The last lover of the Empress – Іван Корсак

She even concluded that her predecessors had not been able to complete. Destroying Sich, erasing Poland from the map of Europe, the empress began to suppress the most recalcitrant Litvins of White Russia. Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, examining that land, didn’t kill only one million three hundred and fifty Litvins of two million nine thousand, he brought many of them too, because Moscow arrows had long sold Litvins on Astrakhan markets in the Persian bondage for three rubles for a person. Peter I blew Polotsk Sophia, drawing in, because there couldn’t be temples more ancient than in capitals of the empire. She completed their case; she distributed two hundred thousand souls of Litvins among favorites, and half a million serfs to different Russian landlords.

… Face of Secretary of State became longer when he gave Catherine II sheet of paper, entirely clean, only three words were written in a rush.

“A letter for you, Your Majesty. Will you order an answer?”

The empress recognized Suvorov’s handwriting: “Hurra! Warsaw is ours!”

“Write” – she smiled contented – “Hurra! Field Marshal Suvorov!”

The empress could reward loyal subjects adequately, assigning a high rank in this way.

Now she could do everything, she won.

Her husband rose from the grave fourteen times, he raised another rebellion under the name of Peter III. The most difficult matter was connected with the fifth, Pugachev, but it was easier with successors after the sentence: “Emilian Pugachev must be quartered, stick his head on a stake, spread the body parts in four parts of the city and put on the wheels, then burn on these places.”

Now her husband behaves politely, lies quietly under the heavy gravestone.

She couldn’t put the head of Arceniy Matsievich under the ax of executioner, of course, as the rest. Ultimately, there is no difference between husband and metropolitan: they both are in stone sacks, and Arceniy couldn’t talk to anyboby in Revel prison up to death – it was forbidden to appoint guard who knew at least one Russian word.

All victories belong to her, to the greatest man whose name is Catherine…


Years were passing, many events had happened since Arceniy Matsievich was judged. And there was a strange wonder: all metropolitan’s predictions in court came true. First Gedeon died on the way suddenly, church of Three Saints, which was situated near Cross Chamber where Matsievich was judged, fell at that moment. Reverend Demetrius unexpectedly fell ill in his prime and glory: sudden temperature, swollen tongue. Doctors were caring for him from morning till night, because he was the most respectable person in the State and he really had strong influence in the empress’s court. Pills didn’t help Demetrius, tongue became thicker, there wasn’t place for it in the mouth, he gasped, his face was blue, and he couldn’t say a word as if he put a stone under the tongue.

“The metropolitan warned…” – Demetrius croaked hardly and thickly, breathed frantically and died.

Bad rumours were spread among people about Gavriil’s death. They told he had taken a fancy woman from lay brother who strangled him with a pillow in a fit of rage.

“Your rival will strangle you for your Irodiada” – metropolitan’s prediction was retailed even in ten years.

Misfortune waylaid Ambrose during the height of the plague, and it wouldn’t be so offensive if he died from illness. He sent many people to Barbaric gate because there were rumours that icon of the God’s Mother gave salvation. Lord Ambrose was an educated man and he understood danger of such crowds, he ordered to bring the icon to the church of Saint Cyrus and Ioann.

“The lord takes money of God’s Mother!” – Somebody’s cry heated disturbed crowd.

Revolted people rushed to Miracles monastery, looking for Ambrose everywhere, they didn’t find them and were disappointed. Smashing wine cellars, the rebels went to the Donskoy Monastery, because they heard that the lord was hidden there.

Ambrose tried to break out of Moscow but it was already late. The lord communicated and hid in the loft. Stamping of feet and an unusual buzz in the temple, a vain attempt of a prior to persuade teased people; steps are heard on a stage of the loft. The curled up lord was praying below his breath, begging God to to forgive all sins, and betrayal of metropolitan Arceniy too.

“He is here! Robber of Bogoliubsk Dame is here!” – chasing cried triumphantly almost over the head.

Archbishop was caught and pulled down like a sack with potatoes, he was dragged by the feet, and the lord painfully hit his head on stage. At last he was pulled to the monastery courtyard, he got many kicks there. Some of them were beating with feet, others – with sticks, but Ambrose didn’t feel pain, as if it wasn’t his body and he didn’t pity it; incomprehensible suffocating bitterness burned through the soul instead of pain. And before insensibility he saw shine of knife in the hands of a man with wild bloodshot eyes, and there was a well-known voice from a distance, “Don’t step on that way, I beg you, Ambrose.”

The prince Potyomkin’s matters shaped well for long… Battle successes in the south brought new orders and estates, and besides, charming Sophia Witt, another of his passions, was heady. Potyomkin was seriously thinking about marriage with her and coronation for new realm. He saw revived Byzantine Empire in his unrestrained dreams. According to legend, the ancient Greek civilization was born in the Northern Black Sea, and it spread on the lands of historical Hellas from that place. The capital of new empire had to be near ancient Olbia, it would be better in Nikolaev, his favourite town.

Although the new designs didn’t have place for the empress Catherine, she continued to send caring letters, she even sent young doctor for Potyomkin from Petersburg.

Strange obscure events began to occur unexpectedly. At the funeral of prince of Virtenberg, brother of princesses Maria Fedorovna, in town of Halacha, after the ceremony a funeral coach came up to Potyomkin instead of his luxurious coach.

The prince was scared, he even stepped back and crossed, his back was cold as if somebody spilled water: he understood that it was somebody’s mistake, but horror did not diminish.

The prince died suddenly in the desert. He had bouts of fever on that day, but he wasn’t afraid of road, he even prepared an entire goose for it.

But he was buried not in his favourite Nikolaev, but in Kherson, he didn’t like this town and called it “coffin”.

Archbishop Ambrose was speaking with sincerity and emotion in a memorial speech over the body of the deceased,

“The empress is now without counselor, associate and friend.”

Shrewd tongues were whispering: “Prince was poisoned, that young doctor did it, doctor who was sent by Catherine.” But there are not people who were not discussed.

The other thing was unexpected. Potyomkin’s vision about plan of destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich at the The Council of State came true: stories about his actions issued first in Hamburg journal “Minerva”, but then in a separate Gelbig’s book “Potyomkin of Tauride”, subsequently the book was reprinted many times in Germany, France and England, at last it was translated into Russian under the title “Pansalvin is the prince of darkness”, then it began to roam on the spaces of empire. The name “the prince of darkness”, given Grigoriy by the author, stuck to the Potyomkin’s surname by firm and inseparable epithet for centuries.

Strange adventures happened to the body of prince Grigoriy too. He was put in a coffin in the church of Saint Catherine, the empress had commissioned a marble tombstone, but it wasn’t made for five years even during her life, and Potyomkin remained not buried. The next emperor Pavel I signed the order for Attorney-General Alexander Kurakin, “that his body must be buried in the same coffin in special pit without taking air, and the pit must be covered with soil so flatly as if it wasn’t there”. And they told Kurakin the other things,

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