Biography of Peter III

Biography of Peter III

Peter III was the emperor of the Russian Empire only six months, when, in 1762, his own wife, Catherine the Great, overthrew him from the throne. After that, all in the same year of 1762, the former emperor was killed.

Early years

Peter III, nee Karl Peter Ulrich, was born on February 21, 1728 in Kiel, in the duchy of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. The only son of Anna Petrovna and Carl Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, the boy also was a grandson to two emperors, Peter the Great and Charles XII of Sweden. Karl’s parents died when the boy was still quite a child, leaving him in the care of educators and nobles of the Holstein court, who prepared him for the Swedish throne. Karl grew up among the brutality of his mentors, severely punishing him for his weak academic achievements: the boy, showing an interest in art, lagged behind almost all academic sciences. He loved military parades and dreamed of becoming a glorified warrior for the whole world. When the boy turned 14 years old, his aunt Catherine, who became the empress, transported him to Russia and, giving him the name of Peter Fedorovich, declares the heir to the throne. Peter did not like living in Russia, and he often complained that the Russian people would never accept him.

Reckless marriage

August 21, 1745 Peter marries Sophia Frederick Augustus, Princess Anhalt-Zerbst in Saxony, which takes the name Catherine. But the marriage arranged by Peter’s aunt for political

purposes, from the very beginning becomes a catastrophe. Catherine was a girl of astonishing mind, while Peter was only a child in the male body. They had two children: a son, a future emperor Paul I, and a daughter who did not live to be 2 years old. Later, Catherine will declare that Paul is not the son of Peter, and that they never entered into conjugal relations with her husband. For 16 years of living together, both Catherine and Paul had numerous lovers and mistresses.

It is believed that the Empress Elizabeth fenced off Peter from public affairs, probably suspecting the meagerness of his mental abilities. He hated life in Russia. He remained true to his homeland and Prussia. He did not have the slightest concern for the Russian people, and the Orthodox Church was disgusted. Nevertheless, after the death of Elizabeth, on December 25, 1961, Peter ascended to the throne of the Russian Empire. Most of what we know about Peter III, is taken from the memoirs of his wife, who described her husband as an idiot and a drunkard prone to cruel jokes, with the only love in life – to play a soldier.

Controversial policy

Once on the throne, Peter III radically changes the foreign policy of his aunt, leading Russia out of the Seven Years’ War and concluding an alliance with her enemy, Prussia. He declares war on Denmark and conquers the lands of his Holstein. Such actions were regarded as a betrayal of the memory of those who died for their Motherland, and caused the alienation that arose between the emperor and the military and powerful palace cliques. But, although traditional history views such actions as a betrayal of the interests of the country, recent scientific research has suggested that this was only part of a very pragmatic plan to expand Russia’s influence to the west.

Peter III carries out a number of internal reforms, which, from the standpoint of today’s day, can be called democratic: he declares freedom of religion, dissolves the secret police and assigns punishment for the killing of serfs by the landlords. It is he who opens the first state bank in Russia and encourages the merchant class by increasing grain exports and imposing an embargo on imports of goods that can be replaced by domestic ones.

A lot of disputes arise around his abdication. Traditionally, it is considered that by its reforms it causes dissatisfaction of the Orthodox Church and a good half of the nobility, and that, since his policy, as well as his personality, was seen as alien and unpredictable, representatives of church and noble cliques are sent for help to Catherine and are conspiring with her against the emperor. But recent studies of history expose Catherine as the inspiration for a conspiracy, dreaming of getting rid of her husband, fearing that he can divorce her. June 28, 1762 Peter III arrested and force forced to abdicate. He is transported to the town of Ropsha near St. Petersburg, where on July 17 of the same year he is allegedly killed, although the fact of murder has never been proven and there is evidence that,


Biography of Peter III