Portrait of Peter II Alexeyevich (1715-1730), Emperor of Russia (1727-1730)
Peter II Alexeyevich (Russian: Пётр II Алексеевич; 23 October 1715 – 30 January 1730) reigned as Emperor of Russia from 1727 until his death. He was the only son of Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich (son of Peter I of Russia by his first consort Eudoxia Lopukhina) and of Princess Charlotte of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Peter was born in Saint Petersburg on 23 October 1715. His mother died when he was only ten days old. His father, Prince Alexis, accused of treason by his own father, Peter the Great, died in prison in 1718. So three-year-old Peter and his four-year-old sister, Natalia, were orphaned. Their grandfather showed no interest in their upbringing and education: the Tsar had disliked their father and even their grandmother, his own first wife, and young Peter in particular reminded him of his only son Alexis, whom the Tsar suspected of treachery. Peter the Great died in 1725 and was succeeded by his second wife, Catherine I, a woman of low birth. The powerful minister Aleksandr Danilovich Menshikov, who had aided in Catherine's accession, replaced the boy’s teachers with the vice-chancellor, Count Ostermann. The program of education that Ostermann compiled included history, geography, mathematics, and foreign languages. Peter himself did not display much interest in science; his favorite occupations were hunting and feasting. After Catherine's death and the proclamation of Peter II as emperor, Menshikov took the young autocrat into his own house on Vasilievsky Island and had full control over all of his actions. Soon, however, Menshikov became sick, and his opponents took advantage of his illness. Under the influence of Ostermann and the Dolgorukovs, Peter – long sick of Menshikov’s wardship – stripped him of his rank and exiled him to Siberia.
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