Orlov, Grigori Grigoryevich, Count

Orlov, Grigori Grigoryevich, Count

(grĭgô`rē grĭgôr`yəvĭch, ərlôf`), 1734–83, Russian nobleman. One of the first lovers of Catherine IICatherine II
or Catherine the Great,
1729–96, czarina of Russia (1762–96). Rise to Power

A German princess, the daughter of Christian Augustus, prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, she emerged from the obscurity of her relatively modest background in 1744
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, he and his brother led the conspiracy that deposed Peter IIIPeter III,
1728–62, czar of Russia (1762), son of Charles Frederick, dispossessed duke of Holstein-Gottorp, and of Anna Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great. He succeeded to the throne on the death of his aunt, Czarina Elizabeth.
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 and put her on the throne. Although the empress was deeply in love with him and owed her power to him more than to any other, he did not have a decisive voice in state affairs. He was later supplanted by other favorites, notably PotemkinPotemkin, Grigori Aleksandrovich
, 1739–91, Russian field marshal and favorite of Catherine II. He studied at Moscow Univ. and then entered the army. His part in the coup (1762) that made Catherine czarina brought him to her notice.
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. Catherine gave him high military posts but did not act on his plans for the emancipation of the serfs.
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