Peter III (Russian: Пётр III Фëдорович, transliterated Pyotr III Fyodorovich) was Emperor of Russia for six months in 1762. He was born in Kiel as Karl Peter Ulrich zu Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp, the only child of Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp (the child of Hedvig Sophia of Sweden, sister of Charles XII), and Anna Petrovna (the elder surviving daughter of Peter the Great). The German Peter could hardly speak Russian and pursued a strongly pro-Prussian policy, which made him an unpopular leader. He was deposed and possibly assassinated as a result of a conspiracy led by his German wife, Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, who succeeded him to the throne as Catherine II. His death could also have been the result of a drunken brawl with his bodyguard when he was being held captive after Catherine's coup.
Though he is nowadays mostly remembered as a bad ruler, this may not have been the case. During his short reign, he proclaimed religious freedom (a very progressive move for the time), encouraged education, sought to modernize the Russian army, and abolished the secret police which had been infamous for its extreme violence. Many of his reforms were reverted by Catherine. She and her supporters "justified" their coup by creating an image of Peter as an incompetent ruler who despised Russia.