Week 12

Paul I (1754-1801) (Tsar 1796-1801) was Emperor of Russia from 1796 until his assassination. Officially, he was the only son of Peter III and Catherine the Great, although Catherine hinted that he was fathered by her lover Sergei Saltykov. Paul remained overshadowed by his mother for most of his life. He adopted the laws of succession to the Russian throne—rules that lasted until the end of the Romanov dynasty and of the Russian Empire. He also intervened in the French Revolutionary Wars and, toward the end of his reign, added Kartli and Kakheti in Eastern Georgia into the empire, which was confirmed by his son and successor Alexander I. Paul had a short sad life. His mother Catherine the Great did not want to yield any real power to her son, therefore she maneuvered constantly to denegrate his abilities. Paul was not a strong decisive person, and therefore he was way overmatched by his dynamic powerful mother. Only when she was gone in 1796 after a sudden stroke, did Paul step forward and rule as true Tsar of Russia. Sadly for him and his family, he only had five years on the throne before an assassin struck him down.


Paul Bushkovitch,

A Concise History of Russia,

Cambridge University Press,

ISBN 0521543231