What were Catherine the Great's orders to von Böhm?

What were Catherine the Great's orders to von Böhm?

In about 1773, Catherine the Great appointed Magnus Karl von Böhm (or Behm, depending on the roundtrip transliteration) governor of Kamchatka. The peninsula had been pacified and the natives were being mistreated (impressed into labor, charged excessive fur tribute, and so on).

According to Forsyth's A History of the Peoples of Siberia, she gave him "lengthy instructions" to "introduce justice and honesty".

What exactly were the empress's instructions to her new governor? Was her principal motivation moral or political?

The actual quote from Forsyth's book is:

Captain Magnus Karl von Böhm, attempted to restrain the Russian soldiers and make them treat the Itelmens as human beings, and to introduce justice and honesty into the administration of Kamchatka, according to lengthy instructions issued by Catherine the Great.

  • p142

I think the 'lengthy instructions' referred to in this case were most likely Catherine's 'Instructions to the Commissioners for Composing a New Code of Laws', which had been directed to the Legislative Commission of 1767, rather than specific instructions to von Böhm himself.

The instructions are included in full in Documents of Catherine the Great: The Correspondence with Voltaire and the Instruction of 1767 in the English Text of 1768, by W. F. Reddaway, published by Cambridge University Press.

Major Karl Magnus Von Behm was my 5xgreat grandfather. His wife Eva Von Borg was a friend of the Empress Catherine 11. She wanted Alaska to be opened up for settlers and the Major was to find a doctor willing to go. He was to build forts, open up the infrastructure and set up a good administration. He was recommended to her as being an honest man. He was governor during the time of Captain James Cook's last voyage of discovery and I am very interested in that part of their lives.

Here’s why Catherine the Great is the kinkiest royal ever, as Helen Mirren is set to portray the Russian Empress in new HBO-Sky drama

WHEN Catherine the Great died in 1796, she left the world the juiciest bit of gossip in royal history.

Europe was soon agog with the news: The famously sex-obsessed Russian empress had been crushed to death trying to have her kinky way with a horse.

The story went that the stallion was being lowered down on to her body by courtiers when the straps broke, pinning the 67-year-old underneath.

Luckily for Dame Helen Mirren, who plays the leader in a new Sky series, there will be no such scene to perform, because historians now dismiss the tale as a myth put out by Catherine’s enemies.

Still, there will be no shortage of steaminess in the drama — even by the standards of Dame Helen, 73, who stripped naked in 1979 film Caligula.

Catherine loved sex and sex toys — and extremely rude furniture.

She was so fond of the “elephantine sexual equipment” of one lover, army commander Grigory Potemkin, that she had it cast in porcelain so she could “console herself” when he was away on military campaigns.

And legend states she had chairs and tables adorned with very graphic decorations, such as legs in the shape of male members.

As for the real thing, her longest-serving favourite was Potemkin, played in the four-part series by Aussie Jason Clarke.

He was ten years younger than Catherine, who called him her “tiger”.

When he was away she wrote love letters to him several times a day — and once confided that she needed virile young men in her bed for the sake of her health.

In fact, she said sex was so necessary for her well-being that without it she was unable to rule properly.

Unsurprisingly, Potemkin — who may have been secretly married to Catherine — could not keep her satisfied all by himself.

She reportedly needed her desires quenched six times a day, so the thoughtful nobleman selected young men he thought fit for the task.

Her taste in strapping officers led her at the age of 58 to fall madly in love with 21-year-old officer Prince Platon Zubov.

She was convinced he was also besotted with her, writing to Potemkin that Zubov “weeps when denied the entry into my room”.

There is debate about the number of men who slipped under her sheets.

Some say it was as many as 300, others suggest a far more modest 12.

But at least one of them, Alexander Lanskoi, is said to have needed artificial stimulants in order to keep up with her.

Those aphrodisiacs may have led to the weakness and diphtheria which caused his death, aged 25, in 1784.

Catherine sensibly took precautions to protect her own health.

Before taking on a new lover, she would have her Scottish doctor thoroughly examine them.

She also had them road-tested by her closest friend, lady-in-waiting Countess Praskovya Bruce, who is played by Bodyguard’s Gina McKee in the series.

Bruce’s role was “tester of male capacity”, which meant she slept with them first to make sure they were up to the job and informed about Catherine’s preferences.

Those included a fetish for foot tickling and a thirst for assertive lovers. She also had an unabashed fascination with both male and female private parts — as reportedly seen on her infamous furniture.

The eye-popping collection, which also included a chair apparently designed so the empress could enjoy unusual sexual positions, is said to have been photographed by German soldiers during World War Two.

However, the photos’ authenticity has been questioned and the furniture itself has never surfaced — although they have recently been recreated by a French furniture maker (the table featuring ornately carved oral pleasuring and other explicit romping could be yours for £283,465).

That is the kind of money Catherine would enjoy spending — often on her lovers. She would leave huge sums by the bed after doing the deed. It left some of the men feeling like prostitutes, though they never turned down the rewards.

Young officer Alexander Vasilchikov complained: “I was nothing more to her than a kind of male cocotte and I was treated as such.

“If I made a request for myself or anyone else, she did not reply, but the next day I found a banknote for several thousand rubles in my pocket.”

All of the main men in her life were given large estates.

One of them, Stanisław Poniatowski, became King of Poland thanks to her financial and military backing.

Astonishingly, among all these romantic escapades, Catherine was doing a triumphant job in ruling Russia — transforming it into one of the recognised great powers of Europe. Her rule from 1762 to 1796 is still seen as Russia’s golden age.

She said of the series, whose broadcast date has not been announced: “I am very excited by the possibility of embodying a woman from history who grabbed and then wielded great power.

“She rewrote the rules of governance by a woman, and succeeded to the extent of having the word Great attached to her name.” Catherine’s achievements were especially amazing given that she was never destined for the throne.

Born Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst in 1729, her father was an impoverished and obscure Prussian prince in what is now Poland.

She only ended up married to the heir to the Russian crown, Grand Duke Peter, because Russian powerbrokers went hunting for ways to strengthen a military alliance with her country.

She was just 16 but savvy. She converted to the Russian Orthodox religion, taking the more Russian name of Catherine.

Then she set about charming her way into favour with the court’s most powerful people. But husband Peter — grandson of Peter the Great — was not one of them.

One year her senior, he was completely uninterested in his bride and the marriage was unconsummated for seven years. It was during this time that she began taking lovers.

She was 32 when Peter became tsar but he was very unpopular and after just six months he was ousted in a coup led by one of her lovers, Count Grigory Orlov. Peter, 34, then died in mysterious circumstances days later.

It is unclear how much of a role Catherine played in all this, though she wasted no time in taking the reins of power.

Initially she was officially just regent for her young son — who may or may not have been Peter’s child — but she was so impressive as empress that she held the role for life. As well as expanding the Russian empire, gaining the Crimea, Belarus, Lithuania and part of Poland, she transformed the country itself.

She ordered the vaccination of the population against smallpox — after first having herself and her son innoculated to allay fears about the procedure.

She also simplified the nation’s laws, founded the great art collection of the Hermitage, awarded Muslims greater rights and built schools and hospitals.

Catherine the Great and the 'Russian-Germans'

250 years ago, Russia’s tsarina Catherine the Great signed a manifesto inviting foreigners to settle in her country. A German national herself, Catherine's decree marked the beginning of the history of Russian-Germans.

On July 22nd, 1763, a young woman sat down at a neat little table in the cabinet of Peterhof Palace close to Petersburg, got out a quill and signed a ‘ukaz', a decree. "We, Catherine the second, Empress and Autocrat of all the Russians at Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir … We permit all foreigners to come into Our Empire, in order to settle in all the governments, just as each one may desire." The Manifesto is now kept in Russia's state archive.

The Manifesto of tsarina Catherine the Second dating from 1763

While the offer was directed at all foreigners, Catherine was targeting Germans in particular. Born in 1729 as Sophie Friederike von Anhalt-Zerbst-Domburg in Stettin in Pommerania, Prussia (today Szczecin, Poland), the tsarina was herself a German national. Afer a coup d'etat and the murder of her husband Peter III. (who was born Peter Ulrich von Holstein-Gottorp and a German prince himself), Catherine came to power in the summer of 1762.

Inviting foreigners to settle in Russia was one of her first official acts. Immigration from the West, says historian Yekaterina Anissimova, meant to the tsarina "the hope of both economic and above all socio-cultural progress of the backward country whose ruler she was."

Striving for economic power

In her typical poignant style, Catherine the Great described the treasures of her empire with all its rivers and lakes in her manifesto as well as "an inexhaustible wealth of all kinds of precious ores and metals" waiting "hidden in the depth." She also wrote that she hoped for the "development and growth of many kinds of manufacturing, plants, and various installations." Her goal was to stimulate population growth and productive use of "uncultivated" regions.

But of course she was also hoping to stabilize her own rule with the support of new loyal citizens. Russia's nobility were partly against her the absolute majority of farmers were bondmen and effectively slaves of their noble rulers.

In her manifesto, Catherine promised immigrants from the West numerous incentives: exemption from military service, self-governance, tax breaks, initial financial aid, 30 hectares (75 acres) of land per settler family. In addition, freedom of language was guaranteed - in particular to German immigrants. And above all, the manifesto granted immigrants "the free and unrestricted practice of their religion according to the precepts and usage of their Church."

Freedom of religion was the decisive factor for most resettlers who wanted to leave Europe and its religious wars behind. The Schütz family were among them. In the 1780s, the family moved to Russia from the town of Hahnstätten (in what is today Rhineland-Palatinate), a small Protestant enclave in a largely Catholic region. The family still have the immigration documents where Russian migration officials of the Catherine era meticulously listed the number of "carriages, cows, women and children." The family found a new home in the "Round lawn" colony near Chernigov in what is today Ukraine.

The Schütz family in Kalmykia, USSR, in the 1960s

In the course of the first five years, as many as 30,000 people came to Russia, most of them from what is today Germany. They settled in the St Petersburg area, in Southern Russia, on the Black Sea and along the Volga river. In the Volga region alone, 100 new villages emerged.

After an initially rocky start, the Russian-German settlers quickly achieved considerable prosperity because they were progressive farmers, hardworking craftspeople and efficient entrepreneurs. Napoleonic wars led to a second wave of resettlers, and so by the middle of the 19th century, the number of Russian-Germans in Russia had risen to more than half a million.

From Hahnstätten to Russia and back

The Round Lawn settlement flourished equally. The farmers afforded the latest agricultural technologies, and at the beginning of the 20th century, the local library took out a subscription of a number of German magazines. A few kilometers away there was a Catholic village, with which the Protestant Round Lawn settlers did not have any contact. The settlers preferred to go back to Germany to find spouses for their offspring. But there were regular parties at the colony, and the children went to a German school there.

But the 20th century brought an end to a peaceful coexistence. During the First World War, many resettlers joined the Russian army to fight as soldiers, and still the Russian-Germans were somehow always suspected of being "potential traitors." The German school in the Round Lawn settlement was temporarily closed.

Russian Germans' turbulent history continues

Galina Schütz, a Russian-German, now lives in Cologne

"But those were 'daisies' compared to what would happen later," said Galina Schütz, a descendant of the Round Lawn resettlers. She keeps a private archive with family documents. What followed was a great famine in Ukraine, anti-German pogroms, the colony was turned into a kolkhoz (a collective farm), and the farmers were disowned. And then came World War II. If you spoke German in areas not occupied by Hitler's Nazi forces, you were called a "fascist."

Following a decree issued by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, all Russian Germans were deported to Siberia in the summer of 1941 – among them the Schütz family. Half of all members of the big family died in the gulag - from starvation and various diseases. After Stalin's death in 1955, the family moved to Kazakhstan and then on to Kalmykia, where Galina Schütz was born 50 years ago.

The collapse of the Soviet Union meant yet another turning point in the Russian-Germans' history. Life "in the backyards of the empire" became increasingly difficult. More than two million Russian-Germans decided to return to their "historic home." Germany, the country of their ancestors, accepted them as "late resettlers." Onl some 800,000 citizens of German descent remain in Russia today – most of them in Siberia.

The Schütz family also left Russia – in 1995, almost exactly 210 years after their departure. They left without "carriages and cows", but they did have many children with them. The family moved to Cologne – which is not far from Hahnstätten.

Nearly 210 years later the Schütz family left Russia and returned to Germany

They got off to a rocky start in their "new and old" home country. The language was a big problem. "My grandma Margarethe only spoke Russian when she had to tell somebody off," said Galina Schütz. But Margarethe didn't speak 'high German', Hochdeutsch, she spoke an old dialect: 'Plattdeutsch'. "When we came to Germany, my father, Theodor Conradovic, couldn't watch German television. His dialect from the 18th century had very little in common with modern high German," Galina Schütz recalled. 'Granddad Fedya' found it a little easier to understand Dutch. And Galina, too, had to learn German from scratch.

Is she homesick? "Yes, often," Galina Schütz admitted. In Cologne, she works as a private nanny – something she's always wanted to do. There are moments, she said, when she dreams of the wide steppe with all its flowers, and she also misses her old friends. "But I'm sure that my children and grandchildren are better off here in Germany – here they have a better and a more stable future."

DW recommends

Behold the world’s oldest continuously operating library – Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai

The Sinai Peninsula and especially its summit of Mount Sinai, is considered as one of the most religiously significant places in three Abrahamic faiths – Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Suffice it to say, much like its ‘northern’ counterparts in Levant and Jerusalem, the area is home to a bevy of historical legacies. And one of the prominent (and still existing) ones among them pertains to Saint Catherine’s Monastery, situated by the gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai. Considered as one of the oldest functioning Christian monasteries in the world, the UNESCO World Heritage site also holds on to an arguably greater honor – it proudly houses the world’s oldest continuously operating library.

Founded sometime in 6th century AD (possibly between 548-565 AD), the monastery was probably constructed on the orders of Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I. In fact, according to some traditions, this building was built so as to enclose the older Chapel of the Burning Bush, a structure originally patronized by the mother of Constantine the Great, Empress Consort Helena. Given such ‘antiquated’ credentials, it is generally believed that the king post truss of the Saint Catherine’s Monastery is the oldest surviving roof truss in the world.

As for the ancient Roman monastery’s extant library, the establishments boasts the world’s second largest collection of ancient codices and manuscripts, after just Vatican City. To that end, the most important literary specimen arguably relates to the Codex Sinaiticus — the oldest known complete Bible (circa 345 AD) that was discovered inside the premises of Saint Catherine’s Monastery in 19th century by biblical scholar Constantin von Tischendorf. The impressive collection also includes a range of works composed in Syriac, which in itself pertains to a literary language derived from an eastern Aramaic dialect. The Syriac-based literature entail specimens like a 5th century copy of the Gospels, a copy of the Lives of Women Saints (from 779 AD), and a copy of the Apology of Aristides (the original Greek version is still lost).

These are further complemented by other Arabic manuscripts from early middle ages, including the copy of the Ashtiname of Muhammad, in which the Islamic prophet is claimed to have vouched for offering his protection to the monastery. Other ‘points’ of the Ashtiname (‘Holy Testament’) alluded to granting exemption from taxes and military service for the Christian monks of the monastery when under Muslim rule. Though it should also be noted that some scholars have presented their viewpoint regarding how the Ashtiname was possibly forged by the medieval monks of Saint Catherine. In any case, irrespective of the document’s authenticity, in rare situations, Muslim soldiers from 11th century Fatimid Caliphate were even called upon to protect the monastery and provide the monks with logistical aid.

Now since we brought up the ambit of literary works, the good news for history aficionados is that UCLA Library is all set to reproduce digital copies of some 1,100 rare and unique Syriac and Arabic manuscripts from Saint Catherine’s Monastery (with their dates ranging from 4th to 17th century AD). This fascinating restorative project is the fruit of the collaboration between the fathers of Saint Catherine’s Monastery, UCLA Library and non-profit Early Manuscripts Electronic Library (EMEL), while being funded by the recent grant offered by The Ahmanson Foundation.

Lastly, coming back to the impressive historical legacy of Saint Catherine’s Monastery, the establishment additionally boasts a myriad religion-inspired artworks and artifacts, including possibly the best collection of early icons and Crusader-style art. Since the monastery was relatively safe from the rigors of Byzantine Iconoclasm, many of these preserved icons housed here date from 5th-6th centuries, while the oldest icon on an Old Testament theme is also conserved in its original state.

Husband and Heir

On August 21, 1745, Catherine II married Russia&aposs Grand Duke Peter. They proved to be anything but a happy couple, however, as Peter was immature and juvenile, preferring to play with toy soldiers and mistresses than to be with his wife. Catherine II developed her own pastimes, which included reading extensively.

After years of not having children, Catherine II finally produced an heir with son Paul, born on September 20, 1754. The paternity of the child has been a subject of great debate among scholars, with some claiming that Paul&aposs father was actually Sergei Saltykov, a Russian noble and member of the court, and others pointing to Paul&aposs resemblance to Peter as proof of them being related. In any case, Catherine had little time with her first-born son Elizabeth took over raising the child soon after his birth. Catherine later had three other children.


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20 Responses to “Ernst Röhm, The Highest-Ranking Gay Nazi”

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Third Imperial Easter Egg, 1887

The Third Imperial Egg, presented to Empress Maria Feodorovna by Tsar Alexander III, was one of the many artifacts seized from the Romanovs during the Russian Revolution and then sold to Western collectors by the Bolsheviks to fund their new government (the process was dubbed &ldquotreasures to tractors&rdquo). The egg disappeared from public record and was feared lost until&mdashunbeknownst to seller or buyer&mdashit traded hands at an antiques stall in the U.S. in 2010. A Midwestern scrap dealer had purchased the egg in hopes of turning a quick profit, but he soon found that the money he could get for its parts would not cover his investment. He began looking for other options and in 2011 discovered an article in Britain&rsquos Daily Telegraph that described a &ldquofrantic search&rdquo for a 3.2-inch-tall egg, which rested on an elaborate gold stand with lion paw feet and was adorned with sapphires and a diamond button that, when pressed, opened the egg to reveal a Vacheron Constantin clock. The scrap dealer brought the piece to experts in London and discovered that the object he had purchased for $13,302 and had planned to melt down for its gold was valued at $33 million. Today the egg is part of a private collection.

Looted By Nazis, Imperial Russia's Treasured “Amber Room” Has Never Been Found

One of the greatest art treasures of Imperial Russia disappeared with the Nazis and has yet to be found.

In September 1941, during the siege of Leningrad, as the Soviets then called St. Petersburg, Nazi troops overran the Tsarskoye Selo Palace, the former summer residence of the czars in the suburban town of Pushkin. Inside the palace, these German troops discovered something that must have seemed otherworldly to them after they had spent the past 10 weeks marching and fighting in the dust and heat of the Russian summer.

It was a Baroque chamber made completely of amber and decorated with large mirrors and amber carvings of cupids and family crests, nymphs, and monograms. Called, fittingly enough, the Amber Room, the chamber had been created in Prussia in the early 16th century and was later given to Russia’s Czar Peter the Great. In its two and a half centuries of existence it had become famous throughout Europe and had been called, among other things, the “Eighth Wonder of the World” and “one of the world’s most extraordinary works of art.” Its estimated value today is more than $180 million.

The Nazis carefully dismantled the chamber, packed it in crates, and shipped it to Königsberg Castle in eastern Germany, the ancient seat of the Teutonic Knights and the heart of their medieval amber trade. There Erich Koch, head of the Nazi Party in East Prussia, had the room reassembled and advertised it as a “German possession, now at last restored to its rightful owners.” In 1945, however, as Germany’s war was ending with the Allies squeezing the Nazis from the east and west, the room was once again dismantled, packed in 24 crates, and stacked in the courtyard of the castle. From there it disappeared, and it has not been seen since.

Amber is fossilized tree resin that is about 44 million years old. Up to 90 percent of the world’s supply is mined along the southern shore of the Baltic Sea.

For millennia, resin had flowed from coniferous trees and settled on the forest floor in Eastern Europe. Then as the Earth’s plates moved and ice sheets formed and melted, the area became flooded and the Baltic Sea formed. From early times, bits and pieces of amber, which has been called the “gold of the North,” were torn from the sea floor and washed ashore to be picked up and treasured. It has been found most often on the east coast of the Baltic Sea from the current site of Danzig in Germany north to Estonia.

Eventually an amber trade grew, and mining operations, first by men wielding large nets, were developed. Often these net wielders were slaves in the employ of the Teutonic Knights, an order that grew rich on amber. By the 13th century, the knights controlled the trade and had centered their amber commerce at the newly built Königsberg Castle on the Pregel River. By the 16th century, however, with the Protestant Reformation sweeping Europe, the Teutonic Knights renounced their Catholicism, becoming Lutherans and forming the Teutonic order’s Prussian territories into the Duchy of Prussia as a Polish fief. Eventually Prussia gained independence from any feudal obligations, and in 1701 Elector Frederick III was crowned as Frederick I, the first King of Prussia.

Frederick married his second wife, Sophie Charlotte, a great granddaughter of England’s James I, in 1684, and she invested most of her time and effort in artistic pursuits, one of which was to make the Prussian capital of Berlin shine. In 1696, when Frederick was still Elector, she asked the sculptor Andreas Schluter to work on the interior redesign of the royal palace. Schluter began searching in the palace’s storage cellars and found a number of chests filled with amber. He later claimed it was the largest collection of amber he had ever seen in one place.

After discovering the amber in the palace’s cellars, Schluter conceived the idea of using it to create an entire room made of the precious substance. He developed a design for such a room, a complete chamber decorated floor to ceiling with amber panels backed with gold leaf and covered with mirrors, polished mosaics, carvings of nymphs, cupids, and angels, coats of arms, monograms, and inlays, some so small the observer needed to use a magnifying glass to view them. He hired the Danish carver Gottfried Wolfram and put him to work developing the Amber Room. Over the next several years, Wolfram evolved a method of bonding amber slivers into larger pieces and created some 46 massive amber panels, a dozen of them 12 feet high.

In 1705, however, Sophie Charlotte died, and Schluter fell out of favor. He was banished from court, and the carver Wolfram was fired. In 1713, Frederick I died and was succeeded on the throne by his son, Frederick William I, a no-nonsense man much more interested in building a strong Prussian army than he was in tinkering with amber panels.

The unfinished Amber Room remained at the Berlin City Palace until 1716, when Russia’s Peter the Great entered the tale.

That year Peter visited the court of Frederick William and talked of the unfinished Amber Room. Peter had always been an admirer of the gold of the north, and Frederick, uninterested in the amber anyway, gave the amber panels Wolfam had assembled and carved to Peter as a gift.

The amber panels were carefully disassembled, packed in crates, and loaded on eight carts that slowly moved their precious cargo to Peter’s summer palace in the Russian capital of St. Petersburg. When the panels arrived, some pieces were broken and others were missing.

Besides the broken and missing pieces, no one could seem to figure out how the remaining panels should fit together, and no instructions from the banished Danish carver who had created the panels or the Prussian sculptor who had conceived them could be found.

The amber was stored in the palace and languished there for almost 20 years after Peter’s death in 1725.

In 1743, however, Empress Elizabeth ascended the Russian throne, and one of her first acts was to have the amber transferred to her new winter palace on the River Neva where the Italian sculptor Alexander Martelli was put in charge of assembling the panels and installing them in a large hall at the palace. Somehow, Martelli solved the puzzle of assembling the chamber.

Elizabeth was still dissatisfied and had the room moved three more times and embellished with additional mirrors and amber mirror frames. Eventually the chamber covered more than 55 square meters, or 188.4 square feet, and contained over six tons of amber. In 1755, however, it was again moved, this time to the palace of Elizabeth’s favorite niece, Catherine, at Tsarskoye Selo. Catherine, who came from the amber mining region on the Baltic Sea, ascended the Russian throne herself in 1767 and eventually became known to history as Catherine the Great.

Czarina Catherine added another 900 pounds of amber to the room, replacing some sections with large windows. She also commissioned four stone mosaics corresponding to the senses of sight, taste, touch, and hearing. Visitors to the completed chamber said it “came alive” in candlelight.

The Amber Room remained in splendor until shortly after June 22, 1941, when 99 German divisions, including 14 panzer divisions and 10 motorized divisions, stormed into the Soviet Union along a front from the Baltic to the Black Sea. For a month, the Nazi blitzkrieg was unstoppable, and in the north the army group under Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb moved closer to its objective, the Soviet Union’s second city of Leningrad.

By mid-August, German troops were approaching the city, their artillery and aircraft attacking it. By the end of the month, the battle for Leningrad had become a siege.

A Soviet counterattack in January 1942 failed to break the siege, and the fighting continued until January 1943 when Soviet forces executed a plan to open a land corridor to the besieged city. After six days of heavy fighting, the corridor was established with German forces cleared from the southern shore of Lake Ladoga for several miles, but it was not until a year later that the Germans were driven 50 miles from the city and the siege was considered broken.

By then, however, it was too late for the Tsarskoye Selo palace and the Amber Room.

Tsarkoye Selo, translated as “Czar’s Village,” is part of the town of Pushkin situated 24 miles south of Leningrad’s center. In September 1941, during the early stages of the siege, German forces overran Pushkin and plundered a number of Soviet and Russian national monuments there. Among them was the czarist place that Catherine the Great had built in the 18th century. Pushkin remained in German hands until its liberation by the Red Army on January 24, 1944.

As the Germans approached Pushkin and Leningrad in 1941, the Soviets took steps to save as many of the treasures housed in the cities as possible, including the Amber Room. The curators of the chamber first tried to disassemble the room’s panels, but over the years the amber had dried and become brittle. As attempts to remove it were undertaken, the fragile amber began to crumble. Rather than moving it and subjecting the amber to further damage, a false room was constructed inside the amber room’s walls in an attempt to hide it. Some sources assert that the amber was simply covered by wallpaper.

Great Spankers in History - a gallery

To celebrate the Spanking Spectacular in Tatler October, we bring you history's great spankers.

The Goddess Isis She started it. The root of all spanking was actually a sacred duty. Egyptian slaves had their buttocks whipped in temples to honour Isis, the goddess of motherhood and fertility. The Greeks and Romans adopted the habit and held their own spanking parties to promote fertility. Catherine de' Medici Catherine had a phalanx of serving girls whom she would order to be stripped naked and thrashed in front of her - she declared this was ɿor their sport'. Jean-Jacques Rousseau In between writing political tracts, the 18th-century philosopher found time to become an erotic trailblazer, documenting a love of spanking in his autobiography, The Confessions. The fascination started back in his schooldays, apparently. Ian Fleming Fleming's spanking fetish was revealed in his wife Ann's letters. She was pretty into it too: 'I long to be whipped by you,' she once wrote. Bond's creator lived (and, it appears, loved) as hard as his fictional hero. Jack Nicholson 'Heeeeeeeere's Johnny!' Just imagine hearing that from a man bearing down on you with a paddle. Famously dubbed 'Spanking Jack' (a sobriquet that caught on in Hollywood) by a Playboy Playmate he thwacked with a ping-pong bat.

Sir Mick Jagger He may not have quite mastered the technique. In Mick's Girls, a 2004 documentary, sex therapist Natasha Terry - who had a fling with him in 1999 - said she had been reduced to giggles by his penchant for spanking. IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU'LL LOVE: Giles Coren on Spanking A Beginner's Guide to Spanking Gallery: Scene-stealing nipples Gallery: A kissing gallery Bystander: Tonteria's Do Not Disturb launch night

Death and Legacy

Although most often remembered as a warrior, Frederick actually lost more battles than he won, and was often saved by political events outside his control—and the unparalleled excellence of the Prussian Army. While he was undoubtedly brilliant as a tactician and strategist, his main impact in military terms was the transformation of the Prussian Army into an outsize force that should have been beyond the capability of Prussia to support due to its relatively small size. It was often said that instead of Prussia being a country with an army, it was an army with a country by the end of his reign Prussian society was largely dedicated to staffing, supplying, and training the army.

Frederick’s military successes and expansion of Prussian power led indirectly to the establishment of the German Empire in the late 19 th century (through the efforts of Otto von Bismarck), and thus in some ways to the two World Wars and the rise of Nazi Germany. Without Frederick, Germany might never have become a world power.

Watch the video: Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia: Who She REALLY Was youll be empressed! CC