Peter the Great Essay

Submitted By ckeen
Words: 1663
Pages: 7

Peter the Great and Russia
Being an absolutist, Peter I, tsar of Russia ruled with complete and unrestricted power, he was ruthless, fierce, and cruel but this is what helped Russia get to where it is today. Peter I was tsar of Russia between 1682 and 1725. (Peter the Great) In Peter’s 43 years of ruling he successfully brought Russia out of its old fashioned, disorganized state and modernized Russia by making reforms to its military, the political system, and economy of Russia. Peter built a successful professional army that had over 200000 men in it by the time he died in 1725, he also built Russia a navy from the ground up. Another one of Peter’s successful reforms was the reformation of Russia’s economic system, Peter stimulated industry and commerce by introducing the western idea of mercantilism which brought in the country revenue. Peter also reformed the country’s political system, but because of his absolutist beliefs the effort was not as successful as it could have been. In 1682 Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov began his co-reign of Russia with his brother Ivan V when he was only 10, at this time Russia was very backwards and rejected the idea of western modernization as a result Russia was seriously underdeveloped.(Ibid) Peter’s sister Sophia was their regent while he was underage until she created chaos and Peter dismissed her and sent her to a convent, Peter’s mother took over but after her death and the death of Ivan V Peter I was declared the Sovereign of Russia. During his reign Peter concentrated on modernizing Russia as he felt Russia was too far behind the other European countries and without change this could cause chaos. (Ibid).
Peter reformed Russia’s political system at three different levels, locally, provincially, and centrally. In 1699 towns were allowed to elect their own officials, collect revenue, and simulate trade and by 1702 they were governed by an elective board of people. In 1724 towns went back to governing themselves through elected guilds of better-off citizens. Peter’s provincial government was made of 12 “guberniia” run by gubnators who were directly answerable to Peter, each guberniia was divided into 40 provintsiia which were further divided into multiple uzedas.(Peter the Great(History Learning Site)) The biggest change Peter I made to the political system was to the Central government. In the beginning he was advised by a council and he carried his orders out through 40 different departments in the Prikazy. Each department had a specific duty but when orders crossed through 2 different departments it caused inefficiency. In 1711 Peter the Great appointed a nine man senate which evolved into a chief executive and highest court of appeal. This was supervised by army officials until 1722 when they were replaced by a procurator general, the position directly under Peter. In 1718 the Prikazy was abolished and 9 colleges with specific functions, run by 10-12 men were created. (History Learning Site)) Also Peter changed the laws of succession so that the Ruler gets to choose who will succeed him or her after their death. (Peter the Great Legacy and Heirs) The changes Peter made brought organization and modernization to the Russian government but because Peter was an absolutist it could not function up to it’s potential.
Peter was an autocrat and every decision had to go through him before it was made. He refused to delegate and allow people to make final decisions. He also focused his attention on the military instead of the civil service. As a result the political system of Russia did not change much. “The Russian Government remained what it had always been: a collection of irresponsible tyrannies, working through fear and softened occasionally by bribery, crudely carrying out their primeval tasks- the extracting of money and recruitment of men.” (Peter the Great(History Learning Site))
Peter also relocated the capital of Russia from Moscow to St. Petersburg in 1712. (Peter the