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Modern History of Russia The reigns of Peter I and Catherine the Great in the late 1600s and the 1700s marked the beginning of Russias establishment as a major European power These rulers attempted to westernize the traditional society of Moscow and they ambitiously expanded Russian territories In the early 1800s Alexander I began to carry out further plans to westernize the government by attempting to create a Duma or representative body However Russia became involved in the Napoleonic Wars and played a key role in the alliance that overthrew French emperor Napolean I This firmly established Russia as a major power in Europe The influence of Western Europe resulted in highly liberal political attitudes among some Russian students nobles and members of the upper middle class Dissatisfied with the tyranny of Russian government they began to create secret political groups A group of officers led a revolt in 1825 and tried to form a new government Emperor Nicholas I put down the revolt very quickly and took measures to drive the people into submission and to protect Russia from corrupting western ideas In opposition to Russias involvement in the Crimean War 1853-1856 The Russian people were tired of war and this encouraged a revolutionary movement among workers peasants and minorities The serfs rose up against the landowners and pillaged their estates Alexander II became czar in 1855 and became one of the greatest reformers in Russian history He freed the serfs in 1861 giving freedom to almost 40 million people However it was not enough after many years of oppression and in 1881 he was assassinated He was replaced by his son Alexander III who suppressed all revolutionary organizations Nicholas II began his reign in 1894 Oppression increased under Nicholas II creating significant unrest At the same time Japan challenged Russian interests in Manchuria and attacked the empire in 1904 The revolution mounted in 1905 and the empire was overwhelmed by
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