Analyze why Russia was isolated from Western Europe. What changes Peter the Great brought to Russia.
◦ Fascinating Facts about Peter the Great 6 feet 7 inches in height Strong – Able to crumple a silver plate in his hand Drank heavily – Took great pride in out drinking all who challenged him He enjoyed cruelty (He sometimes liked to visit the state torture chamber) Whenever he felt threatened, his whole body shook violently He was afraid of cockroaches He was an honest man (he meant what he said) Simple Tastes Hard worker – rose each morning at 4 am
Peter strengthened absolutism by: ◦ creating a strong, loyal army ◦ ruthlessly crushing the nobles ◦ appointing royal governors to replace local officials ◦ exerting government control over the Russian Orthodox Church
One of Peter’s major goals was to enable Russia to end its landlocked situation and gain warm-water sea ports on the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. The Ottoman Empire, which controlled all of the land from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea blocked this goal. In order to defeat the Turks he would need two things, help from western Europe and a stronger, more efficient Russia.
In 1697, Peter disguised himself and went on a foreign mission to western Europe to create an alliance against the Turks His visit lasted 18 months. Disguised as a commoner, he visited factories, almshouses for the poor, museums and hospitals, and even learned some skills in dentistry and surgery.
Upon his return, Peter Wanted to model Russia after European culture, rather than Asian or Byzantine culture. He introduced Western Ideas on science, education, military training, and industry. He introduced Arabic numerals and simplified the Cyrillic alphabet. To imitate the west, he ordered his male subjects to shave their beards and discard their long coats.
Peter Sought “windows” to the west to provide his landlocked country with water routes to trade with Europe. In a long war with Sweden (Great Northern War), he won territories along the Baltic Sea. Here he built HIS capital St. Petersburg.
Excellent example of architecture, politics, and urban development. During the 18 th century, St. Petersburg became one of the largest and most influential cities in Europe. The new city was Baroque in its layout and design. ◦ Broad, straight avenues ◦ Houses were built in a straight line ◦ There were parks, canals, and streetlights ◦ Each social group was to live in a specific section of the city All groups, especially peasants, bore heavy burdens for its construction.
Russia’s capital returned to Moscow after the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917. After Lenin’s death in 1924, the communists renamed the city Leningrad in his honor. The city’s long history as the imperial capital causes it to remain as the cultural center of Russia today. With the collapse of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union, Leningrad became St. Petersburg again in 1991.
Peter attempted to westernize his country. His purposes, however, were to strengthen his army and support his autocratic rule. Peter’s reforms were superficial, affected only a thin top layer of Russian society, and lacked permanence.