qualities of her father: stubbornness, courage and patience. This was noted by both domestic and foreign historians. It was Elizabeth who marked the beginning of the famous era, called the "palace coups".
Father policy continuation
From 1721 to 1741, the Russian Empire was under the auspices of rather strange, sometimes even odious individuals. Catherine I, the wife of Peter the Great, was a woman uneducated. All the time of her rule, Alexander Menshikov stood at the helm. This continued under Peter II, the young and sickly emperor.
In 1730, Anna Ivanovna came to power (in the photo below).
A woman she was brave, but not capable of normal rule. Her entire biography was marked by rather strange, sometimes terrible events. Anna's behavior did not match her status. She easily dealt with the hated ministers, loved to arrange sudden festivals and did not particularly care about her people. Anna Leopoldovna, who came to power, did not have time to prove herself at all.She was only a regent under Prince John VI, who in 1740 was still a baby. The country was then flooded with German ministers.
Realizing all the horrors of the current situation in the empire, Elizabeth decided to act directly. She seized power and several times proclaimed that she would act like her father. The ruler, I must say, did not lie.
When studying the biography of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, it becomes clear how much the daughter of the famous ruler absorbed her father's features. In the first years, the autocrat restored the Senate, the Chief Magistrate and a number of important colleges. The Cabinet of Ministers, approved by Anna Ivanovna, was liquidated.
During the Seven Years' War, Elizabeth created a special body standing over the Senate. It was called the Conference at the highest court. The body was attended by military and diplomatic representatives summoned directly by the empress. Its development has received the Secret Office - the body of investigation and the court.
An analysis of the brief biography of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna cannot be carried out without taking into account the reforms being carried out.It is known that in 1744 a decree was passed prohibiting fast travel around the city. Fines for public language were levied. All these little things vividly illustrate how Elizabeth "put things in order" after a revelry arranged by previous rulers.
In the 40s of the XVIII century, the second census was held. Such a clever step allowed the empress to analyze the state of society in the country, to understand in which particular directions to move.
Significant role in the 50-60-ies. The XVIII century was played by the chief executive Peter Shuvalov (pictured above). During the reign of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, he carried out a number of serious reforms in the customs sphere. A decree was signed to abolish internal border charges. As a result - a significant revival of interregional trade relations. At the same time, the first Russian banks appeared: Merchants, Medny and Dvoryansky. They issued loans and controlled the state of the country's economy.
Like the previous rulers, Elizaveta Petrovna continued the line of expanding nobility rights. In 1746, a significant event took place that for many years determined the state of the Russian state: the nobles received the right of ownership of the peasants and the land.After 14 years, landowners were able to send peasants to Siberia for settlement.
The peasants, in contrast to the nobility, in their rights have become limited. They could no longer conduct cash transactions without the permission of their masters. In 1755, factory workers were assigned as permanent workers in the Urals industrial enterprises.
The biggest event was the complete abolition of the death penalty. There is a case when landowner Natalya Lopukhina wanted to wheel for the public humiliation of Elizaveta Petrovna. The Russian empress, however, had mercy, and replaced the death penalty with a link to Siberia. At the same time, Lopukhina was beaten with a whip and lost her tongue.
The situation in the regions
Liberalization during the years of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna was not manifested in everything. The practice of corporal punishment in the army and peasant environment became widespread. A commander or landowner could severely beat his subordinates without fear of consequences. Formally, the peasants could not be killed, but there were a great many cases of beatings to death throughout the country. It is extremely rare for landowners to be punished for harming their peasants.This is due to the fact that the nobles were the only effective managers in the field. They kept order, recruited and engaged in taxation.
In the years of the life of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, the rise of feminism began. The role of women in society has increased markedly. Increasingly, landowners began to enter the estate management business. It was under Elizabeth that one of the most terrible stories happened during the whole period of serfdom existence. For six years, the Russian landowner Darya Saltykova tormented and cruelly killed her own peasants. Due to corruption and ineffective work of law enforcement agencies, the incident became known only at the time when the sadist killed about 80 people.
Local authority was frankly weak. There was a lack of personnel in the regions and finances in the treasury. This led to crises in some provinces and even the rise of crime. Often the authorities themselves acted with the villains at the same time.
Elizabeth Petrovna’s domestic politics cannot be called weak. On the one hand, it was strikingly different from the chaotic movement, which marked the reign of previous empresses.On the other hand, Elizabeth in no way walked along with her father. Peter's rule was progressive, but stability was established with his daughter. Major political reforms, shocking liberal steps and, in general, the growth of the authority of the government were interspersed with stagnation on the ground, restriction of the rights of the majority of the people and the rise of absolutism. But there was something absolutely beautiful under Elizabeth, perhaps covering all the shortcomings of the era. This is a culture.
The arrival of the Enlightenment in Russia is directly connected with the rule of Elizabeth. A start was made in 1744 - then a decree was issued to expand the network of primary schools. Opened the first school in Kazan and Moscow. In a number of cities of the empire military schools were reorganized. Finally, in 1755, the famous Moscow University was founded. The initiative was proposed by the favorite of the Empress, Peter Shuvalov's brother Ivan Ivanovich Shuvalov (in the photo below to the right).
Two years later, the first Academy of Arts in Russia appeared.
Broad support was provided to representatives of Russian culture and science. Thanks largely to the empress, Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov became known.Thanks to the research of Dmitry Ivanovich Vinogradov, the first Porcelain factory in the country appeared in St. Petersburg, specializing in the creation of porcelain.
Huge finances were allocated for the arrangement of royal residences. The court architect Rastrelli built the Winter Palace - the main residence of all subsequent monarchs. The architecture in Petergof, Strelna, Tsarskoye and Ekaterininskoe Selo underwent a thorough modernization. The style of Rastrelli received the name of Elizabethan baroque in culture.
In 1756, Elizabeth signed a decree on transportation from Yaroslavl to the capital of the troupe Fyodor Volkov. The provincial actor was created, in fact, the first real theater in the country. He became known as "imperial".
The photo below shows the ceremonial idealized portrait of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna by Charles van Loo.
Seven years war
From 1756 to 1763 there was a war for the colonies between France and England. Two coalitions took part in the clash: France with Spain, Sweden, Saxony, Russia and Austria, and also England with Prussia and Portugal. In 1756, Russia declares war on Prussia.The Prussian emperor Frederick II defeats the troops of Austria and France, and then goes to Russia. Russian commanders Apraksin and Rumyantsev lead their troops straight to the enemy country. In the battle of Gross-Egersdorf the Prussian army loses 8 thousand people. Apraksin did not dare to persecute, which greatly enraged Elizabeth.
In 1758, the Russian army is headed by General Fermor. At first, his actions were successful: in the captured Königsberg, the local population even swore to the empress. But later a battle took place near the village of Zorsdorf. It was bloody and did not bring victory to either side. Fermor was forced to leave command.
The army of Frederick II was destroyed only in 1759. Then the 60-thousand Russian army gave a general battle near Kunersdorf. In 1760, the capture of Berlin took place, but not for long. Part of the land seized during the Seven Years War, were returned after the death of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna. The reason for this is simple: Peter III, who came to power, was not very smart, and he was also an obsessive fan of Prussian culture. The enemy, however, perceived the death of the Russian empress as a real miracle.
An analysis of the brief biography of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna gives sufficiently accurate information about the foreign policy pursued. In just 20 years of rule, two major wars happened: with Prussia (Seven-Year) and with Sweden. Russian-Swedish war began immediately with the accession of Elizabeth to the throne.
In 1740, the Prussian king Frederick II decided to seize Silesia, the territory belonging to Austria. In order not to intervene in the conflict, Elizaveta Petrovna, French diplomacy, in alliance with Prussia, decides to divert Russia's attention from European affairs. She confronts Russia with Sweden.
Russian troops commanded by General Lassi. He defeated the Swedes on Finnish territory, where he later settled. According to the Abos peace treaty of 1743, the war was over. Russia agreed to limit its territorial claims, but only if the Swedish throne was taken by Prince Holstein, Frederick, a great-uncle of the Russian heir of Peter III.
One of the articles of the peace treaty confirmed the Nishtadt Peace of 1721, concluded by Peter the Great. The parties agreed to live in perpetual peace, and the Kyumenegorsk province and part of the shores of the Gulf of Finland departed to Russia.
The ruler died on December 25, 1761.The cause of death of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna has not been established yet. According to the assurances of her contemporaries, suddenly a 52-year-old queen began throat bleeding. In the last years of her life, Peter's daughter was sick a lot. The torment was caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, namely endless night festivities, junk food and unwillingness to listen to doctors.
Before her death, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna was very angry, fell into depression, hid from people and canceled masquerades. Probably, the autocrat suspected of approaching her demise. For a long time she thought about the transfer of power, but she did not make a normal will.
Empress Elizabeth Petrovna did not have children. It was rumored that the dissolute ruler gave birth to a son from Alexey Razumovsky, as well as a daughter from Ivan Shuvalov (pictured above). However, there is no documentary evidence of this information.
The husband of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna was also not known to anyone. Foreigners said that allegedly in her youth, Elizabeth entered into a church marriage with Razumovsky, the first lover and favorite of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna (see portrait below). Again, there is no evidence of this, and there was no point in a secret marriage at that time.
Elizabeth is an exact copy of her father, Peter the Great.Confident, courageous and tough, she was at the same time extravagant, frivolous and overly emotional. Despite the inconsistency of the policy, Elizabeth was able to give a new life to the political system of the empire.