1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dolgoruki, Vasily Lukich
DOLGORUKI, VASILY LUKICH, Count (1672-1739), Russian diplomatist and minister, was one of the first batch of young Russians whom Peter the Great sent abroad to be educated. From 1687 to 1700 he resided at Paris, where he learned thoroughly the principal European languages, acquired the superficial elegance of the court of Versailles, and associated with the Jesuits, whose moral system he is said to have appropriated. On his return home he entered the diplomatic service. From 1706 to 1707 he represented Russia in Poland; and from 1707 to 1720 he was her minister at Copenhagen, where he succeeded in persuading King Frederick IV. to join the second coalition against Charles XII. At the end of 1720 he was transferred to Versailles, in order to seek the mediation of France in the projected negotiations with Sweden and obtain the recognition of Peter’s imperial title by the French court. In 1724 he represented Russia at Warsaw and in 1726 at Stockholm, the object of the latter mission being to detach Sweden from the Hanoverian alliance, in which he did not succeed. During the reign of Peter II. (1727-1730) Dolgoruki was appointed a member of the supreme privy council, and after procuring the banishment of Menshikov he appropriated the person of the young emperor, whom he would have forced to marry his niece Catherine but for Peter’s untimely death. He then drew up a letter purporting to be the last will of the emperor, appointing Catherine Dolgoruki his successor, but shortly afterwards abandoned the nefarious scheme as impracticable, and was one of the first to support the election of Anne of Courland to the throne on condition that she first signed nine “articles of limitation,” which left the supreme power in the hands of the Russian council. Anne, who repudiated the “articles” on the first opportunity, never forgave Dolgoruki for this. He was deprived of all his offices and dignities on the 17th of April 1730, and banished first to his country seat and then to the Solovetsky monastery. Nine years later the charge of forging the will of Peter II. was revived against him, and he was tortured and then beheaded at Novgorod on the 8th of November 1739.