As previously noted, the immoral life of the king became the basis for the future conflict between father and son. It is obvious that separation from the mother and the coldness of the father did not pass without a trace for Tsarevich Alexei. Peter is constantly among foreigners, in traveling and business, and the prince is cut off from his father. As a result, the confrontation between father and son was laid from childhood. From these years he was hated by the German settlement, and foreigners who, in his opinion, took away his mother and father from him. The father traded his son and legal wife to foreigners and his German mistress, Anna Mons. At the same time, the foundation was laid for the opposition party, which, fearing the excessive influence of foreigners in the king's entourage, began to place certain hopes on Tsarevich Alexei. Later Alexey was sympathized with such people as Prince Ya. F. Dolgoruky, B. P. Sheremetev, B. A. Golitsyn, S. Yavorsky, D. M. and M. M. Golitsyn.
The Russian historian N. Kostomarov noted: “After what happened between Tsar Peter and Tsarina Yevdokiyu, the heart of Tsarevich Alexei inevitably had to lean toward the mother; the son could not love his father, and as his father stubbornly kept the unhappy mother in oppression, dislike and aversion to the parent took root in his son's heart. So it had to happen, so it happened. Alexey could not love his father, after what his father had done to his mother. Naturally, there must have been a disgust in him because of the reason for the father’s deed to his mother, or that was close to the persecution that his mother endured. Peter rejected Evdokia because he liked another woman, and he liked this other one by foreign methods; in Evdokia, Peter seemed to be opposed to her Russian caresses, the Russian depot of this woman. Peter condemned an innocent spouse for monastic poverty at the very time when he declared persecution of the Russian dress and Russian beard, Russian customs and customs, and it was natural for his son to hate foreign land for his mother and, in contrast to foreign dear, everything Moscow-Russian became. ” Peter's conquest ruined the people. Alexey did not like war or military, was not captivated by conquests and acquisitions, his ideal was peace and tranquility.
Thus, in the family of Peter the tragedy occurred, which was repeated in the fate of Russia itself. Peter rejected the legitimate Russian wife for the sake of foreign beauty. He loved her and even wanted to make her a legitimate queen. She betrayed him. Then Peter found (or slipped her in time) another foreigner - the "cook" and the "marching wife" Martha. Made her empress. She eventually betrayed him too. And when Peter began to realize his mistake, to act in the national interest, he decided to reject the closest people - Martha-Ekaterina, Menshikov, he suddenly fell ill and died. There was no legal heir, he was killed. The era of palace coups began. The victory of the Western model of modernization in Russia - the building of a colonial order with the gentlemen, the nobles “Europeans” and enslaved people, ultimately led to the 1917 disaster of the year. Attempts by certain sovereigns, Pavel, Nicholas I and Alexander III, how to rectify the situation, save the state from a catastrophe, could only freeze Russia.
In 1699, Peter remembered his son and wanted to send him along with a Saxon diplomat who was in Russian service, General Karlovich, to study in Dresden. However, the general died. In 1701 - 1702, despite the reinforced requests of the Vienna Court to send the prince “for science” to Vienna, the Saxon Neugebauer from the University of Leipzig was invited as a mentor. He used to be in the retinue of Karlovich. The foreign specialist showed himself badly and lost his position in 1702. When Alexey accompanied his father to Arkhangelsk, there a German quarreled with Vyazemsky. In the heat of quarrel, the German burst into such abuse at the Russians and all Russian that he was immediately dismissed. In 1703, the city of Peter chose a new mentor to the prince, Baron Heinrich Güissen (Giesen). Baron was from an ancient family, had an excellent education, military and management experience. Guyssen spoke positively about Alexey’s ability and diligence, highlighting his love of mathematics and foreign languages.
The appearance in the life of Peter Marta Skavronskaya (with the skillful assistance of Menshikov), played the most negative role in the fate of Alexei. As the historian M.P. Pogodin noted, her attitude, if not actions, together with the intrigues of Menshikov, later decided the fate of the prince. 1704 year passed for Alexei safely. Father was pleased with him. But suddenly Baron Güissen (Gisele) is being removed from him, he is sent with a diplomatic mission. The prince is left without proper upbringing. The Parisian courtyard is asking to send Aleksey to be brought up to France. Peter rejects this offer. Many researchers see this intrigue Menshikov.
“What does this removal from a prince of the most necessary person mean at the most important time for him, from 15 to 20 for almost years? - Pogodin writes. - The instructions given to Gizel are very small and could easily be executed by any other. ... Where did the king's former care for his son go? ... Can't you see here Menshikov’s secret intention, as before in the removal of Neugebauer, of Menshikov’s secret intention to teach the prince to idleness and laziness, giving him space and freedom to spend time with his relatives, adherents of old, with priests and monks, to whom he received a certain disposition even during his mother's time - and thereby prepare a future break with his father. Menshikov could, under some plausible excuse, give malicious advice to Peter, send Gisin to foreign lands. ”
The circle of the prince in Preobrazhensky at that time included: the Naryshkins, N. Vyazemsky, the Kolychevs, the governor of Evralaks and a number of clerics. The closest people were his aunt - the daughter of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. And in their inner circle dominated by the confessors, whom Alexei loved to listen. Representatives of the clergy, relatives of the mother talked about the discontent that is ripening among the people.
Alexey makes an unauthorized trip to Suzdal, to his mother. Tsarevna Natalia Alekseevna, the Tsar’s beloved sister, will inform her brother about this trip. Peter will summon the Tsarevich to himself in Zholkva (in Galicia), at the beginning of 1707. He was in a rage. But he went away and instructed his son to work - go to Smolensk, collect recruits and procure food. Alexey to the orders of his father was serious and tried. The sovereign was pleased with the service of his son, and after completing one case, he entrusted another. Having stayed in Smolensk for five months, the prince went to Moscow. In fact, Alexey became the Moscow Governor-General. He oversees the strengthening of the city, gathers soldiers and is present in the office of ministers. Peter's orders were transmitted through the prince, at this dangerous time (they were afraid of an attack by the Swedish army), he himself took measures to defend Moscow, reinforced Dorogobuzh, went to Vyazma to inspect stores (warehouses), watched the content of captured Swedes, etc. It was the first Peter's attempt to attract his son to state activities. Fifty-plus handwritten letters from the prince from Moscow show his vigorous activity. Meanwhile, Huyssen arranged the marriage of the Tsarevich with Princess Charlotte of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, the sister of the German Empress.
To explain the confrontation between his son and his father, as well as to prove Peter’s rightness, a myth was created about the inert, stupid prince, whom the representatives of the conservative party tried to use to stop reforming Russia and return the country to the past. However, this is a hoax. The prince was smart. I read a lot, eagerly learned new things. After all, not only the Old Believers, faithful to their foundations, opposed the radical reforms of Peter the Great, who carried the full burden of reforms and endless war, but also many educated people, representatives of the elite. They themselves studied and taught their children, knew foreign languages, read and collected libraries, were not averse to going abroad, looking at the wonders there, buying things for loved ones and at home. They were not averse to taking advantage of the achievements of the West. However, they opposed the violation of the dignity and calmness of the Russian people; against the flow of foreigners, among whom were many adventurers, possibly spies; against the endless fuss, controversial reforms; ruinous, long war, which brought a small profit, but finally destroyed the country.
Tsarevich Alexey Petrovich was close to such educated people. The prince was intelligent and educated, curious, well-read. In this, he looked no longer like his father, but like his grandfather - Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. Like grandfather was heavy on the rise, did not like the hustle and bustle, the constant movement, what distinguished Peter. It was a person inclined to contemplation and observation. Alexey loved books. Being abroad studied history, visited memorials and temples. In addition to books on theology, I bought art books, maps and portraits in Frankfurt, Prague and other cities. He is curious, visits the monasteries of Krakow, is present at disputes at the university. He asks people, writes. Far from Russia, she is interested in her affairs, requires information from Moscow. As a person - pious, compassionate to the poor, ready to help friends with money and advice.
At the same time, the prince had his own opinion and opinion on things. He had a strong will and was able to defend his opinion. Envoy von Loos wrote 1 July 1718 of the senate meeting, at which serious charges were brought against Alexei: “The prince before the whole meeting with extraordinary composure (which, in my opinion, bordered by despair) confessed to his father in his crime, but did not express the slightest obedience to the king, did not ask him for forgiveness; he sharply announced to his eyes that, being quite sure that he was an unloving father, he thought that this consciousness relieved him of the duties of love, which should be mutual. He considered himself entitled to discover his hatred against him, standing up for the oppressed people, who are moaning under the yoke of too heavy rule and who is ready to give him, the prince, all the help he asks for carrying out his lofty intentions. ”
The prince did not like war. For a number of his marks, one can see a sharply negative attitude of Alexei Petrovich to various abuses of power, acquisitiveness, cruelty, and persecution of the freedom of speech. Alexey condemned those representatives of the clergy who, in favor of the king, indulged his evil inclinations. He hates his stepmother, she caused him disgust. Alexey felt hostility towards Menshikov until the end of his life. The prince was afraid of Russia's submission to the papal throne or Protestants, thinking about the expulsion of foreigners from Russia. Closed and cautious, in a close circle, accepting the cup (like his father, was weak to guilt), was dangerously outspoken: “When I become a sovereign, I will transfer all the old ones and choose new ones, I will live in Moscow, and I will leave simple city; I will not keep the ships, I will keep the army only for defense, but I don’t want to have war with anyone ... ”
It should be remembered that Alexey Petrovich was not an ardent hater of everything foreign. He gladly traveled abroad and at one time even wanted to settle in a European country. Never opposed the major reforms of Peter. But he strongly condemned the Petrine activities aimed at restricting the church. He really did not like Petersburg and wanted to return the capital to Moscow. But in this he was not alone. This view was held by many of his contemporaries. In addition, the prince did not approve of excessive enthusiasm for foreign policy activities (war), not without reason believing that the country needs peace.
Thus, Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich was across the road to several powerful forces at once. The reformer-king feared that with such an heir all his labors would go to pieces. He was cold with his son, which pushed him even more away from Peter. Foreigners feared for their fate. Alexey Petrovich could dramatically change the course of Russia's development, which was dangerous for the West. Alexey knew theology well, could restore the connection of the state, the church and the people. The coming to power of Alexei could become extremely dangerous for Menshikov and Martha-Catherine, they could lose their place at the top of the powerful Olympus. This predetermined the tragic fate of Alexei.