How and why did Russia emerge as a great power but Poland did not? How were Peter the Great’s domestic reforms related to his military ambitions? What were his methods of reform? How did family conflict influence his later policies? Was Peter a successful ruler?
The Russians were able to emerge as a great power, unlike Poland, because the Russian kings, most notably Peter the Great, were able to keep the wealthy nobility in check, securing their absolute power; however, the Polish rulers were not able to elect a strong king because of the nobility’s deep distrusts and divisions. Peter the Great’s domestic policies regulated the nobility of Russian but never excluded any group, such as the boyars. Similarly, Peter the Great looked at other military successes in Europe and used them to strengthen his military. Later Peter realized that he could not eliminate his opponents the way he had attacked the streltsy; thus, Peter began to bring the nobility and the Russian Orthodox Church closer to himself, “keeping his enemies closer”. Peter the Great was a successful leader because he laid the foundations of a modern Russian, establishing a strong military and determining Russia’s western orientation.