Boris Petrovich Sheremetev (April 25, 1652 - February 17, 1719) - military leader, diplomat, Field Marshal General (1701), Count (1706).
Boris Petrovich Sheremetev was born in 1652 in the family of a noble Kiev governor. Boris was the oldest child. The life of this man turned out to be filled with deep contradictions: on the one hand, Sheremetev was a man who adhered to the traditions of old Moscow, and on the other, he actively participated in the transformations of Peter I.
Boris began his education at the Kiev-Mohyla College, where he learned Latin and Polish. Sheremetev began his service at the court in 1661, combining it with military service. In 1682 he was granted a boyar status.
Achieved some success in the diplomatic field. Boris Petrovich took part in the Azov campaigns and the Great Embassy. He actively participated in the battles of the Northern War, the war with the Ottoman Empire, as well as in suppressing the uprising of the archers in Astrakhan.
Sheremetev early became interested in foreign traditions and culture. Later this was reflected in the way of life of Boris Petrovich, as well as in the decoration of his house. Foreigners called Sheremetev as the most cultured person in Russia.
Sheremetev from childhood knew about his destiny for the court service. In 1671, Boris Petrovich began serving at court, which he skillfully combined with military duties. Among the latter were the post of Comrade Voivode of the Big Regiment (obtained in 1679), as well as Voivode of the Tambov category (since 1681). It was military affairs that remained Sheremetev's main vocation.
Sheremetev is a diplomat. The diplomatic field opened for Boris Petrovich in 1682: he was granted a boyar. "Eternal Peace" with Poland was signed not without the active participation of BP Sheremetev: in June 1686 he received a confirmation letter in the court of the Polish king, which contained the terms of the agreement. Boris Petrovich also made a visit to Vienna, where he negotiated with Emperor Leopold. They concerned the conclusion of an alliance directed against the Ottoman Empire. However, the diplomatic field was not the most important thing in the life of Sheremetev - the leading role was played by military affairs.
After the fall of Sophia's government, Sheremetev stayed in Belgorod for several years. No, Peter I, knowing that Boris Petrovich secretly sympathizes with Sophia's favorite (V.V. Golitsyn), did not deprive Sheremetev of his ranks. It's just that the new tsar could not immediately accept Boris Petrovich into the circle of his closest friends. Therefore, Sheremetev spent these few years away from Moscow.
Sheremetev took an active part in the Azov campaigns. In 1695, Peter I entrusted Sheremetev with the solution of an important task. It was necessary to divert enemy forces from Azov by the forces of the entrusted troops. Boris Petrovich coped with the task imposed on him very successfully - 4 fortresses on the Dnieper were conquered. Sheremetev took an active part in the second Azov campaign, which, by the way, revealed some specific features of the conduct of hostilities by Boris Petrovich Sheremetev. Slowness and caution stood out among them.
Sheremetev took part in the Great Embassy. He, like the king, in 1697 went outside the country not under his own name. The main task of Sheremetev was to promote the creation of an alliance against the Ottoman Empire - Boris Petrovich was supposed to conduct diplomatic negotiations in order to attract as many countries as possible to the anti-Turkish alliance. During this trip abroad, Sheremetev visited many countries and cities: the Commonwealth, Venice, Austria, Rome (where, by the way, he was received with honor by the Pope himself). In May 1698 Boris Petrovich reached the final point of his journey. This was the island of Malta, on which Sheremetev received honors from the master and knights of the Order of Malta. These honors were in no way more modest than those that were given to him in Rome - a Maltese cross covered with diamonds was laid on Sheremetev.
Sheremetev changed his boyar outfits to European ones. He was the first person to do this. On his return to Moscow (February 12, 1699), Boris Petrovich, in a European costume decorated with the Order of Malta, appeared before Peter I. The Tsar was the first to approve the appearance of B. Sheremetev.
Sheremetev's cavalry fled from the battlefield in the battle near Narva. This was one of the first battles of the Northern War, which lasted from 1700-1721. Boris Petrovich was appointed chief of the noble cavalry. But on November 18, 1700, as a result of an unsuccessful reconnaissance, the cavalry was forced to strongly retreat in front of the enemy (about a thousand people were lost). Peter I was not angry with the voivode and did not even lose his trust in him. The tsar understood that, firstly, Sheremetev did not have enough experience in conducting hostilities in the war with regular troops (which belonged to the Swedish king Charles XII), and secondly, the army lacks a general lack of competent commanders.
Sheremetev - Field Marshal. Boris Petrovich received this title in 1701. All the time he expressed to Peter I his readiness to serve, not sparing his own life. In fact, Sheremetev proved this readiness in the battle at Erestfer manor, which took place a year after the battle of Narva (December 29, 1701). A detachment of Swedes in this battle suffered a crushing defeat and was completely destroyed. In honor of this victory, Boris Petrovich was also awarded the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called.
Sheremetev fulfilled the plans of Peter I regarding large-scale hostilities on the territory of Ingria. The Russian tsar developed a strategy for the return of the Russian lands of this area (in the future, transformed into the St. Petersburg province). First of all, the task was to capture the fortress Oreshek (Noteburg). And the tactics of this (and not only) operation fell on the shoulders of Boris Petrovich. He managed to secure a number of victories over the Swedish troops in this territory. In 1702, the Oreshek fortress was taken, and soon all of Ingria was conquered by the Russian troops (in 1703).
After the conquest of Ingria, Sheremetev and Peter solemnly entered Moscow. This marked the end of 1703. It was truly Boris Petrovich's finest hour. His victories were brilliant, and the trust and favor on the part of the king was enormous. There will be no such ratio in the future.
After the battles of 1700-1703, Sheremetev did not have to rest. Boris Petrovich himself dreamed of rest: his fatigue from the conduct of hostilities was also burdened with existing diseases. However, the tsar was determined to continue the war with the Swedes at all costs. And he needed Field Marshal Sheremetev precisely in the theater of operations - Boris Petrovich was forced to go to the city of Dorpat and begin its siege.
Sheremetev's actions at Dorpat satisfied Peter I. Quite the contrary. The tsar became more and more irritated by the slowness of his field marshal. After three weeks of the siege of the city, Peter I personally came to control the actions of Sheremetev, whose siege work was very dissatisfied with. Taking the initiative into his own hands, Peter I ordered the troops to conduct continuous firing at the city, after which Dorpat surrendered. Boris Petrovich was sent to help the troops fighting at Narva. The field marshal no longer took part in the assault on Narva, and in honor of its capture on August 9, 1704, Sheremetev was not awarded any awards. The attitude of Peter I to Boris Petrovich from the moment of the siege of Dorpat became mostly official, and the tsar from that time constantly tried to suppress the independence of the field marshal - to subordinate his actions strictly to the issued order.
Sheremetev led a detachment to suppress the uprising in Astrakhan. The removal of Boris Petrovich from the theater of military operations with the Swedes took place after the battle at Murmyz (summer 1705), in which the field marshal's troops suffered a serious defeat. Perhaps this decision of Peter I is connected just with the convenient case of removing Sheremetev from the important role of commanding the troops, without hurting the pride of the field marshal. True, even here the tsar's lack of all-consuming trust in Sheremetev was manifested - Peter I appointed sergeant M. Schepotiev to help Boris Petrovich. The latter's duties included vigilant observation of the field marshal's actions, which, of course, did not like Sheremetev very much.
Sheremetev violated the instructions of Peter I regarding the suppression of the uprising. Angry that an outsider was looking after him, Boris Petrovich ruthlessly stormed and bombed the city. This was forbidden by the king. However, Peter I did not become angry with Sheremetev on this occasion, and even donated large land holdings to him. In 1705 Boris Petrovich was elevated to the rank of count.
In 1706, Boris Petrovich again took part in the ongoing war with the Swedes. And since Peter I was expecting the transfer of Swedish forces to Ukraine, he sent a field marshal to the city of Ostrog. From now on, his main task was the deployment of regiments, the reception of new recruits in them, their uniforms, etc. But in this matter, Sheremetev lacked energy and initiative. The resentment against the tsar, who now trusted Menshikov much more, also had an effect.
Sheremetev - Commander-in-Chief of the Russian troops during the battle near Poltava (June 27, 1709). He held this position only formally, since the role of Boris Petrovich in this matter was representative: most of the troops remained in the military camp throughout the battle. But still the name of the field marshal was the first in the list of those awarded on the occasion of the victory in the Battle of Poltava. Sheremetev received a new patrimony - the village of Black Gryaz, but did not receive a month of rest - he was forced to begin a siege of Riga, and after its capture, Sheremetev was ordered to take command over the troops stationed in this city.
Sheremetev actively participated in the war with the Ottoman Empire. The latter itself declared war on Russia in November 1710. Boris Petrovich in this regard received a new instruction from the tsar. With his troops, the field marshal was supposed to advance south. Although Sheremetev's maneuver to seize the bridge entrusted to him was unsuccessful, Boris Petrovich managed to courageously prove himself. During the battle, he personally rushed at a Turk, who was about to kill one of the Russian soldiers, and struck him, and presented this Turk's horse to the future Empress Catherine.
Sheremetev dreamed of becoming a monk. The fatigue accumulated in the theater of hostilities encouraged the field marshal to think about a calm monastic life. The war with the Ottoman Empire left a deep scar in the soul of B. Sheremetev. His only son Mikhail remained hostage to the Turks. After three years of captivity, he died before reaching Kiev. But Peter I did not give Sheremetev the opportunity to retire in a monastery. The tsar judged in his own way and ordered the field marshal to marry, while he himself chose a bride for him - she was from the Saltykov family. In principle, this marriage turned out to be happy for Sheremetev and brought him five children. The children of Boris Petrovich subsequently did not disgrace the Sheremetev family.
In 1714, an investigation began in the Sheremetev case. The field marshal was accused of bribes, which Boris Petrovich allegedly took while in Ukraine. The investigation acquitted the outstanding person. But a trace of him and resentment for distrust fell on the soul of the field marshal. Sheremetev again began asking the tsar to resign him, but to no avail. The Tsar clearly did not want to rest his field marshal.
Boris Petrovich is the commander-in-chief of the army heading for Pomerania. Its main task was to provide assistance to the allied forces. Sheremetev did not manage to fully cope with it. There were several reasons for this: firstly, he could not refuse to help the Polish king (the essence of which was in the fight against a supporter of the Swedish king Leszczynski, this delayed the field marshal for some time), and secondly, the movement of the entrusted troops was hampered by the obvious lack of provisions and thirdly, the very slowness of Sheremetev, which let Boris Petrovich down more than once, had an effect. As a result of all this, the field marshal arrived at his destination - the fortress of Stralsund - while it was already taken. Because of this, he received a refusal from the Danish and Prussian kings to accept the Russian troops. It was then that Peter I gave vent to his anger. Prince Dolgoruky was sent to help Sheremetev. Subsequently, Boris Petrovich, along with the troops, was within Poland. The field marshal's relationship with the tsar became more and more tense.
In December 1717, Sheremetev was allowed to leave the theater of military operations. Upon arrival in Moscow, Boris Petrovich, again, could not find a quiet life. They began to suspect him of correspondence with Tsarevich Alexei (allegedly the prince sent letters to the field marshal), who openly expressed dissatisfaction with his father's neoplasms. Fear for his fate significantly undermined the health of Sheremetev, who was unable to calmly live even the rest of his life. And Peter I was never able to free himself from mistrust of the field marshal. Boris Petrovich could not fully explain his innocence to the tsar - on February 17, 1719, he died. The tsar did not comply with Sheremetev's request to bury him next to his only son. Peter I ordered to transport the body of Boris Petrovich to St. Petersburg, where it was buried (in the Alexander Nevsky Monastery).