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Under Peter, 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. 

Russian Troops Enter Paris. By A. Kivshenko

Peterís 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.

However, it 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.

The great 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.

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The "Catching up" Cycles

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