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Peter the Great and Alexander I

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  1. Peter the Great
  2. Anna Ioannovna
  3. Catherine the Great
  4. Alexander I
  5. Nicholas I
  6. Alexander II
  7. Conclusion

Peter the Great (1689-1725) was the major force that turned Russia away from the old ways of Asiatic Russia, and opened the window to the west. His series of accomplishments as Tsar of Russia began at the dawn of the eighteenth century, with the foundation of St. Petersburg. Constructing both, a fortress and ship building center in this region laid the foundation for Russia's victory over the Swedish army, thus establishing Russia as one of the great European powers.

[...] The interrogation and trial of the Decembrists was a very swift process. Nicholas took the records of the testimonies of the rebels and kept them on his desk throughout his reign as a reminder of what was wrong with Russia. These testimonies helped lay the basis for the Great Reforms that followed him. Of the tried rebels, five were executed, and 116 exiled. The punishment of the Decembrists caused the intelligentsia to be alienated from Nicholas right from the beginning Nicholas' reign was viewed as a time of unmitigated repression by the enlightened citizenry of Russia. [...]

[...] This new perspective led Alexander to appoint reactionaries to state offices, which eventually led to censorship of the press and literature. This in turn led to resentment on part of the intelligentsia, which gave rise to secret societies, culminating in the December Rebellion after Alexander's death. The reign of Alexander was doomed to be a disappointment from the start. The weight of a nation's expectations rested squarely on his shoulders and the pressure proved to be too much for him. [...]

[...] Alexander I Alexander I (1801-1825) was one of the most contradictory political figures in Russian history. Upon Paul's death, people danced in the streets, eagerly awaiting the new tsar they referred to as and nothing short of greatness was expected of him. Immediately after taking power he repealed all of the erratic legislation of his predecessor Paul. ?Alexander abolished Paul's secret police, reaffirmed the Charter of the Nobility, recalled the troops marching to India, reopened the private printing presses, allowed Russians to travel abroad once more, allowed the importation of foreign books and musical scores, and rescinded the bans on export of many products. [...]

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