Burkhard Christoph Munnich, count, a Russian soldier, born in the then Danish duchy of Oldenburg, May 20, 1683, died in St. Petersburg, Oct. 27, 1767. He was the son of a peasant ennobled by Frederick III. of Denmark, and early distinguished himself. He was made a prisoner in the battle of Denain, and sent to Cambrai, where he was very kindly treated by Fenelon. In 1720 he was received with distinction by Peter the Great, who confided to him the execution of the great Ladoga canal. In the reign of Anna he became field marshal and president of the council of state. He reduced Dantzic in 1734. In 1735 he was called to the chief command of the army against the Turks, and gained distinction by his victories. He desolated the Crimea (1736), took Otchakov (1737), defeated the Turks near Sta-vutchay (1739), seized the fortress of Khotin, and occupied Moldavia. The treaty of Belgrade (Sept. 18,1739) put an end to the war. Previous to the death of the empress he prevailed upon her to appoint the duke Ernest Biron of Cour-land as regent during the minority of her successor.
But his hope of securing in this manner his own influence was disappointed by the duke taking the power into his own hands, upon which Münnich caused him to be arrested, and transferred the regency nominally to Princess Anna, the mother of Ivan, the young presumptive heir to the crown, while he assumed the reins of government as prime minister of the empire, endeavoring to consolidate his power by an alliance with Prussia. The regent Anna lavished upon him her bounties, but entered into negotiation with Austria and Saxony in order to neutralize Munnich's coalition with Prussia, in consequence of which he relinquished his office (May, 1741). He was on the point of removing to Königsberg, when on the accession of Elizabeth (December) he was arrested by her order and sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted to exile to Siberia, but his estates were confiscated. In 1762 he was recalled by Peter ILL, who restored his property and position. Catharine II. appointed him in the same year director general of the Baltic ports.
His Ebauche pour donner une idee de la forme du gouvernement de l'empire de Russie was published at Copenhagen in 1774.