Russian emperor Peter II born (1727-1730)

23 October 1715

Peter II, a grandson of Peter I, the son of Tsarevitch Alexei and the princess Sophie Charlotte Brunswig-Luneberg was born in St.-Petersburg on October 12 (23), 1715. The mother of the future emperor died ten days after his birth. The father died in 1718.

Peter I paid almost no attention to the education of his grandson. After the death of Tsarevitch Peter Petrovitch - Peter’s I son from his second marriage, different political forces in Russia began to consider the son of Tsarevitch Alexei as a potential aspirant to the Russian throne. In 1727 A.D. Menshikov managed to convince Catherine I to sign her will in favor of Peter Alexeevitch which also mentioned that Tsarevitch had to marry a daughter of Menshikov – Maria. After Catherine I died and Peter was proclaimed the emperor, A.D. Menshikov installed the young tsar in his house and started to control all his deeds. The marriage of Peter II and Maria Menshikov was approved by the Supreme Privy Council.

During the first months of Peter’s II reign the power was in the hands of A.D. Menshikov. However A.D. Menshikov soon fell ill and his rivals did not fail to profit by the situation. Under the influence of A.I. Osterman and Dolgorukiy dukes Peter, for whom Menshikov’s surveillance was a burden, deprived Menshikov of all his ranks, sent him in exile to Siberia and dissolved the engagement with his daughter.

In the end of 1727 the emperor’s court moved to Moscow where the emperor fell under the influence of Dolgorukie. They did their best to draw the emperor away from the state affairs by all kind of amusement. They also decided to marry him with the oldest daughter of Alexei Grigorievitch Dolgorukiy princess Catherine. In November of 1728 Peter II was engaged with his fiancée but all the plans were ruined by the death of Peter II. On the night of 19 (30) January 1730 the emperor died at the age of 14 without leaving any descendants or an appointed heir to the throne.

Within the short period of his reign Peter II did not have enough time to express interest for the state affairs. He had just issued a few decrees (on the transfer of important issues from the Cabinet directly to the Supreme Privy Council, on a more correct collection of the capitation and on the abolishment of the General city council; on the transfer of Malaya Russia affairs from Senate to the Board of Foreign Affairs; on the defense to the clergy to wear a mundane clothes). In fact the state power was in the hands of the Supreme Privy Council and especially of the young emperor’s favorites.

Peter II was buried in Arkhangelsk cathedral of Moscow Kremlin.  His death cut short the Romanovs’ kin   in the male line.

Lit.: Анисимов Е. В. Россия без Петра. СПб., 1994; Курукин И. В. Петр II. Тень Петра Великого // На Российском престоле: Монархи Российские после Петра Великого. М., 1993.

Based on the Presidential Library’s materials:

Peter II (1715–1730) // The House of Romanov. The Zemsky Sobor of 1613 : [digital collection];

Манштейн Кристоф Герман фон. Записки о России генерала Манштейна (1727-1744). СПб., 1875;

Ольминский М. С. Государство, бюрократия и абсолютизм в истории России. СПб., 1910.