How Anna Ioannovna changed the Russian Empire

Anna Ioannovna is the Russian empress who ruled from 1730 to 1740, the niece of Peter I, the daughter of his brother and co-ruler, Tsar Ioann Alekseevich. Her reign is usually associated with the flourishing of favoritism (Bironovism) and a passion for entertainment events in the spirit of the famous Ice House.

However, it would be unfair to reduce the tenth anniversary of Anna Ioannovna's reign only to this. For all her ambiguity, Empress Anna managed to contribute to the greatness of Russia.

Izmailovskaya princess

Princess Anna was born in 1693. She spent her childhood in the royal palace in Izmailovo. The Dowager Tsarina Praskovya Feodorovna ruled her little world as if there were no stormy transformations of Peter I in Russia. Her three daughters, of whom Anna was the middle one, grew up in terem seclusion, like the princesses of pre-Petrine time, communicating only with servants, mothers and nannies, jesters and pious pilgrims. However, Praskovya Fyodorovna had to come to terms with some new trends: the princesses had teachers - German and French, who taught them reading and writing, arithmetic, languages, dances and etiquette. Izmailovo had a court theater and its own orchestra.

Duchess of Courland

When the Northern War ended, Peter decided to strengthen the position of the Russian crown in the Duchy of Courland (western part of modern Latvia). For this, in 1709 it was decided to marry the young Duke of Courland Friedrich Wilhelm with one of the Russian princesses. Peter invited Tsarina Praskovya Fyodorovna to choose herself, which of the daughters was to become the duchess. She pointed to Anna, who by that time was 16 years old. A year later, a magnificent wedding took place in St. Petersburg. The festivities and balls lasted for two months. In January 1711, the young went to Mitava, the capital of Courland. However, before reaching his possessions, Friedrich Wilhelm died on the road. Contemporaries claim that the reason for this was excessive drinking. The young duke the day before decided to compete with Peter I, who will drink whom. Anna returned to her mother. A year later, Peter still sent his niece to Courland as a dowager duchess. But not just one. Together with her, Pyotr Bestuzhev-Ryumin departed for Mitava, who was ordered to help the young widow and look after her. He looked after. After some time, it became known in St. Petersburg that the already middle-aged Bestuzhev - he was 30 years older than Anna - was her lover. In 1727 Bestuzhev was returned to St. Petersburg with a scandal. Anna did not kill herself for her dear friend for long. A few months later, Ernst Johann Biron took possession of the heart of the Duchess of Courland. Anna kept this love until the end of her life.

Empress and autocrat of Russia

In 1730, the young Emperor Peter II died - the son of Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich, the grandson of Emperor Peter. This was the last offspring of the Romanov family in the male line. The result of the noble conspiracy was an invitation to the reign of Anna Ioannovna against the will of Catherine I, who before her death bequeathed the throne to the grandson of Peter the Great Karl Peter Ulrich (future Peter III). The conspirators, who in literature are usually called "supreme leaders", decided that Anna, who had spent many years in a foreign land and, according to rumors, did not shine with either intelligence or talents, would become their obedient tool. It was decided to limit the empress's power to the so-called "Conditions" - a document that contained Anna Ioannovna's obligations not to interfere in state affairs. However, in reality it turned out completely differently. Anna dutifully signed "Konditsiya", but upon arriving in Russia, she discovered that she had supporters. On February 25, 1730, the empress, in the presence of the court and the "supreme leaders", tore up the "Condition".

Board of Anna Ioannovna

For a long time in Russian history and fiction there was an idea about the "gloomy decade" of the reign of Anna Ioannovna, about the Bironovism and the dominance of the Germans at court. However, recent historical research suggests that this is partly an exaggeration. In fact, Anna and the people with whom she surrounded her throne were able to do a lot of useful things for Russia.

The program of the reign of Anna Ioannovna was reduced to the following main tasks:

- the task of reforming the army was set in connection with the need to reduce costs, since even in the preceding reign, the question arose of an exorbitant tax burden on the peasantry;

- there was talk about the need to revise the staffing of state institutions in order to streamline their work and reduce costs;

- has declared the need to create a fair and equal court for all;

- the reform of the Senate was carried out. His work, interrupted during the previous reign, was restored on the basis of Peter's decrees.

The Empress did a lot to reform the fleet. Under her, shipbuilding resumed, regular exercises began again in the Baltic Sea. The Military Naval Commission was established, which played a decisive role in the development of the Russian fleet. Finally, in 1732, the closed port in Arkhangelsk was reopened and restored, and the shipyard in Solombala also started working.

During the reign of Anna, a decisive blow was dealt to the Crimean Khanate, Russia took possession of the Turkish fortress Khotin, received the fortress of Azov, part of the territory of the Right-Bank Ukraine, territory in the North Caucasus, and the protectorate of the Russian crown over the union of Kazakh tribes - the Younger Zhuz was also declared.

However, the activities of the Secret Chancellery, interrogations under torture, exile and executions seriously darkened the reign of the suspicious and very fearful of conspiracies Anna Ioannovna and left a gloomy imprint on it.

All this was called "Bironovschina", since it was on the favorite of the Empress that public opinion placed all the blame for the activities of the Secret Chancellery. Subsequently, archival documents showed that Biron was not involved in the investigative cases of the Secret Chancellery. Moreover, for all his undisguised dislike of the Russian people, Biron was able to benefit our country: it was he who began competent pedigree breeding of horses in Russia, for which he had a real passion.