Peter I
Portrait by Jean-Marc Nattier, 1717
Emperor of Russia
Reign2 November 1721 – 8 February 1725
PredecessorHimself as Tsar of Russia
SuccessorCatherine I
Tsar of all Russia
Reign7 May 1682 – 2 November 1721
Coronation25 June 1682
PredecessorFeodor III
SuccessorHimself as Emperor of Russia
Co-monarchIvan V (1682–1696)
RegentSophia Alekseyevna (1682–1689)
Born(1672-06-09)9 June 1672
Moscow, Tsardom of Russia
Died8 February 1725(1725-02-08) (aged 52)
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
(m. 1689; div. 1698)
Marta Skowrońska (later Catherine I)
(m. 1707)
Peter Alekseyevich Romanov
FatherAlexis of Russia
MotherNatalya Naryshkina
ReligionRussian Orthodoxy
SignaturePeter I's signature
Military career

Peter I (Russian: Пётр I Алексеевич, romanizedPyotr I Alekseyevich,[note 1] IPA: [ˈpʲɵtr ɐlʲɪˈksʲejɪvʲɪtɕ]; 9 June [O.S. 30 May] 1672 – 8 February [O.S. 28 January] 1725), commonly known as Peter the Great,[note 2] was Tsar of all Russia from 1682, and the first Emperor of all Russia from 1721 until his death in 1725. He reigned jointly with his half-brother Ivan V until 1696. From this year, Peter was an absolute monarch who remained the ultimate authority. His methods were often harsh and autocratic.

Most of Peter's reign was consumed by long wars against the Ottoman and Swedish Empires. Despite initial difficulties, the wars were ultimately successful and led to expansion to the Sea of Azov and the Baltic Sea, thus laying the groundwork for the Imperial Russian Navy. His victory in the Great Northern War ended Sweden's era as a great power and its domination of the Baltic region while elevating Russia's standing to the extent it came to be acknowledged as an empire. Peter led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political systems with ones that were modern, scientific, Westernized, and based on radical Enlightenment.[2]

In 1700, he introduced the Gregorian calendar but the Russian Orthodox Church was particularly resistant to this change; they wanted to maintain its distinct identity and avoid appearing influenced by Catholic practices.[citation needed] In 1703, he introduced the first Russian newspaper, Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti, and ordered the civil script, a reform of Russian orthography largely designed by himself. He founded the city of Saint Petersburg on the shore of the Neva as a "window to the West" in May 1703. In 1712 Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, where it remained – with only a brief interruption – until 1918. He promoted higher education and industrialization in the Russian Empire.

Peter had a great interest in plants, animals and minerals, in malformed creatures or exceptions to the law of nature for his cabinet of curiosities. He encouraged research of deformities, all along trying to debunk the superstitious fear of monsters.[3] The Russian Academy of Sciences and the Saint Petersburg State University were founded in 1724, a year before his death.

Peter is primarily credited with the modernization of the country, transforming it into a major European power. His administrative reforms, creating a Governing Senate in 1711, the Collegium in 1717 and the Table of Ranks in 1722 had a lasting impact on Russia, and many institutions of the Russian government trace their origins to his reign.

Early life

Peter the Great as a child

Peter was named after the apostle. He grew up at Izmaylovo Estate and was educated from an early age by several tutors commissioned by his father, Tsar Alexis of Russia, most notably Nikita Zotov, Patrick Gordon, and Paul Menesius. On 29 January 1676, Alexis died, leaving the sovereignty to Peter's elder half-brother, the weak and sickly Feodor III of Russia.[4] Throughout this period, the government was largely run by Artamon Matveev, an enlightened friend of Alexis, the political head of the Naryshkin family and one of Peter's greatest childhood benefactors.

This position changed when Feodor died in 1682. As Feodor did not leave any children, a dispute arose between the Miloslavsky family (Maria Miloslavskaya was the first wife of Alexis I) and Naryshkin family (Natalya Naryshkina was his second) over who should inherit the throne. He jointly ruled with his elder half-brother, Ivan V, until 1696. Ivan, was next in line but was chronically ill and of infirm mind. Consequently, the Boyar Duma (a council of Russian nobles) chose the 10-year-old Peter to become Tsar, with his mother as regent.

This arrangement was brought before the people of Moscow, as ancient tradition demanded, and was ratified. Sophia, one of Alexis' daughters from his first marriage, led a rebellion of the Streltsy (Russia's elite military corps) in April–May 1682. In the subsequent conflict, some of Peter's relatives and friends were murdered, including Artamon Matveyev, and Peter witnessed some of these acts of political violence.[5]

The Streltsy made it possible for Sophia, the Miloslavskys (the clan of Ivan) and their allies to insist that Peter and Ivan be proclaimed joint Tsars, with Ivan being acclaimed as the senior. Sophia then acted as regent during the minority of the sovereigns and exercised all power. For seven years, she ruled as an autocrat. A large hole was cut in the back of the dual-seated throne used by Ivan and Peter. Sophia would sit behind the throne and listen as Peter conversed with nobles, while feeding him information and giving him responses to questions and problems. He lived at Preobrazhenskoye. This throne can be seen in the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow.

Peter's ship, rigged with a sail and a mast with the help of Dutch carpenters

At the age of 16, Peter discovered an English boat on the estate, had it restored and learned to sail. He received a sextant, but did not know how to use the instrument. Therefore, he began a search for a foreign expert in the German Quarter. Peter befriended two Dutch carpenters, Frans Timmerman and Karsten Brandt, and several other foreigners in Russian service. Peter studied arithmetic, geometry, and military sciences. He was not interested in a musical education but seems to have liked fireworks and drumming.

Peter was not particularly concerned that others ruled in his name. He engaged in such pastimes as shipbuilding and sailing, as well as mock battles with his toy army. Peter's mother sought to force him to adopt a more conventional approach and arranged his marriage to Eudoxia Lopukhina in 1689.[6] The marriage was a failure, and ten years later Peter forced his wife to become a nun and thus freed himself from the union.

By the summer of 1689, Peter, planned to take power from his half-sister Sophia, whose position had been weakened by two unsuccessful Crimean campaigns against the Crimean Khanate in an attempt to stop devastating Crimean Tatar raids into Russia's southern lands. When she learned of his designs, Sophia conspired with some leaders of the Streltsy, who continually aroused disorder and dissent. Peter, warned by others from the Streltsy, escaped in the middle of the night to the impenetrable monastery of Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra; there he slowly gathered adherents who perceived he would win the power struggle. Sophia was eventually overthrown, with Peter I and Ivan V continuing to act as co-tsars. Peter forced Sophia to enter a convent, where she gave up her name and her position as a member of the royal family.[7]

Peter's palace on the Yauza River in Moscow

Still, Peter could not acquire actual control over Russian affairs. Power was instead exercised by his mother, Natalya Naryshkina. It was only when Natalya died in 1694 that Peter, then aged 22, became an independent sovereign.[8] Formally, Ivan V was a co-ruler with Peter, though being ineffective. Peter became the sole ruler when Ivan died in 1696 without male offspring, two years later.

Peter grew to be extremely tall, especially for the time period, reportedly standing 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m).[8] Peter had noticeable facial tics, and he may have suffered from petit mal seizures, a form of epilepsy.[9] Meanwhile, he was a frequent guest in German quarter, where he met Anna and Willem Mons.

Ideology of Peter's reign

As a young man, Peter I adopted the Protestant model of existence in a pragmatic world of competition and personal success, which largely shaped the philosophy of his reformism. He perceived the Russian people as rude, unintelligent, stubborn in their sluggishness, a child, a lazy student. He highly appreciated the state's role in the life of society, saw it as an ideal instrument for achieving high goals, saw it as a universal institution for transforming people, with the help of violence and fear, into educated, conscious, law-abiding and useful to the whole society subjects.[1]

He introduced into the concept of the autocrat's power the notion of the monarch's duties. He considered it necessary to take care of his subjects, to protect them from enemies, to work for their benefit. Above all, he put the interests of Russia. He saw his mission in turning it into a power similar to Western countries, and subordinated his own life and the lives of his subjects to the realization of this idea. Gradually penetrated the idea that the task should be solved with the help of reforms, which will be carried out at the autocrat's will, who creates good and punishes evil. He considered the morality of a statesman separately from the morality of a private person and believed that the sovereign in the name of state interests can go to murder, violence, forgery and deceit.[1]

He went through the naval service, starting from the lowest ranks: bombardier (1695), captain (1696), colonel (1706), schout-bij-nacht (1709), vice-admiral (1714), admiral (1721). By hard daily work (according to the figurative expression of Peter the Great himself, he was simultaneously "forced to hold a sword and a quill in one right hand") and courageous behavior he demonstrated to his subjects his personal positive example, showed how to act, fully devoting himself to the fulfillment of duty and service to the fatherland.[1]


The Tsardom of Russia, c. 1700
Capture of Azov, 1696, by Robert Ker Porter

Peter implemented sweeping reforms aimed at modernizing Russia.[10] Heavily influenced by his advisors from Western Europe, Peter reorganized the Russian army along modern lines and dreamed of making Russia a maritime power. He faced much opposition to these policies at home but brutally suppressed rebellions against his authority, including by the Streltsy, Bashkirs, Astrakhan, and the greatest civil uprising of his reign, the Bulavin Rebellion.

Peter implemented social modernization in an absolute manner by introducing French and western dress to his court and requiring courtiers, state officials, and the military to shave their beards and adopt modern clothing styles.[11] One means of achieving this end was the introduction of taxes for long beards and robes in September 1698.[12]

In his process to westernize Russia, he wanted members of his family to marry other European royalty. In the past, his ancestors had been snubbed at the idea, but now, it was proving fruitful. He negotiated with Frederick William, Duke of Courland to marry his niece, Anna Ivanovna. He used the wedding in order to launch his new capital, St Petersburg, where he had already ordered building projects of westernized palaces and buildings. Peter hired Italian and German architects to design it.[13]

As part of his reforms, Peter started an industrialization effort that was slow but eventually successful. Russian manufacturing and main exports were based on the mining and lumber industries. For example, by the end of the century Russia came to export more iron than any other country in the world.[14]

To improve his nation's position on the seas, Peter sought more maritime outlets. His only outlet at the time was the White Sea at Arkhangelsk. The Baltic Sea was at the time controlled by Sweden in the north, while the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea were controlled by the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Empire respectively in the south.

Peter attempted to acquire control of the Black Sea, which would require expelling the Tatars from the surrounding areas. As part of an agreement with Poland that ceded Kiev to Russia, Peter was forced to wage war against the Crimean Khan and against the Khan's overlord, the Ottoman Sultan. Peter's primary objective became the capture of the Ottoman fortress of Azov, near the Don River. In the summer of 1695 Peter organized the Azov campaigns to take the fortress, but his attempts ended in failure.

Peter returned to Moscow in November 1695 and began building a large navy in Voronezh. He launched about thirty ships against the Ottomans in 1696, capturing Azov in July of that year.

Grand Embassy

Main article: Grand Embassy of Peter the Great

Abraham Storck- Spectacle on the Amstel river, August 1697
The frigate Pieter and Paul on the IJ while Peter stands on the small ship on the right. Painting by A. Storck. This ship sank on his second voyage.
Joseph Mulder (1726) - View on the VOC wharf and warehouse
Portrait of Peter I by Godfrey Kneller, 1698. This portrait was Peter's gift to the King of England.

Peter knew that Russia could not face the Ottoman Empire alone. In 1697, he traveled "incognito" to Western Europe on an 18-month journey with a large Russian delegation–the so-called "Grand Embassy". He used a fake name, allowing him to escape social and diplomatic events, but since he was far taller than most others, he could not fool anyone. One goal was to seek the aid of European monarchs, but Peter's hopes were dashed. France was a traditional ally of the Ottoman Sultan, and Austria was eager to maintain peace in the east while conducting its own wars in the west. Peter, furthermore, had chosen an inopportune moment: the Europeans at the time were more concerned about the War of the Spanish Succession over who would succeed the childless King Charles II of Spain than about fighting the Ottoman Sultan.[6]

In Königsberg, the Tsar was apprenticed for two months to an artillery engineer. In July he met Sophia of Hanover at Coppenbrügge castle. She described him: "The tsar is a tall, handsome man, with an attractive face. He has a lively mind is very witty. Only, someone so well endowed by nature could be a little better mannered."[15] Peter rented a ship in Emmerich am Rhein and sailed to Zaandam, where he arrived on 18 August 1697. He studied saw-mills, manufacturing and shipbuilding but left after a week.[16][note 3] Through the mediation of Nicolaas Witsen, an expert on Russia, the Tsar was given the opportunity to gain practical experience in shipyard, belonging to the Dutch East India Company, for a period of four months, under the supervision of Gerrit Claesz Pool. The diligent and capable Tsar assisted in the construction of an East Indiaman ship Peter and Paul specially laid down for him. During his stay the Tsar engaged many skilled workers such as builders of locks, fortresses, shipwrights, and seamen—including Cornelis Cruys, a vice-admiral who became, under Franz Lefort, the Tsar's advisor in maritime affairs. Peter later put his knowledge of shipbuilding to use in helping build Russia's navy.[17]

Peter felt that the ship's carpenters in Holland worked too much by eye and lacked accurate construction drawings. On 11 January 1698 (Old Style) Peter arrived at Victoria Embankment with four chamberlains, three interpreters, two clock makers, a cook, a priest, six trumpeters, 70 soldiers from the Preobrazhensky regiment, four dwarfs and a monkey. Peter stayed at 21 Norfolk Street, Strand and met with King William III and Gilbert Burnet, attended a session of the Royal Society, received a doctorate from Oxford University, trained a telescope on Venus at the Greenwich Observatory, and saw a Fleet Review by Royal Navy at Deptford. He studied the English techniques of city-building he would later use to great effect at Saint Petersburg.[18] At the end of April 1698 he left after learning to make watches, carpenting coffins and posing for Sir Godfrey Kneller.

The Embassy next went to Leipzig, Dresden, Prague and Vienna. Peter spoke with Augustus II the Strong and Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor.[18] Peter's visit was cut short, when he was forced to rush home by a rebellion of the Streltsy. The rebellion was easily crushed before Peter returned home; of the Tsar's troops, only one was killed. Peter nevertheless acted ruthlessly towards the mutineers. Over one thousand two hundred of the rebels were tortured and executed, and Peter ordered that their bodies be publicly exhibited as a warning to future conspirators.[19] The Streltsy were disbanded, some of the rebels were deported to Siberia, and the individual they sought to put on the Throne — Peter's half-sister Sophia — was forced to become a nun.

Peter's visits to the West impressed upon him the notion that European customs were in several respects superior to Russian traditions. He commanded all of his courtiers and officials to wear European clothing and cut off their long beards, causing his Boyars, who were very fond of their beards, great upset.[20] Boyars who sought to retain their beards were required to pay an annual beard tax of one hundred rubles. Peter also sought to end arranged marriages, which were the norm among the Russian nobility, because he thought such a practice was barbaric and led to domestic violence, since the partners usually resented each other.[21]

In 1698, Peter I instituted a beard tax to modernize Russian society. In the same year Peter sent a delegation to Malta, under boyar Boris Sheremetev, to observe the training and abilities of the Knights of Malta and their fleet. Sheremetev investigated the possibility of future joint ventures with the Knights, including action against the Turks and the possibility of a future Russian naval base.[22] On 12 September 1698, Peter officially founded the first Russian Navy base, Taganrog on the Sea of Azov.

In 1699, Peter changed the date of the celebration of the new year from 1 September to 1 January. Traditionally, the years were reckoned from the purported creation of the World, but after Peter's reforms, they were to be counted from the birth of Christ. Thus, in the year 7207 of the old Russian calendar, Peter proclaimed that the Julian Calendar was in effect and the year was 1700.[23] On the death of Lefort in 1699, Menshikov succeeded him as Peter's prime favourite and confidant. In 1701, the Moscow School of Mathematics and Navigation was founded; for fifteen years, not only naval officers, but also surveyors, engineers, and gunners were educated there.[24]

Great Northern War

Main article: Great Northern War

Peter I of Russia pacifies his marauding troops after retaking Narva in 1704, by Nikolay Sauerweid, 1859
Interior of Peter's log cabin
Peter the Great Meditating the Idea of Building St Petersburg at the Shore of the Baltic Sea, by Alexandre Benois, 1916
Peter I in the Battle of Poltava, a mosaic by Mikhail Lomonosov
Herengracht 527 and 529. The mansion on the left was rented out to the Tsar during his second visit.
First Winter Palace

Peter made a temporary peace with the Ottoman Empire that allowed him to keep the captured fort of Azov, and turned his attention to Russian maritime supremacy. He sought to acquire control of the Baltic Sea, which had been taken by the Swedish Empire a half-century earlier. Peter declared war on Sweden, which was at the time led by the young King Charles XII. Sweden was also opposed by Denmark–Norway, Saxony, and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Preobrazhensky regiment took part in all major battles of the Great Northern War.

Russia was ill-prepared to fight the Swedes, and their first attempt at seizing the Baltic coast ended in disaster at the Battle of Narva in 1700. In the conflict, the forces of Charles XII, rather than employ a slow methodical siege, attacked immediately using a blinding snowstorm to their advantage. After the battle, Charles XII decided to concentrate his forces against the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, which gave Peter time to reorganize the Russian army. He invited Nicolaas Bidloo to organize a military hospital. In 1701, Peter the Great signed a decree on the opening of Moscow School of Mathematics and Navigation.

While the Poles fought the Swedes, Peter founded the city of Saint Petersburg on 29 June 1703, in Ingermanland (a province of the Swedish Empire that he had captured). It was named after his patron saint Saint Peter. He forbade the building of stone edifices outside Saint Petersburg, which he intended to become Russia's capital, so that all stonemasons could participate in the construction of the new city. Peter moved the capital to St. Petersburg in 1703. While the city was being built along the Neva he lived in a modest three-room log cabin (with a study but without a fire-place) which had to make room for the first version of the Winter palace. The first buildings which appeared were the Peter and Paul Fortress, a shipyard at the Admiralty and Alexander Nevsky Lavra.

Following several defeats, Polish King Augustus II the Strong abdicated in 1706. Swedish king Charles XII turned his attention to Russia, invading it in 1708. After crossing into Russia, Charles defeated Peter at Golovchin in July. In the Battle of Lesnaya, Charles suffered his first loss after Peter crushed a group of Swedish reinforcements marching from Riga. Deprived of this aid, Charles was forced to abandon his proposed march on Moscow.[25]

Charles XII refused to retreat to Poland or back to Sweden and instead invaded Ukraine. Peter withdrew his army southward, employing scorched earth, destroying along the way anything that could assist the Swedes. Deprived of local supplies, the Swedish army was forced to halt its advance in the winter of 1708–1709. In the summer of 1709, they resumed their efforts to capture Russian-ruled Ukraine, culminating in the Battle of Poltava on 27 June. The battle was a decisive defeat for the Swedish forces, ending Charles' campaign in Ukraine and forcing him south to seek refuge in the Ottoman Empire. Russia had defeated what was considered to be one of the world's best militaries, and the victory overturned the view that Russia was militarily incompetent. In Poland, Augustus II was restored as King.

Peter, overestimating the support he would receive from his Balkan allies, attacked the Ottoman Empire, initiating the Russo-Turkish War of 1710.[26] Peter's campaign in the Ottoman Empire was disastrous, and in the ensuing Treaty of the Pruth, Peter was forced to return the Black Sea ports he had seized in 1697.[26] In return, the Sultan expelled Charles XII.

The Ottomans called him Mad Peter (Turkish: deli Petro), for his willingness to sacrifice large numbers of his troops in wartime.[27] Peter I loved all sorts of rarities and curiosities. In 1704 Abram Petrovich Gannibal, a child with Ethiopian origin, was presented to him; in 1716 Peter took him to Paris.

In 1711, Peter established by decree a new state body known as the Governing Senate.[28] Normally, the Boyar duma would have exercised power during his absence. Peter, however, mistrusted the boyars; he instead abolished the Duma and created a Senate of ten members. The Senate was founded as the highest state institution to supervise all judicial, financial and administrative affairs. Originally established only for the time of the monarch's absence, the Senate became a permanent body after his return. A special high official, the Ober-Procurator, served as the link between the ruler and the senate and acted, in Peter own words, as "the sovereign's eye". Without his signature no Senate decision could go into effect; the Senate became one of the most important institutions of Imperial Russia.[29]

Peter I at Krasnaya Gorka Lighting a Fire on the Shore to Signal to his Sinking Ships; the Russian Baltic Fleet first went to sea in full force, – to help the Russian troops besieging Viborg, – the fleet got caught in a storm.[30] Painting by Ivan Aivazovsky (1846).
Portrait of Peter by Pyotr Drozhdin (1795). Russian Museum.
Peter completely reformed the Russian army along western lines. This depiction shows an infantryman from 1704 installing a plug bayonet.

1712, Peter I issued a decree establishing an Engineering School in Moscow, which was supposed to recruit up to 150 students, and two-thirds of them were to consist of nobles.[31] Therefore, on 28 February 1714, he issued a decree calling for compulsory education, which dictated that all Russian 10- to 15-year-old children of the nobility, government clerks, and lesser-ranked officials must learn basic mathematics and geometry, and should be tested on the subjects at the end of their studies.[32]

Peter's northern armies took the Swedish province of Livonia (the northern half of modern Latvia, and the southern half of modern Estonia), driving the Swedes out of Finland. In 1714 the Russian fleet won the Battle of Gangut. Most of Finland was occupied by the Russians.

In 1716, the Tsar visited Riga, and Danzig in January, Stettin, and obtained the assistance of the Electorate of Hanover and the Kingdom of Prussia fighting a war against Sweden at Wismar. He was forced to leave Mecklenburg. In Altona he met with Danish diplomats. He went on to Bad Pyrmont in May/June, because of an illness he stayed at this spa. He arrived in Amsterdam in December, where he bought some interesting collections: those of Frederik Ruysch, Levinus Vincent and Albertus Seba and paintings by Maria Sibylla Merian for his Kunstkamera. He visited a silk manufacture and a paper-mill, and learned to create paper and to spin silk. He visited Herman Boerhaave and Carel de Moor in Leiden and ordered two mercury thermometers from Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit and instruments from Musschenbroek. In April 1717 he continued his travel from Flushing to Brussels in the Austrian Netherlands and Dunkirk, Calais, Paris, where he obtained many books and proposed a marriage between his daughter and King Louis XV. Saint-Simon described him as "tall, well-formed and slim…with a look both bewildered and fierce." Via Reims, and Spa Peter travelled on to Maastricht, at that time one of the most important fortresses in Europe, where he was received by Daniël van Dopff, the commander of the fortress. He went back to Amsterdam and visited the Hortus Botanicus and left the city early September.[33]

The Tsar's navy was powerful enough that the Russians could penetrate Sweden. Still, Charles XII refused to yield, and not until his death in battle in 1718 did peace become feasible. After the battle near Åland, Sweden made peace with all powers but Russia by 1720. In 1721, the Treaty of Nystad ended the Great Northern War. Russia acquired Ingria, Estonia, Livonia, and a substantial portion of Karelia. In turn, Russia paid two million Riksdaler and surrendered most of Finland. The Tsar retained some Finnish lands close to Saint Petersburg, which he had made his capital in 1712.[34] Between 1713 and 1728, and from 1732 to 1918, Saint Petersburg was the capital of imperial Russia.


Following his victory in the Great Northern War, he adopted the title of emperor in 1721.[35]

By the grace of God, the most excellent and great sovereign emperor Pyotr Alekseevich the ruler of all the Russias: of Moscow, of Kiev, of Vladimir, of Novgorod, Tsar of Kazan, Tsar of Astrakhan and Tsar of Siberia, sovereign of Pskov, great prince of Smolensk, of Tver, of Yugorsk, of Perm, of Vyatka, of Bulgaria and others, sovereign and great prince of the Novgorod Lower lands, of Chernigov, of Ryazan, of Rostov, of Yaroslavl, of Belozersk, of Udora, of Kondia and the sovereign of all the northern lands, and the sovereign of the Iverian lands, of the Kartlian and Georgian Kings, of the Kabardin lands, of the Circassian and Mountain princes and many other states and lands western and eastern here and there and the successor and sovereign and ruler.

Later years

His small wooden palace in Strelna, designed by Le Blond around 1714, had a botanical garden
Diamond order of Peter the Great

In 1717, Alexander Bekovich-Cherkassky led the first Russian military expedition into Central Asia against the Khanate of Khiva. The expedition ended in complete disaster when the entire expeditionary force was slaughtered.

In 1718, Peter investigated why the formerly Swedish province of Livonia was so orderly. He discovered that the Swedes spent as much administering Livonia (300 times smaller than his empire) as he spent on the entire Russian bureaucracy. He was forced to dismantle the province's government.[36]

Peter the Great's Assembly by Stanisław Chlebowski

To the end of 1717, the preparatory phase of administrative reform in Russia was completed. After 1718, Peter established colleges in place of the old central agencies of government, including foreign affairs, war, navy, expense, income, justice, and inspection. Later others were added, to regulate mining and industry. Each college consisted of a president, a vice-president, a number of councilors and assessors, and a procurator. Some foreigners were included in various colleges but not as president. Peter did not have enough loyal, talented or educated persons to put in full charge of the various departments. Peter preferred to rely on groups of individuals who would keep check on one another.[37] Decisions depended on the majority vote.

Peter's last years were marked by further reform in Russia. On 22 October 1721, soon after peace was made with Sweden, he was officially proclaimed Emperor of All Russia. Some proposed that he take the title Emperor of the East, but he refused. Gavrila Golovkin, the State Chancellor, was the first to add "the Great, Father of His Country, Emperor of All the Russias" to Peter's traditional title Tsar following a speech by the archbishop of Pskov in 1721. Peter's imperial title was recognized by Augustus II of Poland, Frederick William I of Prussia, and Frederick I of Sweden, but not by the other European monarchs. In the minds of many, the word emperor connoted superiority or pre-eminence over kings. Several rulers feared that Peter would claim authority over them, just as the Holy Roman Emperor had claimed suzerainty over all Christian nations.

In 1722, Peter created a new order of precedence known as the Table of Ranks. Formerly, precedence had been determined by birth. To deprive the Boyars of their high positions, Peter directed that precedence should be determined by merit and service to the Emperor. The Table of Ranks continued to remain in effect until the Russian monarchy was overthrown in 1917.

The once powerful Persian Safavid Empire to the south was in deep decline. Taking advantage of the profitable situation, Peter launched the Russo-Persian War of 1722–1723, otherwise known as "The Persian Expedition of Peter the Great", which drastically increased Russian influence for the first time in the Caucasus and Caspian Sea region, and prevented the Ottoman Empire from making territorial gains in the region. After considerable success and the capture of many provinces and cities in the Caucasus and northern mainland Persia, the Safavids were forced to hand over territory to Russia, comprising Derbent, Shirvan, Gilan, Mazandaran, Baku, and Astrabad. Within twelve years all the territories were ceded back to Persia, now led by the charismatic military genius Nader Shah, as part of the Treaty of Resht, the Treaty of Ganja, and as the result of a Russo-Persian alliance against the Ottoman Empire, which was the common enemy of both.[38]

Peter introduced new taxes to fund improvements in Saint Petersburg. He abolished the land tax and household tax and replaced them with a poll tax. The taxes on land and on households were payable only by individuals who owned property or maintained families. The new head taxes were payable by serfs and paupers. In 1725 the construction of Peterhof, a palace near Saint Petersburg, was completed. Peterhof (Dutch for "Peter's Court") was a grand residence, becoming known as the "Russian Versailles".

Illness and death

Peter the Great on his deathbed, by Nikitin

In the winter of 1723, Peter, whose overall health was never robust, began having problems with his urinary tract and bladder. In the summer of 1724, a team of doctors performed surgery releasing upwards of four pounds of blocked urine. Peter remained bedridden until late autumn. In the first week of October, restless and certain he was cured, Peter began a lengthy inspection tour of various projects. According to legend, in November, at Lakhta along the Gulf of Finland to inspect some ironworks, Peter saw a group of soldiers drowning near shore and, wading out into near-waist deep water, came to their rescue.[39]

This icy water rescue is said to have exacerbated Peter's bladder problems and caused his death. The story, however, has been viewed with skepticism by some historians, pointing out that the German chronicler Jacob von Staehlin is the only source for the story, and it seems unlikely that no one else would have documented such an act of heroism. This, plus the interval of time between these actions and Peter's death seems to preclude any direct link.[citation needed]

In early January 1725, Peter was struck once again with uremia. Legend has it that before lapsing into unconsciousness Peter asked for a paper and pen and scrawled an unfinished note that read: "Leave all to ..." and then, exhausted by the effort, asked for his daughter Anna to be summoned.[note 4]

Peter died between four and five in the morning 8 February 1725. An autopsy revealed his bladder to be infected with gangrene.[9] He was fifty-two years, seven months old when he died, having reigned forty-two years. He is interred in Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

After the death of Peter I, there were immediately students who came to the Military College with a request to "leave science" under the pretext of "unconsciousness and incomprehensibility."[40]


The 1782 statue of Peter I in Saint Petersburg, informally known as the Bronze Horseman. Saint Isaac's Cathedral is in the background.

Peter did not believe in miracles and founded The All-Joking, All-Drunken Synod of Fools and Jesters,[41] an organization that mocked the Orthodox and Catholic Church when he was eighteen. In January 1695, Peter refused to partake in a traditional Russian Orthodox ceremony of the Epiphany Ceremony, and would often schedule events for The All-Joking, All-Drunken Synod of Fools and Jesters to directly conflict with the Church.[42] He often used the nickname Pakhom Mikhailov (Russian: Пахом Михайлов) among the ministers of religion who made up his relatively close circle of long-term drinking companions. He drank less than the others, deliberately getting the others drunk in order to listen to their drunken conversations.[1]

Peter was brought up in the Russian Orthodox faith, but he had low regard for the Church hierarchy, which he kept under tight governmental control. The traditional leader of the Church was the Patriarch of Moscow. In 1700, when the office fell vacant, Peter refused to name a replacement, allowing the patriarch's coadjutor (or deputy) to discharge the duties of the office. Peter could not tolerate the patriarch exercising power superior to the tsar, as indeed had happened in the case of Philaret (1619–1633) and Nikon (1652–66). In 1716 he invited Theophan Prokopovich to come to the capital. In 1718 he ordered to translate the "Introduction to European History" (a work by Samuel Pufendorf); the Ecclesiastical Regulations of 1721 are based on it. The Church reform of Peter the Great therefore abolished the patriarchate, replacing it with a Holy Synod that was under the control of a Procurator, and the tsar appointed all bishops.[citation needed]

In 1721, Peter followed the advice of Prokopovich in designing the Holy Synod as a council of ten clergymen. For leadership in the Church, Peter turned increasingly to Ukrainians, who were more open to reform, but were not well loved by the Russian clergy. Peter implemented a law that stipulated that no Russian man could join a monastery before the age of fifty. He felt that too many able Russian men were being wasted on clerical work when they could be joining his new and improved army.[43][44]

A clerical career was not a route chosen by upper-class society. Most parish priests were sons of priests and were very poorly educated and paid. The monks in the monasteries had a slightly higher status; they were not allowed to marry. Politically, the Church was impotent.[45]

Marriages and family

Peter I interrogating his son Alexei, a painting by Nikolai Ge (1871)
Peter the Great with a black page, by Gustav von Mardefeld.[46]

Peter the Great had two wives, with whom he had fifteen children, three of whom survived to adulthood. Peter's mother selected his first wife, Eudoxia Lopukhina, with the advice of other nobles in 1689.[47] This was consistent with previous Romanov tradition by choosing a daughter of a minor noble. This was done to prevent fighting between the stronger noble houses and to bring fresh blood into the family.[48] He also had a mistress from Westphalia, Anna Mons.[47]

Upon his return from his European tour in 1698, Peter sought to end his unhappy marriage. He divorced the Tsaritsa and forced her to join a convent.[47] She had borne him three children, although only one, Alexei Petrovich, Tsarevich of Russia, had survived past his childhood.

Menshikov introduced him to Marta Helena Skowrońska, a Polish-Lithuanian peasant, and took her as a mistress some time between 1702 and 1704.[49] Marta converted to the Russian Orthodox Church and was given the name Catherine.[50] Though no record exists, Catherine and Peter married secretly between 23 Oct and 1 December 1707 in St. Petersburg.[51] Peter valued Catherine and married officially, at Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg on 19 February 1712.

His eldest child and heir, Alexei, was suspected of being involved in a plot to overthrow the Emperor. Alexei was tried and confessed under torture during questioning conducted by a secular court (count Tolstoy). He was convicted and sentenced to be executed. The sentence could only be carried out with Peter's signed authorization, and Alexei died in prison, as Peter hesitated before making the decision. Alexei's death most likely resulted from injuries suffered during his torture.[52] Alexei's mother Eudoxia was punished. She was dragged from her home, tried on false charges of adultery, publicly flogged, and confined in monasteries while being forbidden to be talked to.

In 1724, Peter had his second wife, Catherine, crowned as Empress, although he remained Russia's actual ruler.


By his two wives, he had fifteen children: three by Eudoxia and twelve by Catherine. These included four sons named Pavel and three sons named Peter, all of whom died in infancy. Only three of his children survived to adulthood. He also had three grandchildren: Tsar Peter II and Grand Duchess Natalia by Alexei and Tsar Peter III by Anna.

Name Birth Death Notes
By Eudoxia Lopukhina
Alexei Petrovich, Tsarevich of Russia 18 February 1690[53] 26 June 1718,[53] age 28 Married 1711, Charlotte Christine of Brunswick-Lüneburg; had issue, Peter II.
Alexander Petrovich 13 October 1691 14 May 1692, age 7 months  
Pavel Petrovich 1693 1693  
By Catherine I
Peter Petrovich Winter 1704[53] 1707[53] Born and died before the official marriage of his parents
Paul Petrovich October 1705[53] 1707[53] Born and died before the official marriage of his parents
Catherine Petrovna 7 February 1707[53] 7 August 1708[53] Born and died before the official marriage of her parents
Anna Petrovna 27 January 1708 15 May 1728 Married 1725, Karl Friedrich, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp; had issue, Peter III.
Yelisaveta Petrovna,
later Empress Elizabeth
29 December 1709 5 January 1762 Reputedly married 1742, Alexei Grigorievich, Count Razumovsky; no issue
Maria Natalia Petrovna 20 March 1713 17 May 1715
Margarita Petrovna 19 September 1714 7 June 1715
Peter Petrovich 9 November 1715 6 May 1719
Pavel Petrovich 13 January 1717 14 January 1717 in Wesel
Natalia Petrovna 31 August 1718 15 March 1725
Peter Petrovich 7 October 1723 7 October 1723 born and died same day
Pavel Petrovich 1724 1724

Mistresses and illegitimate children


A posthumous portrait of Peter the Great, by Paul Delaroche, c. 1838
Head (original) of the model after which the monument by Falconet was cast in gypsum by Marie-Anne Collot. Russian Museum, Saint-Petersburg.

Peter's legacy has always been a major concern of Russian intellectuals. Riasanovsky points to a "paradoxical dichotomy" in the black and white images such as God/Antichrist, educator/ignoramus, architect of Russia's greatness/destroyer of national culture, father of his country/scourge of the common man.[60] Voltaire's 1759 biography gave 18th-century Russians a man of the Enlightenment, while Alexander Pushkin's "The Bronze Horseman" poem of 1833 gave a powerful romantic image of a creator-god.[61][62][63] Slavophiles in mid-19th century deplored Peter's westernization of Russia.

Western writers and political analysts recounted "The Testimony" or secret will of Peter the Great. It supposedly revealed his grand evil plot for Russia to control the world via conquest of Constantinople, Afghanistan and India. It was a forgery made in Paris at Napoleon's command when he started his invasion of Russia in 1812. Nevertheless, it is still quoted in foreign policy circles.[64]

The Communists executed the last Romanovs, and their historians such as Mikhail Pokrovsky presented strongly negative views of the entire dynasty. Stalin however admired how Peter strengthened the state, and wartime, diplomacy, industry, higher education, and government administration. Stalin wrote in 1928, "when Peter the Great, who had to deal with more developed countries in the West, feverishly built works in factories for supplying the army and strengthening the country's defenses, this was an original attempt to leap out of the framework of backwardness."[65] As a result, Soviet historiography emphasizes both the positive achievement and the negative factor of oppressing the common people.[66]

After the fall of Communism in 1991, scholars and the general public in Russia and the West gave fresh attention to Peter and his role in Russian history. His reign is now seen as the decisive formative event in the Russian imperial past. Many new ideas have merged, such as whether he strengthened the autocratic state or whether the tsarist regime was not statist enough given its small bureaucracy.[67] Modernization models have become contested ground.[68]

He initiated a wide range of economic, social, political, administrative, educational and military reforms which ended the dominance of traditionalism and religion in Russia and initiated its westernization. His efforts included secularization of education, organization of administration for effective governance, enhanced use of technology, establishing an industrial economy, modernization of the army and establishment of a strong navy.[69]

Historian Y. Vodarsky said in 1993 that Peter, "did not lead the country on the path of accelerated economic, political and social development, did not force it to 'achieve a leap' through several stages.... On the contrary, these actions to the greatest degree put a brake on Russia's progress and created conditions for holding it back for one and a half centuries!" [70] The autocratic powers that Stalin admired appeared as a liability to Evgeny Anisimov, who complained that Peter was, "the creator of the administrative command system and the true ancestor of Stalin."[71]

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, "He did not completely bridge the gulf between Russia and the Western countries, but he achieved considerable progress in development of the national economy and trade, education, science and culture, and foreign policy. Russia became a great power, without whose concurrence no important European problem could thenceforth be settled. His internal reforms achieved progress to an extent that no earlier innovator could have envisaged."[72]

While the cultural turn in historiography has downplayed diplomatic, economic and constitutional issues, new cultural roles have been found for Peter, for example in architecture and dress. James Cracraft argues:

The Petrine revolution in Russia—subsuming in this phrase the many military, naval, governmental, educational, architectural, linguistic, and other internal reforms enacted by Peter's regime to promote Russia's rise as a major European power—was essentially a cultural revolution, one that profoundly impacted both the basic constitution of the Russian Empire and, perforce, its subsequent development.[73]

In popular culture

Tomb of Peter the Great in the Peter and Paul Fortress, St Petersburg

Peter has been featured in many histories, novels, plays, films, monuments and paintings.[74][75] They include the poems The Bronze Horseman, Poltava and the unfinished novel The Moor of Peter the Great, all by Alexander Pushkin. The former dealt with The Bronze Horseman, an equestrian statue raised in Peter's honour. Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy wrote a biographical historical novel about him, named Peter I, in the 1930s.

There was a man named Peter the Great who was a Russian Tzar;
When remodeling his the castle put the throne behind the bar;
He lined the walls with vodka, rum, and 40 kinds of beers;
And advanced the Russian culture by 120 years!

See also


  1. ^ Peter is also known by the following nicknames:
    • Russian: Пётр Алексеев сын Михайлов, tr. Pyotr Alekseyev syn Mikhailov, lit. 'Pyotr Mikhailov, son of Aleksey';
    • Russian: Пётр Михайлов, tr. Pyotr Mikhailov.[1]
  2. ^ Russian: Пётр Великий, romanizedPyotr Velikiy, IPA: [pʲɵtr vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj]
  3. ^ For eight days he lived Zaandam but sailed to Amsterdam after he was recognized. The log-cabin he lived in is now a museum, the Czar Peter House.
  4. ^ The 'Leave all ..." story first appears in H-F de Bassewitz Russkii arkhiv 3 (1865). Russian historian E.V. Anisimov contends that Bassewitz's aim was to convince readers that Anna, not Empress Catherine, was Peter's intended heir.


  1. ^ a b c d e Anisimov, Y. V. (16 June 2023) [13 December 2022]. "Пётр I". Great Russian Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ Cracraft 2003.
  3. ^ Driessen van het Reve, Jozien J. (2006). De Kunstkamera van Peter de Grote. De Hollandse inbreng, gereconstrueerd uit brieven van Albert Seba en Johann Daniel Schumacher uit de jaren 1711–1752 (in Dutch). Hilversum: Verloren. p. 336. ISBN 978-90-6550-927-7.
  4. ^ Massie, 25–26.
  5. ^ Riasanovsky 2000, p. 214.
  6. ^ a b Riasanovsky 2000, p. 218.
  7. ^ Massie, (1980) pp 96–106.
  8. ^ a b Riasanovsky 2000, p. 216.
  9. ^ a b Hughes 2007, pp. 179–82.
  10. ^ Evgenii V. Anisimov, The Reforms of Peter the Great: Progress Through Violence in Russia (Routledge, 2015)
  11. ^ Riasanovsky 2000, p. 221.
  12. ^ Abbott, Peter (1902). Peter the Great. Project Gutenberg online edition.
  13. ^ Montefiore p. 187.
  14. ^ Roberts, J. M.; Westad, Odd Arne (2014). The Penguin history of the world (Sixth revised ed.). London. ISBN 978-1-84614-443-1. OCLC 862761245.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  15. ^ Wilson, D. (2006) Peter the Great, p. 45
  16. ^ Peter the Great: Part 1 of 3 (The Carpenter Czar) Archived 28 October 2020 at the Wayback Machine. Radio Netherlands Archives. 8 June 1996. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  17. ^ Massie 1980, pp. 183–188.
  18. ^ a b Massie 1980, p. 191.
  19. ^ Riasanovsky 2000, p. 220.
  20. ^ O.L. D'Or. "Russia as an Empire". The Moscow News weekly. pp. Russian. Archived from the original (PHP) on 3 June 2006. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
  21. ^ Dmytryshyn 1974, p. 21.
  22. ^ "Russian Grand Priory – Timeline". 2004. Archived from the original on 8 February 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2008.
  23. ^ Oudard 1929, p. 197.
  24. ^ "Глава вторая. ОБРАЗОВАНИЕ. Кутузов. Лидия Леонидовна Ивченко".
  25. ^ Massie 1980, p. 453.
  26. ^ a b Riasanovsky 2000, p. 224.
  27. ^ Rory, Finnin (2022). Blood of Others: Stalin's Crimean Atrocity and the Poetics of Solidarity. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-4875-3700-5. OCLC 1314897094.
  28. ^ "10 Major Accomplishments of Peter the Great | Learnodo Newtonic". 21 February 2023.
  29. ^ Palmer & Colton 1992, pp. 242–43.
  30. ^ Aivazovsky, I.K. "Peter I at Krasnaya Gorka Lighting a Fire on the Shore to Signal to his Sinking Ships". The Virtual Russian Museum. Retrieved 7 January 2024.
  31. ^ "Глава вторая. ОБРАЗОВАНИЕ. Кутузов. Лидия Леонидовна Ивченко".
  32. ^ Dmytryshyn 1974, pp. 10–11.
  33. ^ Jozien J. Driessen-Van het Reve (2006) De Kunstkamera van Peter de Grote. De Hollandse inbreng, gereconstrueerd uit brieven van Albert Seba en Johann Daniel Schumacher uit de jaren 1711-1752. Hilversum, Verloren. ISBN 978-90-6550-927-7
  34. ^ Cracraft 2003, p. 37.
  35. ^ Лакиер А. Б. §66. Надписи вокруг печати. Соответствие их с государевым титулом. // Русская геральдика. – СПб., 1855.
  36. ^ Pipes 1974, p. 281.
  37. ^ Palmer & Colton 1992, p. 245.
  38. ^ Lee 2013, p. 31.
  39. ^ Bain 1905.
  40. ^ "Глава вторая. ОБРАЗОВАНИЕ. Кутузов. Лидия Леонидовна Ивченко".
  41. ^ Massie, Robert K. (October 1981). Peter the Great: His Life and World. New York City: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-29806-3.
  42. ^ Bushkovitch, Paul A. (January 1990). "The Epiphany Ceremony of the Russian Court in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries". Russian Review. Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The Editors and Board of Trustees of the Russian Review. 49 (1): 1–17. doi:10.2307/130080. JSTOR 130080.
  43. ^ Dmytryshyn 1974, p. 18.
  44. ^ James Cracraft, The church reform of Peter the Great (1971).
  45. ^ Lindsey Hughes, Russia in the Age of Peter the Great (1998) pp. 332–56.
  46. ^ "Peter the Great with a Black Page Mardefelt, Gustaff B. Mardefeld, Gustav von (Baron) V&A Explore The Collections". Victoria and Albert Museum: Explore the Collections. 7 August 2023.
  47. ^ a b c Hughes 2004, p. 134.
  48. ^ Hughes 2004, p. 133.
  49. ^ Hughes 2004, pp. 131, 134.
  50. ^ Hughes 2004, p. 131.
  51. ^ Hughes 2004, p. 136.
  52. ^ Massie 1980, pp. 76, 377, 707.
  53. ^ a b c d e f g h Hughes 2004, p. 135.
  54. ^ Peter the Great: A Life From Beginning to. Hourly History. 2018. ISBN 978-1-7239-6063-5.
  55. ^ Petre P. Panaitescu, Dimitrie Cantemir. Viața și opera, col. Biblioteca Istorică, vol. III, Ed. Academiei RPR, București, 1958, p. 141.
  56. ^ Peter the Great: A Life From Beginning to. Hourly History. 2018. ISBN 1-7239-6063-2
  57. ^ Lady Mary insisted that her child (born 1717) was fathered bt her lover.
  58. ^ Peter the Great: A Life From Beginning to. Archived 26 December 2022 at the Wayback Machine Hourly History. 2018. ISBN 1-7239-6063-2.
  59. ^ Peter the Great: A Life From Beginning to. Archived 26 December 2022 at the Wayback Machine Hourly History. 2018. ISBN 1-7239-6063-2.
  60. ^ Riasanovsky 2000.
  61. ^ Nicholas Riasanovsky, The Image of Peter the Great in Russian History and Thought (1985) pp. 57, 84, 279, 283.
  62. ^ A. Lenton, "Voltaire and Peter the Great" History Today (1968) 18#10 online Archived 13 May 2021 at the Wayback Machine
  63. ^ Kathleen Scollins, "Cursing at the Whirlwind: The Old Testament Landscape of The Bronze Horseman." Pushkin Review 16.1 (2014): 205–231 online Archived 26 October 2020 at the Wayback Machine.
  64. ^ Albert Resis, "Russophobia and the 'Testament' of Peter the Great, 1812–1980" Slavic Review 44#4 (1985), pp. 681–693 online[dead link]
  65. ^ Lindsey Hughes, Russia in the Age of Peter the Great (1998) p 464.
  66. ^ Riasanovsky, p. 305.
  67. ^ Zitser, 2005.
  68. ^ Waugh, 2001
  69. ^ "10 Major Accomplishments of Peter the Great". 21 February 2023. Retrieved 14 July 2023.[unreliable source?]
  70. ^ Hughes, p. 464
  71. ^ Hughes, p. 465.
  72. ^ "Peter I". Encyclopaedia Britannica. 29 June 2023.
  73. ^ James Cracraft, "The Russian Empire as Cultural Construct," Journal of the Historical Society (2010) 10#2 pp. 167–188, quoting p. 170.
  74. ^ Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, The Image of Peter the Great in Russian History and Thought (1985).
  75. ^ Lindsey Hughes, "'What manner of man did we lose?': Death-bed images of Peter the Great." Russian History 35.1-2 (2008): 45-61.
  76. ^ Gorchakov, Nikolai A. (1957). The Theatre in Soviet Russia. London: Oxford U.P. pp. 315–17.
  77. ^ BBC Radio 4 – Drama, Tsar, Peter the Great: The Gamblers Archived 25 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine. BBC. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
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  79. ^ "The Great (2020)". IMDB. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
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  81. ^ "Последний царь: о чём забыли создатели документального фильма о Петре I". (in Russian). 3 November 2022. Retrieved 16 January 2023.


Historiography and memory
  • Brown, Peter B. "Towards a Psychohistory of Peter the Great: Trauma, Modeling, and Coping in Peter's Personality." Russian History 35#1-2 (2008): 19–44.
  • Brown, Peter B. "Gazing Anew at Poltava: Perspectives from the Military Revolution Controversy, Comparative History, and Decision-Making Doctrines." Harvard Ukrainian Studies 31.1/4 (2009): 107–133. online Archived 15 November 2020 at the Wayback Machine
  • Cracraft, James. "Kliuchevskii on Peter the Great." Canadian-American Slavic Studies 20.4 (1986): 367–381.
  • Daqiu, Zhu. "Cultural Memory and the Image of Peter the Great in Russian Literature." Russian Literature & Arts 2 (2014): 19+.
  • Gasiorowska, Xenia. The image of Peter the Great in Russian fiction (1979) online
  • Platt, Kevin M. F. Terror and Greatness: Ivan and Peter as Russian Myths (2011)
  • Raef, Mark, ed. Peter the Great, Reformer or Revolutionary? (1963) excerpts from scholars and primary sources online Archived 16 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  • Resis, Albert. "Russophobia and the" Testament" of Peter the Great, 1812–1980." Slavic Review 44.4 (1985): 681-693 online[dead link].
  • Riasanovsky, Nicholas V. The Image of Peter the Great in Russian History and Thought (1985).
  • Waugh, Daniel Clarke. "We have never been modern: Approaches to the study of Russia in the age of Peter the Great." Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas H. 3 (2001): 321-345 online in English Archived 19 December 2022 at the Wayback Machine.
  • Zitser, Ernest A. (Spring 2005). "Post-Soviet Peter: New Histories of the Late Muscovite and Early Imperial Russian Court". Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History. 6 (2): 375–92. doi:10.1353/kri.2005.0032. S2CID 161390436.
  • Zitser, Ernest A. "The Difference that Peter I Made." in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Russian History. ed. by Simon Dixon (2013) online[dead link]

Further reading

Regnal titles Preceded byFeodor III Tsar of Russia 1682–1721with Ivan V Russian Empire New title Emperor of Russia 1721–1725 Succeeded byCatherine I Preceded byFrederick Duke of Estonia and Livonia 1721–1725