Ivan Rimsky-Korsakov

Born: 1754, Moscow
Died: 1831, St Petersburg

Ivan Rimsky-Korsakov came from the Smolensk nobility. In 1778, as an army captain, he participated in military events in Poland. After the resignation of Semyon Zorich, Prince Grigory Potemkin recommended Rimsky-Korsakov to Catherine the Great. He had a handsome face, elegant figure, pleasant voice and claimed to be a virgin. Arriving at the court and rising to the ranks of chamberlain and major general, the twenty-four year-old “virgin” became the lover of not only the empress, but also all her ladies-in-waiting. Courtiers nicknamed him the “husband of every wife.” After infecting Catherine with a venereal disease, he seduced the wife of Count Alexander Stroganov, Princess Elizaveta Troubetzkaya, eloping with her to Moscow. Catherine was outraged and ordered their arrest, before deciding that a Russian empress should not descend to the same level as her subjects. Ivan and his new object of passion were left in peace.

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