The last lover of the Empress – Іван Корсак

Priest rushed back to commandant with fear and misunderstanding, and they squeezed into a stone bag together.

But bishop in full festive regalia disappeared, walls didn’t shine with gilding, they only were covered with a green moss, unearthly music wasn’t heard – only a strolling musician was playing ancient local instrument.

A sick prisoner was lying on the prison bed instead of the bishop, dressed in worn cold clothing.

When prisoner closed his eyes after confession and communion the priest seemed to hear music not of ancient simple instrument, but another one, music which couldn’t be created by a man; world primitive colors and sounds returned, soot on the snow, accumulated during the winter, was disappearing behind a window, the sky enlightened and gained an immeasurable and boundless deep blue, smut and scale were falling off the world, not only strings created sounds, trees, snows, birds in the high sky sounded too, even heavy and severe walls covered with mold and moss sounded – music of high heaven and of eternal and irresistible Truth.

Instead of notes

Those events and facts at different times were described by…


French Ambassador to Russia Laurent Berenger in telegram to Foreign Minister of the 23rd July 1762,

“What a picture is before the eyes of the whole nation! On the one hand, a grandson of Peter I dethroned and put to death; on the other hand, grandson of czar John, languishing in chains, while the princess Anhalt Tserbskaya usurps the crown, starting her reign with a regicide.”


K.-K. Ryuler, secretary of the French ambassador, “Revolution in 1762” (p. 68-69),

“One can not truthfully say how the empress took part in these events; but it was known that she had been very funny, sitting at the table on that very day when it happened. Suddenly the same Orlov arrived, he was disheveled, in a sweat and dust, in torn clothes, his face was troubled, full of terror and haste. Entering the room, his fast and sparkling eyes were already looking for the empress. Without saying a word, she stood up, went to a cabinet, Orlov followed her; she called count Panin in some minutes, who was appointed her minister. She told him that the emperor died and asked how to inform people. Panin advised to miss one night and to tell news the next morning as if it happened at night. Accepting the advise, the empress returned with the same face and continued to have dinner with the same joy. In the morning, when everybody knew that Peter had died from hemorrhoidal colic, she appeared with blubbered face and heralded her grief.


Letter of Catherine II to Baron Grimm,

“… half of those who are alive, or fools, or madmen; try, if you can, live with such people!”


A. Pushkin about the reign of Catherine II,

“Catherine destroyed the title (rather the name) of slavery, but she gave away about a million of state peasants (free cultivators), and conquered free Mala Rus and Polish provinces. Catherine destroyed inquisition, but secret office prospered under her patriarchal rule; Catherine liked education, but Novikov, spreading its first rays, moved from Sheshkovskiy to prison where he was kept up to his death. Radishchev was exiled to Siberia…”


Alexander Pushkin characterizes Catherine II,

“Voice of betrayed Voltaire will not save her from the curse of Russia.”

“The very sensuality of this sly woman claimed her dominion. Producing a faint murmur among the people, who used to respect vices of their rulers, it caused nasty competition in higher states, because neither intelligence, nor deserts or talent were necessary to achieve the second place in the state.”


A. Herzen about the reign of Catherine II,

“… an uninterrupted orgy of wine, blood, depravity was running.”

“History of Catherine II shouldn’t be read in presence of ladies.”


Son was afraid of being poisoned by his mother, Catherine II.

L. L. Bennigsen, general in the reign of empress Catherine II,

“Pavel suspected even Catherine II of designs on him. Once he complained of a pain in a throat. Catherine II answered, “I’ll send you my doctor who had treated me well.” Pavel was afraid of poison; he couldn’t hide his embarrassment, hearing the name of his mother’s doctor. The empress noticed it and calmed her son, assuring him that it was the most harmless drug and he would decide himself to take it or not. When the empress was living in Tsarskoe Selo during summer, Pavel was living in Gatchina, there was a large detachment of troops. He surrounded himself with guards and pickets, patrols constantly guarded the road to Tsarskoe Selo, especially at night, to prevent all unexpected attempts. He even pre-determined a route where he could go away with the troops, if necessary: according to his order roads of this route had been studied previously by trusted officer.”


Voltaire about Russia,

“Customs are as hard there as the climate: envy at foreigners is the strongest, despotism is boundless, society is worthless.”


Historian and publicist, prince Shcherbatov in his treatise “On the injury of morals” writes about Catherine II,

“Does she believe in God’s Law? But – no! She is keen on unthinking reading of new writers. She doesn’t respect Christian law (although she pretends to be pious). She suppresses her thoughts, but much is revealed in talks with her… And one can say that this inviolable support of conscience and virtue collapsed during her reign.”


Karl Masson wrote about the reign of Catherine II,

“… it was particularly disastrous for the nation and empire. All springs of control were damaged: any general, any governor, any head of department became a despot in his field. Grades, justice, impunity were sold at public auction. About 20 oligarchs, led by a favorite, shared Russia, they were robbing or allowed to rob finance and competed in the robbery of unhappy people.”


A. Herzen about morals in the reign of Catherine II,

“Stupid princes, who were not able just to speak in Russian, Germans and children mounted the throne, were unthroned… handful of intriguers and condottieri managed the state.”



K. Waliszewski “Ivan the Terrible” (p. 275-276),

“… Military execution began, the horrors of the first Livonian campaign paled in comparison with it. Systematic destruction of the entire region followed: czar left a desert behind him from Klin to Novgorod.

On the 2nd of January his advanced troops appeared at the walls of the city and surrounded it from all sides. Suburban monasteries were looted and about 500 monks were taken away. Guardsmen entered the city the next day, gathered all priests and deacons and put them near monks. They were beaten from morning till night, demanding 20 roubles for everybody. According to documents there were lucky people who avoided execution, paying demanded sum. Terrible fate awaited the others. The czar bailiffs roamed from house to house and rounded up residents to the place surrounded by fence and guarded by troops. On the 6nd of January, on Friday Ivan arrived himself with his son and 500 archers. He ordered to beat all monks with sticks up to death… Their bodies were then taken to monasteries and buried there.

It was the turn of the clergy. On Sunday, in the morning before dinner archbishop was going in procession to meet the czar on the Volkhov Bridge and he was going to bless him. Ivan didn’t accept the blessing and called him “ravenous wolf”. But he ordered him to serve Mass in Church of St. Sophia. He wanted to repeat the scene of executions with St. Philip. Czar even accepted the lord’s invitation to dinner together. He seemed to be gay and he was eating with pleasure. Suddenly he cried loudly during the repast. Guardsmen began to perform the order according to that sign. Archbishop’s house was desrtoyed. His clothes were torn off and he was thrown into the prison together with servants. Terror reached horrifying proportions in the coming days. On the city’s main square a construction was built, it was similar to tribunal, surrounded by instruments of torture. Czar began quick trial. Hundreds of townspeople were brought and tortured, burned on a small fire with sophisticated techniques, and then almost all of them were sentenced to death and brought to drown. Bloodied victims were tied to sledge and they were let down the steep slope to the place where Volhov had never frozen. Unhappy people plunged into the abyss. They tied babies to their mothers and drowned them. Guardsmen were standing on the boats, observing that no one could escape.

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