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Essay about The Impact of the Petrine Reforms in Russian History

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In Russian history, the eighteenth century was characterized by significant changes to the political, economical, social and cultural fabric of Russian life that shifted Muscovite Russia’s isolated position and mindset of the Middle Ages into modernization and westernization. The driving force of reformation is accredited to Peter the Great whose reign (1694 – 1725) ushered in European ideas, models, manners, and philosophies. Willingly accepted or not, government intervention was evident in almost all aspects of life. The Petrine reforms, although extensive and multi-faceted, can be generally catalogued into the following areas: military; administrative; ecclesiastical; economical and fiscal; cultural; and social. A synthesis of the reforms, and their effect on and significance to Russia, are examined here. The Muscovy past was irreversibly changed, but the Petrine reforms were not particularly a break from Russian tradition, as evidenced by institutions such as serfdom and the faith of the Old Believers. Instead, Peter initiated a shift towards a new perspective of consciousness that must be balanced between what worked and what did not for Russia and it’s population. However, the character of the reforms was not uniform and proved to be difficult to support in future years.
In the length of Peter’s reign, only one year was spent in peace when Russia was not at war (Ria p. 251). Starting with the war with Turkey in 1695, Peter would wage war against Sweden, Poland, or the Ottoman Empire throughout the era. Peter’s foreign policies were ambitious: he endeavoured to regain territories that were thought to be historically Russian such as the Baltic States, Poland, and Ukraine; sought access to international waterways; and aimed t...


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...so held its weight. There were as ountstanding amount of evidence that Peter assumed power illegitimatly, through such tricks as swapping the real czar during the time that we was travelling abroad.
In effect, the reforms success in some areas and failure in others, makes the whole of the reform a complex and difficult picture to judge critically. Government was inefficient, succession was not assured, and was superficial since it only, really, affected and empowered the nobility. It is interesting to note that this nobility that was created by Petrine reforms, will lead the schism between the higher classes and the tsar’s government.The way traditions were held intact, while reform was outwardly expressed, pushed Russia in a confused state. Underneath the new clothes and clean shaven faces, the Russian mentality struggled in reconcialing the old and the new.



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