Nikolai Petrovich Arkharov was enlisted in the Preobrazhenskii Life Guard Regiment in 1755. From 1772 to 1782, he was Moscow Chief of Police, 1782-84 Moscow Civil Governor, 1784-96 a deputy in Tver and Novgorod, and from 1790, chief director of water communications. He was trusted and favoured by Empress Catherine II. 1795-97 he served as Governor General of St. Petersburg, in late 1796 he was the second St. Petersburg Governor General sharing this position with Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich (the future Emperor Alexander I). While being in charge of the capital, he stopped some cases of abuse of the state economy, the city's police service was put in order, and street lighting was arranged. He retired in 1797.