Pyotr Rumyantsev

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Pyotr Rumyantsev
General Governor of Little Russia
Little Russian Collegium Chair
In office
MonarchCatherine the Great
Preceded byoffice revived (replacing the Hetman of Zaporizhian Host Kyrylo Rozumovsky)
Succeeded byoffice liquidated (himself as General Governor of Kiev, Chernigov, Novgorod-Seversky)
General Governor of Kursk Namestnichestvo
In office
MonarchCatherine the Great
Preceded byoffice created
Succeeded byAlexander Prozorovsky
General Governor of Kiev, Chernigov, and Novgorod-Seversky Namestnichestvos
In office
MonarchCatherine the Great (1782–1796), Paul I (1796)
DeputyMikhail Krechetnikov (1791–1793), Iosif Igelström (1793–1794)
Preceded byoffice created
Succeeded byoffice liquidated
Personal details
Pyotr Alexandrovich Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky

(1725-01-15)15 January 1725
Stroiești, Russian Empire or Moscow, Russian Empire
Died19 December 1796(1796-12-19) (aged 71)
Tashan, Pereyaslavsky Uyezd, Poltava Governorate, Russian Empire
Military service
Allegiance Russian Empire
Branch/serviceImperial Russian Army
RankField Marshal
Battles/warsWar of the Austrian Succession
Russo-Swedish War (1741–43)
Pomeranian War
Russo-Turkish War (1768–74)
Russo-Turkish War (1787–92)

Count Pyotr Alexandrovich Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky (Russian: Пётр Алекса́ндрович Румя́нцев-Задунайский; 15 January [O.S. 4 January] 1725 – 19 December [O.S. 8 December] 1796) was one of the foremost Russian generals of the 18th century. He governed Little Russia[1] in the name of Empress Catherine the Great from the abolition of the Cossack Hetmanate in 1764 until Catherine's death 32 years later. Monuments to his victories include the Kagul Obelisk in Tsarskoye Selo (1772), the Rumyantsev Obelisk on Vasilievsky Island (1798–1801), and a galaxy of Derzhavin's odes.

Early life[edit]

Peter was the only son of Count Alexander Rumyantsev, of Moldovan origins,[2] by Maria, the daughter and heiress of Count Andrey Matveyev. As his mother spent much time in the company of Peter the Great, rumours suggested that the young Rumyantsev was the monarch's illegitimate son. He was named after the ruling Emperor who was his godfather. He was the brother of Praskovya Bruce, confidant of Catherine the Great.

Pyotr Alexandrovich first saw military service under his nominal father in the war with Sweden (1741–1743). He personally carried to the Empress the peace treaty of Abo, concluded by his father in 1743. Thereupon he gained promotion to the rank of colonel.

His first military glory dates from the great battles of the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), those of Gross-Jägersdorf (1757) and Kunersdorf (1759). In 1761 he besieged and took the Pomeranian fortress of Kolberg,[3][4] thus clearing for Russian armies the path to Berlin.

First Russo-Turkish War[edit]

The Rumyantsev Obelisk (1799–1801) was moved from the Field of Mars to St. Andrew's Cathedral by Carlo Rossi in 1818.

Throughout the reign of Catherine the Great, Rumyantsev served as supreme governor of Little Russia. In this post, which his father had held with so much honesty, Rumyantsev made it his priority to eliminate any autonomy of the hetmans and to fully incorporate the newly conquered territories into the Russian Empire. Some accuse him of having promoted serfdom in New Russia, but the choice of such a policy remained out of his control.

With the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1768, Rumyantsev took command of the army sent to capture Azov. He thoroughly defeated the Turks in the Battles of Larga and Kagula, crossed the Danube and advanced to Romania. For these dazzling victories he became Field-Marshal and gained the victory title Zadunaisky (meaning "Trans-Danubian"). When his forces approached Shumla in 1774, the new Sultan Abdul Hamid I started to panic and sued for peace, which Rumyanstev signed upon a military tambourine at the village of Küçük Kaynarca.

Second Russo-Turkish War[edit]

By that point, Rumyantsev had undoubtedly become the most famous Russian commander. Other Catharinian generals, notably Potemkin, allegedly regarded his fame with such jealousy that they wouldn't permit him to take the command again. In times of peace, Rumyantsev expressed his innovative views on the martial art in the Instructions (1761), Customs of Military Service (1770), and the Thoughts (1777). These works provided a theoretical base for the re-organisation of the Russian army undertaken by Potemkin.

During the Second Russo-Turkish War, Rumyantsev suspected Potemkin of deliberately curtailing supplies of his army and presently resigned his command. In the Polish campaign of 1794 he once again won appointment as commander-in-chief, but his rival Suvorov actually led the armies into battle. On this occasion Rumyantsev didn't bother even to leave his Ukrainian manor at Tashan which he had rebuilt into a fortress. He died there on 19 December 1796, just over a month after Catherine's death, and was interred in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.

As the story goes, old Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky grew enormously fat and avaricious, so that he pretended not to recognize his own sons when they came from the capital to ask for money. Under his son Sergey's administration, Tashan fell into ruins, although he erected a mausoleum near Balashikha for his father's reburial (which never took place). Neither Sergey nor his brother Nikolay Petrovich Rumyantsev married, and the comital branch of the Rumyantsev family became extinct upon their death.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bain, Robert Nisbet (1911). "Bezborodko, Aleksander Andreevich" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 840.
  2. ^ "На территории Бендерской крепости открыли бюст русского полководца Петра Румянцева-Задунайского". Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  3. ^ Bain, Robert Nisbet (1911). "Elizabeth Petrovna" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 9 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 285.
  4. ^ "Pyotr Aleksandrovich Rumyantsev, Count Zadunaysky | Russian military officer". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
Government offices
Preceded byas Hetman of Zaporizhian Host Governor-General of Little Russia
Succeeded by
as General Governor of Kiev, Chernigov and Novgorod-Siversky
Preceded by
as General Governor of Little Russia
General Governor of Kiev, Chernigov, Novgorod-Siversky
Succeeded byas General Governor of Little Russia (Kamenets-Podolsky)
Succeeded byas General Governor of Kiev