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Absolute Monarchy in Russia


Absolute Monarchy in Russia The ULTIMATE Absolutism! TRIVIA: Can you say your name in Russian? In Russian, your middle name is your father s first name. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Absolute Monarchy in Russia

Absolute Monarchy in Russia
  • The ULTIMATE Absolutism!

TRIVIA Can you say your name in Russian?
  • In Russian, your middle name is your fathers
    first name.
  • If a boy, you would say
  • I am (your first name) and (your fathers first
    name) vitch.
  • Daniel Clarkovitch
  • If a girl you would say
  • I am (your first name) and (your fathers first
    name) ovna.
  • Carolina Clarkovna

Russia BEFORE Peter the Great
  • Russia was still in the Middle Ages with
    touches of the Muslim culture added in.
  • There was very, very little interaction with the
    rest of Europe or the world.

Russian Life BEFORE Peter the Great
  • There were only three social classes.
  • The Boyars
  • The Church
  • The Serfs

The Boyars
  • Russian nobles, most called themselves Princes.
  • 10th 17th Centuries were the real rulers of
  • Positions in society were based on service your
    family did for the Czar and owning land.
  • Pretty much had no checks on their local power.
  • Could change your loyalty to different princes,
    depending on what they would give you in return.

The Boyars
  • Dressed more like Arabs with beards that you were
    never supposed to trim.
  • Separate society from women.
  • Women werent often seen let alone heard!
  • Covered hair and no shape to clothing.

The Boyars
  • Lived on their feudal estates with their own
    armies and self-sufficient economies.
  • Little interest in the outside world.
  • Do you see
  • Muslim influence?

The Church Russian Orthodox
  • One of the oldest Christian religions.
  • Does not recognize the Pope or Catholic Church.
  • They believe they practice the Christian religion
    of the Roman Emperor Constantine.

Russian Orthodox Church
  • Ruled by the Patriarch.
  • Urged people to not be corrupted by outside
  • Urged the serfs to remain loyal without
    questioning the Boyars.
  • Life is suffering, but heaven will be your reward.

Russian Orthodox Church
The Serfs
  • At the time of Peter the Great, they made up 95
    of the population in Russia.
  • They were essentially slaves bound to the land
    and bound to the noble.

The Serfs
  • Had absolutely no say about anything in their

Over these three levels of society were the CZARS
  • Czar Caesar / Emperor.
  • Sometimes in books as Tsar.
  • Technically had absolute power.
  • But few czars had been powerful enough to make
    the boyars and the church obey him.

Before Peter The Time of Troubles
  • The belief in blue blood was also with the
    Russian Czars.
  • 1600 the last of the Rurik czars died with no
  • Family had ruled since 900 AD.

The Time of Troubles
  • Smutnoya Vremya
  • No czar and wars broke out between the boyars.
  • Sensing weakness and the chance to take land
    Poland and Lithuania invaded.
  • Russia was in chaos!

The Romanovs become Czar
  • A distant relative of the last Rurik czar.
  • Started a dynasty in 1613 that would last until
  • This is NOT the Hapsburg double-headed eagle!
  • It is the Romanov symbol.

Which eagle for which family?Hapsburg v. Romanov?
Even though the Romanovs were on the throne
  • Power was still weak.
  • Just the way the boyars and the Church wanted it!

Peter the Greats story starts with his father
  • Alexei
  • His first wife died.
  • 13 children
  • 5 boys only one was surviving to adulthood.
  • Ivan was mentally retarded.
  • A new wife was needed.
  • He practiced droit de seigneur.
  • Most common way that boyars chose wives and

Czar Alexis I Peters Father
  • Had started some reforms in Russia.
  • Shaved his beard
  • Could read Latin and spoke Polish as well as

Peter the Greats mother
  • Natalia Kirilovna Naryshkinov
  • Her grandmother was Scottish and had some contact
    with Western Europeans while growing up.

Peter the Great1672 - 1725
  • Peter was the firstborn son to a second wife who
    did not come from a powerful family to protect
    her or her children.
  • 1682 Alexis dies.
  • Who becomes Czar?

Peter the Great
  • First born son of a second wife.
  • He was only ten when his father died.
  • Peters mothers family was not the most powerful
    Boyar family and suspected of western leanings.

Who should rule Russia
  • The eldest son?
  • Ivan
  • Mentally handicapped.
  • Should be easy for the Boyars and Church to
  • But could he lead?

  • Their older sister Sophia Alexovna?
  • Smart
  • Ambitious
  • A woman
  • Yes! She really was.

The Compromise A double-Czar
  • Little Peter and his mentally handicapped brother
    were crowned co-czars and their sister Sophia sat
    behind them whispering instructions on what to
    say and do.

Problem-Solve this!
  • Why didnt Peters half-sister Sophia just take
    her little half-brother on a walk along the
    cliffs, and get rid of him?
  • Why did she keep her brother Ivan alive?

Peter the Great grows up
  • Unusually tall 6 8.
  • But his head was small for his body and he
    suffered from epilepsy.
  • He grew up away from Moscow and played around
    German sailors and ship-builders who were along
    the Russian coast.
  • Fascinated with the west!

Peter the Great Grows Up
  • 1696 Peter leaves Russia and comes to the West.
  • Didnt just visit fellow Royals.
  • He visited factories and took jobs in shipyards
    to learn how to build ships.
  • Had a dentist teach him how to pull teeth.
  • Learned a lot about Western Europe art and

Peter the Great comes home to Russia
  • Brought with him technical experts, teachers, and
    soldiers to teach western methods.
  • Was ready to become a true Czar without his
    sister in 1698.

Do you think Sophia accepted this new way?
  • Now she did try to assassinate her brother.
  • Sent her personal body guards the Streltsky to
    kill Peter.
  • They failed.

Peters Response
  • Forced his sister to become a nun and locked her
    away in a nunnery.
  • Hung the bodies of the Streltsky guards outside
    her window.
  • 1,000 corpses
  • Later he sent her to a sub-arctic nunnery.
  • She died in 1704

On one thing the two half-siblings agreed on
  • Leave Ivan out of it.
  • Ivan remained a co-czar living in a palace until
    he died.
  • Married and had three daughters.
  • Might / Probably / Maybe were his children
  • The crown is the original one czars were crowned
    with The Cap of Monmahk.

Peter the Great has two goals
  • Westernize Russia
  • Had 400 years of development to catch up on.
  • Become an absolute monarch.
  • Which should be done first?

Becoming the Absolute Monarch
  • Following another kings model, he sought to make
    the boyars too weak to challenge him.
  • Took away walled fortresses.
  • Took away private armies.
  • Made the boyars become courtiers and serve in his
    government and military.

  • Had to be WESTERN
  • Dress like they did in the west.
  • Shave their beards.
  • Women were to dress western and not be segregated
    from men.
  • Dancing and mingling between men and women was

How do you think Peter got compliance?
  • Humiliations
  • Imprisonment / Torture
  • Forced labor
  • Death
  • AND ---

Give the Boyars something they wanted in return.
  • Serfdom spread in Russia.
  • Slave Serf
  • The boyars, now called nobles, got more control
    over the people of Russia.
  • It continued until 1861 in Russia.

How about the Church?
  • Peter replaced positions with western leaning
  • Built fabulous new churches in the western style.

Peters Germans
  • Ever hear of Germans from Russia?
  • Most were imported by Peter to teach and create a
    new system.

Peters Modernization with Force
  • Improved education
  • Academies for mathematics, science, music, dance
    and engineering.
  • Improved travel with roads, waterways, and
  • Developed mining and textiles for export.

Modernization with Force
  • Serfs were forced labor for many improvements.
  • Worked until they died to create the

  • Peters first wife, Eudoxia
  • Preferred the old ways and encouraged revolts.
  • Divorced and sent to a sub-arctic nunnery.
  • His son Tsarivitch Alexei
  • Hated his father and was encouraged by his mother
    to revolt.
  • Was executed by his father.

Results of Revolts?Czarist reaction for 200 years
Peter the GreatExpanding Russian Borders
  • Russia needed a warm-water port so ships could
    sail year around.

Where on the map would be the best spot for a
warm-water port that is close to Europe??
The Great Northern War
  • 1700 Russia goes to war against Sweden to get
    control of the land needed for a warm water port.
  • Had 5x as many troops as Sweden did!
  • Got his royal butt kicked by the Swedes!

Peter did not give up!
  • Went back and rebuilt his military and trained
    them better.
  • 1709 defeated the Swedes and took the land that
    would become his new capitol.

St. Petersburg
  • Note who he named the city for!
  • Also, called it Petersburg after the German way,
    not Petrograd, the Russian way!
  • 1918 1993 called Leningrad.
  • A city built to be the Window to Europe.

Scenes from St. PetersburgThe Winter Palace
Scenes from St. Petersburg
The Winter Palace
JAV (just another view)The Winter Palace
The Winter Palace and the Hermitage
Peter the GreatBlazing to the Pacific
  • Made fur trading outposts all the way to Alaska.
  • FYI Alaska was part of Russia until 1862.
  • The Bering Strait is named for the Danish
    navigator Vitus Bering that he sent to discover a
    way between Russia and Alaska.

Peter the Great had a problem close to his death
  • Despite having had 11 children with two wives,
    only two daughters had lived.
  • Too young.
  • His grandson was too young and Peter didnt think
    he would be able to continue Russias
    transformation to a modern country.

Peters second wife
  • Catherine I
  • Born Martha Elena Scowronska
  • Lithuanian Peasant
  • A commoner, little better than a serf to the
    Russian nobles.
  • Had grown up a peasant, doing laundry, becoming
    other mens mistresses.
  • Rumors that Peter had purchased her from one of
    her lovers.

Peter and Catherine
  • Love at first sight. Secretly married in 1707.
  • As smart and daring as her husband.
  • Could deal with Peters temper and help him in
    epileptic seizures.
  • Never left his side.
  • Kept a 3 room cabin for them and their children
    while he was building St. Petersburg.

Peter and Catherine
  • Peter crowned her Czarina and they were co-rulers
    in 1724.
  • Ruled by herself from 1725 until her death in

Catherine I coronation gown
After Catherine I
  • Peters Grandson.
  • Became czar at 12
  • Only ruled three years.
  • Died of smallpox on his wedding day in 1730.
  • Did bring back his Grandmother Eudoxia from
    exile. (Peters first wife.)

After Peter II?
  • Remember Peter the Greats co-czar brother?
  • His daughter Anna became Czarina.

Czarina Anna
  • The Russian nobles put her on the throne.
  • She would be easy to control.
  • She should be grateful for the chance to become
    the Czarina.
  • She wasnt known for a strong personality, she
    could be influenced.
  • Maybe even get a Constitutional Monarchy?

Czarina Anna ruled until 1 740
  • Kept company with foolish people.
  • Created a Secret Police to terrorize people to
    follow her.
  • Enjoyed humiliating the older nobles.
  • Ordering marriages between inappropriate people
    and having them spend the night naked in an ice

Anna HATED her Cousin
  • Elizabeth
  • The daughter of Peter the Great and his wife
  • Every inch the daughter of her parents!

The saddest story of a Czar
  • Ivan VI
  • A nephew of Anna, she adopted him when he was an
    infant and declared him her successor in 1740.
  • She died later that year.

Would the daughter of Peter the Great let a baby
  • Elizabeth took the throne.
  • Infant Ivan was imprisoned.
  • Never left his prison.
  • Not allowed contact except with guards.
  • No education.
  • Effort to rescue him and make him czar failed
    and he was killed by his guards in 1764.

Empress Elizabeth aka Czarina
  • Continued her fathers westernization, but had
    censorship of ideas she did not agree with.
  • Waged years of war against Prussia.
  • Frederick the Great
  • Could be kind and generous.
  • Abolished the death penalty.
  • Had to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse
    at every funeral.
  • It is all about ME.

Empress Elizabeth
  • Selected a nephew to become the next czar.
  • The future Peter III
  • Put some special thought into deciding who his
    wife should be.
  • Selected German Princess Sophia Augusta Frederika
    of Anhalt Zerbst.
  • Known in history as ___

Catherine the Great
  • How does a German princess become the Czarina of
  • What happened to her husband?

Catherine the Great
  • Unusual intellectual abilities.
  • Embraced all things Russian.
  • Inspired loyalty.

Her husband Peter -
  • Not very smart
  • Not good looking
  • Loved everything PRUSSIAN not Russian.
  • Cheered on Frederick the Great against his aunt.

Peter and Catherine
  • Were NOT a good couple.
  • Peter preferred male-looking German women for
    mistresses rather than being with his wife.
  • Empress Elizabeth wanted a son from Peter and
  • Blamed Catherine
  • What is a woman to do?

Catherine produces a son!
  • Was her son Paul the son of a Russian noble?
  • Was her son Paul the son of a Polish musician?
  • ???
  • Peter couldnt deny paternity without having to
    answer a lot of embarrassing questions.
  • Might have been relieved to have the heir.

1762 Elizabeth dies
  • Peter ends the war with Frederick the Great at a
    great loss to Russia.
  • Peter puts his Prussian Guards above the Russian
  • Plans to divorce Catherine.
  • Monastery for her!
  • Marry a German mistress.

Catherines current lover helps hatch a plan!
  • Gregori Orlov
  • Stage a Coup dEtat.
  • A takeover of the government.
  • Imprison Peter.
  • Make Catherine the Czarina.

It Worked!
  • Peter was so hated that people welcomed Catherine
    to the throne.
  • Peter ended up being murdered.
  • By Gregori Orlov
  • Paul always harbored a hatred of his mother for
    not making him czar and killing his father.

  • Gregori Orlov gave Catherine an incredible
    diamond it is kept in the scepter of the
    Russian crown jewels.
  • The Orlov Diamond

Catherine the Great
  • Set forth new efforts with an effective ruler to
    keep going with Peter the Greats reforms.

Catherine the GreatAn Enlightened Ruler
  • Reorganized government, so she knew what was
    happening throughout Russia.
  • Codified laws (wrote them down!)
  • State-sponsored education for boys and girls.

Catherine the GreatAbsolute Monarch
  • Did not accept any challenges to her authority.
  • Liked the French intellectuals ideas of power for
    people but never allowed it to be discussed
    outside of her palace.
  • Allowed the nobles to increase their
    strangle-hold on the serfs.

Catherine the Great Military Leader
  • Expanded Russias borders with wars against
    Turkey and the Partition of Poland.
  • Poland was divided up between Catherine,
    Frederick the Great and Maria Theresas son Josef.

Catherine the GreatPleasures
  • Kept a court where French costume, manners, and
    language were encouraged.
  • Russian became a language for serfs, not nobles.

Catherine the Great what happened with Prince
  • She never married again.
  • She kept many lovers.
  • Would enjoy, give them land, serfs, and money as
    a pension.
  • But expected the men to be loyal to her for life.
  • Some say 11 lovers, others say 300 lovers in her

Catherine and Orlov
  • Had a son together.
  • He was raised by both his parents and made noble.
  • Alexsai did a great deal of traveling in the
  • Gregory Orlov, broken at not getting Catherine to
    marry him, went west for five years, came home a
    broken man.
  • Died after marrying his niece in retaliation
    against Catherine.

Catherine the Great
  • Did not get along with her son at all.
  • Took her grandsons, Alexander and Nicholas and
    raised them, intending to make one of them the
    czar over their father.

Catherine the Great
  • Died before she could make her choice law in
  • Ruled Russia for 34 years
  • Not bad for a non-Russian woman!
  • Paul took over and tried to undo everything his
    mother had done.
  • Made it law no woman could rule in Russia.
  • He was murdered five years later.

  • Do we want to consider Peter the Great and
    Catherine the Great
  • GREAT absolute leaders?
  • Good absolute leaders?
  • Fair absolute leaders?
  • BAD absolute leaders?
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