Europeanization of Russia was achieved by the deliberate importation
of Western values, way of life, legislation, technical terminology,
and by the reform of the army, government, and industry, which
borrowed heavily from Western models. As a result, by the end of
Peterís reign, Russia had acquired a new system of institutions,
many of which demonstrated a radical break with the past.
attempt to catch up with Russiaís European neighbors would achieve
full success later in the eighteenth century, during the reign of
Catherine the Great (1762-96). By the end of the century, Russia was
seen as one of the continentís three or four greatest military
powers and was universally recognized abroad as being equal to
Hapsburg Austria or Bourbon France. Napoleonís defeat by the forces
of Alexander I (1801-25) further increased the countryís prestige,
and in the first half of the nineteenth century Russia was generally
perceived to be the continentís leading military power.
was during that time Ė under the impact of the industrial revolution
Ė that the factors that determined a countryís power were undergoing
fundamental change. While capitalism was only slowly beginning to
affect Russia, it was revolutionizing Great Britain, Belgium, and
France. It was transforming agrarian societies of the leading
European states, revolutionizing their industrial bases, and
increasing the size of urban populations.
industrial revolution spreading across the continent of Europe
stopped short of the Russian borders. The persistence of traditional
institutions Ė serfdom, in particular Ė now seemed to place Russia
behind other countries of the continent. By the close of Nicholas
Iís reign (1825-55), the picture of a powerful Russia, dominating
the international order, had disappeared.