1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Golitsuin, Boris Aleksyeevich

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GOLITSUIN, BORIS ALEKSYEEVICH (1654–1714), Russian statesman, came of a princely family, claiming descent from Prince Gedimin of Lithuania. Earlier members of the family were Mikhail (d. c. 1552), a famous soldier, and his great-grandson Vasily Vasilevich (d. 1619), who was sent as ambassador to Poland to offer the Russian crown to Prince Ladislaus. Boris became court chamberlain in 1676. He was the young tsar Peter’s chief supporter when, in 1689, Peter resisted the usurpations of his elder sister Sophia, and the head of the loyal council which assembled at the Troitsa monastery during the crisis of the struggle. Golitsuin it was who suggested taking refuge in that strong fortress and won over the boyars of the opposite party. In 1690 he was created a boyar and shared with Lev Naruishkin, Peter’s uncle, the conduct of home affairs. After the death of the tsaritsa Natalia, Peter’s mother, in 1694, his influence increased still further. He accompanied Peter to the White Sea (1694–1695); took part in the Azov campaign (1695); and was one of the triumvirate who ruled Russia during Peter’s first foreign tour (1697–1698). The Astrakhan rebellion (1706), which affected all the districts under his government, shook Peter’s confidence in him, and seriously impaired his position. In 1707 he was superseded in the Volgan provinces by Andrei Matvyeev. A year before his death he entered a monastery. Golitsuin was a typical representative of Russian society of the end of the 17th century in its transition from barbarism to civilization. In many respects he was far in advance of his age. He was highly educated, spoke Latin with graceful fluency, frequented the society of scholars and had his children carefully educated according to the best European models. Yet this eminent, this superior personage was an habitual drunkard, an uncouth savage who intruded upon the hospitality of wealthy foreigners, and was not ashamed to seize upon any dish he took a fancy to, and send it home to his wife. It was his reckless drunkenness which ultimately ruined him in the estimation of Peter the Great, despite his previous inestimable services.

See S. Solovev, History of Russia (Rus.), vol. xiv. (Moscow, 1858); R. N. Bain, The First Romanovs (London, 1905). (R. N. B.)