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  #61  
Old 04-07-2009, 08:37 PM
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AGBear,
Thanks for providing additional information about Russian nobility!
Pikul in "Favorit: Chronicles of Catherine's II reign" also cited the letters mentioned by Anthony. Did Anthony or any other authour, who wrote a book about Catherine II and her reign, mention the fact that Peter III liked to play with dolls?
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  #62  
Old 04-08-2009, 09:26 AM
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I remember reading in many bios of Catharine, sadly I can't recall which ones, that Peter III liked to play with dolls. He was very immature.
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  #63  
Old 04-09-2009, 10:52 AM
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I know some books play down Peter III with the help of the memoirs of Cath. II, who, obviously, wanted people to believe her usupring of him was favorable looked upon.

I do recall that one of Peter III's favorite hobbies was his toy soldiers as a youth and into his adult hood. But this was a common hobby among men in those days as well as it was into the 1900s especially among the military men and their sons. In the upper society a room in the house held a table which held these tin soliders which had been painted to match exactly the uniforms, which in Peter III's case was probably Prussian, one being Kaiser Friederick II "the Great", and the opposition was the Prussian enemy, which the Kaiser had defeated in some kind of battle. These soldiers were not just on a flat wooden table top but place in a scene which was created which matched the terrain upon which the battle had been fought. Two men, Peter III being Frederick II, and his opposition being the commanding general or ruler of the position, would begin their march and then go into battle. If more men were part of the game then they took up a post of generals, etc.

In modern times there are several game which are similar but but not as grandeur as they old table battles which presently helps the instructor to teach the military stragedy. Home games can be found on a board game then of course there are the computer games. These games are so real that our military, now, uses some of them to keep our soldiers alive when they go into real battles.

I think in one of the Romanov toy books show some of these tin soldiers.

The last time I was in London I remember buying a toy tin Horse Soldier which matches the Horse Guard that rides to Buckingham Palace everyday. I have it around here somewhere. As a kid, I use to buy these kind of tin toys, mostly animals [mostly dogs, horses and a few cats), carts, wagons, working people, children,etc. at Woolworths because they were just the right size for my train set.

Remember, soldiering was very important to Peter III, who thought he'd live long enough to lead his troops to victory just like the Kaiser of Prussia, whom he admired, as did most of the Germans then and, now.

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  #64  
Old 04-09-2009, 11:03 AM
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Is this a good example of propagandists writing the history to suit their own masters and agendas?
It is interesting that playing with toy soldiers could morph into "playing with dolls", which has quite a different, and negative, connotation, and still repeated today.
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  #65  
Old 04-09-2009, 11:38 AM
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No... it is not a good example of bad propaganda against weak Peter III, who "detested the Russians, and surrounded himself with Holsteiners". I dare to presume that Russians have got a full right to interpret actions of one of their rulers through the prism of the Russian cultural norms. It might be acceptable in Europe to play with toy soldiers, which are a kind of dolls, technically speaking. However, Russians viewed this whim as immaturity.
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  #66  
Old 04-09-2009, 11:40 AM
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Vincent Cronin's CATHERINE EMRESS OF ALL THE RUSSIAS doesn't mention that the war games with Peter III taught her anything about war games but if you stop and think about it, despite her lack of interest, she was absorbing military data she'd need later herself as Empress.

Cronin writes:

p. 67>>Peter was reared by his father in the new strict military tradition whose presiding genius was Frederick William of Prussia. Uniforms, belts... punishment, the fatherland--these were the key words.<<

p. 68 >>This world of boots snapping to attention, of kettledrums and bugles, excluded what was soft and gentle. Women were partly feared, partly resented. Its effects on King Frederick II... was to render them incapable of normal married life. the Duke of Holstein treated his sons less severely than Frederick William treated his; on the other hand Peter had no mother to turn to for soft words and kisses. So the leather shoulder belt of army life cut deep into his young spirit.

As she [Cath. II] came to understand Peter's boyhood, Catherine decided that the best means of weaning him from it was to go along with his war games and to be sypathetic to all his odd activities. the way to his heart would be via Holstein.

So Catherine, who anyway had never carred much for dolls, learned the names of the regiments of toy soliders and joined with zest in the bedroom battles between them.<<

Peter went as far as dressing up the servents, he asked Cath. to carry a musket and so the stories flow for Peter's obsession with all military things.

One of the stories Cath. retold was that of a scene about a whipping of one of Peter's English King Charles. All dog lovers would instantly hate Peter for what he did to that poor dog. While I detest anyone who abuses animals, I try to understand what motivated Peter III's cruelty. Peter III was trying to become a soldier and to harden his soft heart he had to learn to bear the screams of pain from things he loved so he'd not show his weakness in front of his future soldiers.... As a future Tsar he could not show any kind of emotions or he'd suffer the greatest of humiliations.... The significance of a poor dog's pain was helping him [he thought] become a man, like his father and more importantly, like the great Frederick II.

Over on p 71, Cronin gives us additional insight into Peter's behavior:
>>The strict Lutheranism of Holstein, in which he had been educated, put a cloak of secrecy and even shame about a man's private parts. Catherine recalled that Peter never undressed or dress in their bedroom, he always retired to one of his own rooms and shut the door.<<

Although Cath. II was raised as a Lutheran, I don't think it affected her as much as it did Peter III. We should go into her religious views at another time.

Everything Peter III did was to press him closer to the kind of man he believed he could be as he would lead Russian troops to victories.

Down the page on 71 Peter's motives are explained:

>>...Peter had another motive..., a complex one having its roots in the recent history of Holstein. In 1713 Denmark had invaded the duchy of Holstein and seized important province of Schleswig. Peter's father had gone to St. Petersburg and secured a solemn promise from Peter the Great, his future father-in-law, that Russia would force Denmark to restor Schleswig to Holstein. But in the peace negotiatiation following Russia's long war with Sweden Peter the great, bowing on this to European opposition, broke his promise and allowed denmark to retian Schleswig. Young Peter, brought up originally for the Swedish not the Russian throne, had been taught to see Russia as the great betrayer of Holstein.<<

So what do you, upon reading this, believe what could have and probably was going through young Peter III's head as he moved is tin soliders and whipped his dog? Could one of his battles have anything to do with Holstein?

Peter fought every moment against Elisabeth's demands of the Russian world including their religion....Peter III rebelled even to the point of not taking steam baths demanded during Easter Communion with the Russians, who find Easter the high point of the Orthodox year....

As the youthful and ambitious Cath. II drew in the Russian religion before her marriage, the child Peter stuck his tongue out at the Orthodox priests and their rituals.

Peter III confided in Cath. II, who learned his secrets.... He hung onto his Luteranism, even kept a forbidden prayer book which he showed Cath. II in hopes she'd join him...

And, so the story is far more complex than his mere playing with tin soldiers and dolls, and, often never explained in books about Cath. II "the Great".

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  #67  
Old 04-09-2009, 12:41 PM
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the following site tells some of the history of the tin soldier:

BATTLE SCENE PRODUCTIONS - History of Tin Soldiers

>>Catherine the Great of Russia wrote in her autobiography that Tsar Peter III as a young boy had several hundred toy soldiers made of wood, lead, starch, and wax: "They were all paraded on festive occasions, and a special arrangement of springs which could be released by pulling a string, produced a sound as if they fired their guns." It comes as no surprise, then, that the French emperor Napoleon presented his son, the king of Rome, with a large number of toy soldiers. The finest were a set of 117 gold figures made by the goldsmith Claude Odinot.<<

As for the "dolls", in modern times, I'm sure most of you heard of the G.I Joe, Action War Toy by Hasbro, which was to gain the boys interest since they weren't interested in Barby. I'm sure most boys and many girls today have some kind of action toy.

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  #68  
Old 04-09-2009, 12:55 PM
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TourArena - Catherine the Great

>>Peter, in his turn, was interested in nothing but the army. Pitted with smallpox, fragile and queer Peter III looked like a demented cad, which indeed he was. In the Palace he constructed toy fortresses and forced his noble courtiers to play war. Once he took a rat to court and, observing all the tribunal procedures, charged it with eating one of his wax soldiers. The poor animal was unable to testify in self-defence, which was regarded as pleading guilty. It was convicted and hung. Such a queer behaviour could be partly excused by the cruel and humiliating treatment he suffered as a child when he was regularly beaten, whipped and stood with his knees on peas.


But it couldnt placate Catherines indignation. Living apart, the both spouses plotted assassinations against each other. Catherine turned to be swifter. It was Peters name-day when she was making the Oath of the Empress of Russia. Several days after his abdication Peter was strangled to death. Though, it is just a version. Years later the Emperor Paul found a letter that stated the cause of his fathers death as colic.<<
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  #69  
Old 04-09-2009, 01:06 PM
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BARBRA STREISAND - LITTLE TIN SOLDIER LYRICS

Little tin Soldier lyrics sung by Barbara Streisand.
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  #70  
Old 04-09-2009, 01:52 PM
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Catharine though didn't need propaganda to make Peter look bad. The facts of what he was like stand alone. Perhaps had he lived longer he might have matured. But his siding with Frederick of Prussia underlines how very German he was. Catharine
's religious views were much more pragmatic than Peter's, although she was in general more practical than he. Catharine was of fully German blood but was more Russian than Peter ever was, despite the fact he was Peter the Great's grandson.
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  #71  
Old 04-09-2009, 07:04 PM
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AGBear,
Thanks for citing information about Catherine II and Peter III and sharing opinion!
Going back to the couple and dolls in interpretation of Pikul ... Grand Duchess Catherine Alekseyevna was taken aback not by the fact that her husband played with toy soldiers, but by the way he played showing unnecessary cruelty to toy soldiers and especially dogs (as mentioned your posts). Grand Duchess Catherina Alekseyevna could not stand lashing of dogs that were hung and even complained Count Razumovsky, but nothing was done about it. Although she did not build any plans to seize power at that time (the couple did not produce the heir yet), Catherine II realised that Peter III would likely be a disastrous monarch.
As Grace Angel noted, she did not put any effort in tarnishing Peter's III image, his actions did it.
Catherine II could not help noticing irritation at being mocked and played jokes on among Russian nobility. As far as I understand the book (Pikul mentioned it in passing), a rumour "Peter III is going to marry Elizaveta (a.k.a Lizka) Vorontsova and lock his lawful wife into a cloister" was spread by people loyal to Catherine II, thereby preparing a background for a future coup. Yet again it was easy for Catherine II to persuade people into believing the rumours because Lizka's insolent behaviour was served as evidence.

Reference:
- (- I)
Here is the link to the book online. Unfortunately the book has not been translated into English.
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  #72  
Old 04-09-2009, 08:29 PM
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It's said that cruelty to animals is a very bad sign in people. For example, many future serial killers are unneccesarily brutal to animals in their childhood. So Catharine was right this was a bad sign towards what kind of a person Peter III was. Peter the Great, Peter III's grand father certainly had his moments of brutality, but he had other redeeming qualities, he sincerely wanted to modernize Russia. Peter III on the other hand was just cruel. I think there might have been truth to the story that Catharine was to be put aside in favor of Peter's mistress Elizabeth V.
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  #73  
Old 04-12-2009, 01:27 PM
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Vincent Cronin CATHERINE EMPRESS OF ALL THE RUSSIAS p. 113:

>>Peter as a boy had stayed for a time in Berlin and been deeply impressed by the parades there... had he not come to Russia he would have held the rank of colonel in Frederick's crack army. As his own life became more frustrated, Peter began to hero-worship Frederick [II"the Great"]. He even came to hope that the soldier-King would win victories and so humiliate the aunt who was humiliating him: <<

Then two things occurred. Cath. II, who was having an affair with Stanislaus, [p 113] >>...always seemed to have a headache -- or so she claimed-- but Peter was beginning to have his suspicions<< and so the depressed Peter, who was suffering from his >>... despair over the defeat of Fred. II "the Great in the battle at Gross Jaegerndorf and the further Prussian reverses that followed that defeat << wanted sympathy from Cath. but didn't received any.

With Cath. II avoiding him with her headaches, >>Peter thought he would console himself by courting one of Catherine's ladies-in-waiting, Elizabeth Vorontsova [who] was the niece of Michael Voronstov, a friend of the Shuvalovs, lover of France... and Bestuzhev's sucessor as Grand Chancellor. Elizabeth was very plain but because of her uncle something of a power at Court, Catherine felt threatened by Elizabeth in a way that she not felt by Peter's other flirts.<<

And, so the this part of Cath. II's saga begins.

AGRBear

PS If you're interested in the history around Fred. II "The Great" see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silesia...281740-1742.29
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  #74  
Old 04-13-2009, 12:16 AM
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So how would someone clasify Peter III Today Mentally if I May ask .
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:45 PM
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AGRBear,
Thanks for additional information!
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Old 04-13-2009, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
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So how would someone clasify Peter III Today Mentally if I May ask .
Whack job, sayeth Russo the resident quack.


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Old 04-14-2009, 02:03 AM
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Quote:
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So how would someone clasify Peter III Today Mentally if I May ask .

Who knows, though it's an intereting question but I do have to say, according to Catharine II herself, Peter III wasn't quite as bad before he got the smallpox which was shortly after Catharine met him. Before that he was more appealing to her physically and mentally.
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:37 AM
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Cruse and Hoogenboom's translation THE MEMOIRS OF CATHERINE THE GREAT have Cath. II describing Elizabeth Vorontsova p. 82:

>>The Empress had engaged the two Countesses Vorontosova, nieces of the Vice Chancellor and daughters of Count Roman... The younger, Elizabeth, was only eleven; she was given to me. She was a very ugly child with a sallow complexion and she was extremely dirty. They both started out in Petersburg by catching smallpox at the court, and the younger one [Eliz. V.] became even uglier as a results because her facial features were totally deformed and her face was covered not with pockmarks but with scars.<<

It seems Elizabeth V. has something in common with Peter III.

Elizabeth was also known as Elizabeth Romanovna Polianskaia, because she would become the wife of Alexander Ivanovich Poliansky.

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  #79  
Old 04-14-2009, 03:52 PM
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Yes, I think Peter and his mistress had much in common. What's interesting is Peter who was half German, half Russian by blood but who idenified only with Germany had a Russian mistress to whom he was devoted, and yet had nothing common and little to do with his German wife. Catharine was more Russian than German in some ways, or perhaps, unlike Peter she could embrace a different country and become part of it. Peter never did embrace Russia, but remained essentially German.
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:37 AM
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The rebellious child Peter who had been pulled away from his German home resented Emp. Elisabeth II and hated everything Russian from that moment to his own murder. He never wanted to be a Russian. Most of all the Russians made him utter words to the Russian god which meant his Lutheran soul would burn in Hell forever.... He prayed to God for his understanding because he had never willingly given up his Lutherism.

To the Russians, it was one thing to dress up his soldiers in uniforms that resembled German soliders but his "pro-Holstein" policy was probably the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. As the new Emp., he continued to distant himself from the Russian Orthodox Church.

Meanwhile Cath. II courted the Russian officers, and, gave all the appearance of drawing closer to the Russian church.

I think it's safe to say that the Russian officers and the clergy were smitten with Cath. II and repulsed by Peter III.

For Cath. II to lead a coup d'etat, she had to work quickly and so the conspirators spread "highly coloured stories" p. 141 in Vincent Cronin's CATHERINE EMPRESS OF ALL THE RUSSIAS: "some true, some false, against Peter. Some of the rumors, part truths and lies were:

(1) He was planning to bring in Holsteiners to replace the Guards..."
(2) Peter III was going to marry Russian girls to his Germans in the Lutheran church.
(3) It was said that he was drunk most of the time and when he fell to the floor unconcious, he was carried to bed.
(4) His new reforms was going to turn free men back into serfs...
(5) Foreigners were going to be brought to Russia to be given key roles in govt. to undermine the Russians in high places
(6) Men like Count Razumovskii and Trubetski were being forced to drill their own regiments
(7) He wanted the return of certain persons who had been sent into exile
(8) He planned to end the "Secret Chancery" [secret political police]
(9) Peter III "ordered church estates and the peasants bound to them, to be secularized under direct state control" p. 4 in John T. Alexander's CATHERINE THE GREAT, LIFE AND LEGEND.
(10) Demanded that the chruch's persecution with the Old Believes be stopped and offered incentives for these people to return to Russia
(11) Peter III pulled Russian troops from the conflict against Prussia and declared war on Denmark
(12) to be continued.....

How many other stories not yet mentioned have you read which formed in your own mind that Peter III should not have ruled Russia and that Cath. II was the only one at that time that could lead Russia in the direction of the Golden Age? And, do we know which were true and which were not quite true and which were completely false?

The victor has the control of their written history which usually gives the defeated enemy the role of villain. So, as readers of history, we must be careful not to believe everything we read and hear.

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