Apraksin, Stepan

Apraksin, Stepan Fedorovich


Born July 30, 1702; died Aug. 6, 1758, in St. Petersburg. Russian field marshal (1756).

Apraksin served in the guards’ regiment, took part in the Russo-Turkish war of 1735–39, and was chief staff officer in the army of B. C. Münnich. Later he occupied a number of military and administrative posts and was vice-president of the Military Kollegiia (administrative department). He had a successful career because of his connections at the court. Although Apraksin possessed neither military experience nor the capabilities of a military leader, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Russian Army in 1756, at the beginning of the Seven Years’ War (1756–63). Expecting the death of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna and the accession to the throne of Peter Fedorovich (the future emperor Peter III), a supporter of Prussia, Apraksin behaved very indecisively. Failing to take advantage of the victory at Gross-Jägerndorf (1757), he retreated in disorder across the Neman. At the end of 1757 he was removed from command, arrested, and prosecuted. He died during the proceedings. Apraksin’s state treason has not been verified by historical scholarship.