THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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APRAKSIN, THEDOR MATVYEEVICH (1671-1728), Russian soldier, began life as one of the pages of Tsar Theodore III., after whose death he served the little tsar Peter in the same capacity. The playfellowship of the two lads resulted in a lifelong friendship. In his twenty-first year Apraksin was appointed governor of Archangel, then the most important commercially of all the Russian provinces, and built ships capable of weathering storms, to the great delight of the tsar. He won his colonelcy at the siege of Azov (1696). In 1700 he was appointed chief of the admiralty, 230 in which post (from 1700 to 1706) his unusual technical ability was of great service. While Peter was combating Charles XII., Apraksin was constructing fleets, building fortresses and havens (Taganrog). In 1707 he was transferred to Moscow. In 1708 he was appointed commander-in-chief in Ingria, to defend the new capital against the Swedes, whom he utterly routed, besides capturing Viborg in Carelia. He held the chief command in the Black Sea during the campaign of the Pruth (1711), and in 1713 materially assisted the conquest of Finland by his operations from the side of the sea. In 1710-1720 he personally conducted the descents upon Sweden, ravaging that country mercilessly, and thus extorting the peace of Nystad, whereby she surrendered the best part of her Baltic provinces to Russia. For these great services he was made a senator and admiral-general of the empire. His last expedition was to Reval in 1726, to cover the town from an anticipated attack by the English government, with whom the relations of Russia at the beginning of the reign of Catharine I. were strained almost to breaking-point. Though frequently threatened with terrible penalties by Peter the Great for his incurable vice of peculation, Apraksin, nevertheless, contrived to save his head, though not his pocket, chiefly through the mediation of the good-natured empress, Catharine, who remained his friend to the last, and whom he assisted to place on the throne on the death of Peter. Apraksin was the most genial and kind-hearted of all Peter’s pupils. He is said to have never made an enemy. He died on the 10th of November 1728.

See R. Nisbet Bain, The Pupils of Peter the Great (London, 1897).

(R. N. B.)
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