Peter I

Peter I went down in Russian History as a great reformer. A regular army and navy, iron copper industries, a lot of technical schools and an academy of sciences were established by the order of Peter I the Great.

The brilliant victories won by the Russian army in the Northern War, which lasted more than twenty years and which gave Russia a firm hold on the Baltic coast were also the work of Peter the Great. For this victories the Senate presented him with a title of the "Emperor" in 1721. In 1703 Peter I the Great founded a new city St.Petersburg at the mouth of the Neva. This foundation symbolized that Russia would never leave the Baltic seaboard.

Peter I also acted with great determination and purpose in reforming the administration of the country. He founded the Senate as the supreme executive body of the state authority. He replaced the Prikazes by twelve colleges, each in charge of one of the key branches of the State Government. The country was divided into eight, subsequently eleven large provinces, Gubernias, and administrated by governors appointed by Peter I.

Peter's reforms didn't affect the social framework of the state. They were all based on even greater oppression of the serfs. When the heavy industry was launched, for instance, the serfs were allotted to factories. Thus, serfdom was extended still further, to include a new category of serfs, the early, industrial workers in Russia.