Author Topic: Emperor Peter III, life and death  (Read 46751 times)

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Offline imperial angel

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #45 on: January 16, 2007, 05:35:53 PM »
Agreed. He didn't realize a lot of things that you could not rule in Russia well in that era without knowing. He would have been much better off in Holstein, where his eccentricities would not have really mattered. I think he certainly was Catherine's enemy at the end ( not in a personal sense, perhaps), but he may never have really been her enemy, he may not have realized how estranged they were. However, it is quite clear that they were not getting along by that time, and really didn't communicate with each other. This could have been partly why Peter did not know what was going on with Catherine. He was convinced now that he was Czar, he could do more as he wished without being under Elizabeth's thumb. But, he didn't realize as a ruler in Russia in that era, you were never really free. He was never aware of who Catherine was, although he was afraid of her intellect indeed. He got along with her when they were younger when she was less savvy, and more on his level, as in when she first arrived in Russia.She played along with him, but if you read Catherine's memoirs, she seems to state even then, though it might only be hindsight, that she was beyond his level, and during the years that came after that, each day she was advancing beyond him. Those were the days when he wasn't scared of her intellect, but it didn't last.

Offline Tsarina_Liz

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #46 on: January 17, 2007, 02:48:58 PM »
Even at the beginning of her relationship, Catherine outclassed Peter intellectually simply because she was a smart woman.  Peter never had a chance to establish the upper hand with her, which he might have done with a simpler woman.  The poor man was driven to misogyny, I do not think he was wired that way, which may help explain his attachment to Frederick the Great - Frederick was the strong, male role model he needed and desperately wanted to be.  His world was controlled by strong females, but in his fantasy life he was a great Emperor and sexual steed.  I also think Peter took advantage of the death of Elizabeth and assumed he was safe simply because he was on the throne.  That, of course, was a delusion.  As was his idea of throwing Catherine into a convent.  Her supporters would never have let that happen, and if Peter had tried the coup (for Catherine) probably would have taken place much sooner than it did.  Catherine had to realize how simple Peter was and how little power he actually had, how little he appealed to the Russian people.  I can't believe, when she took the throne, she perceived Peter as a real threat.  In my opinion, she probably thought imprisonment effective and humane.  For a ruler so focused on Enlightenment and reforming Russia, the last thing Catherine would have wanted was starting out her rule with blood on her hands.  She did not want to be like her predecessors.     
Hindsight is 20/20.  When the myopic haze of of the present is lifted by the march of time we see it clearly as the past.  Sociology, psychology, anthropology.  They are all means of understanding that which came before.  History cannot stand alone.

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #47 on: January 17, 2007, 03:32:04 PM »
The convent idea was certainly a classic one. It was rather time honored in Russia, but Catherine was no Eudoxia Lupukhina who would let that happen to her, although even she found consolation in the walls of the convent later on. Peter would not have tried it, or maybe he didn't think he needed to. He really didn't know his wife that well, or Russian politics, and that combination was sure to be fatal to him. Catherine was more idealistic in her youth, but still, there was always the split between idealism and practicality in her nature. Peter was not a threat, but in the right hands he might have become one, and Catherine surely knew that.

Offline Tsarina_Liz

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #48 on: January 21, 2007, 08:09:59 PM »
Agreed.  But could Peter have found the support he needed inside of Russia?  Or would he have turned to Prussia to legitimize his claim?  I doubt any Prussian ruler, or any European ruler for that matter, would take the time to put Peter on the throne especially considering the reputation was quickly cultivating.  Perhaps Catherine was banking on this, and realized that even if Peter did run away and attempt to return with a foreign (Prussian) army, all of Russia would be hers simply out of hatred for foreigners.  That said, Catherine considered his lack of influence in Russia and the idiocy of help coming from outside of Russia, and decided Peter was not a sufficient enough threat to warrant murder but was a pain enough to deserve imprisonment.
Hindsight is 20/20.  When the myopic haze of of the present is lifted by the march of time we see it clearly as the past.  Sociology, psychology, anthropology.  They are all means of understanding that which came before.  History cannot stand alone.

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #49 on: January 22, 2007, 10:24:47 AM »
Yes, had Peter attempted to seek the support of the Prussians, he would not have lasted a day in Russia. As out of the loop as he was, he might have tried to do this though. But, he didn't really need foreign help to cause Catherine trouble. In Russia, there were always people who were discontent with the Goverment and liked to make up plots. They could easily have used Peter as the focus of their plot, even if he didn't agree with it, and even if they really didn't want him on the throne just to satisfy what they wanted. It would have been best if he had been shipped off to Germany, but because of the fact he might try to get foreign help, that was never going to happen.

Offline lori_c

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #50 on: January 22, 2007, 10:41:51 AM »
Absolutely, it is also said that Frederick the Great expressly refused to meddle in the internal affairs of Russia. He was far to strategically minded to realize that after the coup while Peter was still alive (even wanting Peter III on the throne as a puppet) it would not be in Prussia's best interest to interfere in affairs of state knowing Peter's reputation, he also was quite aware of the loyalty Catherine had built around her.  He was also keenly aware that Peter reign in all possibility might not last and it wouldn't be prudent to make an enemy of Catherine. 


Offline imperial angel

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #51 on: January 22, 2007, 01:15:27 PM »
Peter would have certainly have sought help from Prussia, indeed. But even to Prussia, he looked like he was out there, he was taking things too far in imitating Prussia, and that he wasn't a very astute ruler. Frederick the Great was astute, and he that Peter wasn't. Peter would not have believed that, but it was quite true. Catherine pretty much knew that Peter was a fool, but she certainly didn't want him to fall into the wrong hands. Peter would have taken anyone's help. Catherine no doubt wanted the best solution to the problem of Peter.

Offline lori_c

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #52 on: January 22, 2007, 02:01:20 PM »
Indeed.  During the coup and before his assassination, Peter tried to escape to Prussia, which was something anticipated by Catherine and was stopped at Kronstadt.  Even if he had achieved this, it is unlikely Fredrick would have rushed to put an idot on the throne.  He didn't mind Peter's mindless devotion to him, it stroked his huge ego.  But he did realize in the grand scheme of things what an albatross Peter would prove to be.

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #53 on: January 22, 2007, 05:00:13 PM »
That is true. I think Peter never realized much that went on about him, but pretty much lived in this mindless world, where he did as he wanted to, no matter what. He certainly had some inhibitions when he was under the thumb of Elizabeth, but still he was very unrealistic in what he expected from life, even as a Russian Ruler. In some ways, Peter was victimized, because he was cast in the wrong role, he should have stayed in Germany. The dynasty could not continue without him, even though in the end it was most likely Catherine that sustained the dynasty, through her having an heir that may or may not have been his, and through her reign. Peter did little for the Romanovs, other than play his dynastic role for which he was very unsuited, and be a symbol of continuation to the next generation, although the next generation was a while in coming with regards to his son. As well, the later Romanovs were more influenced by Catherine the Great's reign than anything to do with him.

Offline lori_c

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #54 on: January 22, 2007, 05:08:44 PM »
So true.  He certainly would have fared better in Holstein.  I think his contribution, like his son's were his genes. (i am of the believe he WAS Paul's father) so IMO that was his biggest role.  As the father of the next Romanov.  Remember, at that time there were very few left. Before Paul had his big family, the dynast almost died out.

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #55 on: January 22, 2007, 05:23:25 PM »
That is true about the dynasty. Without Peter, the dynasty could not have continued at the very least in a symbolic way. He had to be there as the official parent anyway of the heir. I have read divided opinions on who his father was, and I don't think I will ever be sure. But, Peter was an a key player in the life of his son, and influenced him, because Paul was so devoted to his memory. Peter is a sad figure.. in a later age, and in a country other than Russia, he might have gotten what he deserved, which was most likely not be a ruler at all, maybe to have a career in the army. But in Germany, he might have fared quite well. Catherine, on the other hand was from Germany, with no Russian blood, but she understood Russia better than him. He was half Russian, but didn't have much of Peter the Great in him.

Offline ilyala

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #56 on: January 23, 2007, 06:01:07 AM »
i'm not sure peter would have been a good army commander. he didn't seem to have the skills to create enough authority...
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Offline Tsarina_Liz

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #57 on: January 23, 2007, 06:37:57 AM »
No Peter, no Catherine.  But then again I think any woman short of a simpleton could have taken the throne from Peter and been a successful regent...

As Imperial Angel pointed out, there were malcontents in Russia at the time who lived for making trouble for the government and ultimately for the Tsar(ina).  But I cannot see them being successul in raising a coup for Peter, much less a successful coup.  I look at the rise of the fake Peter later in Catherine's reign and how she managed to quash that uprising.  At the time of the fake Peter, she was, yes, an established monarch but she was also increasingly unpopular and grumbled against.  At the beginning of her reign, she was riding high on a wave of popularity, approval and military support as well as having the national hatred of Peter in her corner.  I cannot see her failing to quash any trouble from Peter or the malcontents at the early point in her reign. 
Hindsight is 20/20.  When the myopic haze of of the present is lifted by the march of time we see it clearly as the past.  Sociology, psychology, anthropology.  They are all means of understanding that which came before.  History cannot stand alone.

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #58 on: January 23, 2007, 11:16:28 AM »
Indeed, she would certainly have been able to get rid of any attempted uprising. She knew that, but she most likely didn't want to take the risk that there would be any uprising. She took that risk if she let Peter live, and certainly if she sent him abroad. I think uprisings in Russia were more of a risk than abroad, because abroad they might be able to assess him, and know it wasn't worth it, but in Russia, there were people who would just have used him as a figurehead for whatever.

Catherine certainly knew she had the support of everyone against Peter, I think at all points of her reign. As well, if she had let Peter live, there might have have come a time when Paul would have possibly tried to get Peter out of prison and conspire against her. With the support of Paul, such things might have succeeded, because he was the legitimate heir. She might have seen that somewhere down the road, although she didn't know how much her son was going to become influenced by the father he never knew. Of course, if Peter had lived in imprisonment, he might have been harder for Paul to idealize him.

Offline lori_c

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Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #59 on: January 23, 2007, 11:46:58 AM »
. As well, if she had let Peter live, there might have have come a time when Paul would have possibly tried to get Peter out of prison and conspire against her. With the support of Paul, such things might have succeeded, because he was the legitimate heir. She might have seen that somewhere down the road, although she didn't know how much her son was going to become influenced by the father he never knew. Of course, if Peter had lived in imprisonment, he might have been harder for Paul to idealize him.
More than likely it would have only been one more reason to absolute abhorr his mother.  And no doubt, Peter would have been freed upon the death of Catherine by Paul.  Paul would not have any contact w/the imprisoned Peter just as nobody was allowed contact w/poor Ivan.  Therefore Paul would have idealized the only parent whom he couldn't get close enough to learn that this parent was just as bad as Catherine.