Іван Корсак - The last lover of the Empress (сторінка 22)

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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.

According to the third Novgorod record, beating had lasted for five weeks, there were very few days when 500-600 people were not launched into eternity. Sometimes the number of victims increased to fifteen hundreds a day. First Pskov record says that in general, about 60,000 people of both sexes were killed…

Be that as it may, horrible massacre reached appalling dimensions, and when Ivan had no one to kill, he directed his anger at inanimate objects. He attacked the monasteries with particular ferocity, suspecting them of betrayal. Probably, he began to destroy trade and industry of this big town for the same reason. All shops in towns and in the suburbs were robbed and rased, as well as houses. Czar was present there. Guardsmen, if to believe records, were knocking about and doing the same things in 200-250 miles from Novgorod…

Novgorod could never recover from that strike.”




K. Waliszewski “Ivan the Terrible” (p. 113-114):

Especially wise men were destroyed and persecuted. For example, archbishop of Novgorod was put on the mare. Ivan the Terrible called that mare  “archbishop’s wife”, saying, “You are not an archbishop, you are a buffoon.” And they were shepherded by whips to Moscow in front of crowd’s eyes. They tried to win freedom of speech, freedom of thought and conduct by these methods. We remember that archbishop of Novgorod was elected by people!..

“Fiction of the existence of a high morality at a low level of cultural development is refuted by history… Naive Muscovites consider themselves to be superior to all others. They generously give out promises and they are not going to carry them out. There is an absolute lack of confidence among them. Father shuns his son, the son does not trust his mother, and no one lends a copeck without gage. It is noted by Germans Buchau and Ulfeld, Swede Pearson and Litvin Mihalon…

Their words are confirmed by Englishmen Fletcher and Jenkinson, “One can say justly… that almost all without distinction Russians don’t believe in what they are told and they do not earn the smallest trust themselves…” But they go further and mark the feature which I had indicated earlier – this is violence. But Fletcher excuses it, explaining, “Nation which is treated harshly and cruelly by rulers and high classes becomes outrageous with others, especially with the weaker…” This phenomenon is observed in the history of all the barbarians, but especially in this country… In this case national historians tried to shift the blame to the Mongol invasion in vain, saying as if that invasion spoiled the morals, corrupted people, accustomed them to violence and trickery.”



Diderot about “Order” of Catherine II for deputies of Committee on the conclusion of the laws,

“Russian empress, without doubt, is a despot.”




1762-1763 – Catherine II issued two manifestos about foreign colonization of Ukraine-Rus: Serbs, Bulgarians, Moldovans, Germans from Prussia, Austria and other countries recruited. Foreigners were given 65 acres of land per capita, they were exempted from taxation. Ukrainians had to provide carts free to transport their future landlords.

1763 – decree of Catherine II, banning the teaching in Ukrainian in Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

1764 – direction of Catherine II for prince O. Vyazemsky on russification of Ukraine, the Baltic states, Finland and Smolensk.

1764 – cancellation of Ukrainian Hetman by Catherine II, liquidation of Ukrainian educational and cultural institutions and taking power from Ukrainian-speaking officials.

1764 – cancellation of Ukrainian Hetman state.

1765 – liquidation of Cossacks’ settlements and schools in Sloboda by Catherine II.

1766 – the Synod issued a strict edict for Kiev-Pechersk Lavra to print only those books which are printed in Moscow Printing and validated by the Synod.

1768 – suppression of anti-Polish uprising in the Right-bank Ukraine-Russia by Moscow troops under the leadership of Gaunt and Zaliznyak, known under the name Koliivshchina, after their insidious and treacherous seizure by Muscovites who were fighting with Poles.

1769 – the Synod’s order, according to which Ukrainian books were replaced by Russian ones in the churches.

1769 – the Synod of Russian Orthodox Church prohibited Kiev-Pechersk Lavra to print primers in Ukrainian and it ordered to take away all available primers.

1775 – insidious attack of the Moscow troops on Zaporizhian Sich and its destruction after decisive help of Cossacks to Muscovites in Moscow-Turkish War in 1768-1774. Robbery of the Cossacks, spoliation and expulsion of many of them to Siberia. Closure of Ukrainian schools in the regimental offices. Twenty-five years of imprisonment of the last Kosh Ottaman Petro Kalnyshevskiy in Solovki up to his death in 1803 at the age of 112 years.

1777 – plan of eviction of the Crimean Tatars from the Crimea, Ukrainians from Ukraine, and resettlement of Muscovites from Moscow to their habitable places. A. Suvorov evicted from the south of Ukraine 32 000 men for a few days to implement the plan.

1777 – after the death from persecution and poverty of great Ukrainian composer, academician of Bologna Academy of Music Maxim Berezovsky (was born in 1745 in Sluhov), government of Catherine II prohibits the discharge of his works and eliminates many of his manuscripts.

1780 – burning of the library of the Kiev-Mohyla Academy which had been collected for more than 150 years and it was one of the richest libraries in East Europe.

1781 – destruction of the remnants of the Cossack government on the Left Bank and the introduction of Russian control in 1783.

1782 – Catherine II created commission for the establishment of public schools in Russia, their task was introduction of a single form of learning and teaching exclusively in Russian in all schools of the empire.

1783 – enslavement of the peasants of Left-bank Ukraine.

1784 – there were 866 Ukrainian schools on the territory of the seven regiments of Hetman in 1747 (information about three of them is not preserved), that is one school per every thousand of population. Population tripled at the end of the century, and the number of schools decreased by half, not a single Ukrainian school was among them.

1784 – the Synod ordered Samuel, metropolitan of Kiev and Galich, to punish students and to dismiss teachers of the Kiev-Mohyla Academy for deviation from Russian language.

1785 – order of Catherine II to say a service in Russian in all churches of the empire. Russian language is implemented in all schools of Ukraine.

1786 – the Synod ordered metropolitan of Kiev to control  printing of Lavra, that there was no difference from Moscow editions, and to inroduce education system, licensed for the whole empire, in the Kiev-Mohyla Academy.

1789 – “A comparative dictionary of all languages” was published at the initiative of Catherine II in St. Petersburg, Ukrainian language was defined as Russian language distorted by Polish.

1793 – Muscovites suppressed an uprising in the village of Turban and severely punished the peasants: more than twenty peasants died, unable to withstand torture, or were shot, the rest were exiled to Siberia or to other provinces after flogging.

(Newspaper “Day”, № 159, 21.09.2006)



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