January 01, 1999

The Other Catherine

The waning of 1998 was marked by the 255th anniversary of Yekaterina Dashkova’s birth and the 215th anniversary of her founding of the Russian Academy. Dashkova’s outstanding achievements and the astonishing ups and downs of her career set her apart as one of the great women in Russian history, alongside her friend, Tsarina Catherine II. 


Yekaterina Romanovna Dashkova is a unique phenomenon in Russian history. Very few women in Russia who held high-ranking posts could match her gifts and talents. “You can find in her nature the elements of all types of temperaments, all ages and all types of characters,” wrote her friend Catherine Wilmont. “I think she would belong both at the head of a state or the army. She was born for a large-scale undertaking and proved it by the sole fact that, when she was 18, she was at the head of a revolution; and then, for 12 years, she was the manager of two academies.”

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