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Absolutely Russia!

Absolutely Russia!1Ivan IV (1533-1584)

However, he was also personally responsible for mass murder, rape and torture on a grand scale, often gleefully participating himself. After his sadistic frenzies he would usually be horrified by his own viciousness and go into a sort of religious hysteria, praying and flagellating himself for days on end.

Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584) was a mass of contradictions. Very intelligent and well-educated, he was extremely religious and in some ways not a bad administrator, passing good laws and reforming the abuses of the aristocracy. Weakened boyars by taking their lands and replacing them with his peopleCreated a secret police oprichnikiIncreased trade with Western Europe Sought warm water access, but failed

2Appalled by what he had done, Ivan IV never really got over it. In an effort to atone for his past misdeeds he posthumously forgave all those he had executed and paid for prayers to be said for their souls. Before his death less than two years later, Ivan was re-christened as the monk Jonah and in a last-ditch effort to gain admittance to heaven, left orders to be buried in his habit.

In 1584 he and the czarovich Ivan quarreled violently, and Ivan whacked his son on the head with his heavy iron staff to shut him up. The younger Ivan died on the spot. Ivan Terrible& Ivan3The Time of Troubles 15968-1613

Time of chaos after Ivans death rebellion and noble feuds for throne1613 Michael Romanov took power began Romanov dynasty until 1917Siberia huge land area east of European Russia home of many peasants, traders, and adventurers moved there after losing influencefierce folk known as Cossacks

4Peter the GreatPeter I the Great or Pyotr Alexeyevich ruled Russia and later the Russian Empire from 7 May 1682 until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his weak and sickly half-brother, Ivan V.Peter the Great carried out a policy of modernization and expansion that transformed the Tsardom of Russia into the 3-billion acre Russian Empire, a major European power. Although he modernized, reformed, and strengthened Russia, it was at great human cost. Nevertheless, he was regarded as the greatest Russian ruler of all time by many supporters.

Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias5Peter grew to be quite tall as an adult, especially for the time period. Standing at 6ft 8inches in height, the Russian tsar was literally head and shoulders above his contemporaries both in Russia and throughout Europe. He may have suffered from tics, Tourettes syndrome, or petite mal epilepsy.Peter the Great6Peter the GreatPeter the Great was committed to a policy of westernization in Russia. However, persuading Russians to change their way of life proved difficult. To impose his will, Peter became the most autocratic of Europes absolute monarchs. During his reign he: forced the boyars, or landowning nobles, to serve the state. imported western technology and culture. insisted that the boyars shave their beards and wear western-style clothing. used autocratic methods to push through social and economic reforms. imposed policies which caused the spread of serfdom. brought all Russian institutions under his control. 57Peter was extremely disappointed in his son, whom he regarded as lazy and useless. Peter put so much pressure on Alexis to be more warlike, inquisitive, learn the art of governing and to generally become a second edition of his father that Alexis ran away from home. Once reaching the relative safety of Naples (and against all advice) the foolish Alexis allowed himself to be persuaded to return to Russia, with the promise of amnesty if he gave up his claim to the throne. Alexis agreed to the terms offered by his father, who publicly pardoned his son.

However, Peter was convinced there was a wider conspiracy. Alexis was questioned as to who knew about his flight to Naples, and these people were rounded up and tortured for information - but there wasn't much to tell. Not satisfied, Peter expanded his search for the truth and this led him eventually to arrest Alexis, whom he then had tortured for the truth about the non-existent conspiracy. Alexis died as a result of a particularly brutal flogging less than two weeks later, having paid the ultimate price for running away from home.

Peter the Great8In 1724, Peter had his second wife, Catherine, crowned as Empress, although he remained Russia's actual ruler. All of Peter's male children had diedthe eldest son, Alexei, had been tortured and killed on Peter's orders in 1718 because he had disobeyed his father and opposed official policies. At the same time, Alexei's mother Eudoxia had also been punished; she was dragged from her home and tried on false charges of adultery. A similar fate befell Peter's beautiful mistress, Anna Mons, in 1704.In 1725, construction of Peterhof, a palace near Saint Petersburg, was completed. Peterhof (Dutch for "Peter's Court") was a grand residence, becoming known as the "Russian VersaillesPeter the Great9The Real ScoopAmong other horrors Peter was responsible for the deaths of thousands of peasants forced to build St. Petersburg in a swamp during the Russian winter, the brutal "doctoring" of his subjects with his own ham-fisted surgery and dentistry and for drunkenly trashing palaces all over Europe while studying at various universities.

Peter the Great10In order to deprive the Boyars of their high positions, Peter directed that precedence should be determined by merit and service for life to the Emperor. Created the dvorianie.The Table of Ranks continued to remain in effect until the Russian monarchy was overthrown in 1917. In addition, Peter decided that all of the children of the nobility should have some early education, especially in the areas of sciences. Therefore, on 28 February 1714, he introduced the decree on compulsory education which dictated that all Russian children of the nobility, of government clerks and even lesser ranked officials between the ages of 10 and 15 must learn basic mathematics and geometry and that they should be tested on it at the end of their studies.Peter also introduced new taxes to fund improvements in Saint Petersburg, his window to the West.

Peter the Great11Expansion Under PeterPeter created the largest standing army in Europe and set out to extend Russian borders to the west and south.

Peter unsuccessfully fought the Ottomans in an attempt to gain a warm-water port for Russia.

Peter engaged in a long war with Sweden, and eventually won land along the Baltic Sea. On land won from Sweden, Peter built a magnificent new capital city, St. Petersburg.

Peter signed a treaty with Qing China which recognized Russias right to lands north of Manchuria.

Peter hired a navigator to explore what became known as the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska. 512Which Czar of Russia pickled the head of his wife's suspected lover and placed it in a glass jar on her bedside table, then later had his own son tortured to death? Your Answer: Peter the Great Peter (1672-1725) was not quite so great as he is made out to be. True, he did drag Russia into the 18th century, personally helped to build a formidable navy, and commissioned the building of St. Petersburg, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but there is a much darker side to Peter I - he was an out-of-control alcoholic, and may have had encephalitis as well.

The incident of the pickled head came about because Peter suspected his second wife, the Empress Catherine, had had an affair with his chamberlain. He had the man arrested on trumped-up bribery charges, executed in front of Catherine, and a few weeks later placed the pickled head in a jar beside her bed. The nerveless Catherine bore all this without flinching, and affected not to notice the grisly ornament. Peter, who was probably hoping she would do or say something to condemn herself, was eventually forced to admit defeat and had the jar moved to Russia's Museum of Fine Art where a horrified Catherine the Great came across it 50 years later.

Peter the Great13Catherine II of RussiaCatherine II (Russian: II , Yekaterina II Velikaya), also known as Catherine the Great, born 2 May , 1729. She was Empress of Russia from 9 July ,1762 until 17 November, 1796. Under her direct auspices the Russian Empire expanded, improved its administration, and continued to modernize along Western European lines. Catherine's rule re-vitalized Russia, which grew ever stronger and became recognized as one of the great powers of Europe. Her successes in complex foreign policy and her sometimes brutal reprisals in the wake of rebellion complemented her hectic private life. She frequently occasioned scandalgiven her propensity for lascivious relationships which often resulted in gossip flourishing within more than one European court.Catherine took power after a conspiracy deposed her husband, Peter III (17281762), and her reign saw the high point in the influence of the Russian nobility. Peter III, under pressure from the nobility, had already increased the authority of the great landed proprietors over their muzhiks and serfs.

14In spite of the duties imposed on the nobles by the first prominent "modernizer" of Russia, Tsar Peter I (16721725), and despite Catherine's friendships with the western European thinkers of the Enlightenment (in particular Denis Diderot, Voltaire and Montesquieu) Catherine found it impractical to improve the lot of her poorest subjects, who continued to suffer (for example) military conscription. The distinctions between peasant rights on votchina and pomestie estates virtually disappeared in law as well as in practice during her reign.In 1785 Catherine conferred on the nobility the Charter to the Nobility, increasing further the power of the landed oligarchs. Nobles in ea