Scientific Information Agency
17 September 2023

The Role of the Guard in the Palace Coup in the Russian Empire (1725-1762)

The Role of the Guard in the Palace Coup in the Russian Empire (1725-1762)

It is difficult to fully understand the period in the history of the Russian Empire called the “palace coups” from Peter I to Paul I, and even to Nicholas II, without considering in detail the political history of the guard. That is why the article describes the era of “palace coups” (1725-1762) in the Russian Empire, their preconditions and reasons. The author notes that the XVIII century is one of the most interesting periods in the history of the Russian state represented by the time of palace coups. This period is characterized by constant struggle in the middle of aristocratic groups and many behind-the-scenes intrigues. As the law was not a priority at that time, political issues were usually decided by the ruling force. The article notes that the frequent change of power in the Russian Empire in the eighteenth century. Was violent, not public. And such a force during the n “palace coup” was represented by a privileged part of the regular army organized by Peter I, namely two Guards regiments — Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky, to them during the reign of Anna Johannovna added two others — infantry Izmailovsky and Horse Guards. The Guard played an active role in all the political changes of the eighteenth century, when questions arose about the succession to the throne. No change of emperors on the throne during the 38-year period took place without her active participation. The article analyzes the evolution of the transformation of a privileged part of the regular Russian army — the Guards, into a powerful political force. The author emphasizes that the military influence of the Guards regiments does not increase due to “loud” victories, but on the contrary, the lack of successful military campaigns leads to a change in the vectors of the Guards. After the Poltava victory and the Prut defeat for many years of the XVIII century, the guard did not take much part in hostilities. Surprisingly, politics became the main sphere of activity of the Guards. Thus, the eighteenth century was a time of political instability in the country, various noble groups tried to realize their interests with the help of weak and limited in power rulers, whom they also elected. That is why the author tries to determine the main consequences of strengthening the political role of the guard in the Russian Empire.

Source: MykhtunenkoV. (2021). The Role of the Guard in the “Palace Coup” in the Russian Empire (1725-1762). Consensus. (1): 76-85

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