Fyodor Romodanovsky

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Prince Caesar Feodor Y. Romodanovsky (1640–1717)

Prince Fyodor Yuryevich Romodanovsky (Russian: Фёдор Юрьевич Ромодановский; ca. 1640 – 1717) was one of Peter the Great's foremost assistants in the task of modernizing Russia. He was the country's first head of secret police.

An influential boyar from the Romodanovsky family, Prince Fyodor was given the post of the head of the Preobrazhensky prikaz in 1686. His integrity and resolution won him the admiration of young Tsar Peter, who made him "Generalissimo" of his toy army.

Romodanovsky was the one to whom Peter entrusted governing the country during his frequent absence from the capital between 1695 and 1699. When the Streltsy Uprising erupted in Peter's absence, it was Romodanovsky who ruthlessly suppressed it. For his vital services to the crown Peter had him jocundly styled "His Caesarean Majesty" (кесарское величество) and "Prince Caesar" (князь-кесарь). Romodanovsky also had the right to keep his own court at Ropsha and to promote officers. The Tsar addressed him in German as "Min Herr Koenig" ("My Lord King") and signed his own letters "Your Majesty's humblest servant Piter".

Until his death (September 17, 1717), Romodanovsky remained in charge of the secret police, the Siberian prikaz, and the Apothecary; basically he was the second most powerful man (and the most feared man) in Russia till his death. Only after his death he was described as a "monstrum by the appearance, vicious tyrant by the character" by Klyuchevsky.

Most of Peter the Great's biographies tend to overlook the role of Romodanovsky, who was unconditional supporter of Peter and his most feared and very effective official. While other Peter's adherents built and fought, Romodanovsky ensured, with an iron hand, that there was no opposition.

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Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBrockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (in Russian). 1906.