In 1725, after the death of Peter I, the era of palace coups began in Russia, which lasted until the accession of Catherine II in 1762. For 37 years on the Russian throne, 6 rulers succeeded each other, four of whom came to power as a result of coups. Of course, all this could not but influence the course of Russian history.
Strange as it may seem, Peter I became the culprit of the instability of state power in Russia in the 18th century. In 1722 he issued the “Decree on Succession”, which stated that the decision on the heir to the throne was made by the ruling sovereign. However, Peter himself did not have time to leave a will.
The first coup was organized by the closest associate of Peter the Great, Alexander Danilovich Menshikov. Thanks to him, Peter's widow, Catherine I, ascended the throne. An illiterate Latvian peasant woman who, by coincidence, became the Russian empress, was completely incapable of ruling the country. The clever and enterprising Menshikov became the de facto ruler.
However, the reign of Catherine I was short-lived. After her death, the grandson of Peter the Great, Peter II, was declared emperor. Menshikov decided to strengthen his power by marrying his daughter Maria for the young emperor. However, representatives of ancient aristocratic families - Dolgoruky and Golitsyn - managed to influence Peter II and achieve disgrace and exile of Menshikov. Their triumph was short-lived - in 1730 the emperor caught a cold and died.
The niece of Peter I, Anna Ioannovna, became the new ruler of Russia. The Golitsyn family elevated her to the throne, hoping that they would be able to rule on her behalf. Anna Ioannovna was forced to sign the "Conditions", which severely limited her power in favor of the Supreme Privy Council. But, having arrived in Moscow, the newly-minted empress tore apart the "Condition" first of all. The period of "Bironovism", terrible for Russia, began. The de facto ruler was Anna Ioannovna's favorite - Duke Biron. The embezzlement and bribery flourished at the court. The Empress wanted only luxury, for the maintenance of her court a huge, at that time, amount of 3 million gold rubles was spent.
Anna Ioannovna died in October 1740. Infant Ivan VI, the son of her niece Anna Leopoldovna, was proclaimed emperor. For about a year, Anna Leopoldovna was regent under the minor emperor. However, on her behalf, Count Osterman actually ruled, who brought Russia a lot of good. In particular, treaties were concluded with England and Holland, which contributed to the development of international trade, and the ruinous war with Turkey ended.
Osterman knew about the upcoming new coup and warned Anna Leopoldovna about it, but the frivolous regent did not attach any importance to this. As a result, in November 1741, Elizaveta Petrovna came to power, enthroned by the faithful memory of Peter the Great by the Guards of the Preobrazhensky regiment. Foreign influence at court ended. The reforms undertaken by Elizabeth were turned to the benefit of the Russian nobility, but their downside was the increased exploitation of serfs.
After the death of the Empress in 1761, her nephew Peter III inherited the throne. A passionate admirer of everything German, the newly-minted emperor immediately concluded a separate peace with Prussia, returning to it all the territories conquered by the Russian army. This led to a new coup, as a result of which the wife of Peter III, Catherine II, ascended the throne. Her reign became the time of stabilization of the Russian statehood and ended the era of palace coups.