Satisfactory Essays
When examining the progress of a nation, it is vital to also see what the national psyche behind it was. In Russia the driving motivation was not always consistent.
“ ... [They] still had difficulty in formulating and sustaining any permanent concept of the 'state' and its interests independent of the family possessions and connections of the ruling dynasty.”(Hosking 190) As with many countries of that time, the rulers were not held accountable, and often overlooked long-term strategic goals in favor of short-term gains. Foreign policy was more a personal relationship among rulers than among nations; alliances were made, broken or not honored routinely. All of these factors made for a precarious political environment in which any leader had to operate. Russia's own unique problems required its rulers have an even greater political acumen than their purely European counterparts. There in lies the crux of Russia's biggest problems. Over the centuries from - to - Russia has expanded from a small principality to a huge polyglot of an empire; encompassing many people with many different cultures. Most Russians were not European. Although these people came from diverse geographical locations, they all shared certain beliefs that unified them. Concepts such as Pravda, the Mir, and the acceptance of suffering helped unify the empire.
When Peter I wanted to Europeanize Russia he did it in a typical Russian way; out with the old, in with the new, having “... the tendency to introduce reform in total packages, rejecting previous ways as utterly wrong.” (Hosking 176) Peter I replaced the one stable and unifying set of beliefs with another set adopted from a world foreign to most everyone in the empire. This may be the reason that Russia’s Europeanization seemed to be a thin veneer under which the majority of Russians did not understand or see any benefit in europeanization. To answer the question as to whether or not Peter I was a successful ruler, it must be stated that the premise under which he ruled was
“... To increase [Russia's] power and wealth and to improve the well being of its people.”(Hosking 198) To Peter that meant becoming more like Europe, and perhaps he thought this because of the great European influences on his, and on the lives of his advisors and the nobility in general. Peter saw the great armies and bureaucracies of Europe and wished to install them in Russia.
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