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Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin

( Russia statesman and military leader, General-Field Marshal (1784), one of the participants in a palace coup in 1762, the favorite and the closest aide of the Empress Catherine II.)

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Biography Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin
photo Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin
One warm May evening in 1774 the church sv.Samsoniya that the Vyborg side, pulled up tightly closed carriage. From it came the grand lady, accompanied by only one companion. Guests were waiting in the church all was ready for the rite. Groom - 35-year-old man with an imperious, aristocratic face - could be an enviable party for any bride Petersburg. Rank of Major General, . deserved on the battlefield, . court rank of the Adjutant General, . extensive contacts in the higher circles of dignitaries, . good condition, . impeccable origin from an ancient noble family, . take root in Russia and Poland, . - All promised a brilliant future for women, . agreed to share with him the fate,
. But the lady, which it 12 years ago, dedicated his heart and with which this priest joined his arm, she could raise any of inaccessible heights and give a fabulous wealth.

The wedding was a secret. In young attended only four trustees. When he reached the words 'let the wife fear her husband', the priest paused, silent and in fear raised questioning glance at his bride. She gently nodded in confirmation: Yes fears. After the ceremony the couple said goodbye and departed separately, as well as profit. So, quietly, without due pomp and luxury, there was a second wedding of the Empress Catherine the Great. Only this time her husband was a man whom she really wanted to call and called in the letters of 'master'

. The details of the wedding were kept in the family traditions of major Russian and Polish noble families: Branicki, . Vorontsov, . Stroganoff, . Volkonskiis, . Samoilov, . Bobrinskys, . Chertkovs, . Engelhardt, . Rayevskys - whose common ancestors AN Samoilov, . A. Engelhardt and E. Chertkov attended that evening at the ceremony,
. These stories were collected and published at the end of the last century the famous Russian historian and publisher of PI Bartenev, . defending their credibility, his opinion joined YL Barskov, . One of the most discerning connoisseurs of the literary heritage of Catherine II; already in Soviet times that same point of view N. J. Adelman, . who managed to publish more prepared set of notes Barskova Empress to Potemkin.,

. Study of the correspondence of Catherine II and her closest companion has confirmed this view
. Correspondents describe themselves as 'husband' and 'wife', 'dear husband' connected 'holiest ties', for many years, congratulate each other with some of their 'own holiday'. Whether such treatment conscious epistolary play, then, under the laws of time and genre, they would be repeated in the epistles of the Empress and His Serene Highness Prince to another lover, but nothing like this has happened. 'Holy ties' marriage sealed our heroes only once. Some features of Russian court etiquette of the time, for example, honors rendered Potemkin during his many trips, too, confirm that we are talking about the August person. In this piece drew the attention of the modern English scholar and. de Madaryaga, but first this view of 'strange' external inconsistency of Potemkin and etiquette of equality of members of the imperial family made the largest biographer of Catherine the Great of the last century AG Brikner

. How was, . this man, . which united his destiny is the most famous of Russian empresses? One of the historical anecdotes, . that the Empress and Potemkin have often liked to recall the lively, . tells, . that the day of the coup 28 June 1762 Catherine, . dressed in the uniform of the Transfiguration, . snatched the sword from its sheath, . Encouraging Guard march to Peterhof,
. But on the handle of the blade did not have provisions for charter officers strap. 'Strap, strap! " - Flashed on the shelves. Next rode a young officer, and to save Catherine from embarrassment, offered her his ribbon. While strap tied, the horse began to play, and when the officer touched the reins to return to the ranks, his horse did not move. Time was precious ... 'Well, young man, Let us go together - asked konnogvardeytsu Catherine - see, not the fate of your stallion to depart from my mare'

. Whether in fact the case with a strap or the Empress and His Serene Highness Prince played a joke on his credulous guests (and on the descendants of the same time) - who knows? Note only one thing: in fact, the future spouses and de facto co-rulers were known long before the coup,
. Potemkin took an active part in the preparation of the conspiracy and was at the Grand Duchess, as they said, 'secret', that is included in the narrow circle of insiders. Among the generally uneducated Guardsmen Grigory stood intelligence, erudition and good manners. He immediately attracted the attention of Catherine, and she approached him to come

. In the past pupil of the Moscow University, . won a gold medal and was among the top 12 students submitted by Elizabeth, . Potemkin was expelled from the walls of alma mater, . Officially, . 'for laziness and unexplored in the classes', . and the stories of comrades, . a prickly verse pamphlet on the German professors,
. By this time next Serene Highness Prince already knew six languages: German, French, Latin, Greek, Polish, and Old Church Slavonic. It is increasingly immersed in the study of theological disciplines, spending time in the rich libraries of Greek and Zaikonospassky monasteries in Moscow. It stirred not military, and spiritual endeavors, but fate decreed otherwise. Lost a delay, who gave a boy until graduation at the university, Potemkin was forced to go to the regiment.

Comrades Potemkin at the university told the curious, like a legend story. Grigory dreamed of having a famous then 'natural history' M. Buffon, but the money to buy lacked. And friends clubbing together to have acquired him this publication and presented at the birthday party. Potemkin briefly flipped through the book and put aside. 'We thought you obradueshsya' - reproached his guests. 'By God, boys, I had already read', - said birthday boy. Those present raised him to laugh. 'Open up any page, read every line, I will', - demanded Potemkin. Testing has proved that he was telling the truth

. Innate ability to skorochteniyu combined with a unique memory subsequently allowed Potemkin not only to read all came to Russia from abroad books, . and promptly use its truly encyclopedic knowledge in daily work,

. Already becoming Serene Prince and Field Marshal, . and having, . seemed, . all the blessings of the earth, . Grigory often recalled the dream of his youth and hoped to one day 'to plunge all the wealth, . received from the bounty of Her Imperial Majesty, . to the hallowed footsteps of 'his mistress and wife and go on pilgrimages to holy places, . then to shut himself up in a distant monastery,
. Just follow the European rationalist tradition, can be seen in the desire of the prince depiction or contradiction from his high position in the world. For a man, deeply religious, who in his youth prefer Orthodox spirituality modern educational philosophy, this line of thought was quite natural. But we should not assume that Potemkin away from the bright, trendy educational ideas of his time, not knowing their. On the contrary, according to his interlocutors of foreign Count L.Se-Gц╪ray, Prince Sh.de Lin, F. Miranda, and others, he brilliantly versed in contemporary European literature and philosophy.

It should be remembered that foreign memoirists have seen in Catherine Caucasian, the fates decreed Placed at the head of the State semi-Asiatic. When it was about the illustrious prince, almost involuntarily of the strange and incomprehensible to the people imposed on the characteristic of the individual. It was for them Russian, designed by Catherine share with her power and partly to satisfy the need for 'barbaric' people in the male rule. 'I understand that this man, despite his eccentricities, he could gain influence on the Empress, - told the Austrian Emperor Joseph II after traveling to the Crimea in 1787 the French ambassador Segur. - He has a strong will, a vivid imagination, and he is not only useful to her, but needed. You know Russian and agree that it is difficult to find among them a man more capable to manage and keep in the hands of the people are rude, just recently touched by education, and to curb the restless yard '

. From Russian memoirists most subtle characteristics of the prince gave one of the most poisonous and ruthless writers of his time FF Vigel, . whose father served as a Potemkin: 'hitherto unseen yet in his power, he magnate never used for evil,
. Not an attachment to him the empress gave him power, but received them from the nature of the moral force of character and intellect he conquered all, it is not afraid of what he was doing, and what can do. Abusive, abusive words, koi, many of the chiefs of a permit from him no one heard, it just was not that used to be called arrogance. But in just his compassed was something particularly offensive, his eyes, all body movements, it seemed, told the audience: 'You do not deserve my anger'. His unpretentious, very lenient inexhaustible apparently stemmed from his disdain for the people rather than one more insult vanity. In a woman, which tied his fate, his remarkable intellect has found its application, and the heart - his drama. In his career, he gave all the best forces of the state, could he expect after this public recognition? " Vigel accurately felt the main reason why the company did not assess the works and achievements of Potemkin. In Russia, the reign of Catherine II the ideological and moral opposition to society and the state was just beginning, but even then sometimes took the form of sworn denial from both sides. However most Potemkin than once managed to hold starevshuyu and more prone to drastic measures against their political opponents Catherine. So, . the appointment in Moscow chief Prince AA Prozorovskiy, . specifically directed to the first capital to deal with secret societies Martinists, . Grigory warned the Empress: 'Your Majesty has rolled out of your arsenal, the oldest gun, . be sure to shoot at your destination, . because their own has,
. Just beware that it is not stained with blood in the offspring name of your Majesty '. After the death of Potemkin speak with Catherine so sharply and so frankly, no one dared. Up new policies that came to replace the old guard tried 'Catherine Eagles' were set up all-ma reaction, and the last years of the reign of Northern Minerva has not distinguished former glory and splendor.

. Even a short description of what did for Russia Potemkin, it would take not just a few pages, and, perhaps, a fat volume
. Therefore, we confine ourselves to listing the most important of his services and would be happy if we can arouse the reader's interest in the personality and deeds of this amazing man. Annexation of the Crimea, . construction of the Black Sea Fleet, . arrangement of land and Novorossiya Tauris, . creation of cities in Kherson, . Sevastopol, . Ekaterinoslav (Dnepropetrovsk), . Nikolayev and others, . inclusion of Russia in the Mediterranean trade, . military reform, . adapted to the conditions of the regular army vast empire and excluded at the time (up to Pavlovian counter-) cane discipline - these are only a small part of Potemkin undertaken over 17 years, . he was in power,
. Finally, it is Grigory Alexandrovich could lead Russia to victory from a major European conflict, in which it has landed in the Russian-Turkish and Russian-Swedish War of 1787-1791 years.

. Upon learning of the death of Potemkin, Catherine was shocked
. Now no one to lean on - she said. - How can I replace the Potemkin? All will not be what. He was a real gentleman, a clever man, I was not sold, it was impossible to buy '. A few months after the death of Prince Empress wrote an old friend and 'konfedantu' Baron M. Grimm: 'Now all the burden on me, pray for me'

. What can we do about these wonderful people so necessary to each other? At the end of the life of Catherine recognized the well-known historian S.de Meylanu: 'I never thought, . that possess a creative mind and met a lot of people, . which seemed to me smarter than me,
. I have always been very easy to manage, because to achieve this, it was only necessary to provide me with ideas far better and more thorough than mine ... Despite my natural pliability, I knew how to be stubborn, hard, if you want, when I thought it necessary '. In a letter to Grimm empress after the death of Potemkin both spoke of their de facto co-ruler: "In his mind continually arose up new ideas. None the less it would not give someone else's influence, and he knew how to manage other amazing ... able to give advice, he knew it, and execute. He was a brave heart, brave and courageous soul is the mind, thanks to this, we always understood each other '.

Potemkin was the author of most major political projects undertaken in the second half of the reign of Catherine, he easily gave rise to new ideas and make corrections to old. According to Catherine the Great, well-conceived and gave the first results of the projects were especially dear to her and nothing could force her to renounce them. The combination of creative power and flexibility of Potemkin with firmness and long political experience, Catherine has made their alliance so strong and yielded such rich fruit.

. -------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------

. 'This is the most extraordinary person I ever met
. With a lazy mind, he tirelessly works. Every gunshot, he was not in the least threatening, because it is worried that could cost the lives of several soldiers. Cowardly for others, he is very brave: he is under fire and calmly gave orders. For all that he is more like Ulysses, than Achilles. He is very concerned about the pending troubles, but rejoices among the dangers. Miserable from too much happiness, disappointed in all, it will all soon get tired. Gloom, impermanent, then a deep philosopher, a skilled administrator, a great politician, a ten-year child. He is not vengeful, he apologized for causing him grief, tries to make amends for the injustice. Empress showered him with her favors, and he shares them with others, receiving from her land, he or she returns them, or pay the state expenses, not to mention to her about it. His manner is repellent, then attracted to: he is a proud satrap east, the dearest of the court of Louis XIV. Paul dichinoy rudeness he hides a tender heart. He, like a child, all desires and, as an adult, is able to reject everything. Bent, sezhenny, ugly, when he is home, he is proud, beautiful, majestic, fascinating, as is the front of his troops, like Agamemnon in the assembly of the Hellenic kings'

. Charles de Ligne,
. Austrian field marshal, famous diarist

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