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The official historians tell us about the sister of Peter I as a notorious reactionary who opposed her brother-reformer. In fact, everything was not the same as always.
So: Exactly 334 years ago, on June 8, 1682, for the first time a woman became the head of the Russian state.
To begin with, she came to power at the age of 24 and she was a beautiful young girl according to some contemporaries and had a pleasant appearance, and she can be called a real beauty according to others. Sofya Alekseevna was born on September 27, 1657, she was the sixth child and the fourth daughter of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich.
The daughters of Russian tsars in the pre-Petrine era were not given much choice - first, life in the female half of the palace, and then a monastery. The times of Yaroslav the Wise, when princely daughters were married off to foreign princes, were far behind - it was believed that life within the monastery walls was better for girls than a transition to another faith.
Humility and obedience were considered the princesses' virtue, but it quickly became clear that little Sophia had her own opinion on everything. By the age of 7, mothers and nannies ran to complain about the girl directly to the royal father.
Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich acted unexpectedly - instead of punishment, he ordered to find good teachers for Sophia. As a result, the girl received an excellent education, mastered foreign languages, and soon foreign ambassadors began to report to their countries about the amazing changes at the Russian court: the tsar's daughter now does not sit for embroidery, but participates in state affairs.
Sophia had no illusions that this would continue in the future. The girl, through foreigners who served at the Russian court, established contacts with the German principalities, trying to find a groom there who would suit her father. But Alexei Mikhailovich was not going to go so far, not giving his daughter the opportunity to move abroad.
Alexey Mikhailovich died when Sophia was 19 years old. The brother of the princess Fyodor Alekseevich ascended the throne.
Like his namesake Fyodor Ioannovich, this Russian tsar was not in good health and could not give birth to an heir.
A rather difficult situation has developed with the succession to the throne. The next in turn was the brother of Fedor and Sophia, Ivan Alekseevich, however, he was also often ill and, moreover, showed signs of dementia. And the next heir was a very young Peter Alekseevich.
At that time, the highest Russian nobility was conditionally divided into two opposing parties. The first included the relatives of the first wife of Alexei Mikhailovich Maria Miloslavskaya and their supporters, the second - the relatives of the second wife of the Tsar Natalia Naryshkina and their associates.
Fedor, Ivan and Sophia were the children of Maria Miloslavskaya, Peter - Natalia Naryshkina.
Supporters of the Miloslavskys, who maintained their positions under Fedor Alekseevich, understood how precarious the situation would become if he died. At the same time, at the time of his father's death, Ivan was only 10 years old, and Peter was four at all, so in the event of their accession, the question arose about the regent.
For Sophia, this political alignment looked very promising. She began to be seen as a candidate for regent. In Russia, despite all its patriarchy, the rise to power of a woman did not cause shock and horror. Princess Olga, who ruled at the dawn of Russian statehood and became the first Christian among the rulers of Russia, left quite positive impressions of such an experience.
On May 7, 1682, Fyodor Alekseevich died, and a fierce struggle unfolded for the throne. The Naryshkins made the first move - having managed to win over Patriarch Joachim to their side, they announced Peter as the new tsar.
The Miloslavskys had an ace up their sleeve for this case - a streltsy army, always dissatisfied and ready for revolt. Preparatory work with the archers was carried out for a long time, and on May 25, a rumor was launched that the Naryshkins in the Kremlin were killing Tsarevich Ivan. A riot broke out, and the crowd moved to the Kremlin.
The Naryshkins began to panic. Natalya Naryshkina, trying to extinguish the passions, brought Ivan and Peter to the archers, but this did not calm the rioters. Supporters of the Naryshkins began to be killed right in front of 9-year-old Peter. This reprisal subsequently affected both the Tsar's psyche and his attitude towards the archers.
The Naryshkins actually capitulated. Under pressure from the archers, a unique decision was made - both Ivan and Peter were elevated to the throne, and Sofia Alekseevna was confirmed as regent. At the same time, Peter was called "the second tsar", insisting on his removal with his mother to Preobrazhenskoye.
And Sophia, using the contradictions of the two boyar clans closest to power, thus seized power. This is what made this event extraordinary. The first woman who did not receive the supreme power by inheritance, but took it by right of power. Having shown amazing intelligence, foresight and impressive political will.
Sophia, having an excellent education, from the very first months of her reign began progressive reforms. But her not the most stable position in power did not allow her to take too drastic steps, as her brother later did. Nevertheless, under Sophia, the reform of the army and the tax system of the state began, trade with foreign powers began to be encouraged, and foreign specialists were actively invited. That is, in fact, Peter 1 only continued, and with very long delays and contradictory actions, the reform of his sister.
In foreign policy, Sophia succeeded in 1686. conclude a lucrative peace treaty with Poland and joined the Holy League - the largest anti-Turkish European alliance. She signed the first agreement with China, actively developed relations with European countries.
Under Sophia, the first higher educational institution in Russia was opened - the Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy.
Sophia's favorite also appeared (do not forget that she is a beautiful young girl of 25 years old) - Prince Vasily Golitsyn, who has actually turned into the head of the Russian government.
Sophia organized two campaigns as part of the struggle of the Holy League against the Turks. Specifically against the Crimean Tatars in 1687 and 1689, led by Vasily Golitsyn. These campaigns were well received by the members of the European anti-Ottoman coalition, but did not bring real success.
The same princess Sophia, to whom we have become accustomed from school, when we worked in the genre of "composition on a picture". The famous canvas by Ilya Repin bears an instructive title characteristic of the "enlightenment" historical canvas: "Princess Sophia Alekseevna a year after her imprisonment in the Novodevichy Convent during the execution of the archers and the torture of all her servants." Although in honor this picture should have been called differently: "How one should imagine Princess Sophia in the light of the latest decisions and forever and ever."
Because all the most popular cliches and stereotypes are carefully and lovingly collected there. We see a fat, ugly, vulgar woman with crazy eyes. Dressed in the old Russian tsarist vestments - an unambiguous indication that she is retrograde with pretensions. Hands are closed on the chest - it means, greedy for power. The nun in the background, in theory, Sophia's jailor, clearly looks tucked up - which means that the princess is phenomenally cruel.
In principle, this exhausts our idea of this woman and her role in Russian history. More advanced amateurs and experts will only add details. The elder sister of Tsar Peter the Great, in the struggle for power relied on the archers, ruled for seven years, really did nothing, sheer obscurantism.The most advanced will sigh: “The time was not yet for women on the throne. If she had been born later, she would have just had time in the "woman's age". And so - sheer frustration."
In fairness, I must say that Repin turned out to be a gentleman after all. Because the most common description of Sophia's appearance is scarier and more disgusting than his portrait. “She is very ugly, has an ugly body of exorbitant thickness, with a head as huge as a pillow or a cauldron. She has thick hair on her face, bumps and bumps on her legs, and she is now at least forty years old. These lines belong to a certain Foix de la Neuville. He is called a French diplomat, although the characterization "adventurer and spy" will be more accurate. To this can be added another definition - a liar. At the time of this writing, Sophia was not forty, but twenty-eight years old.
Of course, one can assume that she looked at all forty. But here's the trick - Neville never saw her in person. And of course a person of royal blood was unlikely to show a foreigner her legs "with bumps and growths." Neville made a description of Sophia's appearance with someone else's unkind words. Simply - from biased gossip.
Against the words of the Frenchman, one can put forward the words of other foreigners, contemporaries of the princess, who visited Russia. For example, the gateway master, the Scotsman John Perry: "Princess Sophia, Peter's rival is a beautiful young girl." Or an officer-cartographer, German Philip Johann Stralenberg: "Sophia has a pleasant appearance, she can be called a real beauty." The situation is stalemate. Word versus word. Some call her ugly, others - a beauty. Where is the truth?
Ordered to forget
There could be no truth at all. But we were lucky. In 1689, already at the end of her reign, Sophia conceived an unprecedentedly bold political maneuver. The first in Russia. She launched a visual campaign with the involvement of all the media of the time. In particular, the most advanced European experience - distribution of “printed sheets” - was adapted. A kind of proclamations explaining why Sophia is the best, and why her rule brings peace, prosperity and prosperity to the people.
The plot was simple - a portrait of the princess surrounded by seven allegorical figures indicating her virtues. "Reason", "Chastity", "Truth", "Divine Hope", "Generosity", "Generosity", "Piety".
To "remove the parsuna", that is, to create a portrait, the artist and printmaker Leonty Tarasevich was invited to Moscow. A Chernigov master of considerable caliber, who was trained in the famous engraving holding of the Kilian brothers in Augsburg. The "removal of the parsuna" took place in secret - the Church categorically did not approve of such innovations. And if they somehow put up with the ceremonial portraits of male sovereigns, then the female portrait had already crossed all boundaries.
But it turned out well. And certainly honest, as close to the original as possible. There was not a drop of flattery - the princess of Tarasevich's work cannot be called a written beauty. But ugly too. But decisiveness and even a kind of charm are visible. She may even seem pretty here to some. In any case, Sophia herself approved her image. With her light hand, up to a hundred ceremonial prints were made in Moscow - on expensive fabrics. The main order - several thousand sheets on paper - was placed in Amsterdam, in the workshop of Abraham Blotelink.
This saved the original image of the princess for history. Peter I, having overthrown his sister from the throne and imprisoning her in a monastery, opened a real hunt for these "printed sheets". They were ruthlessly seized and destroyed. The owners who concealed the portraits of Sophia were equated with traitors and "thieves against the sovereign" with all the ensuing consequences such as a whip, a rack, or even a chopping block. As a result, there were no ceremonial prints left at all, and only two of them survived. And both in the Netherlands - Leiden and Amsterdam. The memory of Sophia was distorted and erased at the highest state level.
It often happens that truthful testimonies about unwanted persons remain in the very vicinity of the source of immediate danger. It happened this time too. And you can't think of any closer - Prince Boris Kurakin, the first permanent ambassador of Russia abroad and one of the most zealous companions of Peter the Great, was also the tsar's brother-in-law. They were married to their own sisters: the tsar to Evdokia Lopukhina, and the prince to Xenia.
Kurakin wrote an interesting and honest work - "History of Princess Sophia and Peter". Of course, "on the table." And therefore with the utmost honesty, regardless of faces. Here is about the beginning of the reign of Peter, who overthrew Sophia: “Very dishonorable, and dissatisfied with the people, and offensive. And at that time, unjust rule from the judges began, and great bribery, and state theft, which until now continue with multiplication, and it is difficult to remove this ulcer."
But about how Sophia herself ruled: “It began with all diligence and justice, and to the delight of the people, so there has never been such a wise government in the Russian state.
And the whole state came during her reign, after seven years, in the color of great wealth. Also, commerce and all kinds of handicrafts have multiplied. And science began to be. Likewise, the politeness was arranged in a European manner - in carriages, in a house structure, in clothes, and in tables … And then people's satisfaction triumphed."
It seems that the fragments are mixed up. After all, after Peter, everything became good with us and in a European way! And before Peter, as you know, everything was bad - no "politeness", sheer obscurantism and poverty. However, in reality it turns out the other way around.
"Polites" and "European manners" in relation to Sophia seem to be some kind of nonsense and savagery. However, there is a source that can hardly be suspected of political bias or simple bias. Ledgers record everything impartially. And the expenditure statements of the Order of the Big Palace paint us a completely different Sophia. Here, for example: "In March 7196 (1688), the Hamburg merchant Elizar the Chosen gave the Empress two hats with ostrich feathers, and two round tortoiseshell mirrors, and memorable books (notebooks), and boxes, fans and ribbons." The assortment fits even the Empress Catherine the Great.
If we raise the lists of gifts and other receipts, it turns out that Sophia did not bore her name for nothing, which is translated from Greek as “Wisdom”.
Here is a list of the books that were constantly in her chambers. It makes no sense or space to list all two hundred odd names. Therefore, let them be the most characteristic. The poetic encyclopedia "Multicolor vertograd" by Simeon of Polotsk. "On the Reformation of the State" by Andrzej Modzhievsky. "Politics" by Yuri Krizhanich. "The military charter of the Dutch land." "The doctrine and cunning of the military system." "Good Love". "Gods of the filthy" by Ioannikiy Golyatovsky. The History of Ethiopia by Job Ludolph. That is, all the new items are the most fashionable and the most necessary by European standards. The same "History of Ethiopia" was published in 1681, and a year later it was already with Sophia.
Her interests range from history to politics and from religious issues to secular novels. Impressive.
It is even more impressive that the most successful woman on the Russian throne, Catherine the Great, studied the history of the princess's reign for a long time. And she delivered a verdict, which is very difficult to dispute: "We must give justice to Sophia - she ruled the state with such prudence and intelligence, which could only be desired from that time, and from that country."
Here is such a FORGOTTEN and DISTORTED story of Empress Sophia. With incredible persistence and diligence, it was created by the historians of the times of her brother Peter 1 and then became the official historical truth - a science. And now, in all school textbooks on the history of Russia, INSTEAD of a young, beautiful and intelligent woman who ruled Russia FOR THE FIRST TIME and started GREAT reforms …..an old, fat woman, repulsive in appearance, a notorious reactionary who opposed her reformer brother …
Question: How long will our history textbooks LIE to us ?????