Czar Peter Romanov I, also known as Peter “The Great,” took many actions as being the absolute ruler of Russia. Known as one of the most controversial leaders in world history, Peter impacted Russia positively and negatively through westernization and opening Russia to the west. In general, the founder of modern Russia had a positive effect on the country because of his technological development that czar brought in during the forty-two years of his reign. Peter “The Great,” who came to power in 1683, had the main goal to modernize a crude nation that lagged significantly behind the countries of Western Europe in the fields of politics, education, economy, and technology. In other words, Peter’s main goal as Czar of Russia was to westernize his country.
He realized that Russia should be westernized in order to ensure its independence, which was a positive impact Peter had completed. Already fascinated by mechanical inventions, he studied government and politics of the West. He modernized the calendar, simplified numerals, and the Russian alphabet. To make sure Russia had contact with the West, Peter captured the east shores of the Baltic Sea from the Swedish land and built a new capital named after himself named St. Petersburg. Peter managed to modernize Russia without borrowing money from the country. As a result, he imposed heavy taxes on the citizens. Taking into account the fact that European men usually were clean shaven, he even taxed Russians wearing beards.
All of the taxes that Peter imposed were part of the negative actions he had taken. As for the positive side of Peter’s reign, his reactions towards the government were a good thing he did. In general, he had three reforms developed for the government. The local government that provided all the towns with the right to elect their own government officials. Provincial government that included the division of Russia into 8 gubernias. Each of the gubernias was led by a Gubernator, who had all of the power in his gubernia. And finally, there was the central government that Peter advised himself. Peter “The Great” thought that these reforms of government would become an important driver of sustainable development and modernization of Russia.
When it comes to the political achievements of Peter, he did his best in order to turn Russia into a prevailing power in Europe. Through diplomacy and wars, Czar Peter Romanov I managed to gain more than a million square kilometers of new territories. In order to ensure his land will be protected from the Turks, Peter allied himself with the nations of Western Europe. Since the territories that czar gained were more economically developed than his motherland, he used this fact as a chance to build the famous cities like Petrozavodsk and Saint Petersburg.
Another positive thing that this Russian leader might get credit for was that the famous church, the Peter and Paul Cathedral, was built under his able leadership and guidance. Not only was it a place for the people of St. Petersburg to pray, but it was also used as a fortress to protect the area from possible attacks of Swedes. It was the first church in the city made out of stone. The Peter and Paul Cathedral church stood 404 ft. tall, being the tallest building in St. Petersburg. All of the Russian emperors are buried in the church – from Peter “The Great” to Alexander III.
Among other achievements, it is important to mention that Peter “The Great” organized and established the first standing navy and army in the country. He left behind the tradition to raise an army from the upper class only in times of war. As an alternative, Peter established a new form of army. The latter was made up of the Russians from the lower class. The commanders were foreign officers, as well as some people from the upper class. Resulting from such acts, the Russian army was raised to 200 000 soldiers by 1925. What is more, 28 000 sailors, 800 galleys, and 48 battleships were at the disposal of the Russian army. These grandiose changes in the field of Russian army combined with the great defeat of the Swedish troops were the first steps that the country took to gain its power in European history that is still visible today.
One of the greatest achievements of this ruler of the Tsardom of Russia is the implementation of the western form of education. Before Peter Alexeyevich, education in Russia was below the level of that of Western Europe. While in Western Europe emphasis was made on the sciences, mathematics, and social science, the form of Russian education lagged behind significantly. Bearing all this in mind, Peter “The Great” made it his mission to provide Russian people with a decent form of education that would be compared favorably with the one existing in Western Europe. To guarantee cultural and industrial development, czar introduced such important subjects like humanities, math, engineering, science, and social science. What is more, Peter established the School of Engineering and Mathematics, School of Medicine, School of Navigation, and School of Social Science and Humanities. In order to ensure the school would prosper in their fields, the ruler brought in many educated and qualified experts from the countries of Western Europe. These academics taught the subjects in the schools established by Peter. In addition to that, Peter “The Great” exerted every effort to provide Russian students with an opportunity to travel to the West in order to learn the western lifestyle, technologies, and education. Along with establishing modern courses, he introduced education for the male kids of landowners that was mandatory. To add more, Peter provided his motherland with its first newspaper, museum, and hospital. Today’s scholars in Russia are mainly the result of Peter’s efforts and dedication. In other words, Russian czar did his best in order to provide people with an opportunity to gain an honest income, as well as create various investment options. Due to the fact that the country was behind the countries of Western Europe, all the social, political, and educational reforms implemented by Peter “The Great” helped to enhance the living conditions of the local people, as well as informed them about the western culture.
Drawing from the above discussion, I am pleased to note that Peter I had a positive effect on Russia. From westernization to his reforms of government – some of Peter’s ways are still used in modern Russia until this day. Regardless of all of his possible flaws, we cannot downplay Peter’s achievements due to the fact that this man helped turn Russia into a leading European power. Above that, Peter “The Great” introduced a brand-new level of education, reorganized national government, opened factories, introduced western culture to the locals, as well as brought the country out of a debt trap. The 42-year reign of Czar Peter “The Great” is known as a turning point in the history of Russia. What is more, even in the present day this man is considered as the founder of the main principles of leadership that are being applied in modern Russia in the twenty-first century as well.