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Catherine the Great - History of Russia in 100 Minutes (Part 14 of 36)

10 Views • 02/01/24
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"History of Russia in 100 Minutes" is a crash course for beginners. Here you will find the complete history summarized and retold in simple language with accurate dates, the most relevant names and essential concepts. After finishing the course, you will know:

- The basic characteristics of Russian history in different epochs
- The 54 most important rulers and 106 historical persons in Russian history
- 126 key dates and events in Russian history
- The basic terms and concepts of Russian history

The text is accompanied by numerous online resources:
- 20,000 pictures
- 700 videos
- 3,500 songs
- 100 podcast episodes

All that is available via the smarthistories.com website.


Narrated by: Sammi Bold
Written by: Tanel Vahisalu
Edited by: Madis Maasing and Kerry Kubilius
Proofread by: Tony Burnett
Graphic Art by: Mehak Zaib Suddle

“Rise of Catherine the Great” by Paul Czinner, Alexander Korda (1934)

"Tchaikovsky (Part II)" and "Crocodile Ghena's Song" (1995) by J.M.K.E.

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The reign of Catherine II (Catherine the Great) is known to history as the “Age of Enlightened Absolutism,” in Russia. A whole generation of people grew up enjoying freedom of speech, political stability, and great victories.

After the death of Elizabeth, her nephew, Peter III, from Northern Germany ruled disastrously. His wife, Sophie Friederike Auguste, was a pretty German princess who had been invited to Russia while still very young. She converted to Orthodoxy, learned the Russian language, and took the name Catherine. In 1762, she launched a coup against her husband and became the Empress of Russia, known as Catherine the Great.

Catherine continued Peter the Great’s line of modernization, and she strongly supported education and culture. She prepared drafted laws based on the views of the Enlightenment, but the greater part of her ambitious plans, including the abolition of serfdom, led nowhere.

The great Administration Reform of 1775 increased the administrative power of the nobility. Courts and police institutions were established. The reform significantly increased the effectiveness of local government in Russia.

In the beginning, Catherine’s foreign policy was in the hands of Nikita Panin. The commanders Alexander Suvorov, Fyodor Ushakov, and Grigory Potemkin, greatly expanded Russia’s territory in the south and west. In 1784, Crimea was taken from the Ottomans, and the three partitions, formed in 1772, 1793 and 1795, respectively, completely wiped Poland off the map.

Catherine supported the Enlightenment only to a certain extent. She denounced the French Revolution as a brutal act against monarchy.

Although Catherine tried to improve the situation of Russian peasants, these attempts were mostly futile and caused unrest. In 1773, the greatest armed revolt in Russia, constituting 100,000 Cossacks, led by Yemelyan Pugachev, who claimed that he was actually Peter III, was put down ruthlessly. Pugachev was publicly executed.

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