Famous Russian Women


Birth: 27 Sep 1657 Moscow
Death: 14 Jul 1704 Novodevichi Monastery, Moscow
Father: Alexei I Mihailovich, TSAR OF RUSSIA (b. 1629)
Mother: Maria Iljinichna Miloslavskaja (b. 1626)

After death of tsar Fedor Alexeevitch boyare (Russian aristocrats) and patriarch (head of church) preferred 10 years old Peter Alexeevitch (later Peter the Great) to be a new tsar. Even though he was not the oldest of living sons of Alexey Mikhailovitch.

But there was one persone who didn't like this choice - Sofia, sister of Ioann, the oldest son of Alexey. She organized Streltsi (military men) against Peter, they came into the Kremlin and killed Peter's uncles, his mother's adviser Matveev and pronounced Ivan co-tsar or Russia. The truth was that since that time little Peter and his poor minded brother Ivan were taking part in the ceremonials and public actions, but it was theirs sister Sofia who really ruled.

She was very strong, educated and wise woman for her time and she dreamt to be a tsarina. She never became it, but on the portraits she is always painted with the crown on her head. During her rooling in the country there were some army reformations applied, more European habits were brought to the Russian people, some people started dressing by the European fashion.

She was extremely active in internal and foreign policy. Russia concluded "The Eternal Peace" with Poland in 1686, and the Nerchinskii Treaty with China in 1689.

In 1687, the first educational establishment opened in Russia: the Academy of Slavic, Greek and Latin Studies.

There were also two military expeditions to the Crimea. In 1687 Sofia decided to go with a war to the Crimea against Crimean Hanstvo. But this war ended even before the army got to Crimea. So she decided to do it second time and sent her army to the Crimea again, but this time it didn't work out either.

People lost trust in Sofia and her popularity gone. In 1689, Sofia was overthrown by supporters of Peter the Great and exiled to the Novodevichii Monastery. In 1698 she was forced to take the veil under the name of Susanna.