CATHERINE II OF RUSSIA, a German girl who became Empress of Russia. She continued Peter the Great modernization and Europeanization of the immense Russia. She surrounded herself with competent men and continued to expand the Empire. Leading several wars with the Ottoman Empire, she gained access to the Black Sea. She earned for Russia a prominent place among the European powers. Despite her fascination for the philosophy of “enlightenment”, she repressed hardly revolts such as the “Pugatchev Revolt” foreshadowing that of Lenin. She became obsessed with absolute power, and at the end of her reign, the number of slaves had increased considerably. It is her empire that resurfaced in “Soviet Union” and that is still a dream for contemporary Russian leaders.
Copyright: Alice Labrèque and Jean Routier, Québec, 2018.