The Emperors and Empresses of Russia: Rediscovering the Romanovs

By A. A. Iskenderov; Donald J. Raleigh | Go to book overview

Empress Anna Ivanovna,
1730-1740

Peter the Great's decision in 1722 to name his own successor doomed eighteenthcentury Russia to recurrent succession crises. More immediately, his failure to name an heir before his death caused a rift in the Romanov dynasty and involved the elite Imperial Guards regiments in the resulting palace intrigues. With their backing, the Senate named Peter's wife Catherine--a former servant-- empress of Russia. When she died in 1727, the throne passed to Peter's grandson, a boy named Peter, the only surviving male Romanov and the son of Peter the Great's estranged son, Alexis. Peter II's short reign ( 1727-1730) was dominated by the powerful Dolgorukii family. Political crisis ensued when Peter suddenly died in 1730, before an heir had been named, resulting in the designation of Anna of Courland, the second daughter of Ivan V (Peter's half-brother and co-ruler during the early part of his reign), empress of Russia.

Not surprisingly, the historical literature has devoted only limited attention to the reigns of Russia's rulers during the interval between the death of Peter I and the rise of Catherine II (the Great), an "era of palace revolutions" when "lovers ruled Russia." In seeking to reclaim this period from popularizers, E.V. Anisimov has written a nuanced reassessment of Anna Ivanovna and her reign that is highly revisionist. After identifying the most vital features of Anna's unhappy years in Courland, Anisimov brings her to Russia when "the Muscovite seventeenth century and the coarse manners of the new Russian capital city and the European eighteenth century" came together. A hapless agent of history devoid of ambition and drawn to rumor and gossip, Anisimov's Anna more than anything else feared loneliness, and therefore sought out "reliable protection and support." Anisimov challenges Russian historical writing that depicts the period as a reactionary one dominated by

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The Emperors and Empresses of Russia: Rediscovering the Romanovs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The New Russian History ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • About the Editors and Contributors vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • Emperor Peter I, 1682-1725 3
  • Empress Anna Ivanovna, 1730-1740 37
  • Empress Elizabeth I, 1741-1762 66
  • Emperor Peter III, 1762 101
  • Empress Catherine II, 1762-1796 134
  • Emperor Paul I, 1796-1801 177
  • Emperor Alexander I, 1801-1825 216
  • Emperor Nicholas I, 1825-1855 256
  • Emperor Alexander II, 1855-1881 294
  • Emperor Alexander III, 1881-1894 334
  • Emperor Nicholas II, 1894-1917 369
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 403
  • Index 405
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