Author Topic: Catherine the Great & Potemkin  (Read 1728 times)

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Offline Dominic_Albanese

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Catherine the Great & Potemkin
« on: February 05, 2005, 08:37:02 AM »
An Affair to Remember
By Simon Sebag Montefiore
Love and Conquest: Personal Correspondence of Catherine the Great and Prince Grigory Potemkin
edited and translated from the Russian by Douglas Smith
Northern Illinois University Press, 421 pp., $40.00

1.
The story of Catherine the Great and Prince Grigory Potemkin is not only about the most passionate and intimate royal love affair ever revealed in detail, an affair that places Antony and Cleopatra or Napoleon and Josephine very much in the shade. Taking place between Catherine's seizure of power in 1762 and Potemkin's death in 1791, it is a chronicle of one of history's most successful and equally shared political partnerships between a man and a woman. Both were remarkable not only for their political genius but also for their eccentricities, their culture, their uninhibited sexuality, their openness in relationships, and their wit. Obsessed with power and ambition, they not only expanded their empire by force and guile, they also contrived to be among the more humane rulers ever to reign over Russia, even if we take into account the supposedly democratic leaders of post-Soviet Russia.

More: See http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17757

Offline Mike

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Re: Catherine the Great & Potemkin
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2005, 04:12:38 PM »
Thanks Dominic for clueing on this most interesting article. The revelation of Putin's trying a Potemkin model is fascinating ::)! I've never heard this absurd but obviously true story.

Many years ago I've seen a Soviet film based on Gogol's Ukrainian stories. The main hero, a simple peasant lad, travels with a delegation of Zaporozhsky cossacks to St. Petersburg to present a petition to Empress Catherine. They are led to the Winter Palace and wait for an audience in a great shining hall. Suddenly the door opens, and a resplendently dressed, majestically looking man passes by. The naive cossacks ask a servant: "Who was that, the tsar?" The servant replies patronisingly: "Which tsar? It was Potemkin himself!".