Much of her administration was defined or heavily influenced by actions set in motion by her uncle, Peter the Great , such as the lavish building projects in St. Petersburg , funding the Russian Academy of Science , and measures which generally favored the nobility, such as the repeal of a primogeniture law in In the West, Anna's reign was traditionally viewed as a continuation of the transition from the old Muscovy ways to the European court envisioned by Peter the Great. Ivan V was co-ruler of Russia along with his younger half-brother Peter the Great , but he was mentally disabled and incapable of administering the country, and Peter effectively ruled alone. Ivan V died in February , when Anna was only three years old, and her half-uncle became the sole ruler of Russia. Although Anna was the fourth child of her parents, she had only one surviving elder sister, Catherine , and one younger sister, Praskovia.
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As chancellor of the Russian Empire was chiefly responsible for Russian foreign policy during the reign of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna. Alexey was born at Moscow to an old noble family of Novgorod descent. Later, he became the Russian ambassador to the duchy of Courland. Educated abroad with his elder brother, Mikhail , at Copenhagen and Berlin , Alexey especially distinguished himself in languages and the applied sciences. In , Peter the Great attached Bestuzhev to Prince Kurakin at the Utrecht Congress , that he might learn diplomacy and, for the same reason, permitted him in to enter the service of the elector of Hanover.