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Peter the First

Peter I Velikiy (Petr Alekseevich; May 30 (June 9), 1672 – January 28 (February 8), 1725) was the Tsar of All Russia from the Romanov dynasty (from 1682) and the first Russian Emperor (from 1721).
Peter was proclaimed king in 1682 at the age of 10, began to rule independently since 1689 [1]. From a young age showing an interest in science and foreign lifestyle, Peter was the first of the Russian Tsars to make a long journey to the countries of Western Europe (1697-1698 years). Upon returning from them, in 1698, Peter launched a large-scale reform of the Russian state and social structure. One of the main achievements of Peter was the significant expansion of the territories of Russia in the Baltic region after the victory in the Great Northern War, which allowed him to take in 1721 the title of the first emperor of the Russian Empire.
From the end of the 17th century to the present, there are diametrically opposed assessments of both the personality of Peter I and his role in the history of Russia in historical science and public opinion. In the official Russian historiography, Peter was considered to be one of the most prominent statesmen who determined the direction of Russia’s development in the 18th century. However, many historians, including N. M. Karamzin, V. O. Klyuchevsky and others, expressed sharply critical assessments.

Peter was born on the night of May 30 (June 9), 1672, in the Terem Palace of the Kremlin (in 7235, according to the adopted calendar, “from the creation of the world”).

Father – Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich – had numerous offspring: Peter was the 14th child, but the first from the second wife, Queen Natalia Naryshkina. June 29, the day of St. the apostles Peter and Paul the prince was baptized in the Miracle Monastery (according to other sources in the church of Gregory Neokesariisky, in Derbitsy, by the archpriest Andrei Savinov) and was named Peter.
After spending a year with the queen, he was given to raising nannies. In the 4th year of Peter’s life, in 1676, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich died. The tsar’s guardian was his stepbrother, godfather, and the new Tsar Fedor Alekseevich. Dyak N. Zotov taught Peter literacy from 1676 to 1680.

The death of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich and the accession of his eldest son Fedor (from Queen Maria Ilyinichna, nee Miloslavskaya) pushed Queen Natalia Kirillovna and her relatives, the Naryshkins, into the background. Tsarina Natalia was forced to go to the village of Transfiguration near Moscow.

On May 26, the electives from the rifle regiments came to the palace and demanded that the eldest Ivan be recognized as the first king, and the younger Peter — the second. Fearing a repetition of the pogrom, the boyars agreed, and Patriarch Joachim immediately made a solemn prayer in the Assumption Cathedral for the health of the two nominated kings; and on June 25 he crowned them in the kingdom.

The rebellion of archers in 1682. Archers dragged from the palace of Ivan Naryshkin. While Peter I comforts her mother, Princess Sophia observes with satisfaction. Painting by A.I. Korzukhin, 1882

On May 29, the archers insisted that Tsarevna Sofia Alekseevna take over the management of the state due to the minority of her brothers. Tsarina Natalya Kirillovna had to go off with her son Peter, the second king, from the courtyard to the palace situated near Moscow in the village of Preobrazhensky. The Kremlin’s Armory has preserved a double throne for young kings with a small window in the back through which princess Sophia and those in attendance told them how to behave and what to say during palace ceremonies.

Peter spent all his free time away from the palace – in the villages of Vorobiev and Preobrazhensky. Every year his interest in military affairs increased. Peter wore and armed his “amusing” army, consisting of peers in boyish games. In 1685, his “amusing”, dressed in foreign caftans, under the drumbeat of the regimental formation went through Moscow from Preobrazhensky to the village of Vorobyovo. Peter himself served as a drummer.

The historical role of Peter the Great (1672-1725) is enormous and ambiguous. He was proclaimed a national genius, enlightener, savior of Russia, revolutionary, “Napoleon and Robespierre” (Pushkin), called the antichrist, hater of all Russian, destroyer and blasphemer. The legendary Tsar-Reformer Peter the Great radically changed the course of Russian history.

After defeating Sweden and introducing the progressive achievements of the West into Russian society, Peter I expanded the geographic, cultural and economic borders of his country. Russia gained a key role in the international arena and gained the status of a great empire.

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