Ivan Rimsky-Korsakov

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Ivan Rimskij-Korsakov

Ivan Nikolajevich Rimsky-Korsakov, Korsav (29 June 1754 in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire – 31 July 1831 in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire) was a Russian courtier and lover of Catherine the Great from 1778 to 1779.

Ivan Rimsky-Korsakov was introduced to Catherine by Grigory Potemkin after having been vetted by Praskovja Bruce. Rumors that Catherine had her ladies-in-waiting 'test' her potential favorites are unsubstantiated by the historical record. Furthermore, while Potemkin played an important role in Catherine's life, there is no evidence to suggest he literally picked and presented his successors in the bedchamber to the empress.

Catherine called Korsakov Pyrrhus because of his classic beauty, his singing and his violin playing. In 1779, Catherine caught him being unfaithful with Praskovja Bruce. It is believed that she was directed to the right room by Aleksandra von Engelhardt on the order of Potemkin, who wished for the fall of both Rimsky-Korsakov and Bruce. This caused both Rimsky-Korsakov and Bruce to lose their positions at court.

Ivan Rimsky-Korsakov lived the rest of his life in Brattsevo near Moscow in a relationship with the married Countess Stroganova, née Princess Ekaterina Petrovna Trubetskaya, with whom he had four children (Varvara, Vladimir, Vassily and Sophia) who were given the name Ladomirsky (the name of an extinct Polish noble family) and were ennobled by Imperial Ukaze on 11 November 1798. Varvara Ivanovna Ladomirsky married Ivan Dimitrievich Narishkin and was the great-great-grandmother of Prince Felix Yussupov.


  • Marie Tetzlaff : Katarina den Stora (Catherine the Great) (1997) (In Swedish)
  • Simon Sebac Montefiore : Potemkin och Katarina den stora – en kejserlig förbindelse (Potemkin and Catherine the Great – an imperial commitment) (2006) (In Swedish)