Nikita Zotov (1644–1717) was a childhood tutor and life-long friend of
Russian Tsar Peter the Great. Zotov was chosen as Peter's tutor in the
late 17th century. Not all historians agree on the quality of Zotov's
tutoring; Robert K. Massie, for example, praises his efforts, but
Lindsey Hughes criticizes the education that he gave to the future
Tsar. Zotov left Moscow for a diplomatic mission to Crimea in 1680, and
returned to Moscow before 1683. He became part of the "Jolly Company",
a group of several dozen of Peter's friends that eventually became The
All-Joking, All-Drunken Synod of Fools and Jesters. Zotov was mockingly
appointed "Prince-Pope" of the Synod, and regularly led them in games
and celebrations. He accompanied Peter on many important occasions,
such as the Azov campaigns and the torture of the Streltsy after their
uprising. Zotov held a number of state posts, including from 1701 a
leading position in the Tsar's personal secretariat. Three years before
his death, Zotov married a woman 50 years his junior.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
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for refusing to give testimony to the House Un-American Activities
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Statistically the probability of any one of us being here is so small
that you would think the mere fact of existence would keep us all in a
contented dazzlement of surprise. We are alive against the stupendous
odds of genetics, infinitely outnumbered by all the alternates who
might, except for luck, be in our places.
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