Repnin - Encyclopedia

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REPNIN, the name of an old Russian princely family, the first of whom to gain distinction was Prince Anikita Ivanovich Repnin (1668-1726), Russian general, and one of the collaborators of Peter the Great, with whom he grew up. On the occasion of the Sophian insurrection of 1689, he carefully guarded Peter in the Troitsa monastery, and subsequently took part in the Azov expedition, during which he was raised to the grade of general. He took part in all the principal engagements of the Great Northern War. Defeated by Charles XII. at Holowczyn, he was degraded to the ranks, but was pardoned as a reward for his valour at Lyesna and recovered all his lost dignities. At Poltava he commanded the centre. From the Ukraine he was transferred to the Baltic Provinces and was made the first governor-general of Riga after its capture in 1710. In 1724 he succeeded the temporarily disgraced favourite, Menshikov, as war minister. Catherine I. created him a field-marshal.

See A. Bauman, Russian Statesmen of the Olden Time (Rus.), vol. i. (Petersburg, 1877).

His grandson, Prince Nikolai Vasilevich Repnin (1734-1801), Russian statesman and general, served under his father, Prince Vasily Anikitovich, during the Rhenish campaign of 1748 and subsequently resided for some time abroad, where he acquired "a thoroughly sound German education." He also participated in the Seven Years' War in a subordinate capacity. Peter III. sent him as ambassador in 1763 to Berlin. The same year Catherine transferred him to Warsaw as minister plenipotentiary, with especial instructions to form a Russian party in Poland from among the dissidents, who were to receive equal rights with the Catholics. Repnin convinced himself that the dissidents were too poor and insignificant to be of any real support to Russia, and that the whole agitation in their favour was factitious. At last, indeed, the dissidents themselves even petitioned the empress to leave them alone. It is clear from his correspondence that Repnin, a singularly proud and highspirited man, much disliked the very dirty work he was called upon to do. Nevertheless he faithfully obeyed his instructions, and, by means more or less violent or discreditable, forced the diet of 1768 to concede everything. The immediate result was the Confederation of Bar, which practically destroyed the ambassador's handiwork. Repnin resigned his post for the more congenial occupation of fighting the Turks. At the head of an independent command in Moldavia and Walachia, he prevented a large Turkish army from crossing the Pruth (1770); distinguished himself at the actions of Larga and Kagula; and captured Izmail and Kilia. In 1771 he received the supreme command in Walachia and routed the Turks at Bucharest. A quarrel with the commander-in-chief, Rumyantsev, then induced him to send in his resignation, but in 1774 he participated in the capture of Silistria and in the negotiations which led to the peace of Kuchuk-Kainarji. In 1775-76 he was ambassador at the Porte. On the outbreak of the war of the Bavarian Succession he led 30,000 men to Breslau, and at the subsequent congress of Teschen, where he was Russian plenipotentiary, compelled Austria to make peace with Prussia. During the second Turkish war (1787-92) Repnin was, after Suvarov, the most successful of the Russian commanders. He defeated the Turks at Salcha, captured the whole camp of the seraskier, Hassan Pasha, shut him up in Izmail, and was preparing to reduce the place when he was forbidden to do so by Potemkin (1789). On the retirement of Potemkin (q.v.) in 1791, Repnin succeeded him as commander-in-chief, and immediately routed the grand vizier at Machin, a victory which compelled the Turks to accept the truce of Galatz (31st of July 1791). In 1794 he was made governor-general of the newly acquired Lithuanian provinces. The emperor Paul raised him to the rank of field-marshal (1796), and, in 1798, sent him on a diplomatic mission to Berlin and Vienna in order to detach Prussia from France and unite both Austria and Prussia against the Jacobins. On his return unsuccessful, he was dismissed the service.

See A. Kraushar, Prince Repnin in Poland, 1764-8 (Pol.) (Warsaw, 1900); "Correspondence with Frederick the Great and others" (Rus. and Fr.), in Russky Arkhiv (1865, 1869, 1874, Petersburg); M. Longinov, True Anecdotes of Prince Repnin (Rus.) (Petersburg, 1865). (R. N. B.)

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