There were numerous well-known male lovers of Russian Empresses, particularly those of Catherine the Great. Such a role often meant receiving sumptuous gifts such as beautiful apartments, the status of minor nobility, and grants of serfs.

Some of these men got appointments in the government bureaucracy as well. Which of them was placed highest in the Petrine Table of Ranks?

  • Rasputin immediately comes to mind
    – Bregalad
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 18:40
  • 2
    @Bregalad:Rasputin's "relationship" with Alexandra was disputed, to say the least. And I think "Empresses" meant "reigning" Empresses, such as Anna, Elizabeth, and Catherine
    – Tom Au
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 20:05
  • I have to say, limiting this question to the Table of Ranks is akin to asking what's the biggest fish, but coming back and saying you don't consider sharks as fish.
    – Spencer
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 13:36
  • @Spencer why? are there ranks in government service that don't appear in the Table? the whole point of it seems to be its universality.
    – user18968
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 16:27
  • @AaronBrick The table is limited to the Russian court, and the Empress's influence wasn't.
    – Spencer
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 22:29

3 Answers 3


In addition to aforementioned Count Potemkin, Count Alexei Razumovsky was a lover (or even a morganatic spouse) of the Empress Elizaveta and also a Field Marshal (1756).

In fact, Razumovsky is no lesser known than Potemkin.


To think outside the Matryoshka dolls for a second, Stanisław August Poniatowski was allegedly a lover of Catherine between 1755-1758 (and the father of her daugher Anna), and was placed on the throne of Poland in 1764. Although the Sejm voted him in, Russia was essentially in control of Poland at the time and they voted Catherine's candidate in. (They'd had to do it before in 1736 for Augustus III under Empress Anna).

So although Poniatowski had to do Catherine's bidding, such as standing by while his country was dismembered, as King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, he nominally outranked any of his Russian counterparts.

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    I will add sources if I find some meaningful non-Wikipedia ones.
    – Spencer
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 22:31
  • I don't doubt your facts, but the question was 'which lover obtained the highest rank," not which lover had the highest rank "going in."
    – Tom Au
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 0:09
  • @TomAu I'm not sure what you mean. Poniatowski "went in" as a 23 year old son of a Polish politician and only became king because of his association with Catherine. So, he still wins.
    – Spencer
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 0:32
  • What was Poniatowski's rank in Russia?
    – user18968
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 1:15
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    @AaronBrick None. At that point Poland was not a part of Russian Empire (at least officially) - the partition would only come in 1795, so while Poniatowski held a title in Poland, he was outside of russian Table of Ranks. And he never held any office in Russia. Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 4:23

Count Potemkin, lover of Catherine the Great. was a Field Marshal, Privy Counsellor (both literally and figuratively) and therefore member of the highest rank on your table of ranks. He is probably the best-known of imperial lovers.

  • Good stuff. As you stated, noone outranked a Field Marshal, so Potemkin is either the sole answer or one of several answers.
    – user18968
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 1:18
  • The next in line would be Naryshkin (Russian wiki), who was a Oberjägermeister - rank II. Third - Biron - grand chamberlain, rank III. Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 4:53
  • @DanilaSmirnov thank you for the context! i expected Platon Zubov to be in there; do you happen to know his rank too?
    – user18968
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 5:42
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    @AaronBrick He was a General-Feldzeugmeister, which makes him rank II and actually higher than Biron. I guess I somehow missed him. Another high-ranked favourite of Ekaterine was Zorich (lieutenant-general, rank III), but he seems to have earned his rank after he fell out of favour, so I guess he was actually a competent commander. Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 6:13
  • cheers, Danila. what a rich bunch of stories.
    – user18968
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 16:39

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