Birthday anniversary of Russian statesman and military leader, Count Alexei G. Orlov

5 October 1737

September 24 (October 5), 1737 in the village of Lublino, Bezhitsk uyezd, Tver province in the family of Major-General was born Alexei Orlov, a Russian statesman and military leader, an associate of Empress Catherine II.

In 1749, Alexei Orlov and his brother Gregory was signed up as a private soldier to the Guards Semenov regiment and 6 years later became a sergeant. In 1757, during the Seven Years War, the brothers filed a petition asking to send them to the Observational Corps guarding the rear of the regular army. On his return to St. Petersburg A. G. Orlov at the rank of lieutenant began his service in the Grenadier Company of the Preobrazhensky Life Guards Regiment.

Orlovs were active participants in the conspiracy against the Emperor Peter III and the organizers of a palace coup. On the night of June 28 (July 9), 1762, Catherine II, accompanied by the Orlov brothers arrived from Peterhof to St. Petersburg, in Izmailovo Regiment barracks, where she was immediately proclaimed autocratic empress. The next day, Alexei Orlov, heading a detachment of hussars, went to Peterhof, and forced Peter III to sign the act of abdication. Guarded by Orlov, the deposed emperor spent a few days in Ropsha, where he died under mysterious circumstances.

After the coronation of Catherine II, in September 1762 Orlov was promoted to major general and granted the title of a count. He was also awarded the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky. Soon he became adjutant-general, lieutenant-general, and in 1769 - general-in-chief.

In 1765, Orlov was sent to the southern provinces to prevent unrests of the Cossacks and raids of the Crimean Tatars. Three years later he went for treatment abroad, where he caught the news of the beginning of Russian-Turkish war. Orlov was entrusted with overall command over a squadron with a landing force sent to the Mediterranean Sea.

March 30 (April 10), 1770 the general landed his forces near the fortress of Navarin, and 10 (21) April, having seized the citadel, made it a temporary base of the Russian fleet. In June (July) 1770 the Battles of Chios and Chesma Turkish fleet was almost completely destroyed. Russian troops under the command of Orlov also mastered many islands of the Greek archipelago. For his victories Orlov was awarded the Order of St. George, 1st class and the right to add the name Chesmensky to his family name.

After the death of Catherine II and the accession to the throne of Paul I in 1796, Orlov Chesmensky hastily went abroad. In 1801, after the accession to the throne of Alexander I, Orlov returned to Russia. During the war with the French in 1806-1807, Alexei took part in organizing the national militia. He invested much effort and money in this business, for which he was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir of the 1st class.

Count Alexei Orlov Chesmensky died December 24, 1807 (January 5, 1808), and was buried at Orlovs’ estate Otrada (now the village Semenovskoe, Stupino district, Moscow region), next to the graves of his brothers.

Lit.: Голомбиевский А. Граф А. Г. Орлов-Чесменский // Русский архив. 1904. № 8; Граф Орлов-Чесменский в Карлсбаде // Альманах привилегированного Стрелкового Общества в Карлсбаде [1711-1801 гг. Извлечения] // Русский архив. 1894. Кн. 2. Вып. 6. С. 258—267; Иванов О. А. Граф Алексей Григорьевич Орлов-Чесменский в Москве. М., 2002; Иванов О. А. Письма А. Г. Орлова из Ропши // Московский журнал. 1995. № 9, 11, 12; 1996. № 1—3; Письма графа Алексея Григорьевича Орлова-Чесменского и Василия Владимировича Шереметева с 1798 по 1804 год. М., 1911; Полушкин Л. П. Братья Орловы, 1762-1820. М., 2007; Федюнина Т. Н. Алексей Григорьевич Орлов-Чесменский: личность и деятельность: дис. … к. и. н. Воронеж, 2007.

Based on the Presidential Library’s materials:

Желябужский Е. Д. Императрица Екатерина II и её знаменитые сподвижники. М., 1874;

Императрица Екатерина II Великая: исторический очерк: с приложением кратких жизнеописаний главнейших сподвижников императрицы: Румянцева, Потёмкина, Суворова, Дашковой, Безбородко, Бецкого, Чичагова и Орлова-Чесменского. СПб., 1873;

Сборник Императорского Русского исторического общества. Т. 1: [Рескрипты и письма императрицы Екатерины II, на имя графа Алексея Григорьевича Орлова-Чесменского / сообщены князем Н. А. Орловым]. СПб., 1867;

Соловьёв Д. Борьба за престол (Петр III и Екатерина II). М., 1912.