Catharine's plot against Peter III - What comes after a tyrant?


In the year of 1762 Karl Peter Ulrich was proclaimed Tsar of Russia(emperor) after the passing of Peter the Great, with the name Peter III. (Peter was the nephew of late King Charles XII of Sweden)  Peter was married to Sophia Augusta Frederica, later named as Catherine.


Peter was considered inappropriate as emperor due to his incompetence and excellent low talent. Around Catherine there was a group loyal to her and wanted to see her as Empress. In June 1762, one of the conspirators was arrested and to avoid the conspiracy to be revealed, it was decided to strike. Grigory Orlov, Catherine’s lover, and his four brothers had bought support in three Guards regiments in the capital. To meet any counter-attack from Tsar Peter, Catherine gathered 14,000 men and headed of towards Peterhof. Peter gave up without resistance, and was then under house arrest. Just over a week later Peter was beaten to death, after Catherine decided that he could never be released since he was a major threat to her as an Empress.

As Empress, Catherine's intentions were good-hearted but unfortunately didn’t lead to any improvements and it was equally unstable in Russia as when Peter had power.

Catherine had some difficulties controlling the nobility which had no intention on helping her what so ever, as long as Catharine didn’t have the support of the nobility she would have difficulties to manage the "new Russia" and keeping the plebs happy. (reason-The nobility didn’t want to give up the privileges they had.) During Peter's and Catherine’s reign the rich only became richer while the poor simply became poorer. The situation was just as unstable as before and once again on the verge of civil war. In 1773, Catherine struck down an uprising (the Pugatjev-uprising) against her regime but the hate and fear remained towards her and even enhanced by the influence of the French Revolution. Catherine was declared “the tyrant” by the Russian people. Later Catherine managed to gain power over the entire Russia and gave herself the title of Empress and Autocrat of all Russians.

This coup (revolution) to depose Peter III and replace him with Catherine, didn’t contribute whatsoever with any improvements in the governance of the country and it was still unstable and on the brink of civil war. This shows that when one deposes a bad leader from his or her position, one can never be sure that whoever succeeds will be somewhat better! The fear in who will take control after a tyrant, another tyrant maybe? Israel suffered from this fear in who would take the position as the new leader of Egypt after President Mubarak.

You can never be sure if the new leader won’t be as inefficient or even terrifying as the one before. Peter was a terrible example of a leader and Catharine couldn't allow that Russia would suffer from the incompetents of their current emperor, so she took the position as the leader of Russia and had so many plans for Russia. She turned out not to be so much better than Peter. She was only another tyrant.



// Nylund


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