Aleksey Grigoryevich Orlov

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Count Alexey Grigoryevich Orlov (1737–1808), was by far the ablest member of the Orlov countly family, and was also remarkable for his athletic strength and dexterity. In the palace revolution of 1762 he played an even more important part than his brother Gregory. It was he who conveyed Peter III to the chateau of Ropsha and murdered him there with his own hands.

In 1770 he was appointed commander-in-chief of the fleet sent against the Turks, whose far superior navy he annihilated at Cesme, a victory which led to the so-called Orlov Revolt and conquest of the Greek archipelago. For this exploit he received, in 1774, the honorific epithet Chesmensky, and the privilege of quartering the imperial arms in his shield.

The same year, on Catherine's request, he went to Livorno to seduce and bring to Russia the so-called Princess Tarakanova, who proclaimed herself daughter of Empress Elizabeth. Having succeeded in this unusual commission, he went into retirement and settled at Moscow.

There he devoted himself to horse-breeding. In the war with Napoleon during 1806-07 Orlov commanded the militia of the fifth district, which was placed on a war footing almost entirely at his own expense. He left an estate worth five millions roubles and 30,000 serfs.