1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Münnich, Burkhard Christoph

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MÜNNICH, BURKHARD CHRISTOPH, Count (1683-1767), Russian soldier and statesman, was born at Neuenhuntorf, in Oldenburg, in 1683, and at an early age entered the French service. Thence he transferred successively to the armies of Hesse-Darmstadt and of Saxony, and finally, with the rank of general-in-chief and the title of count, he joined the army of Peter II. of Russia. In 1732 he became field-marshal and president of the council of war. In this post he did good service in the re-organization of the Russian army, and founded the cadet corps which was destined to supply the future generations of officers. In 1734 he took Danzig, and with 1736 began the Turkish campaigns which made Münnich's reputation as a soldier. Working along the shores of the Black Sea from the Crimea, he took Ochakov after a celebrated siege in 1737, and in 1739 won the battle of Stavutschina, and took Khotin (or Choczim), and established himself firmly in Moldavia. Marshal Münnich now began to take an active part in political affairs, the particular tone of which was given by his rivalry with Biron, or Bieren, duke of Courland. But his activity was brought to a close by the revolution of 1741; he was arrested on his way to the frontier, and condemned to death. Brought out for execution, and withdrawn from the scaffold, he was later sent to Siberia, where he remained for several years, until the accession of Peter III. brought about his release in 1762. Catherine II., who soon displaced Peter, employed the old field-marshal as director-general of the Baltic ports. He died in 1767. Feldmarschall Münnich was a fine soldier of the professional type, and many future commanders, notably Loudon and Lacy, served their apprenticeship at Ochakov and Khotin. As a statesman he is regarded as the founder of Russian Philhellenism. He had the grade of count of the Holy Roman Empire. The Russian 37th Dragoons bear his name.

He wrote an Ébauche pour donner une idée de la forme de l'empire de Russie (Leipzig, 1774), and his voluminous diaries have appeared in various publications—Herrmann, Beiträge zur Geschichte des russischen Reichs (Leipzig, 1843). See Hempel, Leben Münnichs (Bremen. 1742); Halem, Geschichte des F. M. Grafen Münnich (Oldenburg, 1803; 2nd ed., 1838); Kostomarov, Feldmarschall Münnich (Russische Geschichte in Biographien, v. 2).