Catherine the Great fostered unity among her people, and although she was easily accepted by the masses, she endeavored to build strong relationships among the nobility and military elite.
She helped establish a strong foreign policy that sought to maintain peace. Her efforts towards promoting peace internally and externally accorded her an opportunity to pursue the much-needed reforms in her territory.
By employing reason in most of her decisions, Catherine’s administration was able to strengthen the confidence of the people. She pursued reforms in Russia’s legal system by supporting equal protection for the people.
The Russo-Turkish War ended in her favor with Russia taking over Southern Ukraine, Crimea and the Northern Caucasus. She later pursued peace with Turkey and made some gains which included sailing of Russian merchant ships in the Black Sea.
After an internal rebellion led by Cossack Pugachev, self-proclaimed Peter III, Catherine the Great sought to improve the provincial administrative authority of the nobility in order to ensure there was no resurgence of such rebellion.
She also built a number of cities to encourage human settlement and the growth of Russia’s general economy. Apart from supporting settlement in the vast Russian empire, she also lifted some trade restrictions for the benefit of the country’s economy.
Catherine the Great was the Empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796. During this time, she strengthened Russia considerably and in a number of ways:
- Catherine expanded Russia's territories and she strengthened Russia's influence over Poland through treaties with the Germanic states of Prussia and Austria. Territorial expansions included Crimea and Belarus.
- Catherine improved Russia's cultural and educational resources by drawing on her Prussian background and by building schools, art galleries and theaters, including a school for girls in St. Petersburg.
- Catherine at first supported the Orthodox Church but then controlled and taxed it because of its extensive landholdings.