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Catherine the Great ruled Russia from 1762 to 1796. She tried to modernize Russia in many different ways, ranging from economic reforms to governmental and even social reforms. Her reforms were not particularly effective, however, and Russia continued to be less modern than other European countries.
For example, Catherine tried to modernize the Russian economy by breaking down state monopolies over various areas of the economy. She modernized government by setting up different levels of government (like provinces and districts) so that the governing of the country could be more efficient. She even experimented with allowing greater freedom of speech.
Catherine the Great tried to modernize Russia in many ways, but did not really succeed.
Catherine the Great considered herself an Enlightened Monarch, and attempted to rule Russia in that fashion. She was not Russian herself; but was a German princess brought to Russia to be the bride of Peter III, a marriage which was a dismal failure. As Empress, Catherine limited the use of torture, allowed limited religious freedom, improved education, and strengthened local governments. In an attempt to Westernize Russia, she introduced the use of the French language at the Russian Court. However, her reforms were short-lived. A rebellion by Emilian Pugachev, who claimed to be her late husband Peter III, convinced her that the peasants were dangerous and reforms were a mistake. She then extended serfdom to areas where it had not existed and confiscated lands of the Orthodox Church which she gave to her favorite officials. She also participated in the Partition of Poland. By the time of her death, Russia was worse off than when she ascended the throne
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