Peter the Great and Russia's Rise to Power

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Peter the Great helped shape the previously unsuccessful nation of Russia into an active European political power by following the examples set by Western European powers at the time. Before the 17th Century Russia was only considered a part of Europe out of courtesy. Geographically and politically, it lay on the periphery. Fortunately for Russia, that all changed when Peter the Great came to power. To do this he set out to accomplish certain general goals for the country which included: reorganizing the administration, developing the economy, building a strong military, and quashing the potential independence of the nobles, guard, and church. Like Louis XIV, Peter knew that if one is to be a good monarch he or she should have undisputed rule over the nation, so he set out to control any group that might contest his power. Immediately following Peter’s return from exploring Western Europe, he personally sheared off the traditional long beards and sleeves of the nobility, or boyars as they were called. This was to be a symbol of Russia’s shift to less traditional and more modern lines of thought. He then further proceeded to give the nobility a hard time by creating a Table of Ranks. This table made ones social standing a matter of how much you give back to the central state as opposed to simply coming from a well-to-do family. Next Peter proceeded to suppress the unruly guard, known as the streltsy, in a much less diplomatic fashion. After their rebellion was brutally suppressed, over a thousand of them were made an example to the people through public executions and by leaving their bodies on display to those who might also think to rebel. Finally he confronted the extremely traditional Russian Orthodox Church by kicking out the patriarch and instating a secular procurator general to rule the church in accordance with secular requirements. This kept the clergy
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