King stick. How Peter I hammered “True German order” into the Germans

Weekly “Argumenty i Fakty” No. 23. What else will the West freeze to spite Russia 08/06/2022

350 years ago, on the night of 9 June, 1672 g., in the Terem Palace of the Moscow Kremlin a son was born to the reigning monarch Alexei Mikhailovich. This event was preceded by curious heavenly signs.

The theologian, court poet and educator of royal children Simeon of Polotsk, having knowledge of astrology, assured: “A bright star appeared in the sky near Mars, and whoever was born under it will gain great glory.” Considering that the newborn prince was named Peterand he will subsequently be destined to become Emperor Peter I the Great, then willy-nilly imbued with respect for the clairvoyance of Russian astrologers of the 17th 

It will be an unbridled sovereign

However, in the times of the "enlightened" XVIII c. Simeon of Polotsk was laughed at. When the researchers of the horoscope of Peter I turned to the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences with a request to “consider the position of the planets on” the birthday of Peter I, “the answer was:” No bright star near Mars is observed. And it means that all these predictions are worthless.

But the price was just very, very high. At the time of Peter's birth, astrology was considered quite a respectable science. The powers that be compared their political plans with the stars, and the horoscopes of the heirs to the throne could go through the category of important documents. Yes and about the "bright star" everything was exactly the opposite. In 1926  Soviet astronomer Daniil Svyatskyestablished: “A new star of the 3rd magnitude, which flared up in the spring and died out in the autumn of 1672, was the topic of the day of that time.” Of course, the fact of the birth of the Russian prince under this star instantly became another “topic of the day.” This is evidenced by the correspondence of two Dutch scientists. Philologist Nikolai Geinziuswas envoy to Moscow and in July 1672  He wrote anxiously to Holland that the Muscovites had already drawn up the tsarevich's horoscope, “which portends many troubles for the European states.” To which I received a response from Professor John Grevius of Leiden University: «In Holland also compiled and recorded predictions about Peter Alekseevich — it will be a sovereign, prone to war, glorious, terrible to enemies, favorable to foreigners. But  at the same time, unbridled, vain, dismissive of religion, stunning the foundations of society». The letter is genuine, dated 9 April 1673 so nothing could be inserted retroactively.

At first glance, the Dutchman describes the figure of Peter the Great exhaustively. But there is one caveat. These predictions were so widespread and so rooted that the image of the “carpenter king” involuntarily adjusted to fit them, ruthlessly cutting off everything that did not fit into the "canon".

God is above all!

“K religion scornful”? Looks like it is. He abolished the patriarchate, cut off the belfry bells and melted them down into cannons, forbade the construction of churches in Siberia, and ended the tradition of house churches. But this is only one side. And here's another one. After the capture of Narva, Peter visited the city magistrate, where the Swedish councilors and pastors begged him to leave them all their former rights, lands and privileges. The king agreed, but asked: “Have you forgotten” what? The city fathers rejoiced: “We don’t need anything else.” And received in full:  Rights, privileges and  lands I will leave to you. But, since you yourselves have forgotten God, I deprive you of churches. Churches were opened there only in times of Anna Ioannovna, 30 years later. And      the piety of his subjects, Peter followed tirelessly. So, they introduced observation of attendance at church services. The law established a minimum of confessions and communions — 12 once a year, on the main holidays. If someone was absent from  confession without a good reason — a fine of 5 rub. Infestation of serfs punished their owners, but already in a triple amount. As for priests, then here is the direct speech of the tsar: “The priests are now placed illiterate, it is necessary to first teach them and then put them in rank, because the Gospel teaching and the light of it —     is the knowledge of God, it is most necessary in life. So the astrologers missed the mark — Peter was very attentive to religion and never   "neglected". By the way, “bell debt” also returned, and not without humor — The Swedish cannons taken near Poltava were given to the church for melting down…

First Victory Day

Perhaps the definition of “terrific foundations of society” is correct? After all, so many old customs have broken — here and barbering, and a ban on Russian dress… In part, it is. But the view is again one-sided. Yes, the old foundations broke. But in return he gave new ones. And so cleverly that we are no longer always aware of where something came from. Suppose everyone knows about the New Year — The holiday was introduced by Peter. But  and Victory Day for the first time as a holiday was established by Peter, in honor of Poltava Victoria — annually June 27 old style. The day was declared “free from” any kind of work. It was celebrated with a prayer service and a military parade, after which a feast was held, where foreign guests and veterans of the Poltava battle were invited. A in finals — festivities with & nbsp; refreshments and & nbsp; evening fireworks. Everything is exactly as it is now. And  the                   yes, yes, the tsar even got into the personal lives of his subjects. According to  old customs, it was forbidden for young people to see each other before the wedding, and the echo of this is still alive  — the bride and groom go to the registry office or to the altar from different houses. By his decree, Peter first ordered the young people to meet and announce the upcoming wedding, which was allowed only 6 weeks after that. Now you, too, will not be married until a month or a month and a half after applying — the king had long arms.

Imitating Peter in everything

But although the part of favors foreigners” everything should be in full accordance with predictions. “The dominance of the Germans” under Peter it became a kind of stamp. Here there are foreign customs introduced by force, and  crowning the picture is the king himself, so "Germanized" that he was seriously considered a "changeling" — they say, the real Peter was harassed, and a a foreign found similar German who sleeps and sees how to harm Russia.

Foreign experts were indeed valued by Peter. But talking about their "dominance" still don't have to. Danish Ambassador to Russia Yul Yusthe even complained that Peter was oppressing foreigners: “Above the army, over the navy, in & nbsp; frontier fortresses, etc. & nbsp; the tsar never appoints a foreigner as the head, but always a natural Russian, although he didn't understand absolutely nothing in the matter; the foreigners do the work, and the Russian reaps the laurels…" Yes, following the horoscope, Peter can be considered a “German persecutor of Russian customs” — after all, he dressed in foreign clothes and "inoculated Russia with Europe". But in in reality, the opposite effect also took place. With the filing of Peter, the insignificant Electorate of Brandenburg turned into the same Prussia, famous for its iron discipline. In 1697  the young Russian tsar on the way to Holland was received by Elector Sophia Charlotte of Brandenburg. The reception was attended by her son, future King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm I. According to the German historian Wolfgang Fenor, the meeting was fateful: “The king from” distant Russia liked the prince beyond measure. His rude behavior, domineering look, firm fists — all this was in the taste of Friedrich Wilhelm, who could not stand the feminine customs of his court. In a word, Peter became for the young German a model of a “real sovereign” — Friedrich imitated him in everything. And especially he liked the stick with which the Russian Tsar used to court the guilty. Having become sovereign, following the example of his senior comrade, he abruptly undertook to improve military affairs, discipline and thrift: “Those who decide to live and work in the old way will be punished in Russian!” It turns out that the “truly German order” was driven into the Germans with a stick of the Russian Tsar. And who here influenced  — this is another question.

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