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Russian IdentitiesA Historical Survey$
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Nicholas V. Riasanovsky

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195156508

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195156508.001.0001

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The Reign of Peter the Great

The Reign of Peter the Great

(p.74) 4 The Reign of Peter the Great
Russian Identities

Nicholas V. Riasanovsky (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the momentous reign of Peter the Great and its impact and influence on Russian intellectual life and culture. It explains that the dominant European intellectual climate of the “Enlightenment,” or “Age of Reason” fit Peter the Great's character, orientation, and ambitions. It adds that his optimistic belief in reason, in the possibility and feasibility of reasonable solutions to human problems, ranging from technical matters of administration, economics, or finance to the broader issues of the nature of a genuine education, or of an ideal society and polity, constituted the leading inspiration of the age. It describes Peter the Great as an absolute ruler in theory and in practice. It tells of the reorganization of the Church in Russia—a long-lasting, logical, and integral part of Peter the Great's effort to modernize and even Westernize Russia.

Keywords:   Peter the Great, Enlightenment, Age of Reason, reorganization of the Church, Westernization, modernization

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