Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Russia, Behind Europe

When the rest of Europe was rising out of the black death and undergoing an industrial revolution Russia was very far behind.  Russia had been hindered by the mongol horde and their own isolation for centuries.  Some rulers however attempted to throw Russia into the mainstream.  Peter the Great was one such ruler.  However for all his reforms and drastic changes once he died few of his alterations and improvements actually stuck, but his work was the foundation for Russia to climb level with the rest of Europe.  Among Peter the Great's sweeping reforms there was one such tax that stands out.  A tax on long beards and robes, for the sole purpose of getting people to wear more modern clothes.  He faced much opposition from Russian conservatives and many rebellions and uprisings, he crushed these ruthlessly.  He aimed for modernization as a whole however and tried to change many of Russia's oldest customs.  Among these customs that he sought to eradicate were arranged marriages as he thought they were barbaric and led to domestic violence.  Peter in many ways forced Russia to realize that the rest of the world did exist and they were behind it, however his brutality probably continued to the declining mental state of the people as a whole regarding their monarchs.

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