Russia Under Catherine the Great

Russia under Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great was unable to produce any real change (failure), despite her persecutions to do so, such as calling for the election of an assembly in 1767 to debate the details of a new law code or her questioning of the institutions of serfdom, torture, capital punishment, and advocation of the principle of the equality of all people in the eyes of law.

Catherine's effort to reorganize local government led to the responsibility of nobles to the day-to-day governing of Russia because the chosen the ruling officials of the districts of Russia's fifty provinces that Catherine created.

Catherine's favoring of the landed nobility led to even worse conditions for the Russian peasantry. (failure)

Catherine expanded Russia's territory westward into Poland and southward to the Black Sea by defeating the Turks. Russia also gained some land in the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji in 1774, along with the privilege of protecting Greek orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire, and the right to sail in Turkish waters. However, westward expansion occurred at the expense of Poland, who lost about 50 percent of their territory to Russia.


Emelyan Pugachev encouraged peasants to seize the landlords' estates. Peasants responded by killing more than fifteen hundred estate owners and their families. However, the rebellion soon faltered as government forces rallied and became more effective. The rebellion collapsed completely following Pugachev's execution.Catherine responded by further repressing the peasantry, halting all rural reform and expanding serfdom into newer parts of the empire.
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