What are some positive and negative effects that Peter the Great had on Russia?

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Peter the Great inherited an administration that was going through serious challenges. However, being a reformer, he set out to address some of the issues that faced his country. Like most leaders, he succeeded in some areas but also failed miserably in others.

Peter’s successful achievements include the following:

  • He...

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Peter the Great inherited an administration that was going through serious challenges. However, being a reformer, he set out to address some of the issues that faced his country. Like most leaders, he succeeded in some areas but also failed miserably in others.

Peter’s successful achievements include the following:

  • He established centers of higher learning
  • He started a newspaper to keep the public informed of the administration’s activities
  • He diversified Russian culture by introducing foreign influences to his people
  • Women attained some level of freedom under Peter’s administration
  • He improved the country’s offensive and defensive capabilities by establishing a navy and making improvements to the existing army
  • He greatly improved access to education for his people
  • He also improved trade due to the considerable expansion of the Russian territory

Some of the negative effects of Peter’s administration include the following:

  • He increased the tax burden for the lower class
  • The hefty taxes led to the widening gap between the different classes, which resulted in rising tensions between them
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Like most historical figures, Peter the Great was a complex person. He introduced a number of positive changes into Russia. Most prominently, he sought to "Westernize" Russia by importing Enlightenment ideas and technology. For example, he organized the government bureaucracy, modernized the Russian armed forces, and afforded women some new rights (such as the ability to attend public theatrical performances).

However, not all of Peter's accomplishments for positive. Peter believed that, in order for Russia to modernize, it must adopt western European culture as well as its ideas. For example, he forced all the Russian nobles to shave their beards. Additionally, he exacted heavy taxes to finance his Westernization projects. Finally, he instituted compulsory civil service, particularly for the nobility. This meant that nobles were forced to work for the government in some capacity, even if they did not want to. While well-intentioned, most people would consider these negative attributes. 

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