Absolute Rulers of Russia

Describe the Russian state and the rule of Peter the Great.

Russia's powerful landowning nobles were called boyars, and they fought for control during Ivan the Terrible's reign. The boyars fought for control against young Ivan; and some of them were assasinated after Ivan's wife, Anastacia, died. In a terrible quarrel, Ivan assasinated eldest son and heir in 1581. His second son was left with the throne but he wasn't able to handle the throne. During this time, Russia experienced the "Time of Troubles" a period of turmoil during which boyars were constantly struggling for power. In 1613, Michael Romanov was chosen czar by representatives of many cities, and the Romanov dynasty began.

Czar Peter I, also known as Peter the Great, came to power in 1696 and he was one of Russia's greatest reformers. At the beginning of Peter's reign, Russia was a land of boyars and serfs. Russia had been isolated from the western world for many reasons. First, they had had more contact with Constantinople than Rome during the Middle Ages, and Mongol rule had kept Russia away from the progress of Renaissance, as well as geographical barriers which kept Russia isolated. Religious differences were also a big deal between Russia and Western Europe. Peter had the goal of westerninzing Russia, in which he used western Europe as a role model. Peter made several reforms to life in Russia, including changes in the religious department, to which many people disagreed. He removed the office of Patriarch as head of the Orthodox Church. He also reduced the power of great landowners, the same way Ivan the Terrible did. Believing that Education was the key to progress, Peter allowerd and force people to leave the country in quests of educating themselves.

Peter the Great Comes to Power

when the Romanovs restored power from the disrupted previous ruler, Ivan the Terrible, this was an opening for what was going to be one of Russia's greatest reformers of all time, Peter the Great. At first, Peter shared the throne with his half-brother however, in 1696, Peter became sole ruler of Russia. Just a year after becoming the sole ruler, Peter the Great embarked on the "Grand Embassy, " a long visit to western Europe to learn about their customs and manufacturing techniques. this trip inspired Peter the Great to westernize Russia, Peter saw it as a way of making Russia stronger.


To westernize Russia, Peter undertook the following:

  • introduced potatoes, which became a staple of the Russian diet
  • started Russia's first newspaper and edited its first issue himself
  • raised women's status by accepting them in social gatherrings
  • ordered the nobles to surrender their traditional clothing for western fashions
  • advanced education by opening a school of nagivation and introducing schools for the arts and sciences

In Russia serfdom was used until the mid-1800s. Russian landowners, or boyars, wanted serfs to stay in the land and produce large harvest, treating them like property. Boyars knew little about Western Europe and they were not linked to them, creating a gap between Russia and Europe. Religious differences also widened the gap between them. Ivan the Terrible killed thousands of boyars, peasants and their families after he assumed boyars were evil. After Ivan’s reign Russia experienced a period of trouble that led to the beginning of the Romanov dynasty.

The Romanovs strengthened the government by passing a law code and putting down revolts, this leading to the absolute rule of Peter I. After various trips to Western Europe, Peter wanted to westernize Russia. Peter the Great brought the church under state control, reduced the power of landowners and also modernized the army. Peter moved people towards education, which he believed was a key to progress.

Rulers of Russia
By: Michelle Pelletier Patrone

In Russia, the first Czar was Ivan the terrible, who struggle war with boyars who wanted to conquer him. Ivan’s bad period began when his wife Anastasia died, were he killed many people including people of his own blood. His weakest son came to power and showed that he had the capability to rule. After Czars and boyars finish fighting, they choose the next Czar named Michael Romanov. In the contrary, then came Peter the Great to power and became one of Russia’s best reformers and increased the czar’s power. Peter saw that Russia was governed by boyars and serfs, so he traveled to west. Peter became inspired by the west so we westernized Russia. He saw it as a way of making Russia stronger, so he brought potatoes, started Russia’s first newspaper, raised women’s status, brought western clothes, and advanced education. Education for him was the most important, so he created a port to make a navigational school. In conclusion, Peter had success in westernizing and reforming the culture and government of Russia.

Finally in the few generation, Romanovs were all happy to stabilizes and balance the status in Russia. Although they still follow the centralize power, bring little things to Russian development, but the rapid changes on political and economically life were spread though Europe. In the mean time Peter the Great set a goal to change all of that negative issues.

Russians know Czar Peter I as Peter the Great because he was one of the Russians greatest Reformers that have been in Russia and later became a sole ruler (Absolute power). After he made a trip through Europe he returned with new ideas from Europe to change Russia and make it more powerful politically and economically. Some of it’s achievement in order to westernized Russia were: bringing the Orthodox Church and he abolished the office of patriarch or head of the church.

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