Peter The Great: The Bearer Of Light For A Dark Russia

2005 words - 9 pages

Ultimately, by the late seventeenth century, Russia had done little to keep up with the modernizing European continent. Technologically and culturally, Russia had fallen centuries behind. It had experienced no Renaissance, no Reformation, and no Scientific Revolution. It was as if Russia was stuck in the European Middle Ages. Its army and navy lagged miserably behind, its Orthodox clergy governed education, there was no quality literature or art of which to tell, and even little to no emphasis upon math or sciences. In Western Europe it was the opposite, the seventeenth century was the time of Galileo and Newton, Descartes and Locke. It was a century of a growing merchant division. Rural peasants moved to growing cities for new work. As serfhood faded off in the West, it was growing in the Russia inherited by Peter Romanov. And while Western Europe, with its numerous warm-water passageways, sailed the seas and brought in unprecedented profits from subjugated colonies, Russia pushed eastward, finding nothing but frigid shore, cold taiga, and the remnants of a deformed Mongolian Empire that had depended more on plunder than infrastructure. In this instance, departure eastward was the equivalent of traveling nowhere, and it seemed to be the only thing that the Russians were doing fast.
However, hope arrived with a new leader a fresh tsar, Peter the Great. The young leader, Peter Alexyevich I, had inherited a basically landlocked piece of land seemingly discarded by Europe and Asia with a burning desire to build it into an intercontinental dominion fit for sending a navy to the farthest expanse of the earth. It cannot be exaggerated how simply stagnant Russia was when comparing it to Western Europe before Peter I. Due to this it is befitting Peter to maintain the title “the Great”. As evidence in history supports; Catherine I, the successor of Peter, is on occasion considered the greatest of Russian leaders, however, she had only continued the policies of her predecessor, it was Peter who truly created a bright Russian future through tremendously beneficial reforms and development towards a modern Russia.

Peter understood that European technology, and the culture which drove it, was a path to general greatness and power for himself and for the country he was leading. As a leader, Peter did not have any desire for his country to be left behind, much less to be vulnerable to the expansionist powers in Europe, which were perpetually warring in a desire for each other's territory. From this conclusion, he planned a modernization strategy for Russia, which would eventually make Russia the near-pinnacle of influence in Europe. To pursue his interest, in 1697 the youthful Tsar Peter decided to make a grand tour of Europe (though in a facade). The young and now disguised man traveled throughout Western Europe, visiting with powerful monarchs, scientists, men of business, engineers, and technicians in order to better comprehend European technology, society,...

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