"Our Peter, it seems, fell in love": Peter I and Anna Mons

The family of German burghers Mons arrived in Russia in the second half of the XVII century, leaving his native Worms not from a good life, but seeking to significantly increase their capital in the country of Muscovites with jewelry or winemaking. An early arrival was also facilitated by acquaintance with the famous Franz Lefort, advisor and good friend of young Peter I. Mons settled in the German Quarter, and in 1690, Johann Mons' youngest daughter, Anna-Margret von Monson, through the patronage of Lefort met Peter Alekseevich. Tutor of Tsarevich Alexei’s heir to the throne, Heinrich von Güssen, speaking of the reasons for the rapid rise of Mons, writes: “There was no talk of any commendable generosity; Lefort always tried to entertain his sovereign pet, gave him all sorts of entertainment and, of course, he pointed to the beautiful Mons as a cheerful and pleasant joy. ”

Peter Anna Mons introduced his advisor Franz Lefort

At that time, the settlement place for foreigners in the Moscow kingdom was German settlement or, as it was also called by the people, Kukui. In general, in the history of Moscow there were several areas that had a similar name, derived from the adjective "mute" - not speaking in Russian. The first settlement of foreigners in the capital appeared under Vasily III, but the place that young Peter loved to visit appeared in 1652, when, under the Tsar's decree, foreigners who had not converted to the Orthodox faith had to disassemble and move their houses to new territory for city ​​limits, on the right bank of the river Yauza. The German settlement was a real “oasis” of foreign life and customs, spreading European culture to the life and behavior of the Muscovites: here prosperous citizens bought furniture from exotic varieties of wood (for example, ebony), mirrors, clocks, and other interior items. Immediately opened one of the first manufactories in Moscow - the production of Albert Paulsen.


German settlement on engraving by Heinrich de Witt

At the time of her acquaintance with young Anna Mons, Peter is experiencing a serious crisis in relations with his first wife Evdokia Lopukhina, a woman of very traditional patriarchal views, who called her spouse nothing but “little pot of light Petrushka”. The situation is aggravated by the quarrel between Peter and his brother-in-law, whom he whipped down his cheeks for slandering Lefort. Probably, such passionate passion towards the young German Mons can be explained by strong cordial affection and love of the young king. For almost a decade of their novel, Peter generously gave Anna and the whole Mons family gifts and privileges - they were provided with an annual guesthouse in the amount of 708 rubles, a huge two-story stone house was built at the expense of the state treasury in the German Quarter, and as a personal gift Peter granted the patrimony in Dudinskaya parish Kozelskogo county with 300 souls to boot. This is not counting the purely personal, heartfelt gift - a miniature portrait of the beloved, adorned with diamonds. The king apparently intended to get married with his German darling: in 1698, barely returning from his “foreign business trip” (by the way, the Grand Embassy was the first departure of the Russian ruler abroad), Peter is in a hurry to visit Lopukhin, but goes straight to Anna Mons. Within a week after a long separation, Peter sends his wife to the monastery.


Presumably, that was exactly what Anna Mons looked like at the time of her acquaintance with Peter.

Peter began to openly cohabit with Anna Mons, not at all embarrassed by his formal position of a married man. It is not surprising that ordinary people frankly hated an enterprising German woman. The reason for this was the traditionally negative attitude towards foreigners, and the banal envy of a luxurious house and a gilded carriage of the Mons family. Let us note that Anna became in fact the first favorite in the usual sense of the word - this Western tradition, firmly established in the cultural practice of most monarchs of the XVII - XVIII centuries, took root in Russia, managing to have a significant impact on the entire historical development of our state in the next 100 years . By the way, Anna Mons was actually the first material incarnation of the established ideological concept of the “image of the enemy” - she was accused of having been able to cast a spell on the king, forcing him to start her large-scale reforms using only magical means, turning all traditional foundations.

Having sent the first wife to the monastery, Peter was going to marry Anna Mons.

A variety of legends and sometimes even scabrous gossip circulated about the slutty and reckless life of the young Peter with Anna Mons: “What is he sovereign,” says Vank Borlyut about Peter Peter in the treason of the Preobrazhensky order to one of his fellow-comrades — what a sovereign! Busurman! On Wednesday and Friday he eats meat and frogs ... he banished his queen to exile and lives with a foreign land, Anna Monsova. ” However, we note that Anna herself most likely looked at the ardent powerful lover from a very pragmatic point of view, frankly manipulating his benevolence. Many historians, after a careful study of Peter's letters to Anna, draw attention to the fact that in all the messages of the girl there is not a hint of feelings or even any manifestation of any emotions at all. Her letters are more like business correspondence, and in response to the love confessions, the beloved “Annushka” didn’t find anything better than the command: “Have mercy, Tsar Peter Pyotr Alekseevich! ... give my gracious order to the parish from the palace villages”. The French envoy to the Russian court at that time, Franz Wilbua, noticed that Peter undoubtedly intended to marry Anne Mons, however, he was probably not sure of her responsive feelings.


Peter's first wife - Evdokia Lopukhina

By the way, Anna Mons did not disdain even to take bribes or “promises”, as they were called then. She began to intervene in various lawsuits and other state affairs, lobbying the interests of her friends and relatives. According to the recollections of the same Güissen, even “in public places it was a rule: if Madame and Mademoiselle Mons (mother and daughter) dealt with and litigated with their own or their friends, then special notes were made about that and in general Monsam in cases before their estates should have been of any assistance. ” “They took advantage of this condescension so widely,” the mentor of the Russian tsarevich continued in his memoirs, “that they started a petition for foreign trade and used hired solicitors (addressees and petitioners for business) to do that.”

The end of the ten-year novel put the case that occurred in 1703 in the newly built fortress Shlisselburg, "key-city", opening the long-awaited access to the Baltic Sea to Russia. In the midst of the celebration, arranged for the completion of the repair of Peter's personal yacht, an unfortunate accident occurred - the Saxon envoy Koenigsen suddenly fell into the Neva and drowned. In the things of the deceased they found love letters signed by Anna Mons (sent during the years of Peter’s absence on the affairs of the Great Embassy), as well as the medallion presented by her. As a result, the quick-tempered and uncompromising Peter immediately, having learned about the betrayal, broke off his relationship with Anna.


Anna Mons House in the German Quarter by Alexander Benoit

Anna Mons was sent under house arrest, and the role of the personal jailer of the rejected lover was taken over by the stern prince and Caesar Fedor Romodanovsky, about whom his contemporaries said: “This prince was a particular character; like a monster; temper evil tyrant; great unwanted good for anyone; drunk all the days; but to His Majesty was correct so that no one else. " Even the personal petition of the Prussian envoy Georg von Kaiserling, who intended to marry Anna, did not soften the angry king. In a fit of a heated argument, Peter and Menshikov lowered a German diplomat from the ladder, as a result of which a duel almost broke out, which undoubtedly was disadvantageous to both sides, because it could lead to a serious military conflict. Having stayed in prisoner status for three years, Anne Mons, in response to her complaint letters and constant requests, was allowed to visit the church, and in 1707 all charges were dropped from her, although the property (except personal belongings and gifts) was confiscated.

In Moscow, Anna Mons got the nickname "Kukui Queen"

The persistent Prussian diplomat Kaiserling managed to get permission to marry Mons in 1711, but even here the accident decided the fate of a German woman - after having been legally married only six months, the young spouse died on the way to Berlin. And Anna Mons spends the rest of her days in litigation over the division of possessions in Courland. Having received a positive decision on all his claims, Mons did not manage to enjoy the fruits of his labors - on August 15, 1714, the 42-year-old former beloved Peter I suddenly dies from consumption.

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