295 years ago, on September 19, 1727, the Supreme Decree was signed on the house arrest of a man who was recently considered by many to be the first person of the Russian Empire. The man took it calmly, especially since no guards were assigned to his house. He had lunch, supper and lay down to sleep in the hope that everything would settle down. This was the first day of the disgrace of His Serene Highness Prince Alexander Menshikov.
I was sure that I was right
Those who decided the fate of Menshikov were playing with fire. Purely theoretically, he could put on the uniform of the Generalissimo and go to the barracks of the Preobrazhensky Regiment — the guard would most likely follow him. Why didn't Menshikov do it — god knows. Perhaps he was sure that he was right and thought that they would not dare to touch him seriously.
However, they dared. True, not right away. At first, Menshikov was simply deprived of all ranks and orders. Then sent to link. But not to too far too shameful — so far only in & nbsp; his own estate, the city of Rannenburg (now & nbsp; & mdash; Chaplygin, Lipetsk region). Arriving there in November, Menshikov and his family spent the next five months there. And only in April, 1728, the place of his exile was finally determined — city of Berezov.
During during this time — from September 1727 to April 1728 — a fascinating story unfolded. The investigation, at first confident that it was not God knows what task to draw up an official indictment, went astray. In fact, Menshikov had nothing to present. This partly explains his calmness in the first days of his arrest — The Most Serene Prince did not feel guilty. He was not simply sure he — he knew he was right.
An attempt to fabricate a case against Menshikov rained down before our eyes. In really — what did they give him at first? First of all, high treason in favor of Sweden. Say, after the death of Peter the Greathe was negotiating with the Swedish government about transferring Revel, Riga and Vyborg to yesterday's worst enemy in exchange for some fantastic sums. The accusation is serious and requires hard evidence. The defendant himself in "traitorous relations" he did not confess to the Swedish court and Swedish residents in Russia. In general, this was expected. But the most interesting thing is that no materials compromising Menshikov were found at all, and after all, Menshikov's office was arrested in the same day with its owner. He simply didn destroy a one of even the most overwhelmed pieces of paper.
«Forced him to marriage»
The second point was a no less serious accusation — “criminal intent against the reigning dynasty.” What and consisted, in the opinion of the accusers, this very plan?
The lines of accusation look pretty pathetic. “He repaired many obstacles to the king and” forced him to “marry” with his daughter against his “for that” king's will. Everything is great here. By "oppositions", apparently mean strictness and even tediousness of Menshikov in the plan of education and education of the young underage sovereign Peter II.
Yes, he was both strict and boring. He constantly talked about the need to take on science and state affairs. Senior comrade of the Tsar,Ivan Dolgoruky, was much more fun. Hunting, cards, drinking parties, amorous adventures with undemanding girls — it is so cool! Maybe great if the tsar were at least 16 years old. And he's only 11. From Menshikov's point of view, it was too much, and he was not afraid to talk about it openly and even raising his voice. That and all the many contradictions».
What and "forced marriage against his royal will"… Yes, in June 1727 the betrothal of Peter II to his daughter Maria. But there is one important point. The testament, that is, the testament of the late Empress Catherine I, the predecessor of Peter. In there was to be a marriage. Not about any "royal will" the will didn't say. Menshikov acted strictly according to the law.
Did he steal or did he deserve it?
And the question was is Menshikov stealing? It was already clear to everyone that he was stealing, and how. Because it can't be otherwise. The general hysteria about the “countless riches stolen by the Most Serene Prince” even the Saxon envoy to the Russian court succumbed Johann Lefort. Here is what he reported in Dresden: "Some say that things taken from Menshikov exceed 20 million, others — that only five … They collect data on illegally acquired from the state treasury, such as 250 thousand. silver utensils, for 8 million red and for 30 million. silver coin. On the whole, it turned out that the “chick of Petrov's nest” stole from 50 to 70 million rubles. And this despite the fact that the income of the entire empire for the current year did not exceed 7 million rubles.
In a word, this accusation was left in the end, as the most correct — there can't be misfires here Yes only in the zeal to find at least something discrediting Menshikov in terms of high treason» and "opposites" the investigation somehow didn't pay attention to one curious report about the initial search in the arrestee's palace. And he was like this: "There nothing money is at home".
With great effort, having described all the movable property of the Most Serene Prince, they scraped together a more or less decent amount of about 400 thousand rubles. True, there were only 11 thousand in cash. The rest — jewelry. Maybe this is the very swag that Menshikov appropriated by thieves? Maybe, but there's a catch. Mostly among the jewelry are orders with diamonds, award weapons and portraits of sovereigns with diamonds. These things don't get stolen. They deserve them.
not for some fantastic millions, but just for the amount of 110 thousand rubles. And then something incredible began. During the interrogations, the Most Serene Prince managed to reasonably report for 90 thousand rubles. Only his report on the remaining amount of 20 thousand thousands caused doubts.
It was a complete failure of the investigation. All of Russia and all the leading European powers were waiting for the official manifesto “On” Menshikov's wines. And did wait. The manifesto was never published. Because to publish such “guilts” nobody dared. And correct. Laughter would have been heard throughout the whole of Europe, and the accusers would appear themselves as enchanting idiots.
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