March 16, 2015

Peter The Great, The Russian who modernized Russia

Peter the Great ( 1672-1725 )

Read the biography of Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie. 

Peter the Great is one of my heroes. He modernized Russia, just like Emperor Meiji ( 1852-1912 ) modernized Japan, and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk ( 1881-1938 ) modernized Turkey. All these three modernizers of their countries used ruthless measures to crush the opposition by those who did not want changes.
Peter went to Western Europe in 1697 to study modern technology for shipbuilding and other industries. He wrote on a seal before his departure " I am a pupil, and need to be taught ". Peter went incognito with some companions as far west as England. He personally interviewed and recruited many technical persons for service in Russia. He was shown the British fleet, and he determined to set up a fleet in Russia.
After returning to Russia, Peter began modernizing Russian society and introduced European technology. He crushed the revolt of the Streltsi regiments and Bulavin ruthlessly. He sent young men for technical training abroad, and founded the Russian Academy of Science for scientific research. He also st up several technical institutes such as the School of Mathematics and navigation.
In 1703 Peter built a new capital, St. Petersburg, which remained the capital of Russia till the Russian Revolution of 1917.
By the time Peter died, he had dragged Russia out of much of its backwardness and transformed many of its medeival social and political institutions and customs to modern, Westernized ones, and made Russia a great power in the world.
India too needs to follow Peter's example, and take tough measures to modernize the country and make it a first rate, highly industrialized and prosperous nation in the world

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