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BORIS ALEKSYEEVICH GOLITSUIN (1654–1714)

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Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 225 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BORIS ALEKSYEEVICH GOLITSUIN (1654–1714), Russian statesman, came of 'a princely family, claiming descent from Prince Gedimin of Lithuania. Earlier members of the family were Mikhail (d. c. 15J2), a famous soldier, and his great-grandson Vasily Vasilevich (d. 1619), who was sent as ambassador to Poland to offer the Russian crown to Prince Ladislaus. Boris became court chamberlain in 1676. He was the young tsar Peter's chief supporter when, in 1689, Peter resisted the usurpations of his elder sister Sophia, and the head of the loyal council which assembled at the Troitsa monastery during the crisis of the struggle. Golitsuin it was who suggested taking refuge in that strong fortress and won over the boyars of the opposite party. In 1690 he was created a boyar and shared with Lev Naruishkin, Peter's uncle, the conduct of home affairs. After the death of the tsaritsa Natalia, Peter's mother, in 1694, his influence increased still further. He accompanied Peter to the White Sea (1694–1695); took part in the Azov campaign (1695); and was one of the triumvirate who ruled Russia during Peter's first foreign tour (1697–1698). The Astrakhan rebellion (1706), which affected all the districts under his government, shook Peter's confidence in him, and seriously impaired his position. In 1707 he was superseded in the Volgan provinces by Andrei Matvyeev. A year before his death he entered a monastery. Golitsuin was a typical representative of Russian society of the end of the 17th century in its transition from barbarism to civilization. In many respects he was far in advance of his age. He was highly educated, spoke Latin with graceful fluency, frequented the society of scholars and had his children carefully educated according to the best European models. Yet this eminent, this superior personage was an habitual drunkard, an uncouth savage who intruded upon the hospitality of wealthy foreigners, and was not ashamed to seize upon any dish he took a fancy to, and send it home to his wife. It was his reckless drunkenness which ultimately ruined him in the estimation of Peter the Great, despite his previous inestimable services. See S. Solovev, History of Russia (Ras.), vol. xiv. (Moscow, 1858) ; R. N. Bain, The First Romanovs (London, 1905). (R. N. B.) GOLITSUIN, DMITRY MIKHAILOVICH (1665–1737), Russian statesman, was sent in 1697 to Italy to learn " military xn.Saffairs "; in 1704 he was appointed to the command of an auxiliary corps in Poland against Charles XII.; from 1711 to 1718 he was governor of Byelogorod. In 1718 he was appointed president of the newly erected Kammer Kollegium and a senator. In May 1723 he was implicated in the disgrace of the vice-chancellor Shafirov and was deprived of all his offices and dignities, which he only recovered through the mediation of the empress Catherine I. After the death of Peter the Great, Golitsuin became the recognized head of the old Conservative party which had never forgiven Peter for putting away Eudoxia and marrying the plebeian Martha Skavronskaya. But the reformers, as represented by Alexander Menshikov and Peter Tolstoi, prevailed; and Golitsuin remained in the background till the fall of Menshikov, '727. During the last years of Peter II. (1728–1730), Golitsuin was the most prominent statesman in Russia and his high aristocratic theories had full play. On the death of Peter II. he conceived the idea of limiting the autocracy by subordinating it to the authority of the supreme privy council, of which he was president. He drew up a form of constitution which Anne of Courland, the newly elected Russian empress, was forced to sign at Mittau before being permitted to proceed to St Petersburg. Anne lost no time in repudiating this constitution, and never forgave its authors. Golitsuin was left in peace, how-ever, and lived for the most part in retirement, till 1736, when he was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the conspiracy of his son-in-law Prince Constantine Cantimir. This, however, was a mere pretext, it was for his anti-monarchical sentiments that he was really prosecuted. A court, largely composed of his antagonists, condemned him to death, but the empress reduced the sentence to lifelong imprisonment in Schlusselburg and confiscation of all his estates. He died in his prison on the 14th of April 1737, after three months of confinement. See R. N. Bain, The Pupils of Peter the Great (London, 1897). (R. N. B.)
End of Article: BORIS ALEKSYEEVICH GOLITSUIN (1654–1714)
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