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Peter the Great/ Catherine the Great

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  1. Peter the Great/ Catherine the Great

  2. Peter the Great (r. 1682-1725) • A member of the Romanov dynasty, Peter I, (Peter the Great) modernized and westernized Russia until it became a Great power • However, it was only the upper class who really benefited from the contact with Europe • Most of Russia remained backward and distrusted European ideas • Peter’s father Alexis died in 1676 and he was succeeded by Peter’s older half-brother Theodore • Theodore died in 1682

  3. Theodore’s mother (the Miloslavkys)wanted the crown to stay in their family; Peter’s mother wanted the crown to stay in their family • The Miloslavkys were supported by the streltsy wanted Peter and his mentally-deficient half-brother Ivan to share the crown • 1682 Peter and Ivan shared the throne – but the power was held by Peter’s half-sister Sophia, who ruled as regent

  4. Sophia and her lover, Prince Golitsin ruled Russia • They persecuted the Old Believers and embarked on disastrous wars • Peter’s two great loves were playing war games and building things, especially carpentry – these would later combine when Peter started to build a navy • In 1689 Peter removed Sophia and sent her to a convent while he ruled with Ivan – although Ivan played no part in the administration and died in 1696 • On January 27, 1689 Peter was forced by his mother to marry – his wife was beautiful, but stupid and the marriage was a disaster • His early experiences taught him two lessons:a) control the streltsyb) strengthen the military • In many ways this was similar to Louis XIV of France who experienced the Fronde and had to control the nobility and strengthen his military

  5. Peter ruled independently for 36 years, but most of them he was at war • He was physically large – almost 6ft 8 inches tall • He had enormous reserves of energy and always wanted to learn • Nearly all of his reforms were done to improve the military • It was only later in life, when Peter was considering his legacy that he shifted the emphasis away from the military • However, Catherine the Great was able to move Russia closer to Europe because of the changes implemented by Peter

  6. 1695 – Peter determined that he needed to control the Caspian Sea, but the region was held by the Turks • From July to September 1695 the Russians attempted to capture the Turkish fortress at Azov • The first attempt was a disaster for Peter • However Peter learned that he would need a fleet designed and built by European • He sent to Prussia and Austria for shipbuilders with the intent of building his fleet and stopping the Turks from relieving Azov • In July 1696 the fortress surrendered

  7. In 1697, Peter decided he would travel to Europe to learn western practices • No previous tsar had left Russia during peacetime • On March 10, 1697 the Grand Embassy set off with Peter trying to travel incognito as "Peter Mikhailov“ a volunteer sailor • In 1697 Peter arrived in Holland, where he worked as a carpenter in the shipyards • In 1698 Peter spent four months in England and came to appreciate the English government and more especially the English navy

  8. William III, wanting to increase trade with Russia welcomed Peter and gave him all the assistance he needed • English merchants wanted to sell Virginia tobacco to Russia • Russia had plenty of natural resources like pitch, leather, grain, and furs • In about 4,000 members of the Streltsy garrison rebelled over several issues • They intended to install Sophia as the new queen • In June 1698, after leaving England Peter was on his way to Venice when he heard about a revolt of the Streltsy • Peter ordered loyal soldiers out to fight the rebels and the rebellion was quickly suppressed Streltsy disbanded and Peter installed his own imperial guards

  9. The initial investigation resulted in the deaths of over 50 troublemakers, with many more exiled • When Peter returned to Russia in August 1698 he took the opportunity to makes sure no one questioned his authority again and violently sought revenge against the Streltsy • Over 1,000 officers were executed as Peter removed all threats to his power • His investigations went on for nearly a decade • After securing his throne, Peter started to reform Russia • First came the military, but there would also be social, educational, and economic changes

  10. After travelling to Europe, Peter realized how far Russia lagged behind Europe, and set out to reform his country • As part of his reforms he required the nobility to wear western clothes and he even insisted that men shave off their beards • In April 1698 Peter personally cut off the beards of his chief advisors • All except peasants and priests had to pay a tax if they wanted to keep their beards • This was a drastic move because Russians believed they needed their beards to get to heaven • Peter also started to build his fleet • Much of the work was done by English or Dutch workers, but by 1703 Peter had his Baltic fleet

  11. In 1700, the head of the church, Patriach Adrian, died • Peter did not replace him. In 1701, the control of church property was handed over to a government department. • The government received monastic revenues and paid monks a salary • The church was now subordinate to the will of Peter • In 1701 Peter opened a school for mathematics and navigation in Moscow • In 1702 the first newspaper was published • To pay for his reforms Peter found new and creative ways to tax his people

  12. The Great Northern War • Prior to 1700 hostility against Sweden had been increasing • A coalition of Russia, Denmark, and Saxony-Poland all looked at the 15 year-old Charles XII of Sweden as an easy target • Once Sweden had been defeated the goal was to divide up her extensive holdings in northern Europe • Peter wanted control of the Baltic, without these ports Russia would never become a Great Power • In March 1700 the Danes attacked, but he Swedes, aided by an Anglo-Dutch fleet soon forced the Danes to surrender and withdraw from the alliance

  13. In November 1700 Charles attacked Russia and with an army of 8,000 defeated 23,000 Russians • The victory gave Charles universal respect and confirmed that Russia was not a major power • Charles spent six years in Poland establishing his power • By 1706 Charles was in control of Poland • While Charles was in Poland, Peter had some success capturing some of the Baltic ports • Charles invaded Russia in 1707 • Charles was hoping to form an alliance of people that had been suppressed by the Russians, but his plan failed • In 1709 Sweden suffered a major defeat at the Battle of Poltava

  14. The victory was the first step for Peter, who now was dominant in eastern Europe • Charles was forced to stay in Turkey because all his escape routes were controlled by Peter • The alliance with Denmark and Poland was renewed • With Peter stuck in Turkey Sweden was governed by a Swedish Council • The Council raised another army and sent it to Germany, but without a navy to ship supplies the army was ill-prepared • The new army was defeated by a combined Russian-Danish-Saxon force in 1713 • Charles persuaded the Sultan to attack Russia’s southern border

  15. The Sultan gained control of Azov • In 1713 the Sultan signed a peace agreement with Russia guaranteeing the peace for 25 years • Gradually more and more states joined the coalition against Sweden • In 1718 at FredriksheldCharles was killed • Now with Sweden no longer the major power fear of Russian expansion into Europe griped many countries • Britain and France were especially worried and pressured Russia to seek peace

  16. 1719 – Treaty of Stockholm signed between Sweden and Hanover • 1720 – Treaty of Stockholm signed between Sweden and Brandenburg • 1720 - Treaty of Fredriksborg signed between Denmark and Sweden • 1721 - Treaty of Nystad signed between Sweden and Russia

  17. St. Petersburg • St Petersburg is on the Neva River on the Baltic Sea • It has also been called Petrograd and Leningrad • In 1703, during the Great Northern War, Peter captured the Swedish fortress on the Neva River • Almost immediately he built the Peter and Paul Fortress in the same location – the first brick building of the new city • The city was named after Peter’s patron saint • Construction was done by conscripted serfs who came from all over Russia • In 1712, Peter moved the government from Moscow to St. Petersburg

  18. In 1712 Peter married his second wife, Catherine. His first wife become a nun and the marriage is declared null and void • He also has his first-born son Alexei tortured and then murdered on suspicion of treason • In 1714 Peter decreed that the children of the nobility and other officials, between 10 and 15 years of age, had to have compulsory education and they had to be tested once their studies were completed • In 1721 Peter created the Holy Synod, a council to replace the patriarch, which was answerable only to him, thus depriving the Church of its independence

  19. In 1722 Peter issued the Table of Ranks to reduce the power and influence of the Boyars • The Table of Ranks determined a the social status of a person based on service to the king, not on birth or seniority • Even commoners could be promoted through the Table of Ranks • The Table of Ranks remained in place until 1917

  20. On October 22, 1721 – Peter is proclaimed emperor and awarded the title “the Great” by the Senate • Peter’s title was recognized by Poland, Prussia, and Sweden, but not by other European monarchs who feared the title “emperor” may appear great then “king” • In 1724 Peter has Catherine crowned “Empress of Russia” and they rule as joint monarchs • In the 1720s Peter suffered from series of bladder and urinary tract problems • In November 1724 Peter waded out into freezing water to help rescue a group of soldiers • Soon after he caught a chill and never recovered • On February 8, 1725 Peter died, he had no heir

  21. Catherine the Great (r. 1762-1796) • Catherine was a minor German princess, but she was a distant relative of the Russian royal family • The marriage of Catherine to the future Tsar Peter III was chiefly the work of the Prussian government which wanted to strengthen ties to Russia and weaken Russia’s tie with Austria • Catherine married the Grand Duke Peter in August 1745 • Catherine was determined to do whatever was necessary to be accepted by the Russian people such as converting to Russian Orthodoxy and learning the language • However, the marriage was a failure for both Peter and Catherine and both had numerous affairs, although they did have a son, Paul, and a daughter Anna Petrovna

  22. Catherine kept herself well-acquainted with events in Europe and corresponded with Diderot and Voltaire • In December 1761, the Empress Elizabeth died and Peter succeeded to the throne as Peter III • Almost immediately he angered the nobles by withdrawing Russia from the Seven Years’ War with Prussia because of his admiration for Frederick II and returning all occupied land even though victory was almost assured and with Russian troops in Berlin. The decision gained nothing for Russia

  23. Peter continued to alienate the nobility and the military when he:a) Formed an alliance with Prussia in a war with Denmarkb) Revoked the requirement implemented by Peter the Great that all male nobles either work for the military or the civil servicec) Loved the Lutheran religionmore than the Russian Orthodox religiond) Insisted that the military wear Prussian uniforms and adopt Prussian discipline (which was much harsher)

  24. Economically he banned the importation of sugar to promote domestic production and supported the western ideas of mercantilism and capitalism • Peter’s weak nature frustrated Catherine who believed she had a better understanding of what was best for Russia • Catherine and her lover, Grigori Orlov started to plan the overthrow of her husband when he thought he was going to divorce her • In 1762 members of the Leib Guard staged a coup, forced Peter to sign his own abdication papers, and proclaimed Catherine the new Tsarina • Ironically the guard had replaced the Streltsy because it was determined the Streltsy could not be trusted

  25. Three days after the coup, Peter was murdered – it is suggested but never proved, that it was Catherine who organized the murdered • Catherine took over a country that was in turmoil after the short, but ineffective rule of Peter • Although Catherine was not Russian she was not the first non-Russian to rule. Catherine, the second wife of Peter the Great ruled as Empress of Russia from 1725 to 1727 • Although many nobles did support Catherine some saw her as a usurper and believed she should rule only until her son, Paul, could succeed her • When there was the threat of another coup, Catherine acted fast to remove all threats

  26. Once in charge it became obvious that Russia was almost bankrupt and almost every aspect of the country was a mess • In fact no one really knew how big Russia was or how many people lived in the empire • There was corruption and mismanagement everywhere • Catherine decided that since the country was basically agrarian-based that she would start by improving the agricultural production • This would have two immediate benefits: • 1) it would produce more food to keep the people fed2) it would provide a tax-base

  27. Catherine advertised for farmers to come to Russia and offered them favorable terms to purchase land • She offered loans to farmers who improved productivity, especially if they used English techniques • She moved people to under-populated regions • She encouraged selective breeding of animals • She sent people to study in Europe to learn the most efficient use of the land • After agriculture she focused on mining and sent geologists out to find ores and minerals • She opened the first School of Mines in St. Petersburg • In 1762 she decreed that anyone could open a factory anywhere except in Moscow or St. Petersburg, which were already overcrowded

  28. She encouraged trade, especially with China • She sent workers to Europe to learn the latest techniques and she recruited European to move to Russia to work • In 1763 six departments were created in the Senate to specialize in administration • By 1765 the budget deficit had been replaced by a budget surplus and most of the nation’s debt had been paid • In 1764 Catherine ordered a census and the accurate mapping of each district • While all of these reforms were taking place Catherine sent Russian troops to support a coup in Poland • In September 1764 Stanislaus Poniatowski is elected king of Poland

  29. Catherine now turned to education and mandated that every district and every town should have a school • In 1763 Catherine opened the first College of Medicine in Russia • To set an example for her people Catherine was inoculated against smallpox in October 1768 • It was Catherine’s greatest regret that she was unable to abolish serfdom, but the nobles needed the serfs and she needed the nobles • Catherine increased the size of the Russian Empire by almost 200,000 miles² mostly by taking land from Poland and from the Ottomans

  30. All the time she corresponded with other sovereigns, notably Frederick the Great, and leaders of the Enlightenment such as Voltaire and Diderot • She even purchased Diderot’s library when he died • She commissioned a statue of Peter the Great and placed the following inscription on the base - "Petro Primo--Catherina Secunda" • There was almost constant warfare between Russia and the Turks during the 16th and 17th centuries as the Turks tried to retain possession of their land and Russia tried to gain warm water ports

  31. The First Russo-Turkish War (1768-74) • Sultan Mustafa III, encouraged by France, declared war on Catherine • In 1771 the Russians conquered the Crimea and installed a pro-Russian khan on the throne • Russian troops also captured Moldavia and Walachia • The Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji (1774) gave Russia considerable land in the south as well as the right for Russian ships to pass through the Bosporus to the Mediterranean Sea • Russia also claimed the right to protect the members of the Greek Orthodox Church

  32. First Partition of Poland • In the 18th century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealthwas little more than a puppet state for Russia • With the Russian victories in the First Russo-Turkish war, Austria felt threatened • France suggested a negotiated settlement that would keep both sides happy and prevent war • Austria would receive parts of Silesia from Prussia and Prussia would receive part of Poland • Prussia didn’t want to give up Silesia, but she was allied to Russia so war between Russia and Austria would mean war for Prussia, a country just recovering from the Seven Years’ War

  33. Prussia also wanted to try and protect the Ottomans in the event Prussia needed their help against either Russia or Austria • It was suggested that Russia, Prussia, and Austria all settle for some part of Poland, with Austria getting the lion’s share • Although Poland was basically under the control of Russia the Polish king, Stanislaus Poniatowski was becoming too independent • In 1772 Catherine joined Frederick the Great of Prussia and Maria Theresa of Austria in the First Partition of Poland • Prussia received the smallest but most important areaAustria received the largest areaRussia received the least beneficial piece of landPoland lost about 30% of its territory

  34. In 1773 Russia witnessed the largest peasant uprising in its history – the Pugachev Revolt • Peter the Great had granted whole villages to nobles, while Catherine reinforced the authority of the nobles over the serfs • The Cossack Emelyn Pugachev, claiming to be Tsar Peter III promised the peasants their own land and freedom if they supported the revolt • Local priests even supported Pugachev and disseminated information to the peasants • Initially Catherine did not take the threat seriously which allowed Pugachev time to move and recruit • As the revolt started to fail the Russian army ruthlessly slaughtered anyone deemed rebellious

  35. In September 1774 Pugachev was betrayed and caught as he tried to flee • He was executed in January 1775 • Following the revolt the government implemented several changes such as having officials elected • In 1783 Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula • In 1785 Catherine issued the Charter of Rights, Freedoms, and Privileges of the Russian Nobility, which created political groups for the nobles in each region • Each region elected a spokesperson who could petition the queen • It also restored traditional privileges and exempted the nobles from taxes • The nobles became the sole owners of their serfs and their estates

  36. Second and Third Partitions • After the French Revolution in 1789, Russia became very fearful of a possible revolt in Poland • Russian troops invaded in 1792 • In 1793 Russia and Prussia helped themselves to even more land in the Second Partition of Poland • Still there were problems in Poland and the Polish people fought on against the Russians • Once again Russia, Prussia, and Austria decided to act by removing Poland from the map • In 1795 the Third Partition of Poland removed Poland as a nation

  37. In November 1796 Catherine died • She was succeeded by her son Paul I • Catherine was a contradiction. She pursued Enlightenment ideals but sacrificed those ideals to maintain her authority • Seen by western monarchs as being an enlightened monarch, she had no problem being repressive against her own people and did little to reform the lives of most Russians

  38. Conclusion • Both Peter and Catherine were absolute monarchs and both members of the Romanov dynasty • Both were very dynamic personalities with unlimited energy • They were both enlightened despots, but to differing degrees • Peter made Russia in to a modern state • Both claimed the throne with problems: • Catherine staged a coup, while Peter had to deal with his half-brothers • He attempted to westernize the country, especially the government and the economy, but had limited success • However, his main focus was always on improving the military

  39. Catherine also tried to reform Russia but unlike Peter she was hindered by the fact she was a woman, that she was a foreigner (German), and that he needed to support of the nobles • Catherine wanted to abolish serfdom, but she could not • Both monarchs realized that Russia was a backward country with very little respect in Europe • Peter modeled his programs after Louis XIV of France: Catherine based her programs on the ideals of the Enlightenment • Catherine allied with the nobles, Peter controlled the nobles