Paul I


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Related to Paul I: Peter III, Nicholas I, Alexander I

Paul I,

1754–1801, czar of Russia (1796–1801), son and successor 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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. His mother disliked him intensely and sought on several occasions to change the succession to his disadvantage. During Catherine's lifetime Paul opposed her domestic policy, which strengthened the nobility, and her expansionist foreign policy. Upon his accession he introduced a law of succession based on primogeniture to strengthen the autocracy against the nobility. Paul rescinded many of the nobles' rights, limited the power of the imperial guards, and attempted to place limits on the nobility's exploitation of their serfs. He encouraged trade and industry and attempted to modernize the armed forces. His erratic conduct and whimsical application of petty regulations, however, caused great discontent. He prohibited foreign travel, certain types of dress, and the importation of Western books and music. In foreign policy, Paul joined (1798) the second coalition against France, but withdrew from the coalition the next year. He formed an armed neutrality league of Russia, Denmark, Sweden, and Prussia to counter English interference in neutral shipping, and he ordered an abortive invasion of India. Dissatisfaction with his rule, particularly among the nobles and military officers, led to a conspiracy against Paul, and he was murdered. His son and successor, Alexander IAlexander I,
1777–1825, czar of Russia (1801–25), son of Paul I (in whose murder he may have taken an indirect part). In the first years of his reign the liberalism of his Swiss tutor, Frédéric César de La Harpe, seemed to influence Alexander.
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, knew of the conspiracy but did not participate in the murder.

Paul I

 

Born Dec. 14, 1901, in Athens; died there Mar. 6, 1964. King of Greece from 1947 to 1964. A member of the Glücksburg dynasty.

After graduating from the Greek Naval Academy, Paul served as an officer in the Greek Navy and fought against Turkey in the Turkish War of Independence (1919–22). In December 1923, after the republican victory in the elections, he left for Great Britain; in 1925, 1934, and 1935 he traveled to the USA. In November 1935, after the restoration of the monarchy, Paul returned to Greece as crown prince. After the invasion of Greece by Nazi German troops in April 1941, he fled to Crete, and from there through Egypt to Great Britain. He returned to Greece in 1946, and after the death of his brother, King George II, he was proclaimed king on Apr. 1, 1947.


Paul I

 

Born Sept. 20 (Oct. 1), 1754, in St. Petersburg; died there Mar. 12 (24), 1801. Russian emperor from 1796 to 1801. Son of Peter III and Catherine II (the Great). He had four sons —Alexander (the future emperor Alexander I), Konstantin, Nicholas (the future emperor Nicholas I), and Mikhail—and six daughters.

From 1783, because of his hostile attitude toward his mother, Paul lived apart from her in Gatchina, where he had a court and a small army. At the beginning of his reign he changed many of Catherine’s procedures, but in essence his domestic policy followed the course set by his mother. Frightened by the French Revolution and by unceasing peasant outbreaks in Russia, Paul promulgated a policy of extreme reaction. The strictest censorship was imposed, private presses were closed down (1797), the importation of foreign books was prohibited (1800), and extraordinary police measures were implemented to persecute progressive social thought.

Under conditions of a worsening crisis in the feudal system, Paul defended the interests of the proserfdom landowners, distributing among them more than 600,000 peasants. In an attempt to end peasant unrest, he utilized punitive expeditions and certain legislative acts that supposedly placed limitations on the exploitation of the peasantry, such as the 1797 ukase on the three-day barshchina (corvée). He introduced centralization and trifling regulations in all sections of the government apparatus. He carried out reforms in the army based on the Prussian Army, provoking dissatisfaction among many officers and generals. In everything he did he relied heavily on his favorites A. A. Arakcheev and I. P. Kutaisov.

Continuing Catherine’s foreign policy, Paul took part in the coalition wars against France. Under pressure from his allies— the Austrians and British—he placed A. V. Suvorov in command of the Russian Army. It was under Suvorov’s command that the heroic Italian and Swiss campaigns of 1799 were carried out. However, disagreements between Paul and his allies and Paul’s hope that Napoleon could nullify the gains of the French Revolution led to a rapprochement with France. Paul’s petty-minded captiousness and unbalanced character led to dissatisfaction among his courtiers. This dissatisfaction increased with the change in Russian foreign policy, which ruined trade with Britain. A plot arose among the officers of the guard, and on the night of Mar. 11, 1801, the conspirators murdered Paul I in Mikhailovskii Zamok.

REFERENCES

Shil’der, N. K. Imperator Pavel Pervyi: Istoriko-biograficheskii ocherk. St. Petersburg, 1901.
Tsareubiistvo 11 marta 1801 g: Zapiski uchastnikov i sovremennikov, 2nd ed. St. Petersburg, 1908.
Kliuchevskii, V. O. Kurs russkoi istorii, part 5: Soch., vol. 5. Moscow, 1958.
Okun’, S. B. Ocherki istorii SSSR: Konets XVIII-pervaia chetvert’ XIX v. Leningrad, 1956.

A. N. TSAMUTALI

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