Name: Peter the Great

Alive: 1672-1725

Bio: Peter the Great ruled the Tsardom of Russia, which later became the Russian Empire, from 1682 until his death in 1696. Peter the Great turned the Tsardom into a much larger empire, becoming a major European power, through a serious of successful wars, such as the Great Northern War with Sweden. Peter the Great is known for his own ‘cultural revolution’ within which he abandoned traditional and medieval society, and replaced it with a more modern and westernized alternative, greatly influenced by the Enlightenment. His reforms made a lasting impact on Russia and some are still present in Russia’s modern day society.


“I have conquered an empire but I have not been able to conquer myself”

“It is my great desire to reform my subjects, and yet I am ashamed to confess that I am unable to reform myself”

Popular Culture:

“Peter the Great” – television mini-series, 1986

“The Sovereign’s Servant” – film, 2007

Further Reading:

  • Evgenii V. Anisimov and J.T. Alexander, The Reforms of Peter the Great: Progress Through Violence in Russia (2015)
  • James Cracraft, The Revolution of Peter the Great (2009)