Aleksei Grigorevich Orlov

Orlov, Aleksei Grigor’evich


Born Sept. 24 (Oct. 5), 1737, in the village of Liublino, Bezhetsk District, Tver’ Province (present-day Kalinin Oblast); died Dec. 24, 1807 (Jan. 5, 1808), in Moscow. Russian army officer and statesman; general in chief (1769); count (1762). Son of the nobleman G. I. Orlov (died 1746), who became governor of Novgorod toward the end of his life.

Orlov began his service as a soldier in the Life Guards of the Preobrazhenskii Regiment and became a sergeant in early 1762. He played a prominent part in the coup d’etat of 1762, which raised Catherine II to the throne, by forcing Emperor Peter III to abdicate. He was given the rank of major general in the same year. Without holding any important positions, Orlov had a great influence on affairs of state. In 1768–69 he drew up a plan for an expedition against Turkey in the Mediterranean, where he took command of a Russian naval squadron in 1769. For his victories at Navarino and in the battle of Çeşme of 1770, Orlov received the privilege of adding the epithet “Chesmenskii” to his family name. He retired in 1775. The Orlov Trotter was bred on Orlov’s estates.

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