Peter III of Russia

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800px Coronation Portrait Of Peter Iii Of Russia 1761 E1657382548366

Author: Robert Brockway

History
doesn’t
remember
Peter
III
of
Russia
fondly.
The
grandson
of
Peter
the
Great,
he’s
ridiculed
by
historians.
This
is
captured
effectively
by
the
1911
Encyclopedia
Britannica
that
had
this
to
say
about
him:

Nature
had
made
him
mean,
the
smallpox
had
made
him
hideous,
and
his
degraded
habits
made
him
loathsome.
And
Peter
had
all
the
sentiments
of
the
worst
kind
of
a
small
German
prince
of
the
time.
He
had
the
conviction
that
his
princeship
entitled
him
to
disregard
decency
and
the
feelings
of
others.
He
planned
brutal
practical
jokes,
in
which
blows
had
always
a
share.
His
most
manly
taste
did
not
rise
above
the
kind
of
military
interest
which
has
been
defined
as
“corporal’s
mania,”
the
passion
for
uniforms,
pipeclay,
buttons,
the
“tricks
of
parade
and
the
froth
of
discipline.”
He
detested
the
Russians,
and
surrounded
himself
with
Holsteiners.

That
historians
and
others
should
be
so
hostile
to
the
memory
of
Peter
III
and
laud
so
highly
the
Empress
that
followed
him,
Catherine,
tends
to
count
against
the
idea
of
The
Patriarchy.
Doubly
so
when
we
consider
that
Catherine
was
his
wife
and
that
she
deposed
him.
History
remembers
her
as

Catherine
the
Great
.
I
prefer
to
call
her
Catherine
the
Usurper.
In
the
end
Peter
was
on
the
throne
for
barely
six
months
thanks
to
the
actions
of
his
wife
and
others.

The
man
who
would
later
become
Peter
III,
Emperor
of
Russia,
was
born
in
1728
in
the
city
of
Kiel
in
what
is
now
Germany.
His
mother
died
soon
after
from
a
postpartum
infection
and
his
father
died
when
he
was
eleven.
He
was
descended
from
Swedish
and
Russian
royalty
and
was
now
a
duke
in
own
right.
In
1742,
when
he
was
14,
he
was
named
the
heir
presumptive
of
the
Russian
Empire
by
this
aunt
Empress
Elizabeth.
Soon
after
he
moved
to
Russia
where
he
lived
for
the
rest
of
his
life.
Not
long
after
moving
to
Russia
he
was
also
named
as
heir-presumptive
of
the
Swedish
throne
however
when
Swedish
authorities
discovered
that
he
was
also
the
heir
to
the
Russian
throne
the
offer
was
apparently
quietly
dropped.

In
1762
Empress
Elizabeth
died
and
Peter
ascended
to
the
throne.
One
of
his
first
acts
on
taking
the
throne
was
to
end
a
seven
year
long
war
with
Prussia.
He
ordered
Russians
to
leave
conquered
Prussian
land
and
provided
compensation
to
Prussia
He
then
went
on
to
form
an
alliance
with
Prussia.
So
much
for
warmongering
men.

Peter
then
embarked
on
an
ambitious
programme
of
reform.
In
his
186
days
on
the
throne
he
passed
220
laws.
He
was
able
to
maintain
this
prodigious
rate
as
he
had
been
preparing
his
legislative
agenda
over
his
20
years
as
the
heir
to
the
Russian
throne.

His
daily
routine
was
disciplined.
He
would
rise
at
7am,
receive
reports
on
the
state
of
the
empire
from
8-10am,
at
11am
he
would
oversee
the
changing
of
the
guard.
He
would
generally
take
lunch
at
1pm.
Sometimes
diplomats
or
Russians
from
across
the
class
spectrum
were
invited
to
lunch
with
him.

Peter
permitted
religious
freedom
among
his
subjects,
something
that
was
unusual
even
in
Western
Europe
at
the
time.
He
emphasised
and
encouraged
education
through
his
legislative
reforms.

Peter
went
on
to
abolish
the
Secret
Office
of
Investigation,
a
secret
police
force
used
principally
to
crush
dissent
against
the
state
and
the
emperor.

Peter
also
established
the
first
state
bank
in
Russia,
significantly
reduced
the
control
nobles
had
over
trade
and
encouraged
the
rise
of
a
merchant
class.
This
can
be
seen
today
as
economic
liberalisation
intended
to
promote
wealth
in
Russia.

Notably
Peter
released
nobles
from
compulsory
military
service.
These
same
nobles
were
to
assist
his
wife
in
deposing
him
months
later.

During
Peter’s
reign
the
killing
of
peasants
by
their
lords
was
abolished.
Henceforth
lords
that
killed
their
peasants
were
subject
to
exile.
One
female
landowner,
E.N.
Golshein-Bek,
was
reportedly
so
abusive
to
her
peasants
that
her
lands
were
taken
from
her.

While
Peter
has
often
been
criticised
for
speaking
little
Russian,
the
truth
is
that
French
was
the
language
of
the
Russian
court
and
the
Russian
royal
family
had
little
cause
to
speak
Russian
on
a
daily
basis.

Peter’s
predecessor,
Elizabeth,
had
seized
power
from
the
infant
emperor
Ivan
VI.
Elizabeth
had
Ivan
held
incommunicado
as
a
baby
and
forbade
him
receiving
an
education.
In
a
story
reminiscent
of

The
Man
in
the
Iron
Mask

Ivan’s
jailers
were
prohibited
from
even
knowing
his
identity.
When
Peter
came
to
the
throne
Ivan
was
21
and
still
rotting
in
prison.
Peter
visited
Ivan
and
there
is
some
indication
that
he
intended
to
improve
the
conditions
of
his
incarceration.

While
Catherine
usurped
her
husbands
power
she
did
so
with
the
support
of
the
nobility,
the
army
and
the
navy.
After
taking
power
Catherine
reversed
many
of
Peter’s
reforms
although
she
retained
those
that
benefitted
the
crown,
such
as
an
increased
right
to
seize
church
property.
Peter
died
in
captivity
but
it
isn’t
clear
whether
Catherine
had
a
hand
in
this
or
not.

Catherine
also
created
the
infamous

Pale
of
Settlement

in
which
Russian
Jews
were
required
to
reside.
Jews
in
the
army
could
leave
when
on
active
service
but
had
to
return
to
the
Pale
during
leave.
The
Pale
was
to
remain
in
place
until
the
fall
of
the
Russian
monarchy
in
1917.

After
he
died
a
number
of
pretenders
stepped
forward
claiming
to
be
Peter.
In
at
least
one
case
Catherine’s
forces
defeated
a
pretender
in
battle.

As
noted,
historians
have
little
good
to
say
about
Peter,
while
they
praise
Catherine.
Many
historians
have
uncritically
accepted
Catherine’s
version
of
events
and
of
her
husband.

Peter’s
attempts
at
liberalising
Russian
society
and
economy
paint
a
different
picture

of
a
monarch
trying
to
make
Russia
better
than
it
was.
In
doing
so
he
made
powerful
enemies
who
ultimately
removed
him
from
power.

Whatever
lead
up
to
it,
Russia’s
nobles
concluded
that
they
would
be
better
off
with
Empress
Catherine
than
Emperor
Peter.
Time
and
again
the
historical
record
has
examples
in
which
nobles
supported
a
ruler
based
on
their
own
self-interest
rather
than
the
gender
of
the
ruler.

Today
a
statue
stands
in
the
city
of
his
birth,
one
of
the
few
monuments
to
this
man.
The
narrative
carried
down
through
the
centuries,
of
a
small
petty
man,
and
that
of
his
wife
as
a
great
ruler
is
itself
a
clear
demonstration
of
the
falsity
of
the
feminist
claims
of
Patriarchy.
A
Patriarchy
would
never
suppress
the
good
works
of
an
emperor
and
exhault
the
empress
that
usurped
him.
A
Patriarchy
would
never
replace
an
emperor
with
an
empress
in
the
first
place.
Catherine
rewrote
history
to
justify
her
own
reign
and
the
world
has
to
a
large
degree
uncritically
accepted
her
claims.
This
was
true
even
before
the
rise
of
the
modern
feminist
movement
and
is
a
very
clear
indication
of
the
prevalence
of
gynocentrism
throughout
Russian
and
Western
civilisation.

Officially
Peter
and
Catherine
had
one
son,
Paul,
who
would
go
on
to
be
emperor
of
Russia
after
his
mother
died.
Later
in
life
Catherine
hinted
that
Peter
had
not
been
Paul’s
father
however.
Paul
had
a
distant
relationship
with
his
mother
as
she
showed
much
more
affection
to
her
many
lovers
than
to
her
only
son.
Catherine
attempted
to
pass
over
Paul
and
make
his
own
son
Alexander
her
heir.
This
was
ultimately
unsuccessful
and
Paul
took
the
throne
on
the
death
of
Catherine.
Paul
reportedly
resembled
Peter
physically
as
well
as
in
personality.
Like
Peter,
Paul
had
attempted
to
improve
the
lot
of
the
peasantry
and
was
ultimately
removed
from
power
with
the
support
of
the
nobility.
When
he
wouldn’t
abdicate
he
was
murdered
by
nobles.

Perhaps
Peter’s
reforms
were
too
ambitious
for
his
time.
It
is
unfortunate
that
he’s
continued
to
be
viewed
so
negatively
today.
With
hindsight
we
can
see
that
his
reforms
would
have
helped
to
modernise
Russian
and
ultimately
helped
the
Russian
people.
Had
Peter
stayed
on
the
throne
and
been
able
to
complete
his
reforms
the
Russian
revolutions
of
the
early
20th
century
might
never
have
materialised.
If
so
the
world
today
might
be
very
different.
Alas
we
will
never
know,
because
more
than
260
years
ago
Catherine
the
Usurper
deposed
her
husband
Peter
III
and
locked
him
in
a
prison
cell,
only
to
have
him
die
soon
after.

Instead
of
Peter
the
reformer
we
got
Catherine
the
Usurper
and
autocrat.
What
could
have
been.


The
cover
image
depicts
Peter
in
1761,
the
year
of
his
reign.

Original Story on AVFM
These stories are from AVoiceForMen.com.
(Changing the cultural narrative)

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