The “Magnificent Age” - Catherine II TL

POD - CII is almost the same personality as in OTL with three major differences:
  • She is much better in planning her actions and their consequences.
  • Her “private life” is not influencing her actions.
  • She counts money.
Which does not mean that she is not making mistakes and gross miscalculations but, unlike the OTL, she learns and makes proper onclusions.

The TL starts immediately after the coup which brought her to power. Peter III is still alive and under arrest in Ropsha.
 
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POD - CII is almost the same personality as in OTL with three major differences:
  • She is much better in planning her actions and their consequences.
  • Her “private life” is not influencing her actions.
  • She counts money.
Which does not mean that she is not making mistakes and gross miscalculations but, unlike the OTL, she learns and makes proper onclusions.

The TL starts immediately after the coup which brought her to power. Peter II is still alive and under arrest in Ropsha.
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POD - CII is almost the same personality as in OTL with three major differences:
  • She is much better in planning her actions and their consequences.
  • Her “private life” is not influencing her actions.
  • She counts money.
Which does not mean that she is not making mistakes and gross miscalculations but, unlike the OTL, she learns and makes proper onclusions.

The TL starts immediately after the coup which brought her to power. Peter II is still alive and under arrest in Ropsha.
Please tell me she will treat her son as an heir and not a rival and PROPERLY prepare poor paul
 
1. First things first. July 17, 1762
1. First things first. July 17, 1762
““You can do many things with bayonets, but it is rather uncomfortable to sit on them.”
Taleyrand
“The art of governing is not to let people get old in their position.”
“Nothing in the world is more haughty than a man of moderate capacity when once raised to power.”
“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”

Napoleon
“Study people, try to use them without entrusting them indiscriminately.”
“Paper tolerates everything”
“Politics is not a hospital. He who is weak is taken out with his heels forward.”
Catherine II


1707587452750.png

[Note: except for the last sentence, this chapter is pretty much OTL; CII needs some time to get comfortable and start displaying its “improved” personality. 😉]

The coup was completed. Peter III had been sitting in Ropsha closely guarded by a bunch of people assembled from those who hated him most with Alexey Orlov, one of the most prominent figures of the plot (and brother of Catherine’s current lover) in charge. The obvious question was how to handle the situation without ending up smelling like s—t. Well, actually the immediately involved personages were divided into two different groups, each with its own attitudes:
  • People in Ropsha and those who may come there within few days. None of them, and especially Alexey Orlov, had been excessively smell sensitive but none of them wanted to end up as a scapegoat. Some of them had the personal grudges with the former emperor and Alexey was a strong supporter of the “family idea” of his brother Grigori marrying Catherine.
  • Catherine and the “responsible figures” like Count Panin and Hetman Razumovsky were much more sensitive regarding the appearances and a need to explain situation to the European courts so a whole variety of options had been considered all the way to sending Peter to Holstein.
Catherine was in a rather precarious situation: besides betraying her husband she was also planning to usurp the throne from her own son and her support base at that moment was quite narrow: the Guards regiments. Well, “sitting on the bayonets” could be uncomfortable in general but since the death of Peter I this was the case more often than not so it could be OK if not rather inconvenient nuance: the Guards, indeed, put on the Russian throne 4 out of 7 Russian rulers (counting herself) but now there was a potential problem. Her husband, if he was not such an indecisive person, could crush the coup, even if initially successful, with a very big iron fist: the army of 60,000 composed of the veterans of the 7YW under command of the best Russian general of that war, P.A.Rumyantsev, was staying in the Kolberg-Stettin region and Rumyantsev was openly loyal to Peter who promoted him into general-in-cheif and awarded with the highest Russian Order of St. Andrew and Holsten order of St. Anna. If Peter without wasting time rode west sending the fast couriers to Rumyantsev, then Catherine’s reign would last only for as long as it would take the vanguard troops of Rumyantsev’s army arrive to St.Petersburg vicinity and perhaps even less so: the Guards (3 infantry and one cavalry regiments with a close to zero military experience) were not something capable to resist the overwhelming force of the veterans and most probably some of the plotters would simply deliver Catherine to her husband to save their hides.

This did not happen and Rumyantsev swore the loyalty oath to the new regime but, with so many people breaking their oaths to Peter III, who could guarantee that he would stick to his own if situation changes? For example, what if Peter somehow gets free? What about the nobility (as opposite to a small group of the St.Petersburg aristocrats) among whom Peter, after his Ukaz of Freedom of Nobility, was quite popular? What about the very influential Count Panin who was a governor of Tsesarevich Paul and wanted him om a throne with Catherine being a regent and himself a brain behind the throne? What if he gets in alliance with Rumyantsev?

Something has to be done but what?

Letters sent to Catherine by Alexey Orlov from Ropsha:

#1. “… Our freak got very ill and was covered by his unaddented colic, and I'm afraid that he may die tonight, and even more afraid, he may not …
#2. “… I’m fearing You Majesty’s wrath, so that you did not think anything bad about use and so that we did not became the reason of your enemy’s death… he is now so sick that I doubt that he will survive until evening, he is now unconscious and all our team is praying that he would be out of our hands as soon as possible…”

However, their collective prayer was clearly ignored Above and possibility to get out with a clean reputation was gone.

#3. “… Mother, he is not in the world, but no one thought about it, and how should we plan to raise our hands against the Sovereign. But, empress, trouble happened: we were drunk, and he too, he argued with Prince Fyodor [Baryatinsky]; we didn't have time to push them aside and he was gone. We are all guilty….” There is a tiny problem: unlike the 1st two, there is no surviving original of the third letter and the only source of information is a “copy” of that letter made by … Fedor Rastopchin. This may be fine if Rastopchin was not one of the most dishonest people in Russia of his time, which was quite a fit to accomplish. So this specific letter may or may not exist. Not that this would change much.

Here goes the well-published event. Alexey Orlov personally reports Catherine about the event, with Count Panin being very conveniently present (probably just dropped by or something) as a witness, and Catherine utters a historic sentence [1]: “My glory is dead! The future generations will never forgive me for this involuntary crime.” (err… did she had any “glory” at the moment?). Very dramatic and quoted to death. Well, considerations regarding the posthumous glory definitely were outweighed by the considerations of gratitude to the Orlov family…

There are numerous versions on who exactly and how exactly killed Peter. There was no doubts that Orlov let the assassins to get to the late emperor but who were the assassins? The story about a brawl and occasional death never was taken seriously and three names had been circulated:
  • A.M.Shwanvich, officer of the Guards who during the reign of Elizabeth as an …er… “official enemy” of the Orlov brothers. Usually, the brothers, by a combined power of their fists, had been dominating the drinking and billiard establishments but Shwanwich was stronger than any of them and eventually there was a mutual agreement that when there is one to one situation, Orlov leaves the place but if they are in plural, Shwanwich would have to leave. On some occasion of “one to many” Shwanvich did left but by whatever reason got excessively pissed off and when Alexey got out, hit him with a sword leaving a terrible scar on his face (absent on the official portraits). After the coup he expected a revenge but Alexey behaved quite friendly a procured for him a good position. So he could act out of a gratitude.
  • G.N.Teplov - worked as a secretary in the Young Court. Austrian ambassador described him as: “Recognized by everyone for the most insidious deceiver of the whole state, however, very dexterous, inseduating, self-serving, flexible, ready to do anything for money money.” Asked Peter to be allowed to participate in the operas staged in Oranienbaum theater. Peter did not allow it, as the professional level of musicians and actors in the Oranienbaum Theater was extremely high, and amateur Teplov had nothing to do there. Teplov was offended and insulted the Grand Duke, for which he was subjected to a 3-day arrest.
  • F. G. Volkov received the same refusal for creative reasons. Arriving in Moscow in 1752 with his theater from Yaroslavl, he was liked by Empress Elizabeth and received an invitation to stay and work as a director of the court theater troupe. The Oranienbaum opera was extremely popular in these years, and Volkov was very vain. Perhaps he perceived the Grand Duke as his direct competitor on stage, or maybe he just wanted to be the head of the Oranienbaum theater. Peter didn't let Volkov up to his theater and the latter openly defamed Peter's productions and Peter himself. The whole court knew about Volkov's hatred of the Grand Duke.
Of course, none of these reasons was enough for putting the definite accusations except, perhaps, for the fact that there was no obvious reason for including civilians like Teplov and Volkov into the Ropsha “team” and even a lesser reason for an actor Volkov sitting at the Peter’s dinner table.

The official bulletin was blaming “hemorrhoid colic”. Of course, nobody was punished: what was there to punish for?

Most of Peter’s Holstein troops had been sent back home on a very bad ship, which sunk on a route with everyone on board.

But now the poor widow was free to get herself properly crowned (something that Peter did not do during his short reign) and, with the coronation date being scheduled for September 22 in Moscow (where all Russian rulers had been crowned), her schedule had been quite busy and, except for very few closest associates who got their bonuses immediately, the rest of those expecting benefices had to wait and hope. Of course, everybody who could put couple sentences together had been writing the panegyrics hoping to attract the imperial attention and the proper rewards. Well, the things are not always going as we expect….

___________
[1] Someone remarked that the historical sentences has to be stupid giving “Doctor Livingston, I presume?” as the best example. You are traveling in an area where Livingston is the only white person on hundreds miles in any direction so whom else are you expecting to met?
 
POD - CII is almost the same personality as in OTL with three major differences:
  • She is much better in planning her actions and their consequences.
  • Her “private life” is not influencing her actions.
  • She counts money.
Which does not mean that she is not making mistakes and gross miscalculations but, unlike the OTL, she learns and makes proper onclusions.

The TL starts immediately after the coup which brought her to power. Peter II is still alive and under arrest in Ropsha.
I love your "methodology" so to speak of taking irl characters and just making them sighly less awful, analysing social and economic effects of the butterflies unfolding
Its one of the most "academic"ish ways I've seen AH handled so far and I very much love it
I did not say that she ceased to be an egocentric bitch
I mean would anyone even like her if she wasnt?
but her behavior toward Paul may improve a little bit.
Neat!
““You can do many things with bayonets, but it is rather uncomfortable to sit on them.”
Taleyrand
Catherine was in a rather precarious situation: besides betraying her husband she was also planning to usurp the throne from her own son and her support base at that moment was quite narrow: the Guards regiments. Well, “sitting on the bayonets” could be uncomfortable in general
Silly Cat
You do not use a throne of bayonets to sit on!
You use it to bully the parliament!
Less murdering family members and heirs and more threatening congressmen by barrel of a gun, like Pedro I has shown us
Ah truly an example to us all
 
I love your "methodology" so to speak of taking irl characters and just making them sighly less awful, analysing social and economic effects of the butterflies unfolding
Its one of the most "academic"ish ways I've seen AH handled so far and I very much love it
To be honest, after many years of communicating with the members of Academia on the soc.history.medieval and soc.history.what-if (RIP to whatever left of both), I’m not necessarily too fond of a notion of being “academic”. But, I’m taking it as a compliment so muito obrigado. 😉

I mean would anyone even like her if she wasnt?

Yes, if she kept giving huge amounts of money and other goodies for the “love” process.

Neat!


Silly Cat
You do not use a throne of bayonets to sit on!
Actually, there is a technical misunderstanding, after all Talleyrand was a civilian and never sat on a throne. As experience of the Russian empresses of the XVIII century demonstrated, a throne of the bayonets is quite comfortable if you put a necessary number of cushions between the sharp things and your imperial posteriors. The problems may start if there is a big number of the bayonets on which you do not seat.
You use it to bully the parliament!

You need one and Catherine’s early attempt in that direction ended with a fiasco because her subjects wanted nothing of the kind.
Less murdering family members and heirs and more threatening congressmen by barrel of a gun, like Pedro I has shown us
Ah truly an example to us all
Well, you have to keep in mind the national specifics: parliaments, string bikini, bayonets, regicides, etc. 😉
 
To be honest, after many years of communicating with the members of Academia on the soc.history.medieval and soc.history.what-if (RIP to whatever left of both), I’m not necessarily too fond of a notion of being “academic”. But, I’m taking it as a compliment so muito obrigado. 😉
De nada lindinho 😊
But yeah I was talking aesthetics
I dont think anybody wants to be these guys
Yes, if she kept giving huge amounts of money and other goodies for the “love” process
What, do she wear those as bikini?
Actually, there is a technical misunderstanding, after all Talleyrand was a civilian and never sat on a throne.
Yes, unfortunately it was Nappy
The problems may start if there is a big number of the bayonets on which you do not seat.
So they die if they arent kinky enough
You need one and Catherine’s early attempt in that direction ended with a fiasco because her subjects wanted nothing of the kind.
Good on them, hopefully they keep that up
, you have to keep in mind the national specifics: parliaments, string bikini
Preach
 
De nada lindinho 😊
But yeah I was talking aesthetics
I dont think anybody wants to be these guys
Except for the goodies potentially involved. 😂
What, do she wear those as bikini?
Speaking about this specific subject, in at least one of the series about CII she demonstrated the underwear which belonged to the end of the XIX century: at her time there were no pantaloons. Anachronism of such a magnitude forced me to stop watching and switch to another serial on the same subject where this problem was tactfully circumvented and an actress playing the main part was cute enough to ignore the long list of the insignificant details (which was almost everything for the token events which was too difficult to screw up).


Yes, unfortunately it was Nappy
Who was sitting on them quite comfortably until faced too many wrong bayonets.
So they die if they arent kinky enough

Good on them, hopefully they keep that up
Yes, they did for quite a while. As you probably know, outside of my other TL, when they got one, they found themselves in a BIG trouble.

 
Speaking about this specific subject, in at least one of the series about CII she demonstrated the underwear which belonged to the end of the XIX century: at her time there were no pantaloons. Anachronism of such a magnitude forced me to stop watching and switch to another serial on the same subject where this problem was tactfully circumvented and an actress playing the main part was cute enough to ignore the long list of the insignificant details (which was almost everything for the token events which was too difficult to screw up).
Surprised we dont have a TL where its just that series but if it happened irl including her looking exactly the same as said actress
 
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