Russian Westernization 1690-1790.

Essay by van_EcksHigh School, 10th grade January 2006

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Towards the end of the 17th century, Russia began undergoing dramatic, yet selective, internal changes. Peter the Great led the first westernization of Russia in history, permanently changing Russia and providing a model from which westernization attempts elsewhere were based on. Westernization was used by Peter and his successors to promote Russia's expansionist empire without intending to transform Russia into a truly Western society.

By the end of the 17th century, Russia had become one of the great land empires while maintaining a highly agriculturally based society. In the existing framework of how Russia is to be run, chaingong some of the policies. Peter extended the practice of building up tsarist control and expanding Russian territory. He also a more definite interest in changing selected aspects of Russian economy and culture by imitating Western forms. While eager to move his country more fully into the Western diplomatic and cultural orbit, he took care not to make it fully Western.

As the West was moving into a more democratic direction, Peter ruled through autocracy. Although overall, Peter did concentrade on improving political organization , selected economic development and cultural change. He streamlined Russia's small bureaucracy and altered military structure using Western organizational principles. He created a more well-defined military hierarchy and developed functioning specialized bureaucratic departments. He improved military weaponry and with aid from Western advisors, created Russia's first navy.

Peter's economic efforts focused on building up metaullurgical and mining industries using Russia's extensive iron holdings to supply state-run munitions and shipbuilding facilities. Without extensive urbanization or development of a large, commercial social class, Peter's reforms changed Russian economy.

Finally, Peter also made Russia more culturally respectable in Western eyes. He slightly promoted the status of women in society and encouraged women to wear Western-style clothing to social functions. These small...