Soviet Union Table of Contents
In the eighteenth century, Muscovy was transformed from a static, somewhat isolated, traditional state into the more dynamic, partially Westernized, and secularized Russian Empire. This transformation was in no small measure a result of the vision, energy, and determination of Peter the Great (1682-1725). Historians disagree about the extent to which Peter himself transformed Russia, but they generally concur that he laid the foundations that shaped the empire over the next two centuries. The era he initiated signaled the advent of Russia as a major European power. But although the Russian Empire would play a leading political role for the next century, its retention of serfdom precluded economic progress of any significant degree. As west European economic growth accelerated during the Industrial Revolution, Russia began to lag ever further behind, creating new problems for the empire as a great power.
Data as of May 1989