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Boris Petrovich Sheremetev

    Boris Petrovich Sheremetev (1652 – 1719), Russian count (1706), military leader, diplomat, and a general-field marshal during the Great Northern War. Before starting his military career, the young Sheremetev served as a page to Tsar Alexis I of Russia. From 1671 he served at the imperial court. In 1681 he commanded the armies in the conflict with the Crimean Tatars, and in 1682 he was elevated to boyar. From 1685 to 1687 he participated in the negotiations for the "Eternal Peace of 1686" which resolved the hostilities with Poland. He also took part in the negotiation of the allied treaty with Austria. In late 1687, he took over the command of the armies in Belgorod defending Russia's southern border, and participated in the Crimean campaigns. After Peter I gained power in 1689, he became his fellow campaigner. He participated with Mazepa in the war against Turkey during the 1690s. During the Azov campaigns in 1695–96 he commanded the armies along the Dnieper River in the battles against the Crimean Tatars. During the Great Northern War (1700–1721), Sheremetev proved to be a capable but cautious and somewhat slow-moving military leader. During the war he was the commander-in-chief and most senior officer in the Russian army along with the Tsar's great friend, the much more impulsive Prince Menshikov. Although Sheremetev was very careful in his movements, his approach proved to be more effective than Menshikov’s whose impulsiveness was not always successful. In 1700 Sheremetev participated in the Russian army’s attack on Narva at the outbreak of the Great Northern War but was driven back from his position in Estonia by Charles XII of Sweden. He then commanded the Russian forces in their fight against the Swedish armies in the Baltic provinces. Sheremetev was subsequently defeated by W. A. Schlippenbach at Rauge in 1701 but later prevailed at Erastfer (Erastvere). This victory won him the title of field marshal. After another victory in the battle of Hummelshof, he took the fortresses of Nöteborg and Nyenskans in 1703 (which allowed the foundation of the city of Saint Petersburg), and the important Baltic cities Dorpat (now Tartu) and Narva in 1704. In 1705 he was sent to Astrakhan where he forcefully and successfully repressed the Astrakhan revolt. Later in the Great Northern War, Sheremetev clashed with the Swedish general Lewenhaupt, who beat him at Gemäuerthof in 1705, and with Charles XII who defeated him at Holowczyn. His revenge came in the Battle of Poltava where he and Prince Menshikov were the senior commanders in the decisive defeat of the Swedish army. In 1710 he led the Russian armies in their conquest of Riga. In 1711 Sheremetev took part in unsuccessful Prut campaign against the Turks. During the years 1715–17 he commanded armies in Pomorze and Mecklenburg. He died in 1719 in Moscow and is buried in St.Petersburg.

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