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Some of the them took part in the coup d'etat of 1762 to enthrone German princess born as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst known today as Catherine The Great : Princess Yekaterina Romanovna Vorontsova-Dashkova (her godfather was husband of Catherine, prince Peter III and godmother was Empress Elizaveta Petrovna), Count Alexey Orlov (one of 5 Orlov's brothers, he was eyewitness of murder of Peter III - read his letter to Catherine II (in Russian)), Ivan Betskoi (he was experienced conspirator, because he was actively involved in a coup d'etat that brought Elizaveta Petrovna to the Russian throne), Grigory Potemkin (after the palace coup he was promoted to second lieutenant of the Guards, 12 years later he became a favorite of the tsarina).
During her reign Catherine extended the borders of the Russian Empire southward and westward, she added some 518,000 squared kilometers to Russian territory. Famous Russian commanders are sitting in front of Bronze Empress: Peter Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky (he gained the victory title Zadunaisky (meaning "Trans-Danubian") together with rank of Field-Marshal in 1774), Grigory Potemkin (he was commander-in-chief of the Russian army from 1784) and Alexander Suvorov (his grandson Alexander Arkadievich Suvorov initiated in May 1863 construction the monument to Catherine II in Saint-Petersburg). The best words about Suvorov were said in ode "The Bullfinch" written by Gavrila Derzhavin :
Who will ride fiery, ahead of the legions,
Nag for a steed, and crusts for meal,
Temper his sword in the heat and in ice storms,
Sleep on straw pallets, labor 'til dawn,
Bring down the armies, the walls and the forts
With but a handful of stout Russian men?
Who will excel in unwavering courage,
Conquering fate with a prayer and with faith,
Evil with bayonets, envy with jests?
Capturing scepters, remaining a slave,
Who will keep striving for valor alone,
Live for our Tsars, while consuming himself?
Naval victories of Russia are represented by figures of Vasili Chichagov (polar explorer, commander-in-chief of the Baltic Sea Fleet from 1789) and Alexey Orlov (he received the honorific epithet Chesmensky in 1774).
Alexander Andreyevich Bezborodko
Review of book Love and Conquest: Personal Correspondence of Catherine the Great and Prince Grigory Potemkin by Douglas Smith
Review of book "Catherine the Great" | Some of what made Catherine so great by Douglas Smith
Excerpt from book "Potemkin. Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner" written by Simon Sebag Montefiore, Vintage, January 2005