Empress Anna Of Russia Essay Research Paper

Empress Anna Of Russia Essay, Research Paper

Russia is a nation with a rich past and a history of royalty that cannot

be compared with any other in the world. There were memorable rulers,

including Catherine and Peter the Great, and rulers that Russia and the rest of

the world would like to forget, such as Ivan the Terrible. However short their

reign, or how seemingly insignificant their actions, all have had an effect on

Russia?s history and have left plenty of colorful images to be written down

into history books. One can argue about how important one ruler was, and

some were more important than others, but some were very insignificant and

are scarcely heard of. A Russian ruler that is rarely heard of is Empress

Anna, a ruler in the mid 1700s. Anna is not well known because she did little

during her reign and that which she accomplished was questionable and her

motives controversial. Anna should not be considered a significant ruler in

Russian history because of her short reign, unimportant involvement in

Russia?s foreign affairs, and possible mental handicap.

Empress Anna began her reign in 1730 and it ended in 1740. 10 years

is a short amount of time to do anything memorable. Most Russian royalty

that were famous and memorable ruled for much longer than that. Peter II, the

ruler before Anna, died at the age of fourteen and is not well known. The

ruler after Anna was two months old when he became ruler of Russia, Ivan

VI, he is also unheard of. Catherine II is known as Catherine the Great and

ruled for thirty-three years. Catherine the Great is also one of the more well

known Russian rulers, with Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great. Peter the

Great ruled for thirty six years and did many things for Russia and whether or

not one agrees with his actions, Peter did accomplish a great deal, for or in

spite of the good of the country. Even Ivan IV, the Terrible, was a much

more famous ruler than Anna. Ivan IV ruled for fifty-one years and while

known for all the horrible things he did, like lowering the populations of his

own country, was still more well known than rulers that have done little but

good. Anna was neither significant, nor did she accomplish anything, good or

bad, for the people or for herself. (Grey 142)

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Empress Anna did not do anything significant during her reign which is

another important reason why she was not a notable ruler in Russian history.

Despite the two wars fought during her reign, she was not well known

because she didn?t do anything. Since the

reign of Peter the Great, Russia had been fighting with Persia and continued

to do so during the reign of Anna. Although Russia and Persia reached

indefinite peace with Persia, it was not even a result of her own doing.

Andrei Ostermann, Vice Chancellor and a skilled negotiator, did the

peacemaking and that was one of the more memorable events in Anna?s

reign, though in itself, the peacemaking was not notable. (Grey, 151-53)

The outcome of the other war fought during Anna?s reign was bitterly

disappointing and intensified the anger and discontentment of the population

against her. The Russians were humiliated and were tired of the heavy taxes.

The empress?s troublesome spending also had a harsh effect on Russia?s

economy. The war against Turkey had been a drain on the economy and the

military was depleted because of the Turkish campaign. The government

officials turned brutal in collecting taxes and soon all authority in Russia was

hated. Anna created more problems than she tried to fix and was known as

an insignificant ruler in Russian history because of this. Anna was just

another typical Russian royal, one who did most everything for herself and

forgot that she was the matriarch of a country that desperately needed

guidance. (Grey 153)

Anna was a typical ruler in the way that she was ignorant and did little

for the good of her people. She was however, very strange with her habits,

hobbies, and pastimes which could make one question about her state of

mental health. If Anna was not mentally sound, were the few actions she

made justifiable? It was not uncommon for royalty and monarchs to have a

personal collection of dwarfs and jesters. Past czars and most of Europe

practiced this custom and Anna was no exception. Anna, however, took her

?collection? and made it into one of her favorite things with which to play and

experiment. Anna?s delight in the grotesque and malformed was extreme and

she took pleasure in torturing and

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humiliating the members of her collections. Members of her corps of

buffoons were sometimes ordered to line up and kick each other and perform

other degrading tasks.

Blood flowed frequently and injuries were numerous all for the entertainment

of the Empress. (Grey 148-49)

The Empress also used her collection and strange habits to seek

vengeance on others who had committed something she interpreted as a

horrible crime. Prince Mikhail Golistyn had married a Catholic woman and

changed his faith. Anna, a bigoted Orthodox, discovered this and was

outraged. Anna made him a court jester and he was ordered to sit upon a

basket of eggs and wait for them to hatch, cackling like a hen the whole time.

Golitsyn?s wife died and Anna decided despite the fact that he was fifty years

old, he needed a new bride. She picked Anna Buzheninova to be his bride, a

court freak because she was so ugly. Anna declared that he was to have a

magnificent wedding to celebrate. (Grey 149)

The winter of 1739-40 was exceptionally cold and Anna had an ice

palace eighty feet long by thirty-three feet high built for the newlyweds,

complete with clothes, slippers, and a four-poster bed completely carved out

of ice. The couple was carried in a large iron cage strapped on top of an

elephant. The guests, numbering over 300, were brought in sleds drawn by

deer, oxen, goats, dogs, and some rode on the backs of camels. The wedding

feast was magnificent and when the festivities were over, the couple was led

to their bedchamber, disrobed, and put into their ice bed. Guards were

ordered to make sure the couple didn?t leave till morning. (Grey 149)

Empress Anna had a strange hobby of collecting malformed people and

using them sadistically. She tortured those who did her wrong and did it in a

way so peculiar, it is hard to be imagined. Though everyone has their own

strange habits and hobbies, Anna?s were extreme and could definitely indicate

a problem with her mental health. Many rulers were mentally retarded and

that was the cause of many of the decisions they made. Perhaps Anna was a

bit disturbed mentally and it was not detectable by physical appearance, as


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some mentally disabled. Clearly Anna had some sort of mental problem

because had she not, she most likely not have done the things she did. Other

Russian rulers with their own

collection of freaks and the malformed did not treat their ?collections? the

same way Anna did.

Empress Anna is not a ruler that should be remembered. She was

probably borderline psychotic and her actions are most likely unjustifiable.

Her reign was too brief for anything significant to happen, unlike those of the

?Greats? like Catherine II and Peter II. Anna was just another Russian ruler

who did nothing for her country and should not be remembered for being

something she was not. Anna should not be known as being a significant part

of Russian history; she should remain a small paragraph in encyclopedias and

no one should worry about remembering her name. Empress Anna left her

country in even worse condition than she received it, and left Russia in ruins.

Anna only disappointed her people, and disappointment does not get one into

the illustrious books of Russian history.


Duffy, J.P., and Ricci, V.L. Czars: Russia?s Rulers for Over 1,000 Years. New York: Facts

on File, Inc. 1995

Grey, Ian. The Romanovs. New York: Doubleday & Co. 1970.

Harcave, Sidney. Russia: A History. J.B. Lippincott Co. 1952.

Maclean, Fitzroy. All the Russias: The End of an Empire. New York: Smithmark

Publishers, Inc. 1992.

Mazour, Annatole G. Russia Past and Present. New York: D. Van Nostrand


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