Military Review

Caterina II Letter of Commendation

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Caterina II Letter of Commendation



The Hermitage and the Rodina magazine continue a joint project, in which we acquaint readers with little-known rarities from the vaults of the main Russian museum.

In "Four thousand male sex ..."

Among several other Orlov family heirlooms, this letter was received in the Hermitage in 2007 by the will of Prince Nikolai Vladimirovich Orlov (1896-1961), great-great-grandson of Catherine’s nobleman Count Fedor Grigoryevich Orlov (1741-1796), brother and associate of the Chesme hero. The unique document, dated December 11, 1775, confirms the award to Count Alexei Grigoryevich Orlov (1737-1807) of four thousand souls with which Catherine the Great awarded him for the victory over the Turkish fleet in the famous battle of Chesme on June 26, 1770.

The letter was signed by Catherine II personally; it is distinguished by a magnificent decoration and is equipped with a wax seal embedded in a silver ark-hive with a chased coat of arms of the Russian Empire on the lid.

“We declare through this,” says the text of this document, “that OUR IMPERATIVE majesty, the most gracious for the good, judged welcome to the Chesmen battle forever and then to OUR General Anshef and Cavaler Aleksei Grigoryevich Orlov, four thousand men and women, and half a year ago, our son Anshef and Kavaler Graf Alexei Grigoryevich Orlov, four thousand men left and lands belonging to them, forests, meadows, lakes, mills and all sorts of land, leaving only seven hundred and eighty seven souls remaining from that parish as much as they belong to: and such is OUR IMPERATIVE The very closest pleas to both our Senate 17 September and 22 December 1772 were issued by decrees ... "


Caterina II. Russia, Moscow, 11 December 1775. Parchment, satin, silk, cord, bother, barbarian; silver sealing wax; ink, gold paint, watercolor, gouache; gilding. 29,5 x 42; Ark: to dia. 12; Case: 46.1 x 36,5. Arrival: 2007, under the will of the book. N.V. Orlova. Inv. N ERDR-2354 Photo:


Guard sergeant


Alexey Orlov was born on September 24 of the year 1737 in the village of Lyutkino, Bezhetsk District, Tver Province. At the age of five he lost his father, the Novgorod governor, and for twelve years he was enrolled as a soldier in the guard. Endowed with an athletic build, in early youth, Alexey was famous for his wild temper; from twenty years on his cheek flaunted scar, obtained in a brawl brawl from the Life Lab Alexander Shvanvich. The brothers called him Alekhan; in the light, the nickname la balafre stuck to it (marked - fr.).

Despite the very modest rank, Alexei Orlov was popular in the guard and actively recruited in her ranks supporters of the enthronement of Catherine, whose favor was enjoyed by his older brother Gregory. Sergeant Alexei Orlov, who was not yet twenty-five, played a major role in the 28 coup of June 1762 of the Guard. A few days later, he provided the new empress with an equally important service, becoming, apparently, one of the reasons for those "hemorrhoidal colic" from which, according to the official version, deposed Peter III died ...


V. Eriksen. Portrait of AG Orlov. GE. 1766. Graf is depicted in the costume of the chief (leader) of the Turkish quadrille, in which he performed on that year on the famous court carousel. Photo: State Hermitage Museum

Battle of Chesme

Upon assuming the throne, Catherine II elevated the Orlovs to the count's dignity; golden rain fell on the brothers. Gregory and Alexey shared with the Empress her works and fun. In the summer of 1766, both became winners in the famous court carousel - a costume horse competition of four quadrille teams - Slavic, Roman, Indian and Turkish. Alexey Orlov headed the Turkish.

Two years later, the Turkish Sultan concluded our ambassador to the Seven Turret Castle and declared war on Russia.

The news of this found Count Alexei Orlov in Italy. From there, he sent the Empress a plan to fight the Ottoman Porte at sea. His plan was accepted; the empress sent two squadrons and sent them to the Mediterranean. At the head of these squadrons, Orlov joined the fight with the Turkish fleet and completely destroyed it in the battle of Chesme, despite the twofold superiority of the Turks in the number of ships.


Ya.F.Hakkert. The death of the Turkish fleet in the Chesme battle. GE. 1771. Photo: State Hermitage

Triumph and disgrace

The first Turkish war ended in Moscow with celebrations in honor of the ratification of Kucuk-Kaynardzhiysky world. However, Catherine arrived in Belokamennaya long before the arrival of the Turkish ambassador Abdul-Kerim, Beglerbey of Rumeli, 25 in January 1775, two weeks after the execution of Pugachev, to celebrate the victory over the rebel. Count Alexei Orlov was at that time in Italy with a secret and responsible mission: he had to neutralize the princesse de Voldomir, an impostor who pretended to be the daughter of the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna and Razumovsky, the famous Princess Tarakanova. Catherine feared that the claims of the "princess" to the Russian throne would find support in Europe.

Alexey Orlov entered the impostor into trust, invited him to Livorno and lured the Russian warship into which she was arrested. On May 25, the prisoner was taken to the Peter and Paul Fortress, where on December 4 she died at the age of twenty-two. A week later, on December 11 in Moscow, 1775, the Empress signed a signed instrument to Alexei Orlov on a 4000 soul for a victory won more than five years ago ...

After the breakup of Catherine with Count Grigory Orlov, his brothers moved away from the court, and after the death of Catherine the Great fell into disgrace. Having ascended to the throne, Paul I transferred the remains of his father from the Alexander Nevsky Monastery to the Peter and Paul Cathedral. In the mourning procession, the emperor ordered Alexei Orlov to take part: he had to carry the crown, which he had once taken from Peter III ...

When the hero of Chesma was informed of the will of the emperor, he, according to the testimony of a contemporary, "went into a dark corner and wept sobbing." Soon he left Russia and returned only on the accession of Alexander I.

Burning at the stake

The Khotun volost, most of which the empress bestowed on Count Orlov-Chesmensky, belonged to the Serpukhov district in Moscow; Hotun village (now Khatun) is located on the Lopasne River, one hundred versts south of Moscow. The Orlov brothers lived in perfect harmony; from the possessions of Catherine, Count Alexei Grigorievich, keeping Hotun for himself, singled out significant estates to the brothers Vladimir and Fyodor. In his estate Semenovskiy Count Vladimir Grigorievich built a magnificent mansion Otrada. In it, he erected a family tomb in which they buried Alexei Orlov, who died in Moscow on December 24 1807 of the year.

Alas, his remains, like the ashes of Peter III, were not destined to find peace. The daughter of Count Anna Orlova-Chesmenskaya in January 1832 carried the sealed copper coffins of his father and his brothers Gregory and Fedor to the Novgorod Yuriev Monastery. In February, 1896, the ashes of Alexei, Gregory and Fyodor Orlov were returned to the tomb of the graves. But in 1924, the mausoleum was opened, the remains of the Orlovs were removed from the crypt and burned at the stake ...


Caterina II. Russia, Moscow, 11 December 1775. Parchment, satin, silk, cord, bother, barbarian; silver sealing wax; ink, gold paint, watercolor, gouache; gilding. 29,5 x 42; Ark: to dia. 12; Case: 46.1 x 36,5. Arrival: 2007, under the will of the book. N.V. Orlova. Inv. N ERD-2354. Photo: State Hermitage Museum


Caterina II. Russia, Moscow, 11 December 1775. Parchment, satin, silk, cord, bother, barbarian; silver sealing wax; ink, gold paint, watercolor, gouache; gilding. 29,5 x 42; Ark: to dia. 12; Case: 46.1 x 36,5. Arrival: 2007, under the will of the book. N.V. Orlova. Inv. N ERD-2354. Photo: State Hermitage Museum
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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 17 January 2016 08: 35 New
    0
    Very interesting .. thanks ....
    1. vladimirZ
      vladimirZ 17 January 2016 10: 00 New
      0
      ... OUR IMPERIAL MAJESTY, all the most gracious for the good, have judged ... Count Alexei Grigoryevich Orlov, four thousand men half souls from OUR Palace Khotunsky volost, with all their lands, forests, meadows, lakes, mills and all kinds of lands ...

      They gave people like cattle, and so on until the mid-19th century.
      And someone else calls for a monarchy, even in the 21st century.
      It was hardly visible that they mocked the people that they wanted to put new gentlemen on their necks.
      Although how much do they want? Already planted in the form of robbers of oligarchs and officials who own "owned lands, forests, meadows, lakes, mills and all kinds of lands", and in them are the natural resources, factories and factories created by the people of Russia.
      1. atalef
        atalef 17 January 2016 10: 12 New
        +3
        Quote: vladimirZ
        four thousand mans half souls from OUR Palace Khotunsky volost, with all their lands, forests, meadows, lakes, mills and all kinds of lands,

        Pay attention, women were not considered at all.
        Only men.
        Forests, lakes of the mill - in the bill, and women?
        1. AK64
          AK64 17 January 2016 13: 20 New
          +3
          Forests, lakes of the mill - in the bill, and women?

          Lists what is taxed. Women were not taxed. (And it seems right to me --- why, from what income, woman by itself pay taxes?)
      2. Cap.Morgan
        Cap.Morgan 17 January 2016 23: 56 New
        -1
        Such a system was in most European countries.
        In the 21st century, you can find many prosperous monarchies.
        Great Britain and Japan, Sweden and Denmark, Spain ...
        At the same time, there are many republics where people can barely make ends meet ...
        Zimbabwe .... Greece ... Sudan, Vietnam ....
    2. Sweles
      Sweles 17 January 2016 12: 03 New
      0
      Yes, yes, I wonder what kind of land she is the lord? after the Ugra- PERISKY ??? what does anyone know?
      -Fucker? somewhere in Karelia?
      -Obdoria ??? - like the mouth of the Ob? it generally sways, what is there? Ancient Mangazeya.
      -Bulgaria, again a joke means in those days Bulgaria was not in the Balkans.
      -Condian -Do not know where it is?
      -Cherkassky lands, as it was on fuel alone, argued that Cherkessia-Adygea and Cherkasy are the same thing, laughter and more.
      As for the letter, in fact, E2 is German, serfdom-slavery under it received the greatest development ...
  2. Aleksander
    Aleksander 17 January 2016 09: 47 New
    +3
    The Orlov brothers are the most interesting people of their time, who have done a lot for Russia. Nevertheless, talking about Chesma and Orlov, as the sole organizer of the victory and not mentioning the battle hero Admiral Spiridov, is not entirely true.
    The letter itself is an amazingly beautiful document, thanks to the author for the article ....
    1. AK64
      AK64 17 January 2016 13: 18 New
      0
      The Orlov brothers are the most interesting people of their time, who have done a lot for Russia.

      Yeah: done pretty well with

      Nevertheless, it is not entirely true to speak of Chesme and Orlov as the sole organizer of the victory and not to mention the battle hero Admiral Spiridov.

      You still will be very unhappy, but there is an opinion (with which I agree) that the rear of the British in Russian service is the organizer of the Chesme battle, the battle in the Chesma Bay John Elphinstone.
      I know that you will be angry - but a fire attack is exactly a British trick; I am not aware of the use of Russian fleet firewalls before Chesma

      As for Orlov .... well, it shows exactly what to have on the box cat - This is an old Russian custom, not introduced by the Communists
      1. Aleksander
        Aleksander 17 January 2016 21: 43 New
        0
        Quote: AK64
        I know that you will be angry - but a fire attack is exactly a British trick; I am not aware of the use of Russian fleet firewalls before Chesma

        But once it was necessary to start! By the way, 2 turbo ships were ALREADY blown up to firewalls Russian artillery and their burning debris had already cast a bay. Brander has developed success. Glory to Spiridov, Elphinstone is also a fine fellow (since he happened upon victory).
        I’m not angry, why?
        1. AK64
          AK64 17 January 2016 22: 42 New
          0
          By the way, 2 turcrubles were already blown up by the Russian artillery before the firewalls and their burning debris had already thrown the bay. Brander-developed success.

          As far as I read, only one of the Turkish ships exploded before the firewalls. Some ships were already really burning (the Turks were built a little tightly), however the attack of the fires brought the greatest result.

          Of the four firewalls used, two were commanded by the British. However, the most productive was the Russian, Lieutenant Ilyin: they believe that it was he who successfully set fire to the squadron, as it were

          Glory to Spiridov, Elphinstone is also a fine fellow (since he happened upon victory).

          He didn’t “happen” there, he was on of equal right with Spiridov: the fact is that Catherine did a lot of stupidity by appointing Spiridov and Elphinston EQUAL on command, each over his squadron. Orlov partially corrected this error, reassigning both to himself. But Orlov was not a sailor, and as a result, twilight quarreled with both Spiridov and Elphinston.
          But Catherine’s "Solomon" decision brought a lot of problems.

          Be that as it may, Elphinstone and Spiridov were in equal position with Chesm.
          1. Aleksander
            Aleksander 18 January 2016 05: 10 New
            0
            Quote: AK64
            He didn’t “happen” there, he was on an equal footing with Spiridov

            э
            He was not equal on an equal footing, because the rank was lower, and in general he was accepted to the service as a simple captain. Immediately showed inexperience, getting involved in a battle with three ships with Turkish 20. After Chesmy, he committed a strange act - without permission of A. Orlov, left the detachment blocking the Dardanelles without permission, and on the 84 cannon ship Svyatoslav headed for Lemnos Island, where on September 5 of September 1770 he hit a reef, as a result of which the most powerful ship of the Russian squadron perished. Elphinstone was removed from command and sent to Russia, where he was put on trial. .Woe to the naval commander .....
            An attack by the firemen was offered on the eve of the battle -Spiridov and Hannibal. yes
  3. kvs207
    kvs207 17 January 2016 13: 24 New
    0
    Quote: AK64
    a fire attack is exactly the British trick; I am not aware of the use of Russian fleet firewalls before Chesma

    The fact that firewalls were not used does not mean that they were not. Although, under Chesme, the firewalls were improvised.
    1. AK64
      AK64 17 January 2016 13: 43 New
      -2
      The fact that firewalls were not used does not mean that they were not. Although, under Chesme, the firewalls were improvised.


      Firemen are everywhere and always improvised; no "specially built" anyone, AFAIK, had.

      But the use of firewalls is know how, and the British were the masters.

      In general, you can get angry as much as you like, but the use of firewalls in Chesme Bay is Elfinston's offer and merit
  4. ibirus
    ibirus 17 January 2016 19: 27 New
    +2
    Shame on encouraging people to be slaves. It is not clear why she was considered great.
    1. King, just king
      King, just king 17 January 2016 22: 47 New
      -1
      Quote: ibirus
      Shame on encouraging people to be slaves. It is not clear why she was considered great.


      The custom, of course, is not ice, but what was it to encourage? Just the earth? Yes, please, Kemsku parish, at least p .. eat. And what to do with it, with the earth? It was encouraged not only by fitting 4000 souls of the “male sex” to the porch, namely by peasants already living on the earth.

      I’m interested in something else. I have probably visited all the largest historical museums in the country (Russia), and in some places over the hill.
      And a person very, very interested in the history of the world, I’ll say that I haven’t experienced enthusiasm anywhere, well, maybe with the exception of the knightly halls in the Armory, the Hermitage and the Artillery and communications. Even in the Naval still old, not very. Where are the supplies materials. Exhibitions "from storerooms" are constantly held, constantly materials "from storerooms". They steal, spoil, but to build additional space for expositions is biting ...

      Ah, yes, about the Great ... Well, the little things ... Turks in the wort, Izmail-Ochakov, that, Crimea as a whole, the Black Sea Fleet, Europe has quieted down, development and settlement of the Black Sea, Academy of Sciences, a lot in general any ...
    2. Cap.Morgan
      Cap.Morgan 18 January 2016 00: 00 New
      0
      That was the world. Such an era.
      Under Catherine, Russia strengthened its southern borders, annexed Crimea, for this alone it can be considered great.
  5. kvs207
    kvs207 17 January 2016 22: 16 New
    0
    Quote: AK64
    Firemen are everywhere and always improvised; no "specially built" anyone, AFAIK, had.

    We open the “List of Russian military ships” by F. Veselago and look ... There are firewalls and their names are corresponding: “Vesuvius”, “Etna”, “Flam”, etc. And this, in the Baltic Fleet since Peter's times.
    1. AK64
      AK64 17 January 2016 22: 45 New
      0
      Of course of course.
      That's only when suddenly a firewall is needed --- no one has these special buildings at hand. And you have to redo what is (usually something cheap) into firewalls.

      And why would it be like that?