In 1762, Russian Tsarina Catherine II had her husband Russian Tsar Peter III murdered, and rumours started that Peter III actually fled Russia and came to Montenegro. Šćepan Mali was part of those rumours and claimed that he was the Tsar Peter III who had fled Russia.
Metropolitan Sava II wrote "The land has been silenced" and that all of Montenegro was under Šćepan Mali. When Šćepan Mali ruled Montenegro, he began to behave like an absolute ruler.
The Ottoman Empire was afraid of the fact that a Russian Tsar was in the Balkans. In May of 1768, the sultan ordered an expedition to be made in Montenegro. A few months later, they sent 50,000 Ottoman forces to Montenegro to capture Šćepan Mali, but were unable to do so.
The Russian Government sent Prince Geogriy Dolgorukov to Montenegro to gain control of Montenegro and eliminate Šćepan Mali. In August of 1769, he arrived in Montenegro but was unable to capture Šćepan Mali.
Šćepan Mali was killed on 22 September 1773 by one of his loyals.