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  • Count Mikhail Illarionovich Vorontsov was a Russian statesman and diplomat, who laid foundations for the fortunes of the Vorontsov family. At the age of fourteen, Vorontsov was appointed a kammerjunker at the court of the tsesarevna Yelizaveta Petrovna, whom he materially assisted during the famous coup d'etat of December 6, 1741, when she mounted the Russian throne on the shoulders of the Preobrazhensky Grenadiers. On January 3, 1742, Vorontsov married countess Anna Karlovna Skavronskaya, the empress's maternal first cousin, and in 1744 was created a count and vice-chancellor. His envy of Aleksei Petrovich Bestuzhev-Ryumin induced him to participate in Count Lestocq's conspiracy against that statesman. The empress's affection for him saved him from the fate of his accomplices, but he lived in a state of semi-eclipse during Bestuzhev's ascendancy. When Bestuzhev fell from grace, Vorontsov was made imperial chancellor in his stead. Though well-meaning and perfectly honest, Vorontsov as a politician was singularly timorous and irresolute, always taking his cue from the court.

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