History of Russia Part 3

The History of Russia continues with the reign of Catherine the Great, a time of cultural splendour, ‘enlightened autocracy’, and enormous territorial expansion. Catherine’s reign saw the annexation of Crimea, and the Partition of Poland, and the settlement of Novorossiya by Russian colonists under the supervision of Count Potemkin. European migrants, such as the Volga Germans, settled in Russia, while Russia’s new Jewish population lived within the ‘Pale of Settlement’. Catherine was horrified by the execution of Louis XVI during the French Revolution, and turned her back on liberal ideas. The reign of her son, Paul, saw the great victories of Marshal Suvorov against Revolutionary France, but ended in the Emperor’s murder during a palace coup. The reign of Emperor Alexander I saw modernising reforms by the brilliant Count Mikhail Speranksy, but was dominated by war with Napoleon. In 1812 the French Emperor invaded Russia, but following the Battle of Borodino and the burning of Moscow, he was forced to retreat, and his Grande Armee was destroyed. Alexander’s reign also saw the annexation of Finland, expansion into the Caucasus and Balkans, and himself take the title ‘King of Poland’.

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