A Very Brief Look at Russian History

2171 WordsJan 31, 20189 Pages
The country of Russia has a rich history which, unfortunately, cannot be discussed in its entirety within the context of this briefing book. It should be noted that early modern Russia is often characterized by the strong rulers that presided at the time, and the legacies they left that have helped shape Russia. The beginning of modern Russia begins with Peter the Great, who began a period of reforms and westernization under his reign. He brought many European customs to the elites, attempting to eradicate some archaic practices, as well as introducing technology that Russia sorely lacked. He modernized the military, attempting to thrust Russia onto the international stage and make the country a contender in world politics. He also consolidated the country under his rule, even going so far as to move the capital to St. Petersburg. Often these reforms were financed and instituted with the labor of peasants, so his legacy remains controversial. Peter’s reforms were furthered by Catherine the Great, a liberal reformer at the onset of her reign. Due to her, Russia’s influence expanded within Europe and Asia. However, she reversed many reforms later on, contributing to the strife felt by the peasantry. Another phase in Russia’s history that is notable is that of Napoleon’s ill-conceived incursion into the country in 1812. Instead of fighting conventionally, Russia’s military generals prudently decided to try a defensive approach, whereby they retreated and left a barren

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