Elisabeth (Russia)

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Empress Elisabeth I of Russia, painting by Charles André van Loo , 1760.

Elisabeth's signature:
Signature Elisabeth (Russia) .PNG

Elizaveta Petrovna Romanova ( Russian Елизавета Петровна Романова ., Scientific transliteration: Elizaveta Petrovna Romanova * December 18 jul. / 29. December  1709 greg. In Kolomenskoye in Moscow , † December 25, 1761 jul. / 5. January  1762 greg. In Saint Petersburg ) was Empress of Russia from 1741 to 1762 . Under Elizabeth's rule, the death penalty was effectively suspended. She promoted the baroque artsand science, but also favored it. During their reign, Russia successfully fought in the Seven Years' War against Prussia . Her unexpected death and the turnaround in foreign policy caused by her successor Peter III. was an essential factor in saving Prussia from defeat in this war. With Elisabeth, the original Romanov dynasty died out.

Life as a Grand Duchess

Elisabeth as a child, painting by Ivan Nikitin, around 1712


Elisabeth was born in Kolomenskoye in 1709 as the illegitimate child of Peter the Great and Martha Skrawronska, who later became Catherine I. It was not until two years later, in 1711, that she was legitimized by the marriage of her parents and made Grand Duchess. Elisabeth first spent her childhood in Kolomenskoye. Since the parents were mostly absent, Russian and Finnish nannies took care of their upbringing, later they were given to their aunt Praskovia Fyodorovna Saltykova , mostly in Izmailovo, not far from Moscow, together with her older sister Anna Petrovna and her younger sister Natalia Petrovna resided. Under the wing of her aunt, Elisabeth developed into a person permeated with strong religious feelings: strict fasting, constant prayer and pilgrimages soon became part of the daily routine. The Grand Duchess did not receive regular school lessons until she was eight. Although Peter the Great employed several teachers to train his children, Elisabeth mainly learned foreign languages ​​from foreign teachers (French, Italian, German) in order to be prepared for a life at a foreign court, but otherwise remained extremely uneducated. In 1721 Elisabeth was declared of legal age - she was 12 years old at the time. Foreign envoys report on the Grand Duchess' extraordinary beauty, and they also noticed her musical talent.

Marriage plans

When Peter the Great was in Paris in 1717, the idea of ​​a Russian-French marriage first arose. In 1721 the plans became more concrete and very complex negotiations began, which, however, remained unsuccessful due to religious questions and Elisabeth's illegitimate origin. As a replacement candidate for Louis XV. the French suggested Louis of Chartres . The Tsar should support his candidacy for the Polish royal crown. The negotiations turned out to be extremely difficult again: the French insisted that the marriage should not be carried out until the Duke of Chartres had been elected King of Poland. Peter the Great did not agree with this - the then King of Poland, Augustus the Strong , was still alive. 1725 Peter the Great died and Elizabeth's mother appeared as Catherine I of his successor. Catherine I betrothed Elisabeth to the Lübeck Prince-Bishop Karl August von Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf (1706–1727), for whom the Grand Duchess developed a sincere affection. The planned wedding date had to be postponed due to an illness of the mother. Catherine I died in 1727, and 13 days later the Grand Duchess' bridegroom died of smallpox. Elisabeth decided to stay unmarried.

Inheritance disputes

Catherine I had bequeathed the Russian throne to Peter II in her will . Peter was the son of Alexeis (1690-1718), the legitimate son of Peter the Great from his first marriage. Since he was 12 years old at the time, Alexander Danilowitsch Menshikov was in charge of government affairs. Should Peter II die without an heir, the throne should, according to Catherine I's will, first fall to Anna Petrovna and her descendants, then to Elizabeth Petrovna and her descendants. The two daughters of Peter the Great were to receive ample compensation for the provisional cession of their rights to the throne to Peter II. Menshikov was able to prevent the payment of this compensation. Anna Petrovna then left Russia with her husband, Elizabeth was left in very modest circumstances. To make Elisabeth 'harmless', Menshikov tried to marry her, but Elisabeth successfully defended herself against it and remained unmarried, but she maintained an intimate relationship with Alexander Borisovich Buturlin . When Peter II found out about the relationship, he banished Buturlin to Siberia . That was a bitter blow of fate for Elisabeth, the relationship with Peter II was disturbed from then on. Elisabeth retired to Izmailovo near Moscow and led the simple life of a landlady there. During this time, she made friends with some people who later became important when she became empress: Michael Larionowitsch Voronzow (later Vice-, then Grand Chancellor ), Peter Ivanovich Shuvalov (later President of the Senate), Alexander Ivanovich Shuvalov (later head of the Secret police) and Armand Lestocq (her personal doctor ). Elisabeth, like her father, was also not afraid to mingle with the common people - she found particular joy in keeping children of lower origins at baptism. It stayed that way later too, she was one of the most popular rulers of Russia.

Years of exile

After the sudden death of Peter II in 1730, Elisabeth was the rightful heir to the throne according to the will of her mother Catherine I. The Grand Duchess would have had to give up her life in Izmailovo and go to Moscow, where the court was at the time, to assert her rights to the throne. But she did nothing, although her friends and especially her personal physician Lestocq urged her. So it happened that the Supreme Secret Council, which was also founded by Catherine I , chose her half-cousin Anna Ivanovna , the Duchess of Courland , as Russian Empress. Historians wonder why Elisabeth did not sit on the throne at that time. She herself said: "I'm glad I didn't do it, I was too young and my people would not have accepted me."

Alexei Razumovsky

During the reign of Anna Ivanovna, Elisabeth continued to live mostly far away from the court in Ismailowo or in Saarskaya Mysa, the later Tsarskoye Selo . Her main occupation there was hunting, for which she was extremely passionate, or with the performance of plays. The plays often caricatured life at Anna Ivanovna's court. This provoked the suspicion of the Empress, who surrounded the Grand Duchess with a network of informers and had some people removed from the Grand Duchess' surroundings. Again and again Elisabeth had to make humble petitions to Anna Ivanovna and ask for mercy for her subordinates. On official occasions, however, Elisabeth demonstratively appeared at court and, with her beauty and wit, overshadowed Anna Leopoldowna, the niece of the Empress, who had been appointed heir to the throne by her. It was particularly humiliating for Elisabeth that Anna Ivanovna had her lover Alexej Schubin, a simple soldier, deported to Siberia and that she was repeatedly threatened that she would be locked in a monastery "for bad behavior" if she did not marry soon. Elisabeth remained steadfast and did not marry.

In 1735 Elisabeth met the man who was to accompany her all her life from then on: Alexei Grigoryevich Rasumovsky , a Ukrainian of simple origin, singer in the court orchestra. When she became empress, Elisabeth Rasumowski probably married. However, this cannot be proven, the only clue is a small double portrait with the inscription: "The secret is blessed."

After Anna Ivanovna's death, it was not her niece Anna Leopoldowna who came to the throne, but her son Ivan VI. However, after a few weeks Anna Leopoldowna deposed Biron , whom Anna Ivanovna had appointed regent, and took over the business of government herself. When Biron was arrested in November 1740, a rumor arose among the common people that they were acting in the name of Elisabeth, who had now decided to sit on the throne, and there was a spontaneous movement in favor of the Grand Duchess. From then on Anna Leopoldowna was downright afraid of Elisabeth. While the regent, a daughter of a German prince, often remained invisible to the public for weeks, the grand duchess appeared everywhere in the capital.


Elisabeth Petrovna, painting by Virgilius Eriksen

The people were dissatisfied with the new Tsar Ivan VI. Elisabeth was able to gather the opposition around her. The guards regiments in particular were loyal to her. She stylized herself as the daughter of Peter the Great, who had come to free Russia from "foreign rule". Foreign powers were also interested in Elizabeth's accession to the throne, above all France and Sweden. If one were to support Elizabeth's claims to the throne, one hoped to be able to persuade her to return the territories conquered by Peter the Great in Eastern Europe - Russia should be pushed back into its old borders. The negotiations that the foreign powers conducted with Elisabeth went primarily through Jacques Joachim Trotti de la Chétardie, the French ambassador to Russia. At the urging of Chétardie and Lestocq, Elisabeth had verbally agreed to make far-reaching concessions to Sweden, but at the same time Elisabeth said in an intimate circle: "Before I buy my crown at this price, I would rather give up ruling." The Grand Duchess decided to carry out the coup without foreign aid. However, in order to deceive France and Sweden, she continued negotiations with Chétardie.

In August 1741, Sweden declared war on Russia. The troops left the capital, only the regiments of guards, which were loyal to the Grand Duchess, remained. Nevertheless, Elisabeth initially lacked the resolve to undertake a violent coup. In the meantime she was observed by the government, in October the anti-state activities in the house of the Grand Duchess were uncovered. On a farm day on November 22nd / 3. December 1741 there was a discussion between Anna Leopoldowna and Elisabeth. Elisabeth swore to the regent that she would not be involved in any activities hostile to the state. Anna Leopoldowna was calmed down by this, but forbade Elisabeth to receive Chétardie from then on. Anna Leopoldowna also threatened Elisabeth with the monastery if she continued to refuse to marry. Elisabeth and her followers were on alert. Anna Leopoldowna acted: on November 24th / 5. December she gave the order to the guard regiments remaining in St. Petersburg, which were loyal to Elisabeth and did not want to go to the theater of war, to go to the front - although it was feared that the crew would refuse to obey under the influence of agitators .

In the meantime, Elisabeth and her party friends had decided to take advantage of the current situation. On the night of November 25th / 6th December 1741, Elisabeth went to the barracks of the Preobrazhensky Guards Regiment and swore the soldiers on, but took the oath from them that no one would be killed during the coup. Delegations were sent to the Semenovsky and Izmailovsky Life Guard Regiments , and the statesmen of the old regime were arrested. At two o'clock in the night Elisabeth went to the Winter Palace at the head of the Preobrazhensky Guards Regiment . It was a bloodless coup , and none of the Winter Palace guards offered resistance. The minor Ivan VI. was imprisoned with his mother. According to the legend, Anna Leopoldowna was woken up by Elisabeth with the cry: “Sister, it's time to get up.” However, it is very unlikely that the two women saw each other on the night of the overthrow. Early in the morning the people were informed of the coup with a manifesto and the swearing-in of statesmen began. The coup was carried out without foreign aid.

Elisabeth wanted Anna Leopoldowna, Ivan VI. and let her family leave for Germany first. Then, however, she kept the family hostage in Russia, because at the same time as her accession to the throne she brought her successor, the son of her sister Anna Petrovna, Karl Peter Ulrich von Holstein-Gottorp (later Peter III ), to Russia, and she wanted him with it guarantee a safe journey through Prussia - Anna Leopoldowna's husband was a brother-in-law of Frederick II of Prussia. After the conspiracy of 1743 the family could no longer leave the country and the family was exiled to Cholmogory on the White Sea, little Ivan VI. later in solitary confinement in Schlüsselburg jailed.

As a usurper , Elisabeth tried from the beginning to consolidate her power by expanding the privileges of her supporters. Their supporters in the guard regiments were all raised to the nobility and given various privileges. Elisabeth always emphasized that she was the daughter of Peter the Great and that she would continue his work. The poet Alexander Sumarokov gave shape to this idea when he wrote: “In the shape of his daughter, Peter has ascended the throne once more. He passed his goals on to Elisabeth. ”Simultaneously with the glorification of Peter the Great, the demonization of the time that followed him began, which was now perceived as an absolute horror, a dark low point in the history of the Russian Empire - the time of Foreign rule. The government encouraged national riots against foreigners, especially against the Germans. In April 1742, guards soldiers in St. Petersburg refused to continue to obey their German superiors. Even an obedient daughter of the church, Elisabeth could be sure that the clergy stood behind her and consolidated their claims to power in many sermons and memoranda. But nothing can hide the fact that there was basically no break with the previous regime. Although the most prominent foreigners, Ostermann and Münnich, had been removed from the court, there were still a number of foreigners in the government. Elisabeth also took over a number of capable Russians who had already served under Anna Leopoldowna and who had managed to turn around in time: Cherkassky (Grand Chancellor), Trubezkoi (General Procurator of the Senate), Ushakov (Chief of State Police), to name just a few.

Show trial

With the supporters of the old regime - Ostermann , Münnich , Mengden , Golowkin , Löwenwolde and others. was settled in the form of a large-scale show trial . The judicial proceedings were led by Nikita Yuryevich Trubetskoi . All of the accused were sentenced to sometimes very cruel death sentences. Elisabeth wanted to set an example: only when the accused on January 18th / 29th. January 1742 were taken to the place of execution , they learned that their death sentences had been converted into exiles . Elisabeth did not attend this cruel spectacle, she was in Peterhof that day . The crowd did not agree with the pardon of the public enemies: a commotion broke out, which had to be put down by force of arms.

Life as empress

Coronation in Moscow

Elisabeth Petrovna, painting by Ivan Argunow

The coronation took place in Moscow on May 6, 1742 . Elisabeth put the imperial crown on herself, which no Russian ruler had dared to do before. At the coronation, the monarch swore not to sign any more death sentences. The death penalty was not abolished, but was no longer carried out under their rule (the sentences were converted into exile ). However, torture and, above all, the very brutal knocking punishment , which often led to death, were not abolished .

On 7./18. November 1742 Elisabeth appointed the son of her sister Anna Petrovna, Karl Peter Ulrich von Holstein-Gottorp (in Russia: Peter Fjodorowitsch), who later became Peter III. , to her successor.

First business of government

A major concern for Elisabeth was the end of the war with Sweden, which up until now had been quite favorable for Russia, but which unnecessarily cost resources. On 7./18. In August 1743 the Peace of Åbo was concluded: Sweden had to cede a few smaller areas to Russia, and Elisabeth was able to push through the election of Adolf Friedrich as King of Sweden. He was a brother of her former fiancé.

Catherine Palace

Elisabeth is the epitome of an absolutist ruler in Russia : She ran an extremely lavish court and had numerous baroque palace complexes built ( Grand Palace in Peterhof , Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo and, above all, the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg ). During her reign, the first Russian national theater was founded, the first Russian university was opened in Moscow in 1755 at the suggestion of the polymath and writer Mikhail Lomonossow , and the Academy of Arts was built in Saint Petersburg .

However, relatively soon after she came to power, Elisabeth lost her interest in real government affairs and often left her advisors completely free. This was also due to the fact that her state of health was very unstable. In the 1850s in particular, the Empress was often ill and even near death several times.

Conspiracy of 1743

In 1743, Elisabeth had to start a conspiracy in favor of the deposed Ivan VI. put down, the so-called Lopuchin plot. The conspirators had gathered around Natalja Lopuchina , who had a personal grudge against Elisabeth, and the Austrian ambassador to Russia, Botta Adorno . Although the idea arose more out of youthful recklessness and the Empress had not threatened any real serious danger, she reacted extremely cruelly: She had the conspirators tortured (and she did not spare a lady-in-waiting who was heavily pregnant). Botta was no longer in Russia at this point in time. Basically nothing concrete could be determined. Nevertheless, Elisabeth banished the conspirators "forever" to Siberia , but ordered that Natalja Lopuchina should have her tongue torn out to intensify the punishment. However, it is not entirely clear whether this command was executed. None of the accused survived the exile, only Lopuchina was able to return to St. Petersburg as an old woman, but died there after a short stay from the rigors of the journey.

The involvement of the Austrian ambassador in the plot and Maria Theresa's refusal to hand him over to the Russian authorities caused brief diplomatic tensions between Russia and Austria and, in 1743, with the conclusion of the Prussian-Russian alliance , Russia came closer to Prussia for a short time. It was Frederick the Great who advised Elisabeth in this situation not to let the Brunswick family leave Russia.

The fear of a coup d'état that could overthrow her dominated Elisabeth from then on, and from then on she slept in a different room every day in order to protect her life from a nocturnal attack. In her later reign, the Empress was so afraid of the night that she slept during the day and woke up through the night.

To travel

In 1744 Elisabeth succeeded in getting the imperial title introduced by Peter the Great to be recognized by France. In the same year she engaged her nephew and successor, again on the advice of Frederick II, to Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst, who later became Katharina II.

Elisabeth spent the summer of 1744 in the Ukraine, where she had gone on a pilgrimage. The next summer she went to Tallinn . It was the first time since Peter the Great that a Russian ruler went to the newly acquired Baltic provinces. However, the onward journey to Riga was thwarted by an assassination attempt that was discovered in good time.

Domestic politics

Ivan Shuvalov, painting by Fyodor Rokotov

The impetus for some domestic political reforms that were tackled during Elizabeth's government came mainly from Peter Ivanovich Shuvalov . He was a childhood friend of the Empress. After one of his relatives, his cousin Ivan Ivanovich Shuvalov , became the Empress's favorite in 1749, he had absolute power over Elisabeth. Although Peter Shuvalov was a capable statesman, his talent is obscured by the fact that he did not hesitate to ruthlessly enrich himself. Numerous reform projects dealt with economic matters: in 1753 the abolition of internal tariffs to stimulate trade and in 1754 the establishment of the Adelsbank. Another Shuvalov , Alexander Ivanovich , was head of the Empress's Secret Chancellery - the State Police. He was the dreaded inquisitor of the empire.

Law reform

In 1754 a legal reform was decided. For the first time in its history, Russia was to receive a generally binding body of law. A legislative commission was convened, which began its work in August 1754. The first two volumes were presented to the Empress as early as July 1755. But Elisabeth refused to ratify the laws by signing them because, according to her statement, they were "written in blood" - the punishments required therein seemed too barbaric to her. The Legislative Commission continued to work for the remainder of Elizabeth's reign, but there was no more general assembly of its members, in 1757 there was even only one meeting. It was only at the end of Elizabeth's reign that new vigor came to the matter: in September 1761 it was decided to set up an assembly of envoys from all parts of Russia, whose task it was to draw up a new code of law. In addition to nobles and representatives of the church, merchants and free farmers were also allowed - serfs were not. But the first envoys did not arrive in St. Petersburg until after the death of the Empress.

General land survey

Donation certificate to the Russian Lieutenant General Balthasar Freiherr von Campenhausen for his services to Russia, May 27, 1756

Elisabeth's second major reform project also met with poor success: the first general survey of the land , begun in January 1752, failed after its first successes, because disputes with the landlords were bogged down. These tried to enlarge their estates at the expense of the state-owned land. There were also too few trained surveyors who first had to be consulted in schools. The land survey had become necessary because the landowners often waged regular wars with one another. In 1752 Elisabeth published a ukase in which she forbade disputes of this kind. Land surveying had started in 1752, but the statutes for land surveying were not drawn up until 1754 and the land surveying office was only founded in 1755. With the outbreak of the Seven Years' War in 1756, land surveying was discontinued.

Serfdom under Elisabeth

Elisabeth did not change anything about serfdom , which had been handed down for centuries . To gain freedom, many serfs fled to the Baltic provinces. In 1743/44 a special commission was set up with the task of capturing the serfs who had escaped to the Baltic provinces and bringing them back to their owners. In the ten years of its existence, the commission brought back 1,125 serfs. Every male serf in state ownership had to pay the so-called soul tax, which was very brutally collected every few years. In 1752, as a Christmas present to her nation , Elisabeth canceled all tax arrears that had accumulated by 1747, at least 2,534,000 rubles .

After the opening of the Adelsbank in 1756, it was allowed to take out mortgages on serfs; the value of a soul was set at 10 rubles, which means that you could sell a serf to the bank for 10 rubles.

Religious politics

1 ruble gold coin from 1756 with a portrait of Empress Elisabeth

Very religious herself, she tried to proselytize the Muslims in her empire and founded the chancellery for converting pagans especially for this purpose . It was not without bloodshed. This is how a massacre was carried out among the Mordvines . Between 1743 and 1760 the firm converted 409,894 people, according to the files. Numerous mosques were demolished.

In addition to the Muslims, the Old Orthodox in particular suffered from severe reprisals and there were numerous ritual self-immolations. When the second census began in 1743, it brought a serious crisis for the Old Believers, as they had to declare their faith and henceforth had to pay an extra tax. Many Old Believers felt compelled to leave the kingdom or to move to its most remote corners. Overall, it is estimated that during Elizabeth's reign around 6000 people died in ritual self-immolation.

The Empress was also hostile to Jews . In 1742 she ordered the few Jews living in the Russian Empire to be expelled from the country. When the Senate tried to revoke her deportation order, pointing out that trade in Russia and the state would be affected, the Empress replied: "I do not want any benefit from the enemies of Christ."

On the other hand, Elisabeth strove to raise the level of education of the Russian Orthodox clergy, and she also suggested the publication of a new translation of the Bible. The commission for the detection of extramarital relationships became famous .

Foreign policy

Alexei Bestushev-Ryumin

If domestic policy was in the hands of Peter Ivanovich Shuvalov, foreign policy was in the hands of Alexei Petrovich Bestushev-Ryumin , who had been appointed Grand Chancellor in 1744. Right at the beginning of her government, Elisabeth Bestuschew took her side. Bestushev was an enemy of France and Prussia. In June 1744 he had been expelled from Chétardie, who was staying in Russia as the secret ambassador of France. Chétardie had compromised Elisabeth in his letters, out of grief because she did not want to talk to him about government affairs and he had no influence over her. In November 1748 Bestushev achieved the overthrow of another of his enemies: Lestocq had to go into exile, regardless of his earlier achievements. In the later years of Elizabeth's reign, however, Bestuschew mainly had to fight against the intrigues of Vice Chancellor Mikhail Larionovich Vorontsov. This emerged victorious from the power struggle: Russia concluded an alliance with France. During the Seven Years' War, Bestushev was charged with high treason, arrested in February 1758 and sentenced to death, but then pardoned for exile.

Seven Years War

Elizabeth and her government were keen to expand westward, with their focus on Latvia, namely Zemgale and the Duchy of Courland . However, these were under the sovereignty of Poland-Lithuania . Elisabeth wanted to compensate Poland for this with East Prussia . So the war against Prussia, for which Austria was looking for allies, came at just the right time. December 31, 1756/10. In January 1757 Russia joined the Treaty of Versailles , in May / June 1757 a large Russian army under the command of Field Marshal Apraxin moved into East Prussia. It followed on 19./30. August 1757 the victory in the battle of Groß-Jägersdorf . It was at this time that Elisabeth suffered a stroke and was expected to die. But now the Prussian-friendly policy of the heir to the throne was well known. Despite the success, Apraxin, as he claimed, ordered the retreat to Tilsit because of insufficient food as a result of failure of supplies , because he feared that he would be punished if Peter Fyodorowitsch ascended to the throne . Apraxin was arrested and charged with treason, but died of a stroke in Narva before the trial was over . To commander of the troops was General Saltykov appointed. One year after Großjägersdorf, on 14./25. August 1758, the Russian army was defeated in the Battle of Zorndorf . Thereupon East Prussia was evacuated by the Russian army. The battles of Kay on 12./23. July 1759 and by Kunersdorf on 1./12. August 1759 the Russians could again decide for themselves. But the losses were enormous. Saltykov reported to the Empress: “Your Majesty must not be surprised at our losses, for she knows that the King of Prussia is selling his defeats dearly. Another such victory and I will make a pilgrimage to Petersburg with a stick in hand and have to deliver the news myself because of the lack of messengers. ”But the Empress was dissatisfied with Saltykov's hesitant war tactics. Angry and dissatisfied, complaining about his poor health, he asked for his departure, which he was granted in September 1757. After temporary replacement by Fermor, Elisabeth's former lover, Buturlin, was appointed as the new commander-in- chief, a complete mistake. Nevertheless , Russian troops occupied September 28th / 9th. October 1760 for three days in Berlin . The Seven Years' War required enormous efforts from Russia and brought the state to the brink of ruin ( inflation ). The war was also the main reason why the very ambitious reform plans of Elisabeth's time could not be implemented: All forces were consumed by the war.

Old age and death

In old age, the character of the monarch became stranger: she loved absolute solitude, slept during the day and was awake at night, often praying for hours on her knees in front of her icons . She thought of abdication and had the Smolny Resurrection Monastery built in Saint Petersburg, where she wanted to retire as a nun. Elisabeth was often ill and often not seen in public for weeks in order to hide her health. In 1757 she suffered a stroke in front of the court at a church service in Tsarskoye Selo, which was well attended, and her state of health became widely known.

Her successor was considered a particularly difficult problem: although she had a long love affair with Alexei Rasumowski (a man of simple origin whom she probably secretly married shortly after her accession to the throne) and later with Ivan Shuvalov , she had remained childless. The house of Romanov had died out in its male line as early as 1730 with Peter II. Elisabeth's nephew Peter Fjodorowitsch, whom she had appointed as her successor, was often ill. Elisabeth did not love her nephew, and his political views did not suit her because he was an admirer of Frederick II of Prussia , against whom she was at war.

The sicker the empress became, the more the courtiers turned away from her and tried to please the heir to the throne. In this way the successes of the Russian army at the front were destroyed on the home front, where politics was pro-Prussian. Elisabeth reacted cruelly again and had several people banished to Siberia. But that was too late.

Elisabeth died at the age of 52, shortly after she had issued a general amnesty in 1762. After her death, her military successes against Prussia were supported by her successor, Peter III. , nullified. Incidentally, she left the Reich heavily in debt.

Twelve years after her death, a cheater known as Princess Tarakanova claimed to be her and Alexei Razumovsky's daughter.


Michael I of Russia (1596–1645)
Alexei I of Russia (1629–1676)
Evdokija Lukyanovna Streschnewa (1608–1645)
Peter I of Russia (1672-1725)
Kirill Poluektowitsch Naryschkin (1623-1691)
Natalja Kirillowna Naryshkina (1651–1694)
Anna Leontjewna Leontiev († 1706)
Elisabeth of Russia (1709–1761)
Samuel Skawroński († 1684/85)
Catherine I (Russia) (1684–1727)
Elisabeth Moritz († 1685)


As Elisabethgrad , Kropywnyzkyj was named after her.

On May 31, 2019, the Kaliningrad airport was officially renamed to Elisabeth in Aeroport Khrabrovo Elisabeth Petrovna (Russian Аэропорт Храбро́во имени императрицы Елизаветы Петровны).


  • Daria Olivier: Elisabeth of Russia. The daughter of Peter the Great . Vienna 1963.
  • Tamara Talbot Rice: Elisabeth of Russia. The last Romanov on the throne of the tsar . Munich 1970.
  • Evgeny Anissimow: Tsar women on the Russian throne , Pereprawa Verlag, Vienna 2008

Web links

Commons : Elisabeth (Russia)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. In contemporary linguistic usage as well as abroad it remained customary until 1917 to continue speaking of the tsar and it has been preserved in the consciousness of posterity. What this affected was not the current dignity of the empire, but the continuation of the specifically Russian reality, in the form of the Moscow tsarist empire, which served as the basis of the new empire. In the 19th century, this led to a conceptual language in literature that was not appropriate to the source and to an outmoded conceptual apparatus in German literature. in: Hans-Joachim Torke: The Russian Tsars, 1547-1917, p.8; Hans-Joachim Torke: The state-related society in the Moscow Empire, Leiden, 1974, p. 2; ; Reinhard Wittram: The Russian Empire and its Shape Change, in: Historische Zeitschrift Vol. 187, H. 3 (Jun., 1959), S. 568-593, S.569.
  2. German Digital Library: Unveiling of the triumphal arch built on behalf of the Russian ambassador in Paris, Prince Cantemir, on the occasion of the coronation of Tsarina Elisabeth
predecessor government office successor
Ivan VI Empress of Russia
Peter III