Page last updated at 10:47 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 11:47 UK

Diary recounts Russian exploits


Patrick Gordon left Ellon as a teenager

The story of an Aberdeenshire man who became Peter the Great's right-hand man has been told in full for the first time with the publication of his diary.

Patrick Gordon left Ellon as a teenager and later became an army general, helping the man who westernised Russia.

His diary reveals: "I resolved to go to some foreign country."

When he died in 1699, Peter the Great is said to have wept by the general's deathbed before closing his eyes with his own hand.

Prof Paul Dukes, who worked with the Research Institute for Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen to publish the diary, said: "Gordon was a truly remarkable man and the diary is an outstanding historical source.

"Gordon was a proud Scot who always hoped to return to the north east of Scotland, where he intended to retire and be buried. Sadly, it was not to be, and he breathed his last in 1699 in Moscow, where a monument still stands to his memory.

"Gordon educated the young Tsar Peter in military and naval matters and became a great confidant of the man who helped turn Russia from a relatively inward-looking country into a European power of huge lands and resource."

He explained: "He was a fascinating and very accomplished character resembling many before and after him, who left Scotland to make their way in life and had a profound effect on the history of their adopted land.

"Now, with the publication of his diary in Scotland, and in his own tongue at that, he has at last come home."

He is regarded in Russia as one of the most significant men in the country's history.

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