• When Russia had two Tsars

    From Steve Hayes@21:1/5 to All on Wed Dec 1 14:18:30 2021
    XPost: soc.history, alt.history

    In fact, there even was a third person pulling the strings behind the

    At first sight, it is difficult to picture two people reining
    17th-century Russia, with its long autocratic history, simultaneously
    – without stabbing each other’s backs. But, it was a real case between
    1682 – 1696, when two royal brothers, Ivan and Peter, sat on Russia’s throne together and maintained good relations.
    Strange-looking duo

    In 1683, a Sweden mission visited Moscow and paid a visit to both
    tsars. Engelbert Kämpfer, a German traveler who was accompanying the
    Swedes as the ambassador’s secretary, recalled the meeting as follows:
    “The two tsars were sitting in the Audience Chamber, on two silver
    chairs, under icons, both dressed in royal clothes shining with gems.
    The older brother barely moved, with his eyes on the floor, looking at
    no one. The younger faced everybody openly… and he was speaking

    The younger brother was 11-year-old Peter I (Peter the Great, 1672 –
    1725), who, through enormous efforts, would turn Russia into a
    European empire. The older brother, 16-year-old Ivan V (1666 – 1696)
    left no palpable trace and now is forgotten. But how did the two get
    to the throne in the first place?
    Two brothers

    Father to both Ivan and Peter, Alexei Mikhailovich (1629 – 1676) ruled
    Russia for more than 30 years. The tsar had two marriages: first with
    Maria Miloslavskaya, who gave birth to 13 children, and then, after
    Maria’s death, with Natalya Naryshkina (3 children). Both the
    Miloslavskis and the Naryshkins were influential noble houses eager to
    put their offspring on the throne.

    In 1682, after the death of Alexey and Maria’s older son Fyodor III,
    who had reigned since 1676, the time came to decide who would next sit
    on Russia’s throne: Maria’s son Ivan (15-year-old) – next in line, but constantly ill and indifferent, or Natalya’s son Peter (10-year-old) – active and ambitious but very young.
    Power struggle

    At first, it seemed as though the Naryshkins had got their way with
    making Peter the tsar – his cause looked stronger. As 19th century
    historian Sergey Soloviev wrote, “Supporting the untalented, fragile
    Ivan meant immersing the country into chaos.” On April 27, 1682,
    Patriarch Joakim, the head of Russian Orthodox Church, declared Peter
    the tsar.

    Nevertheless, the struggle was not over: while Ivan couldn’t care less
    about the throne, his 25-year-old sister Sofia, who informally led the
    group of Miloslavskis’ supporters, struck back. “Sofia couldn’t stand
    the idea of her mother-in-law, whom she hated, [indirectly] becoming
    the ruler,” Soloviev explained.
    Bloodshed in the Kremlin

    Streltsy Uprising of 1682. Natalia Naryshkina shows Ivan V to the
    Streltsy in order to prove that he is alive and well, while Patriarch
    Joachim of Moscow attempts to calm the crowd.
    Nikolai Dmitriev-Orenburgsky

    Sofia and her supporters outplayed the Naryshkins, provoking an
    uprising of Streltsy regiments in Moscow. The Streltsy, an influential
    group of elite infantry, felt unsafe as being stripped of their
    privileges by the tsars and exploited by their commanders throughout
    the 17th century, so this audience was easy to ignite. “The Streltsy
    didn’t understand politics, but they believed that interfering into
    state affairs was their duty in case the country was leaving the
    Orthodox, righteous way,” Robert K. Massie, a British historian, wrote
    in his book Peter the Great: His Life and World.

    On May 15, the Streltsy crowded the Kremlin, raged by the rumors of
    Ivan being killed by the Naryshkins (most likely spread by Sofia’s supporters). And though Ivan appeared before them, the Streltsy
    carried out a four-day massacre, brutally murdering two of Natalya’s brothers, their advisor Artamon Matveev and many other Boyars
    (noblemen) loyal to the Naryshkins. Finally, the well-armed crowd
    imposed their will on the royal family: Peter would remain tsar, but
    only together with Ivan.
    How did it work?

    On May 25, just days after the Streltsy covered the Kremlin with
    blood, the official coronation of both Ivan V and Peter I took place.
    “That strange, hastily arranged ceremony had no analogues – not only
    in Russia but in any European monarchy,” Robert K. Massie notes.

    They sat on a special two-seat throne and both were crowned with a
    Monomakh’s Cap, the ancient crown of Russia’s tsars, though after the coronation, Peter, as the younger brother, had to wear the specially
    made duplicate. Behind the throne, there was a special place for the
    young tsars’ tutor, who could give them advice on what to do and what
    to say during the coronation.

    Four days later, it was officially announced by the Boyar Duma,
    pressured by the Streltsy, that Sofia would be a regent – and for the
    next seven years, it was her and her close circle who really ruled
    Russia. As for Ivan and Peter, they were “ceremonial” rulers, whose
    duty was to receive delegations, attend prayers and official fests and
    so on.

    The end of the tandem

    In addition, during 1682-1689, Peter spent most of his time outside
    Moscow, in the Preobrazhenskoe village, along with his mother. The
    younger tsar, who had witnessed members of his family and their
    supporters being slaughtered in the Kremlin, had only bitter feelings
    for the royal court.

    “Gory, dreadful scenes before his eyes, excruciating deaths of his
    family, his mother put in despair, the power being taken from them…”
    Sergey Soloviev enlists the ghosts of the past, which impacted Peter’s childhood and, most likely, turned him into a ruthless leader. By
    1689, 17-year-old Peter would prevail and put his half sister Sofia
    into a monastery.

    As for Ivan, the older brother never showed any interest in state
    affairs. With his poor health, many historians considered him mentally challenged, though it could have been just rumors. In any case, Peter
    always treated Ivan with respect – at least officially. After
    overthrowing Sofia, he wrote to Ivan: “Now, Sire, my brother, it is
    time for us to reign by ourselves… and I am ready to respect you like
    my father.”

    Ivan never spoke against Peter and formally they continued to rule
    Russia together, though Ivan was hardly noticeable in politics,
    overshadowed by his super-active brother. Ivan’s death in 1696, just
    as quiet as his life was, put an end to the strange period of two
    tsars reigning Russia simultaneously – and such a situation never
    occurred again.

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