This is a blog for use in both of my HIS 241 and HIS 242 Russian history survey courses at Northern Virginia Community College.

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10 February 2008

Peter the Great

Peter the Great so changed the course of Russian history that it simply is difficult to imagine what would have happened to Russia if he had not assumed the throne--and that assumption of the throne itself was no given--and been able to impose his will on Russia. Russians have long been trying to come to grips with the Petrine legacy, and the duality of that legacy (the desire to be West European yet uniquely Russian at the same time). In this course we have the examples to view of Pushkin and Catherine the Great (via Falconet) trying to understand Peter the Great.


Rolland La Haie said...

I believe that one of Peter's greatest accomplishments was the defeat of the Swedes in the Great Northern War. Charles XII of Sweden, as well as the rest of Europe seemed to eye Russia with disdain, or at least with an air of superiority over these barbarians from the east.
However from Poltava onwards, Peter demonstrated to the rest of Europe, that militarily Russia was the equal to the greatest soldier/king in Europe (Charles XII), that his understanding of tactics was on par with the rest of the dominant nations of Europe, and the subsequent campaigns against the Swedes in Courland, and Finland showed that Peter grasped the principals of siege warfare. I believe he later was able to wow the rest of Europe with the speed in which he built a navy that was able to dominate the Baltic, and the beauty and splendor of his city, St. Petersburg.

Dana Baker said...

I think the most powerful evidence of Peter's influence is summed up well in the quote at end of Chapter 20 in our textbook. This member of the gentry felt as if Peter had an impact on the more personal elements of his life: his career, his clothes, and the food he eats.

Randa Mumaw said...

It would be hard to imagine the evolution of Russia without the reign of Peter the Great. Had he not ignored the tradition of excluding most everything European from Russia, the country would have maintained its status as a vast impoverished, uneducated, unmodernized country.

Heather Fahrenwald said...

Peter the Great was a very smart man who wanted to learn everything he could. He traveled to Europe so he could understand how those people were living so he would be able to go back to Russia and make necessary changes. He turned Russia into a European nation and increased chances for education for his people.