Lecture 4 - Peter the Great

author: John Merriman, Department of History, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: April 16, 2010,   recorded: September 2008,   views: 4901
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)

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Peter the Great's historical significance stems not only from his military ambitions and the great expansion of the Russian Empire under his supervision, but also from his efforts to introduce secular, Western customs and ideas into Russian culture. Despite his notorious personal brutality, Peter's enthusiasm for science and modern intellectual concerns made an indelible mark both on Russia's relationship to the West and on its internal politics. The struggle under Peter's reign between Westernizers and Slavophiles, or those who resist foreign influences, can be seen at work in Russia up to the present day.

Reading assignment:

Merriman, John. A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present, pp. 376-416 and 417-465

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Reviews and comments:

Comment1 julia, February 9, 2011 at 3:49 p.m.:

It does not get dark in St Pete about noon, even in the dead of winter. It gets dark in January, maybe around 5 PM, maybe slightly later. Russian northern ports do freeze in the winter, that's right, but not 365 days a year. It's not the Northern Pole. Also, maybe more importantly, disagree that Peter's objective was improvement of the lives of Russian people. He was no Jeffersonian democrat of any kind. More precise his goal was creating a modern country out of a medieval kingdom. The fate of Russian serfs (the majority of the population in the 18century) was really not that important. Thousands of them perished while building his capital.

Comment2 anonymous, October 29, 2013 at 5:37 p.m.:

how did a fire not erupt in his hands?

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