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When Peter inherited the throne in Russia in 1689 he was dismayed by its backwardness His vision was to Westernise it To answer the essay question I first need to identify the needs of Russia These were to improve the economy of Russia to harness the support of the nobility improve defence and administration enhance diplomatic ties with the West to secure ice free ports and to improve education Peter found answers to many of his problems in Russia by transplanting ideas from the West When he said after his humiliation at Narva that Russia would learn from the Swedes how eventually to defeat them he was expressing his underlying attitude to change In 1697-1699 he went on a Grand Tour of England and Holland called the Embassy to the West This was for diplomatic and technological reasons - to harness support of the West against the Turks and bring back skilled workers to Russia After visiting Versailles in 1717 Peter began to upgrade the courtly image employing a variety of foreign artists and architects However his main emphasis was still practical as shown by the fact that the most important building housed the Senate and Colleges not court Peter promoted direct contact with French Dutch German and English cultures and removed his court from the conservative atmosphere of the Kremlin and established a new capital at St Petersburg Peters vision was on a far grander scale than Louis XIVs however as it can be said the problem of Paris was solved by Versailles that of the Kremlin by St Petersburg Peter was also open to the influence of western advisers in trying to promote commercial enterprise to build up a class of entrepreneurs He was also determined to introduce new fashions based largely on those in the West Beards and traditional Russian clothes were either banned or heavily taxed Under Western influence Peter introduced a number of humanitarian measures - Moscows first pharmacies and
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