Burkhard Kristof Minikh

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Minikh, Burkhard Kristof


(Burkhard Christof von Munnich). Born May 9, 1683, in Oldenburg; died Oct. 16 (27 1767, in Tartu. Count, Russian military leader and statesman; attained the rank of field marshal in 1732.

Minikh served as an engineer in various armies in Western Europe until 1721, when he entered Russian service with the rank of general of engineers. He supervised the construction of the Ladoga and Obvodnoi canals, as well as the locks on the Tosna River.

In 1728, Minikh became governor-general of Ingermanland, Karelia, and Finland and in 1732 was made president of the military collegium. In 1734 he led the siege and taking of Gdansk, then held by Stanislaw Leszczynski, the pretender to the Polish throne. During 1735–39, Minikh commanded Russian troops operating in the Crimea and Bessarabia.

With the assistance of Minikh, Duke Biron, the favorite of Empress Anna Ivanovna, became regent. But in November 1740, Minikh obtained the consent of another claimant to the regency, Anna Leopol’dovna, to arrest Biron and exile him to Pelym. However, Empress Elizaveta Petrovna ascended the throne in November 1741 and early the next year sent Minikh into exile, where he remained for the next 20 years. His return in 1762 was at the wish of Peter III, but Minikh no longer enjoyed political influence.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.